G.K. Chesterton on King Alfred

If you have the chance, hunt down a copy of THE ENGLISH WAY, a 1933 book published by Sheed and Ward and edited by Maisie Ward.  It offers a gorgeous and insightful look at the lives of Anglo-Saxon saints.  Christopher Dawson, E.I. Watkins, Gervase Mathew, Hilaire Belloc, Martin D’Arcy, and G.K. Chesterton provide reflections and biographies of all of the major saints (and those simply important) from Bede to Boniface to Alcuin to Thomas More.

Here’s one slice from Chesterton on King Alfred:

Alfred “clarified and codified the best laws of the West Saxon tradition; but he became a more important sort of legislator in the moral sphere when he translated Boethius for his people, with very characteristic additions of his own; and so brought into England the full tradition of Europe; the tradition of the Christian creed resting upon the Pagan culture.  He had been troubled all his life with a recurrent and rather mysterious disease; and he died at the early age of fifty-two, in the first year of the new century.  The night of the barbarian peril was already over, and he died in the dawn.”—THE ENGLISH WAY, pg. 57

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