• The poem opens with an offering: “Glory be toGod for dappled things.”• In the next five lines, Hopkins elaborates withexamples of what things he means to includeunder this rubric of “dappled.”
1. He includes the mottled white and blue colors of thesky, the “brinded” (brindled or streaked) hide of acow, and the patches of contrasting color on a trout.2. The chestnuts offer a slightly more complex image:When they fall they open to reveal the meaty interiornormally concealed by the hard shell; they arecompared to the coals in a fire, black on the outsideand glowing within.3. The wings of finches are multicolored, as is apatchwork of farmland in which sections lookdifferent according to whether they are planted andgreen, fallow, or freshly plowed.4. The final example is of the “trades” and activities ofman, with their rich diversity of materials andequipment.
• In the final five lines, Hopkins goes on toconsider more closely the characteristics ofthese examples he has given, attaching moralqualities now to the concept of variety anddiversity that he has elaborated thus farmostly in terms of physical characteristics.
• The poem becomes an apology for theseunconventional or “strange” things, thingsthat might not normally be valued or thoughtbeautiful. They are all, he avers, creations ofGod, which, in their multiplicity, point alwaysto the unity and permanence of His powerand inspire us to “Praise Him.”