1864 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Keble

John Henry Newman, in Apologia pro Vita Sua (1864) 77.



The Christian Year made its appearance in 1827. It is not necessary, and scarcely becoming, to praise a book which has already become one of the classics of the language. When the general tone of religious literature was so nerveless and impotent, as it was at that time, Keble struck an original note, and woke up in the hearts of thousands a new music, the music of a school long unknown in England. Nor can I pretend to analyse, in my own instance, the effect of religious teaching so deep, so pure, so beautiful. I have never till now tried to do so, yet I think I am not wrong in saying that the two main intellectual truths which it brought home to me were the same two which I had learned from Butler (in his Analogy), though recast in the creative mind of my new master. The first of these was what may be called, in a large sense of the word, the sacramental system; that is, the doctrine that material phenomena are both the types and the instruments of real things unseen.