Home  »  Volume XII: English THE ROMANTIC REVIVAL The Nineteenth Century, I  »  § 12. The Dream of Gerontius

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XII. The Romantic Revival.

XII. The Oxford Movement

§ 12. The Dream of Gerontius

Next to Newman’s Sermons and his Apologia, no doubt The Dream of Gerontius, the vision, half dream, half inspiration, of the beginnings of a world beyond this life, is his most direct appeal. Swinburne recognised “the force, the fervour, the terse energy” in its verse: and it has that mark of genius, like the finest parts of Shakespeare, that poor and rich, learned and ignorant, are alike carried away by its attraction. There are immortal lines in it, and it is no temerity to predict that “Praise to the Holiest,” like “Lead kindly Light,” will never be forgotten, the one a profound theology in words like classic marble, the other a passionate cry of individual struggle and self-conquest.