Holograph draft of 'Binsey Poplars', poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

Original catalogue by Judith Priestman. EAD version by Harriet Costelloe

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Shelfmark: MS. Eng. c. 8235
Title: Holograph draft of 'Binsey Poplars', poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Dates of Creation: 1879
Extent: 2 leaves
Language(s) of Material: English


Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889), English poet, studied at Oxford where he was tutored by Benjamin Jowett and Walter Pater and met his future editor Robert Bridges. He converted to Catholicism in 1866 and entered the Society of Jesus in 1868, although he could not progress in the order due to failing his final theology exam. After various curateships he settled in Dublin where he taught Greek and Latin at the Royal University of Ireland. He died here in 1889 with only a handful of his poems in print. For further biographical details see Dictionary of National Biography.

Scope and Content

Written mostly in ink on three sides of a bifolium, the manuscript reveals extensive autograph deletions, revisions and repetitions. Fol. 1 recto is a lightly amended fair copy of lines 1-16 as eventually published. The draft continues onto fol. 2 recto where the closing lines of the poem are heavily reworked from 'To mend her we end her' to the subsequently discarded line 'Other Springs, more Summers / cannot render'. This is followed by two more discarded lines and an unamended fair copy of the last five lines as published; both versions dated 'Oxford. March 13 1879' (with first date crossed out).

On fol. 1 verso are five hitherto unrecorded lines, beginning 'Other Springs, fresh Summers', written in ink over a pencil draft and then scored through by Hopkins. They are followed by five lightly-amended lines beginning 'Will Springs or Summers'. These reworkings were intended to precede the last lines of the poem, 'Ten or twelve, only ten or twelve'. There are numerous stress marks characteristic of the poet throughout. Fol. 2 verso is blank.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Bonhams, The Roy Davids Collection Part III, lot 224, 10 Apr 2013, with the help of the Friends of the Bodleian, V&A Purchase Grant Fund, Friends of the National Libraries and individual donors. The manuscript was previously in personal possession of Anthony Bertram Rota (1932-2009).

Preferred Form of Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Library MS. Eng. c. 8235

Access Point(s)

Hopkins | Gerard Manley | 1844-1889 | poet

English poetry -- 19th century

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15 March 2016