Herbert, George

Herbert, George brother of Lord Herbert of Cherbury, was born at Montgomery Castle April 3,1593. He was educated at Cambridge, where he became a fellow in 1615. In the year 1619 he was made university orator, and a letter of thanks which he wrote in that capacity to James I excited the monarch's attention, who declared him to be the jewel of that university, and gave him a sinecure of £120 per eannum. He became intimate with Bacon and Wotton and had prospects of great success in public life, but the death of his friends, the duke of Richmond and the marquis of Hamilton, followed by that of king James, frustrated these expectations, and Herbert determined to devote himself to the ministry. He was accordingly ordained, and in 1626 was made prebendary of Layton, in the diocese of Lincoln. In 1630 he became rector of Bemerton, near Salisbury. A quotidian agile soon destroyed his health, and he died March 3, 1633. George Herbert's piety was humble and profound. He was zealous in his pastoral duties; an undue reverence for ceremonies, as such, was his chief failing. A beautiful sketch of him is given on Walton's Lives (often reprinted). "Men like George Herbert are rare. It is not his wide learning, nor his refined taste; not his high spirit nor his amiability, nor his strictness of life; but the rare combination in one person of qualities so diversely beautiful. He was master of all learning, human and divine; yet his learning is not what strikes the reader most, it is so thoroughly controlled and subordinated by his lively wit and practical wisdom. He was a man of extraordinary endowments, both personal and such as belonged to his rank, not lost in indolence, nor wasted in trivialities, but all combined and cultivated to the utmost, and then devoted to the highest purposes" (Christian Remembrancer, 1862, p. 137). His writings include The Temple: sacred Poems and private Ejaculations (Lond. 1633,12mo; and many editions since, in various forms): — The Country Parson, his Character and Rule of holy Life (many editions). There are several editions of his complete works, such as, Works, Prose and Verse, with Walton's Life and Coleridge's Notes (London, 1846, 2 vols. 12mo); Works, with Sketch of his Life by Jerdan (1853, small 8vo; not. including all of Herbert's works); Works, Prose and Verse, edited by Willmott (1854, 8vo); Life and Writings of G. Herbert (Boston, 1851, 12mo). The best edition of his Works is Pickering's (Lond. 1850, 2 vols.). See Allibone, Dict. of Authors, 1, 829; Middleton, Evangelical Biography, 3, 48; Christian Examiner, vol. 51; Brit. Quarterly Review, April 1854, art. 2.

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