Joseph F. Feeney – Three “Homes” which Gerard Manley Hopkins Enjoyed: A Counterbalance to Adrian Grafe’s “Hopkins and Home”


Three “Homes” which Gerard Manley Hopkins Enjoyed: A Counterbalance to Adrian Grafe's “Hopkins and Home”

Joseph F. Feeney

Published in Connotations Vol. 23.1 (2013/14)


[…] in all removes I can
Kind love both give and get.
(“To seem the stranger,” 1885?)

After leaving his family home to become a Jesuit in 1868, did the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins ever have a “home” again? In his study “Hopkins and Home,” Adrian Grafe examines Hopkins's poem “In the Valley of the Elwy” and raises the interesting and deeply human question, “what was home for Hopkins?” (56). He then argues that “from the moment he joined the Jesuits, all homes, in the sense of houses in which he resided, were temporary for Hopkins” (55). Most striking, writes Grafe, were the last five years of his life—“In a sense, the home/non–home dialectic lies behind all the poems Hopkins wrote in Ireland”—but all through his life, “Hopkins drew poetic energy from the feelings and the idea of home, just as he did from being away from home,” and “the theme of home […] remained with Hopkins throughout his writing life” (56, 57). Grafe then studies aspects of “home,” “hospitality,” and “exile” in Hopkins's life and work, holding that “[p]ermanence is part of the notion of home” (59). Such is the basis for Grafe's conclusion that, as a Jesuit, Hopkins never really had a “home” here on earth. As for having any “home” at all, Grafe affirms Hopkins's “feeling–at–home–ness in the universe” as created by God (57), his finding “his home, his 'place,' in the Real [→page 111] Presence” of the Blessed Sacrament and a “filial intimacy” with the Virgin Mary (62), and his having an “inwardness [within himself that] is home, too” (64)—this last, a most perceptive insight. But did Hopkins have any normal “home” on earth?

To begin, I might (as a minor point) question the definition of “home as a fixed, permanent dwelling” (67), for I find overly restrictive the statement that “[p]ermanence is part of the notion of home” (59). None of the six dictionaries I checked1) includes “permanence” as a dimension of “home,” and the OED mentions “fixed” as only one of many options.2) Even the Hopkins family had three different homes in Stratford, Hampstead, and Haslemere. Today, moreover, families might well have several homes over the years.3) Do such families lack a “home”? I say this only to suggest that the words “permanent” and “fixed” make the definition overly stringent and less convincing.

But this is a minor point. More important is the portrait of Gerard Hopkins which the essay presents, and this is the point I engage. I agree with Grafe's assertion that “from the moment he joined the Jesuits, all homes, in the sense of houses in which he resided, were temporary for Hopkins” (55). But saying that Hopkins was at “home” in the universe, at “home” with Christ and Mary, and at “home” within himself, yet as a Jesuit had no permanent “home” anywhere, seems too otherworldly for the warm and friendly Hopkins. My own work as a Hopkins scholar shows him particularly “at home” with his family—a “permanent” home through all his Jesuit years—but also “at home” with his fellow Jesuits and with the MacCabe family in Ireland. Thus, in drawing this alternate portrait or “counterbalance,” I affirm the presence of “home” throughout Hopkins's life by studying his poetry and biography, paying special attention to three homes he enjoyed: (1) in England, the Hopkins Family Home, (2) in Wales, St. Beuno's College as Home, and (3) in Ireland, the MacCabe Family Home. [→page 112]

1. In England, the Hopkins Family Home

Gerard Hopkins was born in the near London suburb of Stratford, Essex, but as the town industrialized, the Hopkins family4) moved to the Oak Hill neighborhood of London's leafy Hampstead, living there from 1852 (when Gerard was eight) to the summer of 1886 when they moved to Haslemere, in Surrey. The family consisted of Manley and Kate Hopkins and their children (in order of age) Gerard, Cyril, Arthur, Milicent, Felix, Lionel, Kate, Grace, and Everard. Gerard, the eldest, first left home to go up to Oxford University (1863–67). His conversion to Catholicism in 1866 caused some pain to the family, especially his father, but this split was soon healed. On leaving Oxford, Gerard lived in Birmingham while teaching at the Oratory School (1867–68), then returned to Hampstead for almost five months before, on 7 September 1868, he finally left his family home to enter the Jesuit Order at their novitiate, Manresa House, Roehampton, London.

