Study Guide to Hurrahing in Harvest

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?

For this poem you might want to be familiar with the following terms from the Hopkins Terminology:
alliteration | assonance | consonant-chiming | inscape | instress | sprung rhythm

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