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George Herbert was born 4/3/1593, fifth son (10 children total) of Richard & Magdalen (Newport) Herbert at Black Hall in Montgomery, Wales.  Richard (who died when George was very young) was from an old & powerful Montgomeryshire family who’d lived there since the 13th century.  Herbert went to Westminster School at 10 (12?) & earned this BA at 20 & MA at 23 both from Trinity College, Cambridge Univ.

He was appointed to some positions at Cambridge. In 1624,1625 he was elected to Parliament & knew King James I.  He married Jane Danvers (1629) & though no children are listed they provided a home for three orphaned nieces. The following year he took orders in the Church of England & he spent the rest of his short life as rector in Bemerton near Salisbury (about 75 miles west of London) where he helped rebuild the church with his own funds.  He died of tuberculosis 3/1/1633.  See Izaak Walton’s Memoir of Herbert.

His classic (worth reading) The Temple, was published that same year.  By 1680 it had 20 re-printings.  From the literary side Samuel T Coleridge wrote about his diction, “Nothing can be more pure, manly or unaffected.”  From the religious side Richard Baxter said, “Herbert speaks to God like one that really believeth a God, and whose business in the world is most with God.”  Herbert is thought to have influenced poet Henry Vaughan & he in turn influenced William Wordsworth.

Herbert quotes:

“His bark is worse than his bite.”

“He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass.”

“Be calm in arguing: for fierceness makes Error a fault, and truth discourtesy.”

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