Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Return to Oxford

I am still reading 'Loss and Gain' by Newman. The following is a passage describing Reding's return to Oxford facing the prospect of telling his friends that he will convert to Roman Catholicism and is happy to face the inevitable social scorn that will be thrown upon him. In the 19th Century it was not possible to graduate from Oxford unless you were anglican.

"He had passed through Bagley wood, and the spires and towers of the university came on his view, hallowed by how many tender associations, lost to him for two whole years, suddenly recovered - recovered to be lost for ever! There lay old Oxford before him, with its hills as gentle and its meadows as green as ever. At the first view of that beloved place he stood still with folded arms, unable to proceed. Each college, each church - he counted them by their pinnacles and turrets. The silver Isis, the grey willows, the far-stretching plains, the dark groves, the distant range of Shotover, the pleasant village where he had lived with Carlton and Sheffield - wood, water, stone, all so calm, so bright, they might have been his but they were not. Whatever he was to gain by becoming a Catholic, this he had lost; whatever he was to gain higher and better, at least this and such as this he could never have again."

I did a photo search for Bagley wood and this photo came up. It seems to match.