Lectures on some Seventeenth Century Poets

The poet is more modest. He aspires, not to comprehend but to apprehend: to pierce, by flashes, to some point or other of the great wheeling circle.
From the 'Lecture on Herbert and Vaughn'

These three lectures, which Q delivered to his students at Cambridge, were first published in Q’s Studies in Literature in 1918. They covered the following poets:

I John Donne

II George Herbert and Henry Vaughn

II Traherne, Crashaw and Others

They are lively and engaging pieces of work and it is easy to imagine Q reading them to a room of appreciative students.

Among other themes, they explore the subject of mysticism. This may seem a long way from the world in which they were written, where the First World War was still in progress and new ideas, including those of Marx, Einstein and Freud, were challenging traditional thinking everywhere.

However, for Q, mysticism did not refer to higher states of consciousness and absorption into the All, but of becoming aware of the harmony of the Universe and our part it. In these lectures he tries to present an alternative to conflict-driven theories and creative stagnation – an alternative that is based in order and harmony.

You can read a detailed study of the lectures here.

You can also read the lectures for yourself here.