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How the blessed names of those who have suffered and died in defence of our religion arise to our remembrance, when we read these words! We think of Latimer, of Cranmer, and Ridley, and of the glorious company of sainted martyrs, whom they guided unto eternal glory.
The poem on Peace exemplifies his faults and his beauties; his fantastic but ingenious imagery, and his tender and enthusiastic devotion:—
Sweet Peace, where dost thou dwell? I humbly crave,
Let me once know.
And ask'd if Peace were there,
I did ;—and, going, did a rainbow note:
Surely, thought I,
I will search out the matter.
Then went I to a garden, and did spy
A gallant flower,
"Peace at the root must dwell."
At length I met a rev'rend good old man:
Whom when for Peace
"There was a Prince of old
"He sweetly liv'd; yet sweetness did not save
His life from foes.
There sprang twelve stalks of wheat:
"It prosper'd strangely, and did soon disperse
Through all the earth:
That virtues lie therein;
"Take of this grain, which in my garden grows,
And grows for you:
And peace, which everywhere
These specimens from the Temple cannot be brought to a close in more appropriate words than Walton's eloquent eulogy of the work, in the Life of Donne. "It is a book," he says, "in which, by declaring his own spiritual conflicts, he hath comforted and raised many a dejected and discomposed soul, and charmed them into sweet and quiet thoughts; a book, by the reading whereof, and the assistance of that spirit that seemed to inspire the author, the reader may attain habits of peace and piety, and all the gifts of the Holy Ghost and heaven, and may, by still reading, still keep those sacred fires burning upon the altar of so pure a heart as shall free it from the anxieties of this world, and keep it fixed upon things that are above."
The writer would have wished no higher praise, yet the extracts I have given may incline the reader to consider tiie Temple deserving of study, for a better reason than that for which Pope is said frequently to have perused it*. A few of the poems were translated into Latin, and published, with others, by W. Dillingham t. Granger asserts, that the poems annexed to the Temple were written by Crash aw; but the translator of the Sospetto d'Herode could never have subdued his genius to the level of the
* Essay on the Genius and Writing of Pope, p. 85. t Poemata Varii Argumenti partim e Oeorgio Herberto Latine Reddita.
Synagogue. Granger may have been led into error by Crashaw's lines on Mr. G. Herbert's Book, of which, he was a warm admirer. Sir John Hawkins, in his edition of Walton's Angler, says, that Christopher Harvey was the author; but whether he was the same individual who was Rector of Clifton in Warwickshire, and died in 1663, cannot be determined. The doubt is not worth the solving.
Herbert's circle of acquaintance embraced some of his most eminent contemporaries. It will be sufficient toname Sir Henry Wotton, the friend of Milton, Sir Henry Goodyere, Dudley the third Lord North, and James Duport. Sir H. Goodyere was the frequent correspondent of Donne, who says, in a letter addressed to him, "Mr. George Herbert is here at the receipt of your letter, and with service to you, tells you that all at Uvedal House are well*." Lord North was one of the most distinguished noblemen of the Court of James the First; but, having dissipated the larger portion of his estate, he retired to the country, and lived in penitence, or at least in solitude, on the remainder. He published a volume of Miscellanies in 1645, under the title of A Forest of Varieties, containing, among other poems, a series of devotions, in imitation of the 119th Psalm. In the introduction, he speaks of the "divinest Herbertt."
Mrs. Herbert survived her husband, and "continued, says Walton, his disconsolate widow about six years, bemoaning herself, and complaining that she had lost the delight of her eyes." Thus she remained, "till conversation and time had so moderated her sorrows that she became the happy wife of Sir Robert Cook, of Highnam, in the county of Gloucester. But she never forgot to
* Letters, 1651, p. 236.
t Sir Egerton Brydges has given copious extracts from this volume, in the Peers of James, 4to., p. 349, &c.
mention the name of Mr. George Herbert, and say that name must live in her memory till she put off mortality." She also " preserved many of Mr. Herbert's private writings, which she intended to make public; but they and Highnam House were burnt together by the late rebels, and so lost to posterity." Aubrey's account of their disappearance is not so satisfactory. Herbert, he says, wrote a folio, in Latin, which, "because the parson of Hineham could not read, his widow (then wife to Sir Robert Cook) condemned to the use of good housewifery." This intelligence was communicated to Aubrey by Mr. Cook, one of the sons of Sir Robert, whom he had desired to ask his motherin-law for Herbert's MSS.
HABINGTON AND VAUGHAK.
William Habington was born at Hendlip, in Worcestershire, on the 4th or 5th of November, 1605. His name has derived an historical interest from the imputed connexion of his father with the Gunpowder Plot, some of the agents of which he was accused of concealing in his house. But this charge rests on very doubtful authority; and Mr. Nash, the author of the History of Worcester. shire, discovered at Hendlip several letters, written by Habington to his wife and friends, declaring his entire ignorance of the conspiracy. William was educated at St. Omer's, and afterwards at Paris. To relieve himself from the solicitations of the Jesuits, who sought to win him to their Order, he returned to England, and finished his studies under the direction of his father, who was a scholar and a man of industry. Through the care of his affectionate tutor, he "grew into an accomplished gentleman;" and at an early age married Lucia, daughter of
Lord Powis, and who is said by Winstanley to have been a lady of rare endowments and beauty. Habington seems to have appreciated his good fortune, and to have taken no part in the political tumults that afflicted his country. The insinuation of Wood, that he "did run with the times, and was not unknown to Oliver, the Usurper," is refuted by the character of his poetry, and the nature of his creed. There could be no bond of union between the papist and the puritan. He died November 30, 1654*, and was buried in the family vault at Hendlip.
Time has dealt less harshly with his rhymes than with those of more gifted bards. His poems have been twice reprinted within a few years; by Chalmers, in the British Poets, and separately, by C. A. Elton, at Bristol. His own opinion of their merits was very humble. They were at first privately circulated among his friends, and the press afterwards bound "together what fancy had scattered into many loose papers." "Had I slept," he says, "in the silence of my acquaintance, and affected no study beyond what the chase or field allows, poetry had then been no scandal upon me, and the love of learning no suspicion of ill husbandry. If these lines want that courtship which insinuates itself into the favour of great men, best, they partake of my modesty; if satire, to win applause with the envious multitude, they express my content, which maliceth none the fruition of that they esteem happy." The great charm of his writings resides in their purity and domestic tenderness; the religion of his fancy is never betrayed into any unbecoming mirth, or rapturous enthusiasm. He is always amiable, simple, and unaffected: if he has not the ingenuity of some of his rivals, he is also free from their conceits. Gold ceases to be of any real value when
• Chalmers says, November 13th, 1645; but he gives no reason for rejecting the date of Anthony Wood, who received his information from the poet's son.