George Herbert

Writer, Author

1593 – 1633


Who was George Herbert?

George Herbert was a Welsh-born English poet, orator and Anglican priest. Herbert's poetry is associated with the writings of the metaphysical poets, and he is recognized as "a pivotal figure: enormously popular, deeply and broadly influential, and arguably the most skillful and important British devotional lyricist."

Born into an artistic and wealthy family, Herbert received a good education that led to his admission in 1609 as a student at Trinity College, Cambridge, Herbert excelled in languages, rhetoric and music. He went to university with the intention of becoming a priest, but when eventually he became the University's Public Orator he attracted the attention of King James I and may well have seen himself as a future Secretary of State. In 1624 and briefly in 1625 he served in Parliament. After the death of King James, Herbert's interest in ordained ministry was renewed. In his mid-thirties he gave up his secular ambitions and took holy orders in the Church of England, spending the rest of his life as the rector of the little parish of Fugglestone St Peter with Bemerton, near Salisbury.

Famous Quotes:

  • Spend not on hopes.
  • The eyes have one language everywhere.
  • A garden must be looked into, and dressed as the body.
  • By all means use sometimes to be alone. Salute thyself: see what thy soul doth wear. Dare to look in thy chest; for 'Tis thine own: And tumble up and down what thou findst there. Who cannot rest till he good fellows find, he breaks up house, turns out of doors his mind.
  • Lord, with what care hast Thou begirt us round! Parents first season us; then schoolmasters deliver us to laws; they send us bound to rules of reason, holy messengers, pulpits and Sundays, sorrow dogging sin, afflictions sorted, anguish of all sizes, fine nets and stratagems to catch us in, bibles laid open, millions of surprises, blessings beforehand, ties of gratefulness, the sound of glory ringing in our ears: without, our shame; within, our consciences; angels and grace, eternal hopes and fears. Yet all these fences and their whole array one cunning bosom-sin blows quite away.
  • Prayer should be the key of the day and the lock of the night.
  • He that will learn to pray, let him go to sea.
  • He who has the pepper may season as he lists.
  • Better never begin than never make an end.
  • Drink not the third glass, which thou canst not tame, when once it is within thee.

We need you!

Help us build the largest biographies collection on the web!

Apr 3, 1593
Also known as
  • جرج هربرت
  • Херберт, Джордж
  • 乔治·赫伯特
  • Anglicanism
  • England
  • Trinity College, Cambridge
  • Westminster School
  • University of Cambridge
Mar 1, 1633
Resting place

on July 23, 2013


Use the citation below to add to a bibliography:


"George Herbert." STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 16 Oct. 2021. <>.

Discuss this George Herbert biography with the community: