Gerard Manley Hopkins




The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo

(Maidens’ song from St. Winefred’s Well)

The Leaden Echo
How to keep—is there any any, is there none such, nowhere known some, bow or 
brooch or braid or brace, lace, latch or catch or key to keep	
Back beauty, keep it, beauty, beauty, beauty, … from vanishing away?	
O is there no frowning of these wrinkles, ranked wrinkles deep,	
Down? no waving off of these most mournful messengers, still messengers, sad 
and stealing messengers of grey?	
No there’s none, there ’s none, O no there ’s none,	        
Nor can you long be, what you now are, called fair,	
Do what you may do, what, do what you may,	
And wisdom is early to despair:	
Be beginning; since, no, nothing can be done	
To keep at bay	         
Age and age’s evils, hoar hair,	
Ruck and wrinkle, drooping, dying, death’s worst, winding sheets, tombs and 
worms and tumbling to decay;	
So be beginning, be beginning to despair.	
O there’s none; no no no there ’s none:	
Be beginning to despair, to despair,	         
Despair, despair, despair, despair.	

The Golden Echo - Spare!	
There is one, yes I have one (Hush there!);	
Only not within seeing of the sun,	
Not within the singeing of the strong sun,	        
Tall sun’s tingeing, or treacherous the tainting of the earth’s air,	
Somewhere elsewhere there is ah well where! one,	
One. Yes I can tell such a key, I do know such a place,	
Where whatever’s prized and passes of us, everything that’s fresh and 
    fast flying of us, seems to us sweet of us and swiftly away with, done 
    away with, undone,	
Undone, done with, soon done with, and yet dearly and dangerously sweet	         
Of us, the wimpled-water-dimpled, not-by-morning-matched face,	
The flower of beauty, fleece of beauty, too too apt to, ah! to fleet,	
Never fleets more, fastened with the tenderest truth	
To its own best being and its loveliness of youth: it is an everlastingness 
    of, O it is an all youth!	
Come then, your ways and airs and looks, locks, maiden gear, gallantry 
    and gaiety and grace,	         
Winning ways, airs innocent, maiden manners, sweet looks, loose locks, 
    long locks, lovelocks, gaygear, going gallant, girlgrace—	
Resign them, sign them, seal them, send them, motion them with breath,	
And with sighs soaring, soaring síghs deliver	
Them; beauty-in-the-ghost, deliver it, early now, long before death	
Give beauty back, beauty, beauty, beauty, back to God, 
    beauty’s self and beauty’s giver.	       
See; not a hair is, not an eyelash, not the least lash lost; every hair	
Is, hair of the head, numbered.	
Nay, what we had lighthanded left in surly the mere mould	
Will have waked and have waxed and have walked with the wind what 
    while we slept,	
This side, that side hurling a heavyheaded hundredfold	        
What while we, while we slumbered.	
O then, weary then why should we tread? O why are we so haggard at the
    heart, so care-coiled, care-killed, so fagged, so fashed, so cogged so
    cumbered,	
When the thing we freely forfeit is kept with fonder a care,	
Fonder a care kept than we could have kept it, kept	
Far with fonder a care (and we, we should have lost it) finer, fonder	         
A care kept.—Where kept? Do but tell us where kept, where.—	
Yonder.—What high as that! We follow, now we follow.—Yonder, yes 
    yonder, yonder,	
Yonder.