George Herbert (1593-1633) has come to be one of the most admired of the metaphysical poets. Though he is a profoundly religious poet, even secular readers respond to his quiet intensity and exuberant inventiveness, which are amply showcased in this selection.
Herbert experimented brilliantly with a 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 the primary concerns of this poet, who admonished his readers to “dare to be true.” An Anglican priest who took his calling with deep seriousness, he brought to his work a religious reverence richly allied with a playful wit and with literary and musical gifts of the highest order. His best-loved poems, from “The Collar” and “Jordan” to “The Altar” and “Easter Wings,” achieve a perfection of form and feeling, a rare luminosity, and a timeless metaphysical grandeur.
About the Author
George Herbert (15931633) was educated at Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was appointed reader in rhetoric in 1618 and public orator in 1620. He attracted the attention of influential patrons, including King James I, before he took holy orders in 1626.<BR> John Tobin is a professor of English literature at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
Peter Washington is the author of "Madame Blavatsky's Baboon," He is the editor of several Everyman's Library Pocket Poet anthologies including "Love Poems" and" Friendship Poems,"