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Gerard Manley Hopkins

Poet and Priest

A memorial stone to Gerard Manley Hopkins, poet, was unveiled on 8th December 1975 in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey by the Duke of Norfolk. Sir John Gielgud read extracts from his works. The sculptor was David Peace and the stone sits between those to Henry James and John Masefield. The quote on the stone comes from "That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire.." and a tower in flames is shown. The inscription reads:

AMDG Esse Quam Videri. GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS SJ 1844-1889 Priest & poet 'Immortal Diamond' Buried at Glasnevin, Dublin

The Latin sections can be translated: "To the greater glory of God" and "To be rather than to be seen".

He was born on 28th July 1844 at Stratford in Essex, a child of Manley Hopkins and his wife Catherine (Smith). He was educated at Highgate school and Oxford university. At first he thought of becoming an artist like two of his brothers but his interest changed to languages and poetry. He became a Roman Catholic and joined the Jesuit order of the Society of Jesus. In 1877 he was ordained priest and studied or taught in Wales and at Stonyhurst college in Lancashire. Many of his poems were sonnets and his best known poem is probably The Wreck of the Deutschland, inspired by the ship of this name which sank in 1875 with some nuns aboard. He held the chair of Greek and Latin at University College Dublin where he died on 8th June 1889 of typhoid fever. His grave is in the Jesuit plot at Glasnevin. His friend Robert Bridges published an edition of his poems in 1918 but Hopkins was not really recognised as a major poet until the 1960s.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Born

28th July 1844

Died

8th June 1889

Memorial

8th December 1975

Field

Poet; priest

Location

South Transept; Poets' Corner

Memorial Type

Stone

Gerard Manley Hopkins
Gerard Manley Hopkins memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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