Alliteration example in the poem, Spring and Fall, adds emphasis to the message to Margaret. Alliteration is often used with the purpose of bringing attention to important points in the poem by slowing the rhythm.

Alliteration Example, Spring and Fall

The following poem, Spring and Fall by Gerard Manly Hopkins, is a poem that can be used as an alliteration example.

Hopkins used alliteration for emphasis, as you will notice when you read will weep and ghost guessed. How does it add to the poem?

Alliterative words to not need to be adjacent to each other, they are still considered alliterative if they are within the same group of words. Also, they don’t need to start with the same letter. They do need to begin with similar initial sounds. (Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary)

Knowing this, can you find another alliteration example (or more) in this poem? What benefit does it bring to the poem?

Spring and Fall Poem Interpretation

The interpretations of Spring and Fall vary, from what I have learned through my research of this alliteration example. The brief version of my interpretation is that as a young child, we are not aware of our own mortality. As we grow and mature, we become more aware of the cycle of life, beginning with the seasons.

In literature, Spring and Fall represent rebirth and the beginning process towards death, respectively. The child mourns the loss of the leaves, as they begin to die and fall to the ground. Margaret is told that she will eventually realize it is not nature’s mortality that saddens her, it will be the knowledge of her own impending death.

Spring and Fall

Gerard Manly Hopkins

(written 1880, published 1908)

To a young child

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow’s springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

I find this poem interesting because it causes me to think about the meaning behind Hopkin’s poem and how the alliteration adds to the depth of his message to Margaret. We are born to die.