Study Guide to Hurrahing in Harvest
In a letter to his friend Robert Bridges, Hopkins described “Hurrahing in Harvest” as “the outcome of half an hour of extreme enthusiasm as I walked home alone one day from fishing in the [River] Elwy.” It is one of the last of Hopkins’s sonnets of 1877.
Here are some things to think about regarding this poem:
- Note that the poem’s title includes an onomatopoeia: “Hurrah,” the sound of an expression of joy or approval. How does the poem capture the feeling and sound of a spontaneous exclamation? What, ultimately, does the poet “hurrah” for?
- What does the speaker mean by the phrase “barbarous in beauty” (l. 1)? How can something be barbarous and beautiful at the same time?
- As with “The Starlight Night,” this poem accrues many different terms and phrases for a single vision of the sky (in this case the clouds, specifically). What is the effect of these multiple descriptions? How do they enhance the meaning or mood of the poem?
- Notice that the “stooks,” or shocks of grain, point “up above” (l. 1). How does the perspective (especially of looking up or down) shift and change throughout the poem?