In George Herbert (1593-1633), profound religious sensibility is richly allied with a playful wit and with literary and musical gifts of the highest order. Herbert experimented brilliantly witha remarkable variety of forms, from hymns and sonnets to "pattern poems," the shapes of which reveal their subjects. Such technical agility never seems ostentatious, however, for precision of language and expression of genuine feeling were his primary concerns. Herbert is one of the finest religious poets in any language, though even secular readers respond to his quiet intensity and exuberant inventiveness. The poems he made achieve a perfection of form and feeling, a luminosity and a metaphysical grandeur unexcelled in the history of English writing. Though long overshadowed by Donne and Milton, Herbert has come to be one of the most admired of the metaphysical poets. In this new edition of Herbert's works, the distinguished scholar and translator Ann Pasternak Slater shows through detailed textual notes, a reordering of the poems, and an extensive introduction just how great a writer Herbert is."
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Author Biography - George Herbert
George Herbertwas born in 1593, the fifth son of Richard Herbert of Montgomery and Magdalene Herbert, to whom John Donne dedicated his elegy Autumnal Beauty . He was educated at Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was appointed Reader in Rhetoric in 1618 and Public Orator in 1620. Herbert was an excellent Greek and Latin scholar and was fluent in Italian, Spanish and French; he was also an accomplished amateur musician. He seemed destined for a great public career and attracted the attention of two powerful and influential figures, the Duke of Richmond and the Marquess of Hamilton, and, when they met, King James I took a liking to him. However, when his two aristocratic patrons, and then, in 1625, King James, all died, any hope of immediate preferment was dashed. In 1626 he resigned his seat in Parliament and took holy orders, becoming Rector of Bemerton, a tiny rural parish on Salisbury Plain, in 1630. In the previous year he had married Jane Danvers after a courtship of only three days, and their marriage was a happy one. Herbert died of consumption at the age of forty on March 1, 1633."