This volume, George Herbert, contains The Country Parson, a prose treatise on the conduct of a rural Anglican ministry, and The Temple, a substantial anthology of religious poetry organized by Herbert into three sections: "The Church Porch," "The Church" and "The Church Militant." It also includes a few other poems by Herbert, drawn either from Izaak Walton's Life or from an early manuscript of The Temple collection. As such, it offers all of Herbert's major writings in an edition based on the earliest printed versions. The texts have, however, been conservatively modernized in spelling and punctuation in an attempt to preserve the full experience of what Herbert wrote while making him accessible to the reader unfamiliar with seventeenth-century English.
George Herbert (1593-1633) was born into an aristocratic English family which had distinguished itself in service to the English crown in its native Montgomeryshire on the Welsh border. After attending Westminster School and Cambridge University, he was appointed University Orator in 1620. In 1624, after serving briefly in Parliament as a representative from Montgomeryshire, he was ordained a deacon in the Church of England. In 1629, he married Jane Danvers; the following year, he was named the rector of the parish church of Fugglestone St. Peter and the chapel of Bemerton St. Andrew and was ordained to the Anglican priesthood at Salisbury Cathedral. He died on the first of March, 1633, in his rectory at Bemerton.
Neither The Country Parson nor The Temple was published during Herbert's lifetime, although we can be fairly certain that he worked on both, and especially on the poems, over a considerable number of his all-too-brief forty years of life. The Temple was, however, published in 1633, within a few months of Herbert's death, in an edition seen through the press by Nicholas Ferrar, a friend of Herbert better known for his establishment of an Anglican religious community at Little Gidding. The Country Parson was published in 1652, in an edition