George Herbert, Welsh-born poet, orator and Anglican priest
George Herbert (3 April 1593 – 1 March 1633) was a Welsh-born poet, orator and Anglican priest.
- Herbert’s poetry is associated with the writings of the metaphysical poets, and he is recognised as “one of the foremost British devotionallyricists.”
- Born into an artistic and wealthy family, Herbert was largely raised in England and received there a good education that led to his admission in 1609 as a student at Trinity College, Cambridge.
- He went there at first with the intention of becoming a priest, but when eventually he became the University’s Public Orator he attracted the attention of King James I.
In 1624 and briefly in 1625 he served in the Parliament of England.
- After the death of King James, Herbert’s interest in ordination renewed.
- In his mid-thirties he gave up his secular ambitions and took holy orders in the Church of England, spending the rest of his life as the rector of the little parish of St Andrews Church, Lower Bemerton, Salisbury.
- He was noted for unfailing care for his parishioners, bringing the sacraments to them when they were ill, and providing food and clothing for those in need. Henry Vaughan called him “a most glorious saint and seer”.
- Never a healthy man, he died of consumption at the early age of 39.
Words of Wisdom
He that knows nothing doubts nothing.