Two Poets of the Oxford Movement: John Keble and John Henry Newman
Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, 1996 - 296 pages
This book examines the poetry of two important figures in the Oxford Movement, a campaign that began by asserting the independence of the English Church from secular power and that went on to Catholicize the Protestant color of Anglicanism in the early nineteenth century.
John Keble and John Henry Newman both conceived poetry as the instrument of religious persuasion: Keble through his Christian Year which, although it antedated the movement, was hailed as its Baptist cry; and Newman through his more aggressive contributions to Lyra Apostolica. After a brief introduction in which he discusses the nature of Tractarian poetry - members of the movement were given that nickname - author Rodney Stenning Edgecombe presents detailed readings of the two collections, stressing their value as poetry rather than as theological documents. He argues that both men possessed real lyric gifts which shifts in taste and the theological emphasis of earlier commentaries have tended to obscure.
Although this book attempts to reclaim Keble and Newman as neglected poets, the author does not conceal the Latitudinarian nature of his own religious beliefs and uses these to mount a critique of the intemperateness, intolerance, and anti-humanism of which both poets were guilty.
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Page 22 - Acquaint thyself with God, if thou wouldst taste His works. Admitted once to his embrace, Thou shalt perceive that thou wast blind before : Thine eye shall be instructed ; and thine heart Made pure shall relish, with divine delight Till then unfelt, what hands divine have wrought.
Page 281 - The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments ' and other rites and ceremonies of the Church according to the use of the Church of England, together with the Psalter or Psalms of David, pointed as they are to be sung or said in churches ; and the form or manner of making, ordaining, and consecrating of bishops, priests, and deacons.