Monday, July 22, 2013

John Keble

John Keble (1792—1866) is an English poet and churchman who held the chair as Oxford Professor of Poetry from 1831 to 1841. He was a significant influence on such poets as Thomas Hardy, Christina Rossetti and Matthew Arnold. His 1827 book, The Christian Year, may have been the best-selling volume of verse in the nineteenth century. He was also influential as part of the Oxford Movement: a group of Anglicans who sought to revive fading High Church traditions. In 1870 Keble College, Oxford, was named in his honour.

Although changes in literary fashion have undermined Keble’s popularity today — Malcolm Guite, in the introduction to his 2012 sonnet collection Sounding the Seasons, acknowledges his debt to The Christian Year.

Blest Are the Pure In Heart

Blest are the pure in heart,
For they shall see our God;
The secret of the Lord is theirs;
Their soul is Christ’s abode.

The Lord, Who left the heavens
Our life and peace to bring,
To dwell in lowliness with men
Their Pattern and their King.

Still to the lowly soul
He doth Himself impart;
And for His dwelling and His throne
Chooseth the pure in heart.

Lord, we Thy presence seek;
May ours this blessing be;
Give us a pure and lowly heart,
A temple meet for Thee.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the award-winning author of the poetry collections Poiema (Wipf & Stock) and So The Moon Would Not Be Swallowed (Rubicon Press). They are both available at: