The Ballad of the White Horse
Written in the 1950s, this book defines and anticipates, in a prophetic way, the role of the laity in the Church, and the intimate relationship between the Church and the world. These two themes were recognized by the Second Vatican Council especially in the two constitutions "On the Church" and "The Church in the Modern World."
Von Balthasar's "bastions" are barriers erect...more
How on earth he managed to tell a brilliant but bloody tale in beautiful verse, I'll never know. (Also, my giddy heart filled with glee every time he rhymed a word with a name of a person or place. I don't even know why, but I really like that.)
I started this book and immediately had proof that I would love it when I read this:
The fun part is that while it is terrific poetry, Chesterton also knew his stuff.
One of my favorite parts:
And as he wept for the woman
He let her business be,
And like his royal oath and rash
The good food fell upon the ash
And blackened instantly.
Screaming, the woman caught a cake
Yet burning from the bar,
And struck him sud ...more
"The men of the East may spell the stars,
And times and triumphs mark,
But the men sign of the cross of Christ
Go gaily in the dark." (p. 13)
Guthrum, with his nihilist perspective:
"Death blazes bright above the cup,
And clear above the crown;
But in that dream of battle
We seem to tread it down.
Wherefore I am a great Ki ...more
Chesterton is called a master without a masterpiece, but I think more aptly he has too many masterpieces on his resumé for one to pick one before the rest. There just isn't something to correspond in length and scope to Don Quixote or something like that. I have yet to read a work of his that lacks brilliance, wit, or general "master-ness," and his two-and-a-half-thousand-line ballad is no exception. This might be the first work of poetry that ...more
According to historical accounts, the Vikings usually captured a fortified town and then waited for the Anglo-Saxons to s ...more
Chesterton's account is clearly romanticized, and Chesterton projects his own modern concerns about secularism and nihilism. But the whole thing is a lot of fun. I know that I would not have enjoyed it so much if I had not been thinking about Alfred a lot already for an Old English presentation. Having read Ben Merkle's The White Horse King really helped prepare me to read Chesterton's poem.
I also read (and own) this edition (from April 4-13), which h ...more
This ballad is divided into eight books.
It begins by King Alfred (who was defeated by the danes) having a vision ...more
It is worth getting a copy with the historical not ...more
I had not read any lengthy poetry by Chesterton yet, and it was well-worth it. Chesterton is just so prolific.
Chesterton's ballad reminded me somehow of Tolkien's Middle-Earth: a time of heraldry and courage, a time of faith and a time of battle.