As a Jesuit, Gerard Hopkins still remained a loved and loving member of his family, showing his continuing sense of “home” by writing poems and letters to them, regularly visiting them (sometimes for weeks), even joining them for trips and holidays. And when his family left Hampstead and moved to Haslemere, Gerard (as will be seen) expressed a strong affection and sense of loss for his old home at Oak Hill, a final indication of how much he continued to feel at home there.

One sign of his feeling at home with his family is the triad of poems he wrote, two to his young sisters as children, and one later to his youngest brother, Everard. The first light poem (only fragments survive) was written at Oak Hill in his Oxford years for his sister Katie, and entitled “Katie, age 9. (Jan. 8, 1866.)”:

As it fell upon a day
There was a lady very gay,
She was dressed in silk attire
For all to see and to admire.
    .  .  .  .  .
[→page 113] But the boatman on the green
Told of the wonders he had seen. (Poetical Works 87)

The second light poem, for his younger sister Grace, was entitled “Grace (8). (Same day.)”:

In the staring darkness
I can hear the harshness
Of the cold wind blowing.
I am warmly clad,
And I'm very glad
That I've got a home. (Poetical Works 87)

These poems, so warm and affectionate, show the young Hopkins's easy familiarity with his family and his sense of being at “home” with them in Hampstead. His third family poem, the incomplete “Epithalamion,” was written in his Jesuit years in Dublin to honor the marriage of Hopkins's brother Everard to Amy Caroline Sichel on 12 April 1888. After describing two secluded pools of water with boys swimming in one and himself swimming in the other, Hopkins begins to approach his theme of wedlock:

Enough now; since the sacred matter that I mean
I should be wronging longer leaving it to float
Upon this only gambolling and echoing–of–earth note

What is……….the delightful dean?
Wedlock. What the water? Spousal love
    .  .  .  .  .
to Everard, as I surmise,
Sparkled first in Amy's eyes
    .  .  .  .  .
turns
Father, mother, brothers, sisters, friends
Into fairy trees, wildflowers, woodferns
Rankèd round the bower.
    .  .  .  .  .

               (Poetical Works 195–97)

[→page 114] That is all he completed, but his attempt again shows his continuing family affection in his later years. I add that Hopkins sent copies of a number of poems to his mother, and discussed his poems in letters to both his mother and his father, again a sign of his being “at home” with them.5)

There is no full record of Hopkins's visits to his family home as a Jesuit, but his letters and journals offer vivid particulars which establish Oak Hill as the most permanent of his “homes,” and my argument rests on the pattern of these visits. On 11 September 1871, for example, the young Jesuit traveled from Stonyhurst in Lancashire to his family home in Hampstead, stayed at Oak Hill, visited his grandmother and aunt across the Thames in Croydon, and on the 13th joined his mother and family on holiday in Bursledon, Hampshire (see Mc Dermott 42). Though unable to visit at Christmas, he sent his family warm greetings from Stonyhurst, but the next Christmas—in 1872—he stayed at Hampstead for seven weeks, a visit that included Christmas dinner, surgery for hemorrhoids (done at home by family physicians), a two–week recovery in bed (he joked with his sister Grace about an old poem floating into his mind after surgery), a visit to an art exhibition at Burlington House, and a visit to a Jesuit at Roehampton, before he returned to Stonyhurst on 4 February.6) At Christmas 1873 he was again home for a week, and with his brother Arthur, an artist and illustrator, he visited a watercolor exhibition and made extensive notes on the paintings.7)

In 1874, when Hopkins was on his way to St. Beuno's College to study theology, a visit with his family (on holiday) was frustrated by bad timing: Hopkins told his mother how his Jesuit provincial “wrote a letter giving me leave to spend a week with you at Lyme on my way […] here, but I had already started. You will be vexed at this; at the same time it shews how thoughtful he is” (Further Letters 127). Three years later, after Hopkins had finished his theology examination and awaited his priestly ordination on 23 September 1877, he wrote his Oxford friend Robert Bridges that in July “I hope to be in town for a fortnight or so from the 25th” and that “[p]arentage of course will 'put [→page 115] me up', up at Hampstead” (Letters to Bridges 42). During this visit he read, wrote letters, discussed music with his sister Grace, visited with Bridges, and went to visit an uncle, later writing warm letters to thank his father “for your kindness during my stay at Hampstead” (Further Letters 146) and Bridges “for your kind entertainments” (Letters to Bridges 44).

