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

XII. The Oxford Movement

§ 2. R. H. Froude

A word as to the prominent members of the party which brought out the tracts. John Keble not only had academic distinction, but was the writer of a book of sacred poems which had won an almost unparalleled success. The Christian Year was published anonymously in 1827; but its authorship was no secret. John Henry Newman, also a fellow of Oriel, was vicar of St. Mary’s, the university, as well as a parish, church at Oxford. He had returned from a holiday, marred by illness abroad, in the month of the assize sermon and the meeting at Hadleigh. With him had travelled his friend and brother-fellow, Richard Hurrell Froude, who had been Keble’s pupil in the Cotswolds. Both felt, as Newman said later, that “the true and primary author” of the movement was John Keble. Newman was coming to share many of his opinions; Froude was his ardent disciple.

The wanderings in the Mediterranean, undertaken for Froude’s health, had been a formative time in the life of Newman. He had left England when the church was threatened with disestablishment by the whig party. “The bill for the suppression of the Irish sees was in progress,” he said; “I had fierce thoughts against the liberals.” In the hour of battle, he returned to poetry, and he wrote, while he was away, more than half the poems of his life. At Rome, the two friends began Lyra Apostolica, poems contributed to The British Magazine, and collected in a single volume in 1836. The ring of battle is in the book.

  • The Ark of God is in the field,
  • Like clouds around, the alien armies sweep;
  • Each by his spear, beneath his shield,
  • In cold and dew the anointed warriors sleep.
  • ……..
  • Oh dream no more of quiet life!.