1836 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Henry More

Richard Cattermole, in Sacred Poetry of the Seventeenth Century (1836) 2:255.



Among the greatest ornaments of the literature of the church of England are the works of those theologians of the 17th century, who, from having investigated and explained the analogy between Christianity and the ideal philosophy of the Greeks, acquired the name of Platonic Divines. Such were Cudworth, Mede, Joseph Beaumont, Norris, and others — ripe scholars and holy men; but, perhaps, the most remarkable of them all was Henry More. With talents peculiarly fitted to secure admiration and success in the times in which he lived, he was ambitious only of retirement and a free leisure; refusing high preferment in the church, and devoting himself to a life of study and contemplation. His "Mystery of Godliness," "Mystery of Iniquity," "Philosophical Collections," and other laborious productions, though little to the taste of modern readers, once enjoyed a great degree of popularity. His "Psycho-Zoia, or Life of the Soul," and other philosophical poems, are metaphysical treatises in verse, generally dry and technical enough; yet not wholly unenlivened by gleams of fancy and bursts of poetic feeling.