From July to November 1878, Hopkins served on the staff of the Jesuits' Farm Street Church in London, and visits to Oak Hill may well be presumed. Likewise, he was in Roehampton, London, for much of his Jesuit tertianship from October 1881 to August 1882, and again visits to Oak Hill may be presumed. In August 1883, Hopkins stayed with his family for a longer time, first travelling from Stonyhurst to Hampstead, then going to Holland, where he had planned to join his parents in bringing home his grieving sister Grace after she had visited the family and grave of her late fiancé, Henry Weber. Hopkins, however, was delayed by a church–staffing emergency in Manchester, and arrived late to Holland where, despite the journey's sad purpose, he once joined in the merriment of his sister Kate and a cousin in watching some bats and, in Kate's words, he enjoyed “throwing little bits of plaster into the air to cheat them into diving at it believing it food.”8)

Hopkins's transfer to Dublin in February 1884 made travel to London more difficult, though his family invited him to spend Christmas with them in Hampstead.9) In May 1885, amid the depression which produced “The Terrible Sonnets,” he saw the need for a complete change of surroundings, and in late July 1885, he travelled to Hampstead by boat and train, then went with his family to enjoy their holiday in Easebourne, Sussex.10)

During the first part of his visit, he was told of the family's planned move from Hampstead to Haslemere, for in a letter to his mother on 13 November 1885 he wrote: “It seemed like death to leave Hampstead. But Haslemere is, it must be owned, a welcome thought” (Further Letters 174). Such a comment, such heartfelt regret—“like death”—clearly show his affection for his old home. At Christmas [→page 116] 1885, the family's last Christmas in Hampstead, Gerard was not able to join them because of examining duties in Dublin, but he wrote his brother Everard, “I take it for granted you will be tomorrow at Hampstead […]. Give all my best Christmas wishes, thank Grace for her pretty card, and believe me your loving brother Gerard” (“Three Uncollected Letters” 13–14). Gerard did make one more visit to his beloved old home, for on 20 April 1886 he left Dublin to visit his family in Hampstead, staying with them, enjoying the Royal Academy annual exhibition, and visiting an artist's studio with his artist–brother Arthur.11) A final farewell to his home was a rueful remark in a letter to his mother on 11 June 1886 that “[p]erhaps this is the last letter I shall write to Hampstead” (Further Letters 176).

In the summer of 1886, the Hopkins family moved to Haslemere, and a year later Gerard made his first visit there in August 1887.12) Other family visits were recorded by Gerard's niece, Beatrice M. Handley–Derry, daughter of Gerard's brother Arthur, who wrote in 1944 that “Father Gerard […] used to come often and see us in London and at Whitby in Yorkshire, where my father used to go, to paint,” adding stories of Hopkins's wit and storytelling “at a family luncheon party” and on holiday in Whitby.13) In sum, throughout his life Gerard Hopkins continued to think, act, and be present as a member of his family, and was at “home” with them in Hampstead, in Haslemere, and on holiday.

. In Wales, St. Beuno's College as Home

Hopkins lived in happy Jesuit communities (or homes) at, for example, St. Mary's Hall, Stonyhurst, 1870–73 (“The brotherly charity of everyone here can be felt at once: indeed it is always what you take for granted”; Further Letters 113); at Mount St. Mary's College, Chesterfield, 1877–78 (“the community [is] moderately small and family–like”; Further Letters 148); and at University College, Dublin, 1884–89 (the rector is “as generous, cheering, and openhearted a man [→page 117] as I ever lived with, and the rest of the community gives me almost as much happiness”; Further Letters 164). But Hopkins's happiest years as a Jesuit were spent at St. Beuno's College in North Wales where, from 1874–77, he studied theology and was ordained a priest. It was, again, a “home.”

The Jesuits there had long enjoyed an estimable reputation, and a Jesuit historian wrote in 1968, “[t]he community at St. Beuno's appears in Jesuit papers as impossibly happy” and “affection for this remote college would be expressed in letters from missionaries in many parts of the world,” as in 1880 when “Augustus Law, starving to death, thought of St. Beuno's in Umzila'a kraal” in Zululand, South Africa (Basset 396). In 1892, Hopkins's rector at St. Beuno's, Fr. James Jones, S. J., wrote, “I have loved St. Beuno's as I have never loved any other place, and I do not believe it will ever be supplanted in my affections” (Edwards 92).

More specific to Hopkins's time is the hand–written and hand–illustrated diary of John Gerard, S. J., “A Journal / kept at / St. Beuno's,” which begins in 1870 and ends in 1874, only weeks before Hopkins arrived there. John Gerard himself was later a distinguished Jesuit of “warmhearted amiability” who served as headmaster and provincial, wrote several books, founded the first Jesuit residence at Oxford, and was editor of The Month.14) At St. Beuno's, the Jesuits studied theology and such related subjects as Hebrew, scripture, Church history, and canon law, while living the Jesuit life of personal prayer and daily Community Mass. Yet John Gerard's “Journal” is surprisingly lighthearted, a vivid portrayal of Victorian Jesuit life that shows Gerard as a happy man in a happy house of some forty students about 30 years old, well educated men of humour and high spirits who swam, fished, hiked, sang, kept pets in their rooms, played pranks, had snowball fights, and laughed about their professors.

Illustrating his “Journal” with his own comic drawings, John Gerard called the year's first class–day “Black Monday,” and wrote about fishing and sketching, about the foul Welsh weather, and about the [→page 118] theologians—“the boys”—making “a large but somewhat shapeless snow man at coffee time.” They enjoyed “songs and jollity” at Candlemas dinner on February 2, nicknamed one professor—the Italian Fr. Bottalla—“Bottles,” and talked of the rector as “the Governor,” “the Gov.,” and “the old boy.” John Gerard kept two young hawks—“Jack” and “Downy”—in his room as pets, recorded the theologians' pranks and snowball fights, and told how they swam in nearby streams, smoked tobacco, kept bees, and on special occasions enjoyed wine, punch, “grog,” and home–brewed beer. Such stories explain why one rector spoke of the Jesuits' “family life” at St. Beuno's. As John Gerard prepared to leave St. Beuno's on July 11, 1874, he looked back with warm affection on “my pleasant Beuno's life” (“Journal,” n. pag.).

Only seven weeks later, Gerard Hopkins arrived at St. Beuno's to a warm welcome: Francis Bacon, his closest Jesuit friend, had “put scarlet geraniums in my room, and everyone was very kind and hospitable” (Journals 257). Even the setting of St. Beuno's, overlooking the Vale of Clwyd in North Wales, evoked deep emotion in Hopkins, and in early March he wrote that “the valley looked more charming and touching than ever: in its way there can hardly be in the world anything to beat the Vale of Clwyd” (Further Letters 137). St. Beuno's even makes an appearance in “The Wreck of the Deutschland,” when in Stanza 24 Hopkins contrasts his peaceful room at St. Beuno's (where he is writing the ode) to the “gales” swirling around the shipwrecked nuns in December 1875:

  Away in the loveable west,
  On a pastoral forehead of Wales,
I was under a roof here, I was at rest,
  And they the prey of the gales;
[…].      (Poetical Works 125)

“The lovable west” includes both St. Beuno's and the countryside around it, and the land and its skies appear vividly in his 1877 sonnets “God's Grandeur,” “The Starlight Night,” “Spring,” “The Sea and the [→page 119] Skylark,” “In the Valley of the Elwy,” “The Windhover,” “Pied Beauty,” “The Caged Skylark,” and “Hurrahing in Harvest.”

As in John Gerard's time, Hopkins and his fellow theologians at St. Beuno's enjoyed their own treats, celebrations, and other pleasures: daylong walks to Cŵm, St. Asaph, Ffynnon Fair, and Denbigh; sports like lawn tennis, fishing, hill–climbing, and ice–skating; formal debates (some humorous) and Magic–Lantern displays; concerts, readings, glees, and songs; a billiard table; spelling–bees (a game recently introduced from America—Hopkins was once the winner; see Further Letters 136); an Essay Society with papers in English or French followed by questions and discussion; home–brewed beer and wine on feast days; festive meals with gifts of “grapes, turkeys, hares, pheasants, venison, and once even champagne”; a house dog named Vesta who won first place at a dog–show in the nearby town of Rhyl; occasional drives in a pony and trap; visits home with their families; extempore concerts after dinner in St. Beuno's garden; and summer holidays at Barmouth, on Cardigan Bay in northwest Wales near the peak Cader Idris, where the theologians could relax, hike, row a boat up the Mawddach estuary, and swim in the Bay. Hopkins, of course, joined in much of this merriment, and he celebrates his days at Barmouth in his poem “Penmaen Pool.”15)

