George Herbert

1593-1633. English poet. Educated at Westminster and Cambridge (where he was in due course to become public orator), it seemed that he was set for a distinguished public career, but the deaths of patrons and of James I himself dashed such possibilities. These deaths and that of his mother in 1626 may have influenced Herbert's always serious mind into deciding to enter Holy Orders. He became rector of Bemerton, near Salisbury, in 1629, but died of consumption four years later. Herbert was an exemplary pastor, and A Priest to the Temple is a fine analysis of what is desirable in clerical character and care. An early Anglo- Catholic, associated with the Little Gidding community of Nicholas Ferrar,* he expresses in the poems contained in The Temple a personal piety as deep as, if less demonstrative than, that of his self-confessed mentor, John Donne,* and wider than that of his master. In much of Herbert's poetry there is that subdued, but nonetheless sincere, sense of devotion that is the very essence of Anglican worship.