Once I Was a Clever Boy, I see that the Bodleian Library has acquired the manuscript of Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem, "Binsey Poplars". As the Bodleian Library website explains:
The Bodleian Libraries have acquired at auction a late autograph draft manuscript of the celebrated Gerard Manley Hopkins poem 'Binsey Poplars'. The last known major Hopkins manuscript to have been in private hands, ‘Binsey Poplars’ is the most significant Hopkins item to have come to the market in over forty years.
The acquisition was made possible by strong financial support from a number of individuals and funding bodies, including the Friends of the Bodleian, the Friends of the National Libraries and the V&A Purchase Grant Fund.
An Oxford alumnus, Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-89) is regarded as one the Victorian era's greatest poets. Very few of his poems appeared during his lifetime, and he owes his posthumous reputation to his friend poet Robert Bridges, who edited a volume of his Poems that first appeared thirty years after his death in 1918. His revolutionary ‘difficult’ style, characterized by new rhythmic effects, influenced the work of Modernist and later writers.
'Binsey Poplars' was written in response to the felling of trees running alongside the Thames in Binsey, a village on the west side of the city of Oxford. Hopkins had been an undergraduate at Balliol College, Oxford, and was a curate at St Aloysius Church in the city at the time he wrote the poem. The trees were replanted after the poem was first published in 1918 (the poem seems to anticipate the ravages of the Great War), and there was an outcry when they were felled again in 2004. The poem formed part of the successful campaign to replant the trees. The poem has a very particular local meaning but speaks to a much broader audience in its plaintive evocation of spiritual desolation through the destruction of nature.