Poets and Mystics

Poets and Mystics

Poets and Mystics

Poets and Mystics

Excerpt

The studies which compose this volume, Poets and Mystics, are partly unpublished, partly reprints. The introductory study "Poetry and Mysticism" and the four studies which conclude the book--"John Smith, the Cambridge Platonist", "The Spiritual Teaching of Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity", "Henry Vaughan", and "Urania: the poetry of Miss Ruth Pitter"--have been written especially for this volume. "He Wanted Art" appeared in The Wind and the Rain, "Drama and Religion" and "A Puritan Devotion to the Sacred Heart" in the American Catholic World. "Dame Julian of Norwich" and "Richard Crashaw" were published in a collection entitled The English Way (Sheed & Ward), "William Crashaw" (a lecture delivered at a celebration of his son's tercentenary at Cambridge) in the Dublin Review. In Defence of Margery Kempe embodies an article published under that title in the Downside Review. But a life of Margery has been prefixed to it. The study of Augustine Baker consists substantially of two reprinted studies, a study contributed to the collection of Catholic lives edited by Fr. Claude Williamson, O.S.C., and entitled Great Catholics (Messrs. Nicholson and Watson) and an article on Father Baker and Active Contemplation published in the Downside Review. No paper, however, has been simply reprinted as it stood. All have been revised, enlarged and corrected when necessary.

Strictly speaking neither Goodwin nor William Crashaw is entitled to a place in this collection. The religion of neither was mystical. Goodwin wrote only prose, and William Crashaw's verse rarely achieves the quality of poetry. But I did not wish to lose this opportunity of bringing to the notice of my readers Goodwin's remarkably beautiful expression of devotion to the Sacred Heart--though frankly that devotion is not my personal attrait--and at the same time refuting the belief generally entertained by Catholics and Anglicans that the religion of the Puritans was dour and harsh. The first step towards a better understanding among Christians is unprejudiced knowledge of one another's belief and devotion. And the study of William Crashaw, to my . . .

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