Two Gentle Men: The Lives of George Herbert and Robert Herrick

By Marchette Chute | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIX

GEORGE HERBERT MIGHT BE WILLING TO HONOR HONESTY AND high purpose wherever he found it, but there was one point of view with which he could not sympathize. He was a devout son of the Church of England and he could not bring himself to look with courtesy upon the Puritans.

In 1620, the year Herbert became Public Orator, there appeared in print a set of verses called Anti-Tami-Cami-Categoria, written seventeen years before but only just published. It was the work of a learned Scotch Presbyterian named Andrew Melville, and it savagely attacked both the Church of England and the University of Cambridge.

Melville's verses had been inspired by the behavior of the two universities at the time of the Millenary Petition in 1603. Oxford and Cambridge had both attacked as seditious the ministers who signed the petition, and Melville at once attacked the two universities. He used this as a springboard for a general indictment of the ritual in the Church of England, and his verses lost none of their bite in the seventeen years they waited for publication.

In George Herbert's eyes, Melville had committed a double fault. He had attacked Mother Church and Mother Cambridge, and Herbert was the devoted, uncritical son of both. He did not allow himself to be intimidated by Melville's age or his high reputation, and he counterattacked with a vigorous set of Latin verses called Musae Responsoriae.

Andrew Melville was a formidable opponent, a scholar in his seventies who was honored all over Europe as a mighty champion of the Protestant cause. When he was young he travelled over half France to get a training in Hebrew and divinity and then

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Two Gentle Men: The Lives of George Herbert and Robert Herrick
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 7
  • Part One - George Herbert 9
  • Chapter One 11
  • Chapter Two 22
  • Chapter Three 35
  • Chapter Four 47
  • Chapter Five 57
  • Chapter Six 68
  • Chapter Seven 77
  • Chapter Eight 85
  • Chapter Nine 93
  • Chapter Ten 107
  • Chapter Eleven 116
  • Chapter Twelve 123
  • Chapter Thirteen 134
  • Chapter Fourteen 148
  • Part Two - Robert Herrick 153
  • Chapter Fifteen 155
  • Chapter Sixteen 161
  • Chapter Seventeen 170
  • Chapter Eighteen 178
  • Chapter Nineteen 184
  • Chapter Twenty 192
  • Chapter Twenty-One 203
  • Chapter Twenty-Two 211
  • Chapter Twenty-Three 219
  • Chapter Twenty-Four 226
  • Chapter Twenty-Five 235
  • Chapter Twenty-Six 244
  • Chapter Twenty-Seven 255
  • Chapter Twenty-Eight 265
  • Appendix - Walton's Biography of Herbert 277
  • Selected Bibliography 283
  • Index 299
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