Alfred H. Miles, ed. The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.
Critical and Biographical Essay by Alfred H. Miles
George MacDonald (18241905)
GEORGE MACDONALD was born at Huntley, Aberdeenshire, on the 10th of December, 1824, and was educated at the parish school of Huntley and Kings College, Aberdeen. His general poetry is represented in Volume V. of this work, where he is treated as one of the general poets. Much of his verse, however, is devoted to religious subjects, and it is impossible to omit a selection of it from a volume dealing specifically with sacred and didactic poetry. The reader is referred to Volume V. for a critical article on George MacDonalds poetry from the pen of Dr. Japp, and it will be found that the leading characteristics of the poets verse as there indicated become intensified when he is dealing with exclusively religious subjects. These are a combination of simplicity and mysticism which finds some parallel in the poetry of Blakethe outlook of a natural and childlike eye, suggesting an infinitude of parallels and parables to the seers vision. Besides this, there is in Dr. MacDonalds poetry the beating of an intensely human heart, which finds in human relationships and experiences innumerable illustrations and interpretations of the nature and discipline of the Divine Father.
These characteristics are happily illustrated by two single stanza poems included with others under the title of Motes in the Sun. What could be more Blake-like in its opening lines, and what more MacDonald-like in its close and in the whole as a union of the natural and the spiritual, than the lines entitled Waiting?
So much of Dr. MacDonalds poetry would be proper to this volume that selection is difficult. The Disciple, The Gospel Women, and Parables might all be quoted from; but we have confined our selection to Organ Songs, Violin Songs, A Book of Sonnets, and A Book of Dreams.