Like John Gerard before him, Hopkins found St. Beuno's a happy home for himself and his fellow theologians. Even more, Hopkins himself played a major role in this happiness: in 1927 a Jesuit classmate remembered him as “perhaps the most popular man in the house. Superiors and equals, everybody liked him. We laughed at him a good deal, but he took it good–humouredly, and joined in the amusement” (Feeney, “A Jesuit Classmate” 170–71). On Hopkins's own part, a lively poetic example of his affection for St. Beuno's—and of his sense of being at home there—is his 48–line comic poem “'Consule Jones,'” which he wrote for the theologians' outdoor dinner in July 1875, a festive event to celebrate the end of classes. The poem, sung by a theologian to the rollicking Welsh tune “Cader Idris,” jokes about the rector, Fr. James Jones, S. J., calling him a Roman consul— [→page 120] “'Consule Jones'”—and mentions by name twenty theologians and their leisure activities, e.g., Cardwell smokes tobacco (“a learned and amiable bonfire scarce human”); “Hayes pens his seven and twentieth diary, / Bodo' does not, there's no time to be had”; Lund keeps bees; the two Splaine brothers “swing by with such swaggers” that Sib resembles “a Huzzar” and Bill “a dragoon.” And with light whimsy, Hopkins writes that “Murphy makes sermons so fierce and hell–fiery / Mothers miscarry and spinsters go mad” (Hopkins, “'Consule Jones'” 8–9). Such warmth, and such specifics, again indicate Hopkins's sense of being at home in his years at St. Beuno's.

A later poem, “The Silver Jubilee” (1876), memorializes both St. Beuno's itself and the “velvet vales” of Wales as Hopkins celebrates the jubilee of the local bishop, letting his “chime of a rhyme” substitute for the pealing bells of the land:

Then for her whose velvet vales
Should have pealed with welcome, Wales,
   Let the chime of a rhyme
Utter Silver Jubilee. (Poetical Works 128–29)

Such tributes to St. Beuno's by Augustus Law, James Jones, John Gerard, and Gerard Hopkins help to explain why Hopkins—and many others—felt so much “at home” there. He enjoyed the community life at St. Beuno's, and loved “Wild Wales [which] breathes poetry” (Correspondence Dixon 142) and was “the true Arcadia of wild beauty” (Further Letters 370). Most important, it was there that he developed his distinctive voice and genius as a poet, as demonstrated in “The Wreck of the Deutschland” and the eleven Welsh sonnets.

After his ordination as a priest in 1877, Hopkins wrote to Robert Bridges: “Much against my inclination I shall have to leave Wales” (Letters to Bridges 43). Two years later, in 1879, Hopkins returned to St. Beuno's to spend his Christmas holidays with the community. At the time, looking west over the River Clwyd, he wrote his mother that “the Vale has been looking very beautiful” (Further Letters 154). He was home again. [→page 121]

3. In Ireland, the MacCabe Family Home

In Ireland, where Hopkins first thought his “lot” was “To seem the stranger” in his sonnet of that name, the sonnet's sestet records how he can still “Kind love both give and get” in his new country:

I am in Ireland now; now I am at a third
Remove. Not but in all removes I can
Kind love both give and get. (Poetical Works 181)

Hopkins's hope was fulfilled, for in Ireland he both gave and received “Kind love,” making warm friends and visiting regularly with four families. He spent summer days with Judge Thomas O'Hagan and his family in Howth (“the kindest people”; Letters to Bridges 274–75),16) and he visited with the Curtis family at No. 19, North Great George's Street, Dublin (“I often see them and shd. more if I had time to go there”; Further Letters 164).17) He often spent Christmas and other holidays with the Cassidy family of Monasterevan, Co. Kildare (“kind people at a nice place,” Miss Cassidy being “an elderly lady” whose “kind hospitality […] is become one of the props and struts of my existence”; Letters to Bridges 248, 253, 305). But Hopkins found his true “home” in Ireland with the MacCabe family at “Belleville,” their home in Dublin's nearby suburb of Donnybrook: with the MacCabes he was best able to “Kind love both give and get.” The members of the family were Dr. (later Sir) Francis MacCabe, a physician, his wife Margaret, and their six children—“delightfully extrovert people,” wrote a family friend, who were dedicated to medicine and horses.18) Hopkins called Dr. MacCabe “my great friend” (Further Letters 190), borrowed books from him, and spent hours with him in his study. His wife listened to Hopkins talk about his boyhood, mended his clothes, and—at his request—visited him on his deathbed. On Christmas Eve 1885, Hopkins wrote his brother Everard, “I have friends at Donnybrook, so hearty and kind that nothing can be more so and I think I shall go and see them tomorrow” (“Three Uncollected Letters” 13–14). Dr. and Mrs. [→page 122] MacCabe also came to know Hopkins's parents, and visited them at their home in Haslemere.19)

Most striking, and most indicative of Belleville as a “home” for Hopkins, are the memories of “Fr Hopkins” by three of the MacCabe children, recorded in writing between 1947 and 1959. Seeing Hopkins from the perspective of children, these memories are so winning in their charm and directness that, rather than summarize them, I quote them as originally written, for they show Hopkins completely at home with the whole MacCabe family.

