George Herbert



George Herbert is buried in St Andrew's Church, Bemerton, Wiltshire (now a suburb of Salisbury), England.

Bemerton Church

He died of consumption at the age of 40 and was buried in front of the altar.

When his two patrons the Duke of Richmond and the Marquess of Hamilton died, Herbert knew that he was not destined for a life in politics and subsequently resigned his parliamentary seat and took holy orders as the Rector of Bemerton.

In 1629 Herbert rebuilt the little Church of St Andrew at his own expense.  It was during his time at Bemerton (1630-1632) that he wrote all the poetry in The Temple. On his deathbed Herbert arranged for the manuscript to be sent to his friend Nicholas Ferrar with the instruction to either burn it or publish it, as he felt fit. Fortunately, Ferrar opted for the latter.

The Temple was published posthumously to popular acclaim.

Herbert's poetry is among the finest religious verse in the English language. Centring on the Eucharist, it deals with the struggles of a man endeavouring to give himself up to God.

Herbert was also an early exponent of concrete poetry with poems such as The Altar and Easter-Wings.

William Cowper found great solace in these poems during his periods of depression. They were also read by Charles I whilst in prison.

Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
                                   Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
                                 From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
                                If I lacked anything.

From Love (complete poem)

Read more of Herbert's poetry






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