1881 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Keble

James Anthony Froude, "The Oxford Counter-Reformation" (1881); Moulton, Library of Literary Criticism (1901-05) 6:459.



To his immediate friends he was genial, affectionate, and possibly instructive, but he had no faculty for winning the unconverted. If he was not bigoted he was intensely prejudiced. If you did not agree with him there was something morally wrong with you, and your "natural man" was provoked into resistance. To speak habitually with authority does not necessarily indicate an absence of humility, but does not encourage the growth of that quality. If there had been no "movement," as it was called, if Keble had remained a quiet country clergyman, unconscious that he was a great man, and uncalled on to guide the opinions of his age, he would have commanded perhaps more enduring admiration. The knot of followers who specially attached themselves to him show traces of his influence in a disposition not only to think the views which they hold sound in themselves, but to regard those who think differently as their intellectual inferiors. Keble was incapable of vanity in the vulgar sense. But there was a subtile self-sufficiency in him which has come out more distinctly in his school.