Binsey Poplars is a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889), written in 1879. The poem was inspired by the felling of a row of poplar trees near the village of Binsey, northwest of Oxford, England, and overlooking Port Meadow on bank of the River Thames. The replacements for these trees, running from Binsey north to Godstow, lasted until 2004, when replanting began again.
My aspens dear, whose airy cages quelled,
Quelled or quenched in leaves the leaping sun,
All felled, felled, are all felled;
Of a fresh and following folded rank
Not spared, not one
That dandled a sandalled
Shadow that swam or sank
On meadow and river and wind-wandering weed-winding bank.
O if we but knew what we do
When we delve or hew—
Hack and rack the growing green!
Since country is so tender
To touch, her being so slender,
That, like this sleek and seeing ball
But a prick will make no eye at all,
Where we, even where we mean
To mend her we end her,
When we hew or delve:
After-comers cannot guess the beauty been.
Ten or twelve, only ten or twelve
Strokes of havoc unselve
The sweet especial scene,
Rural scene, a rural scene,
Sweet especial rural scene.
- "19, Binsey Poplars". Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–89): Poems. Bartleby.com. 2 May 2013. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
- "“Binsey Poplars” (1879)". Hopkins's Poetry. SparkNotes. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
- Thornton, Jim (12 December 2002). "The Binsey Poplars". iGreens.org.uk. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
- Hatts, Leight (2005). The Thames Path. Cicerone Press. ISBN 978-1-85284-436-3.
- "Bodleian acquires manuscript of Hopkins poem 'Binsey Poplars'". Bodleian Library, Oxford University. 2 May 2013. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
- "Binsey Poplars by Gerard Manley Hopkins". Poem. Poetry Foundation. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
- "Binsey Poplars". Gerard Manley Hopkins. PoemHunter.com. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
- Analysis of 'Binsey Poplars' by Gerard Hopkins on YouTube
- Binsey Poplars — Gerard Manley Hopkins on YouTube
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