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George Herbert was born on the 3rd of April, 1593, in the Castle of Montgomery, in Wales, which had for many years been the abode of his family. Wood calls it "a pleasant and romancy place;" Aubrey dwells with pleasure on the "exquisite prospect four different ways;" and Donne, in one of his poems, celebrates the "Primrose Hill" to the south of the Castle. Nothing, however, now remains, except the fragment of a tower and a few mouldering walls, to remind the beholder of its former greatness.

Mr. Richard Herbert, the father of the poet, was descended from a line of illustrious ancestors; and we are indebted to Lord Herbert of Cherbury, for a graphic sketch of his personal appearance. "And first of my father, whom I remember to have been black haired and bearded, as all my ancestors on his side are said to have been, of a manly, but somewhat stern look, but withal very handsome and compact in his limbs, and of great courage *."

The poet's mother was Magdalen Newport, daughter of Sir Richard Newport, and Margaret, youngest daughter and heiress of Sir Thomas Bromley, one of the Privy Council and Executor to Henry the Eighth. She was a lady of remarkable piety and good sense. Her family consisted of seven sons; Edward, Richard, William, Charles, George, Henry, and Thomas; and three daughters, Elizabeth, Margaret, and Frances.

Of Edward, who subsequently became the well-known Baron of Cherbury, a short account will not be unac

There was a tradition in the family of the Herberts of Cherbury, (Fuller's Worthies, vol. i. p. 18, ed. Nichols) that Sir Richard Herbert, tempore Edward the Fourth, slew, in the battle of Banbury, one hundred and forty men with his own hand. He was of gigantic stature, and the peg on which he used to hang his hat, was to be seen in Montgomery Castle in the time of Fuller.

ceptable. He verified the saying, that the child is father of the man. A boy who had the assurance to signalize the first day of his residence at Oxford, by a challenge to a logical disputation, might reasonably be expected to expand into a character of mingled foppery and intellect. His Autobiography, edited by Lord Orford, is a most amusing specimen of lively gossip and conceited philosophy. He begins one passage by informing us, that during his sojourn in Paris he was received in the house "of that incomparable scholar, Isaac Casaubon, by whose learned conversation he was much benefited;" and concludes with an enumeration of his other amusements, the most important of which were, riding on the "great horse," and singing "according to the rules of the French masters." But he is chiefly remembered as one of the earliest reducers of Deism into a system, by asserting the sufficiency and universality of natural religion, and discarding, as unnecessary, all extraordinary revelation. Yet Grotius recommended the publication of the De Veritate, and Mr. Fludd told Aubrey, that Lord Herbert had prayers in his house twice a day, and "on Sundays would have his Chaplain read one of Smyth's sermons*."

Mr. Herbert died in 1597, when George was in his fourth year, and the care of his education, consequently, devolved upon his mother, who appears to have been peculiarly fitted for the discharge of this arduous task. She realized the character so beautifully drawn by

• The De Veritate was published at Paris in 1624, and among the earliest opponents of the author were P. Gassendi, Opuscula Philoso phica, p. 411, 419, Lug. 166; and Baxter, in More Reasons for the Christian Religion, and no Reason against it. Locke aiso alluded to the Treatise in his Essay on the Human Understanding (folio ed. 1694), but in terms too cursory to claim the merit of a refutation, He styles Lord Herbert "a man of great parts.”

Quarles in the Enchiridion; acting with such tenderness towards her children, that they feared her displeasure more than her correction. Our poet remained under the protection of this worthy woman, and in the quiet of his home, until he reached his twelfth year. During this period he participated, with two of his brothers, in the instruction of a private tutor. He was now removed to Westminster school, and through the kindness of Dr. Neale, the Dean of Westminster, particularly recommended to the notice of Mr. Ireland, the HeadMaster. Here the powers of his mind, and the virtues of his heart, were rapidly developed; his progress in classical learning obtained for him the respect and esteem of the tutors, and the amenity of his manners won the affection of his companions.

About fifteen, being then a King's scholar, he was elected to Trinity College, Cambridge; and from an anecdote related in Plume's Life of Bishop Hacket, the school-fellow of Herbert, we discover that, even at this time, his acquirements were deemed full of promise. Mr. Ireland assured them, on their leaving Westminster, that he expected to have credit from them two at the University, or would never hope for it afterwards while he lived." It is recorded of Archbishop Laud, that in his boyhood he gave so many indications of rare genius, that his master, as if with a prophetic certainty of the future eminence of his pupil, used frequently to say, "He hoped he would remember Reading School when he became a great man." It is gratifying to know that both of these anticipations were nobly fulfilled.

So material a change in Herbert's mode of life excited the ever-wakeful anxiety of his parent, and she prevailed on the excellent Dr. Nevil, then Dean of Canterbury,

and Master of the College, to take her son under his protection, and provide a tutor to superintend his studies. Ellis, in his brief notice of Herbert, has remarked that nature intended him for a knight-errant, but that disappointed ambition made him a saint; but if the editor of the Early Specimens had even glanced over the poet's history, he would soon have seen the injustice of his opinion. An extract from a letter, written to his mother in his first year at Cambridge, will throw an interesting light on the state of his youthful feelings.

"But I fear the heat of my late ague hath dried up those springs by which scholars say the Muses use to take up their habitations. However, I need not their help to reprove the vanity of those many love-poems that are daily writ and consecrated to Venus; nor to bewail that so few are writ that look towards God and heaven. For my own part, my meaning (dear mother) is, in these sonnets, to declare my resolution to be, that my poor abilities in poetry shall be all and ever consecrated to God's glory."

I confess my inability to discover any traces of knighterrantry in these sentiments. Jeremy Taylor says, that some are of age at fifteen, some at twenty, and some never. The life of Herbert, even from his boyhood, had been a ministration of purity and peace. Religion in a child is generally considered wonderful, as if the visitations of that daughter of heaven were only made to us when oppressed with years, and in the winter of our days. But this belief is one of the many errors in which we are so fond of indulging. A cruse of pure and beautiful thoughts is intrusted unto each of us at our birth, and if we treasure it as we ought, and employ its divine potency only in the nourishment of the good

and the holy, it will not waste or diminish in the hour of adversity. The amiable Dr. Hammond, when at Eton, frequently stole away from his companions to the most sequestered places, for the purpose of prayer; and Dr. More, the author of the Song of the Soul, was wont to declare that in his childhood he was continually sensible of the presence of the Deity.

The society of his mother, and the innocent amusements that beguiled his infancy, had excrcised a beneficial influence on the young poet's disposition. He had much cause of thankfulness, also, in the fatherly solicitude of Dr. Nevil, who invited him to his own house, and assisted him with counsel and advice. Perfection, however, is not given to any man, and it is not surprising that the condescending intimacy of the Master, gave birth to sensations of pride in the breast of the high-born Undergraduate. To this cause we may attribute the seclusion in which he lived, and his dislike to the formation of indiscriminate friendships. His few companions were selected for their worth and talents, and among them may be mentioned Nicholas Ferrar, who afterwards rendered himself so notorious by the eccentric enthusiasm of his religious conduct: he was then a member of Clare Hall, of which he had been entered in 1606.

One of the prevalent follies of the young students of the University, at this period, was a love of expensive clothes; and Herbert did not escape the infection. When courtiers placed flowers behind their cars, and one of the most elegant noblemen of the age, William Earl of Pembroke, wore ear-rings, the extravagancies of fashion must have been widely disseminated *.

• See Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, passim.


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