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Biography of Charles Kingsley

Parish Priest. If Charles Kingsley had been born in Scandinavia a thousand years earlier, one more valiant Viking would have sailed westward from the deep fiords of his native home to risk his fortunes in a new world, one who by his courage, his foresight, and his leadership of men was well fitted to be captain of his bark. The lover of the open-air life, the searcher after knowledge, the fighter that he was, he would have been in his element, foremost in the fray, most eager in the quest. But it was given to him to live in quieter times, to graft on the Old Norse stock the graces of modern culture and the virtues of a Christian; and in a peaceful parish of rural England he found full scope for his gifts. There he taught his own and succeeding generations how full and beneficent the life of a parish priest can be. Our villages and towns produced many notable types of rector in the nineteenth century, Keble, Hawker, Hook, Robertson, Dolling, and scores of others; but none touched life at more points, none became so truly national a figure as Charles Kingsley in his Eversley home. His father was of an old squire family; like his son he was a clergyman, a naturalist, and a sportsman. His mother, a Miss Lucas, came from Barbados; and while she wrote poetry with feeling and skill, she had also a practical gift of management. His father’s calling involved several changes of residence. Those, which had most influence on his son, were his removal in 1824 to Barnack, on the edge...

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