George Herbert-Brief Biography


George Herbert-Brief Biography

George Herbert-Brief Biography

George Herbert

George Herbert-Brief Biography

George Herbert was an English priest-poet who wrote unprecedented great devotional poetry in the English language. Though he was great as a devotional poet, yet he remained, throughout his life, a secret poet as he published neither a poetry book nor even a single poem during his lifetime.

This great priest-poet, George Herbert came of a noble family on the 3rd of April 1593. He was the fifth son of his parents. His father died when he was three years old. His mother, Magdalene Herbert was also of noble birth. When her husband died leaving her with a family of seven sons and three daughters, she became helpless, but as her shelter, she chose Lord Danvers as her second husband. Lord Danvers was wealthy but two decades younger to Magdalene Herbert. Under Lord Danvers’ shelter, she had all her sons brought up in learning. Most of her sons chose the life of the court or of the army. But the fifth son, George Herbert was different from the rest. He first read at Westminster school. As a student, he was very talented and smart. After having completed his course at Westminster school, he proceeded to Trinity College, under the University of Cambridge. While he was still a student at Trinity College, he sent, at the age of sixteen, to his mother two sonnets composed by Herbert himself as a New Year’s gift. This was the beginning of his writing. In those two sonnets, he showed a good promise for the future.

In 1616 George Herbert completed his study at Cambridge University and became a Fellow at Trinity College. In 1618 he became the Reader in Rhetorics at the same college. But he aspired to the office of the public orator at Cambridge University. As a result, he got the post in 1619 by means of his earnest efforts, and he held the post for eight years. As the public orator, he became the official mouthpiece of the University. In this post, Herbert proved to be an adept orator. Thus he was held in such a higher post and had been, by his effort, able to win the royal favour. But his worldly hopes of advancement came to nothing; soon he inclined to spiritual advancement.

In 1624 Herbert became the Member of Parliament for Montgomery. In the same year, he took a leave from the university post. Here is to make an allusion that Herbert had not been blessed with sound health. In 1624, he began to suffer from sickness. Yet in 1626, he was appointed to the post of a deacon. In 1629 he married Jane Danvers. In 1630 he was ordained as the priest of the church of Bremerton.

Since 1930 his health began to suffer from uncertainty. He began to suffer not only from a physical disorder but also from a mental conflict between the body and soul, between earthly pain and heavenly bliss. Bearing the pain of his uncertain sick health and mental conflict, he devoted himself to writing poetry laying on his sickbed. He wrote over One hundred and fifty poems the essence of which is his mental conflict between body and soul. The writing of poetry gave him some mental peace. Though the essence of his poetry is conflict, yet his poems are devotional as he hoped for recovery devoting his soul to the name of Christ and God.

Writing the poems, one day, when he foresaw that he would remain no more on earth, he called on Nicholas Ferrar, one of his good friends, and submitted his loose manuscripts to his hand asking his judgment whether these manuscripts were worth publishing or not. After a few days, George Herbert’s soul departed to heaven leaving the mortal world in 1633, just before his fortieth birthday.

After Herbert’s death, his friend Nicholas Ferrar published his manuscripts of poems under the title of The Temple in the same year of his death. After the publication of the poetry book, the English came to know that Herbert was a great poet besides being a noble priest. In addition to writing English poems, Herbert wrote a number of Latin poems also. He wrote a book in prose also under the title The Country Parson.

Devotion to God is the main theme of his poetry. His language is figurative but simple, homely, and racy. Some critics, after him, have called his poetry metaphysical. It is true that there is a metaphysical element in his poetry, but it would be easy and plain to say that he was a spiritual poet and more a devotional poet equal to whom there is none, but Herbert and Herbert alone. 0 0 0

George Herbert

N.B.  The article ‘George Herbert-Brief Biography’ originally belongs to the book ‘The World Writers-Brief Biographies‘ by Menonim Menonimus.

George Herbert

Books of Composition by M. Menonimus:

  1. Advertisement Writing
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  6. Passage Comprehension
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  12. School Essays Part-I
  13. School Essays Part-II
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Books of S. Story by M. Menonimus:

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  3. Neha’s Confession

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