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Felix Randal Summary & Analysis
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Felix Randal Summary & Analysis
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

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"Felix Randal" is a sonnet written by the British poet and Jesuit priest Gerard Manley Hopkins in 1880 (though not published until 1918, after Hopkins's death). The speaker is a priest (generally taken to be Hopkins himself) who reflects on the death of a young man named Felix Randal, as well as on their priest-parishioner relationship in the latter's final days. The speaker provided spiritual comfort to Felix Randal as his life neared its end, and is deeply moved by the young man's passing. The speaker, however, doesn't dwell on death so much as paint a vivid picture of Felix Randal in the prime of his life—hard at work in his blacksmith's workshop. The poem, then, is somewhere between elegy and eulogy, both lamenting Felix Randal's death and celebrating his life. It was likely based on the real-life death of Felix Spencer, a young farrier (someone who makes and fits horseshoes) who died from tuberculosis at the age of 31.

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