Spring and Fall

Hopkins, Gerard Manley

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack
  • Date of entry: May-07-2001


The poet addresses Margaret, a young child, who grieves over the falling of leaves at Goldengrove and the turning of seasons. She may not now be able to understand or name the source of her grief. When she gets older, though, and learns more of the world ("such sights colder / By and by . . . "), she will become less sensitive to external things and more aware of the true loss in human life--the loss of oneself. "It is the blight man was born for, / It is Margaret you mourn for."


A short poem that speaks eloquently of the human condition. The true tragedy, according to Hopkins, is self-estrangement--and, therefore, estrangement from God, who is the source of the self.


Written in early 1880's. First published: 1918, posthumously.

Primary Source

Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins


Peter Pauper

Place Published

Mt. Vernon, N.Y.