Herbert, Edward, and George

(1583-1648)
   • Edward, 1st Baron Herbert of Cherbury, 1583-1648
   The elder brother, who was called "the black Lord Herbert," on account of his good looks, dark hair and complexion, was born at Eyton-on-Severn, Shropshire, into one of the most influential families on the Welsh border. He married his cousin Mary, a wealthy heiress, in 1599. In his autobiography Life, not published until 1764, he represents himself mainly as a gay Lothario, but the book, and he, became a laughingstock of English aristocracy. He was a diplomat in the service of Elizabeth, James I, and Charles I. Devoted to his books, he surrendered Montgomery Castle to parliamentary forces in 1644 in order to save his vast library. On his directions, his body was buried at twelve o'clock midnight in the church of St. Giles's-in-the-Fields, London. His chief philosophical treatise, De Veritate, first published in Paris in 1624, is the earliest purely metaphysical treatise written by an Englishman. Some of his poems: "Elegy for Dr. Donne," "In a GlassWindow for Inconstancy," "Inconstancy's the Greatest of Sins," "October 14, 1644," "To His Friend Ben Johnson."
   • George, 1593-1633.
   The younger brother was educated at Westminster School and at Trinity College, Cambridge, and graduated M.A. in 1616. He was orator of the university from 1620 to 1627 and also wrote on behalf of the university all official letters to the government. James I took a liking to him and had not the king died in 1625, Herbert might have attained a high position at court. Instead, in 1630, he took holy orders and Charles I presented Herbert to the rectory of Fugglestone with Bemerton, Wiltshire. He died of tuberculosis and was buried beneath the altar of his church; a window in Henry VII Chapel of Westminster Abbey commemorates his life. The Temple, containing nearly all his surviving English poems, was published in 1633, with many subsequent editions. Some of the hymns he wrote are still used in worship: "King of Glory," "King of Peace," "Let All the World in Every Corner Sing," "Teach Me, My God and King," "The God of Love My Shepherd Is." Some of his poems: "Good Friday," "Joseph's Coat," "The Bunch of Grapes," "The Church Militant," "The Pearl, Matthew 13:45," "To the Lady Elizabeth Queen of Bohemia."
   Sources: Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite DVD, 2006. English Poetry: Author Search. Chadwyck-Healey Ltd., 1995 (http://www.lib.utexas.edu:8080/search/epoetry/author.html). English Poetry: A Poetic Record, from Chaucer to Yeats. David Hopkins, ed. Routledge, 1990. Great Books Online (www.bartleby.com). The National Portrait Gallery (www.npg.org.uk). Seventeenth Century Poetry: The Schools of Donne and Jonson. Hugh Kenner, ed. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1964. The Anchor Antholog y of SeventeenthCentury Verse, Vol. II. Louis L. Martz and Richard S. Sylvester, ed. Doubleday Anchor Books, 1969. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05 (http://www.bartleby.com/65/). The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Complete English Poems of George Herbert. John Tobin, ed. Penguin Books, 1991. The Cyber Hymnal (http://www.cyberhymnal.org/index.htm). The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000. Westminster Abbey Official Guide (no date).

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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