Hopkins Instress of Inscape: the Protopoetry in Hopkins

Like all Catholic Philosophers, Hopkins believed in an outer world independent of man's knowing mind; he was in the present sense of the word a "realist". The four real shapes of Hopkins' mind were all Britons, all concerned with defending the ordinary means belief in the reality and renewability of things and persons. He doesn't, after the fashion of some mystics and Alexandrines, dissolve "nature" into a system of symbols translating the real world of spirit. "Inscape" stands for any kind of former or focused view, any pattern discerned in the natural world. A central word in his vocabulary and central motif in his mental life. It traverses some range of meaning: from sense-perceived pattern to inner form. An "inscape" is not mechanically present but requires personal action attention a seeing and a seeing into. The men in his poem are seen as from a distance-sympathetically. In poetry he desired both to use inscapes and to use words as objects. He wrote before composing the 'Deutsch land': "Poetry is in fact speech for the inscapes sake and therefore the inscape must be dwelt on."

There are 3 lineages for Hopkins 'Dictions':
1) Even in his middle style there remain vestiges of the earlier decorative diction, frequent use of 'lovely', 'sweet'.
2) He belongs among the poets who can be incited to poetry by scholars prose.
3) He derives from an imprecisely defined group of Victorian Historians and Philologists, who challenged the dominance of the Latin and Romance element in English language.

Hopkins characteristic critical and philosophical terminology is a compounding of Old English roots and suffixes to suit his needs and to replace Latinic terms, like "instress" and "inscape". To Bridges, Hopkins wrote of his manuscript book on rhythm, "It is full of new words without which there can be no new science." His words of Old English lineage were collected and used by him as dialectical, still spoken English. "Lonched" was, as Bridges observed, to be found in Wrights Dialect Dictionary.
Wherever Hopkins explains his words, their particularity, their compactness and detail were manifest. His defense would doubtless be that to compound freely was to restore to English language a power it once had possessed. Judged by its effect and its internal intent, Hopkins poetry resume the line of English music where its grammar succession was interrupted. Hopkins seemed to be reaching back while he is reaching forward to an "English" poetry. His pushing back of the Elizabethan's had some incentive in his desire to get back of the reformation to England at once Catholic and English.
Hopkins' poetry is oral, yet not conversational but formal and rhetorical. It uses dialectical word without intending to be local and homely; it uses folk in serious poetry. Hopkins' poems were written for an ideal audience, never existent in his days or composed of literally perceptive countrymen and of linguistically adopt and folk minded scholars.

The ideal of poetry must be to instress the inscape without splintering the architecture of the universe and to make every word rich, in a way compatible to a more than additively rich total poetic structure. But in Hopkins poems, the words, the phrase, the local excitement often pulls us away from the poem. The meaning of Hopkins poems hovers closely over the text, the linguistic surface. The rewarding experience of concern with them is to be let more and more into words and their ways, to contemplate the protopoetry of derivation and metaphorical expansion, to stress the inscapes of English tongue.