1868 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Card. John Henry Newman

George Macdonald, in England's Antiphon (1868; 1890) 320.



I do not find in Dr. Newman either a depth or a precision equal to that of Dr. [Frederick William] Faber. His earlier poems indicate a less healthy condition of mind. His Dream of Gerontius is, however, a finer, as more ambitious poem than any of Faber's. In my judgment there are weak passages in it, with others of real grandeur. But I am perfectly aware of the difficulty, almost impossibility, of doing justice to men from some of whose forms of thought I am greatly repelled, who creep from the sunshine into every ruined archway, attracted by the brilliance with which the light from its loophole glows in its caverned gloom, and the hope of discovering within it the first steps of a stair winding up into the blue heaven. I apologize for the unavoidable rudeness of a critic who would fain be as honest if he might; and I humbly thank all such as Dr. Newman, whose verses, revealing their saintship, make us long to be holier men.