The Country Parson; The Temple

By John N. Wall; George Herbert | Go to book overview
Save to active project


"Thus he lived and thus he died like a Saint, unspotted of the World, full of Alms' deeds, full of Humility, and all the examples of a virtuous life": So Izaak Walton, his most famous biographer, summed up the earthly career of George Herbert, seventeenth-century Anglican priest, poet, and essayist of the parson's life. 1. Even if, in recent years, we have come to question Walton's accuracy in recounting some of the details of Herbert's biography, 2. we still have every reason to accept the justness of his overall assessment. For, after all, he was not the first to make it; Nicholas Ferrar, in introducing the volume of Herbert's religious poems he saw through the press shortly after Herbert's death, noted that Herbert's "faithful discharge [of his priestly calling] was such, as may make him justly a companion to the primitive Saints, and a pattern or more for the age he lived in." 3. To Henry Vaughan, Herbert was "a most glorious true Saint," whose "holy life and verse gained many pious Converts," of whom, Vaughan wrote, "I am the least." 4. From a very different perspective, Richard Crashaw, who subordinated one of his own volumes of poetry to Herbert's by entitling it Steps to the Temple, found "Divinest love" in Herbert's verse:

When your hands untie these strings,
Think you have an Angel by th' wings.
One that gladly will be nigh,

In his Life of George Herbert (1670; reprinted Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1973), p.
319. Hereafter referred to as Life. As with all quotations from primary sources in this
book, I have taken the liberty of modernizing spelling according to the principles fol-
lowed in the texts of Herbert's writings, outlined on p. 47 of this volume.
See especially Amy Charles, A Life of George Herbert (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Press, 1977), and David Novarr, The Making of Walton's Lives (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Press, 1958) for assessments of the accuracy of Walton's portrait of Herbert.
Reprinted in The English Poems of George Herbert, ed. C. A. Patrides (London: Dent, 1974), pp. 30-31.
In The Works of Henry Vaughan, ed. L. C. Martin, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1957), pp. 186, 391.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Country Parson; The Temple


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 354

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?