Mary (MacCabe) Roantree was about fifteen when she met Hopkins in 1884, and in 1947 and 1948 she wrote:

From the beginning of our friendship we took to him, and he seemed to take also to us.

[…] He frequently came to our house, Belleville, at Donnybrook. There he was perfectly at home, and talked or kept silent as he felt inclined.

He had a very charming personality […].

I once asked him if he sang, to which he replied “No, but I make a cheerful noise.”

We were very attached to him, and loved his visits […].

When he was dying he asked permission for my Mother to see him. She did so, but stayed only a few minutes with him. I think he was almost at the end then. His simplicity and humility were charming, and we all felt that we had lost a good friend.

One story which amused us was that my two brothers took Fr Hopkins out in a homemade so called boat! on a deep quarry, 90 feet of water, when they were well out Father Hopkins pulled off his Roman collar and quietly remarked “To hell with the Pope!”—another day one of my sisters who was sensitive about being on the fat side, appeared in very thick clothes and he said—“You look as if you had on a thousand vests.20)

Her sister, Katie (MacCabe) Cullinan, about eleven years old when she met Hopkins, had her own, different memories, recorded between 1947 and 1959:

Father Hopkins was always bright in manner and very boyish—taking interest in all our games—His visits were very frequent mostly spent in my father's study—He would about once a week have lunch with us[—]My Father and Mother were fonder of him than of anyone I ever remember coming [→page 123] to the house[.] He would always bring his clothes to my Mother to mend for him and it was a labour of love to her […].

Did he ever sing!! Yes but it was awful to us—mournful in the extreme—He composed—and one song he called “a cheerful ditty” but it was like Dead Mass!

He fancied his musical ability—It was like “sprung” rhythm—and beyond us—[…].

He enjoyed himself very much in an old Punt that one of my brothers built and used on a flooded quarry near our home—it was dangerous but he loved to spend hours in it when he had the time and one day as he caught some fish said “Goodbye to Rome” and took off his collar and was really more of a child than any of us—

[…] Fr Hopkins […] had a very merry laugh.21)

The third MacCabe child to record his memories was John Francis MacCabe, known as “Jack,” a boy of eight when he met Hopkins. In 1947, he offers a boy's perspective:

My memories of Father Hopkins are vivid and his personality produced a great impression on me as I remember him far more clearly than any of the other of the guests at my father's house […].

Of course I was far too young to even guess at the greatness of Father Hopkins and only saw him as a genial kindly friend who enjoyed our games and was particularly happy when fishing in a nearby pond. On such occasions he had no idea whatever of the passage of time.22)

In the MacCabe household Hopkins was a warm “friend” and a delight to both the parents and the children. A frequent visitor, he had lunch with them “about once a week,” often stayed for long talks with Dr. MacCabe or to play with the children, and showed himself totally at home and relaxed with his favorite Irish family. The other Irish homes he visited often enough, but with the MacCabes he found a true “home” at Belleville.

*  *  *

I end this essay, in the tradition of Connotations, by returning to Adrian Grafe's fine study “Hopkins and Home.” In asking “What was [→page 124] home for Hopkins,” Grafe found Hopkins at home “in the universe,” in “the Real Presence” of the Eucharist, in “filial intimacy” with the Virgin Mary, and in an “inwardness” within himself, but he saw Hopkins's life in this physical world as “home”–less. He was an exile, a wanderer in this earth–land, a man for whom “all homes […] were temporary.” As an alternative, I offer this “counterbalance,” arguing that Hopkins had three “homes” in England, Wales, and Ireland (and by implication other places)—true homes where he could “kind love both give and get” throughout his Jesuit life. With such people and such “homes” in England, Wales, and Ireland, Gerard Hopkins was, throughout his life, a fortunate son and brother, a fortunate Jesuit, and a fortunate friend.

Saint Joseph's University
Philadelphia



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