Talk:George Herbert

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A recent, anonymous edit, while adding much good content (although sourcing none of it), removed the following:

  1. That the town near Salisbury where Herbert wrote his poetry was Bemerton
  2. A sentence "He was ordained deacon c.1624, and was installed as a canon of Lincoln Cathedral and prebendary of Leighton Bromswold, near T. S. Eliot's Little Gidding, in 1626."
  3. A sentence near the start "Herbert balanced a secular career with a life of theological contemplation."

As far as I know, 1 & 2 are both factual, and 3 seems a useful transition in the article. I think that the association of Little Gidding with Eliot is useful: it is the main reason people today know the name, and many may not recognize why they know it.

If I do not hear reasons to the contrary (e.g. that this content was factually wrong) in a few days, I intend to restore this content, flowed into the current text. -- Jmabel 03:29, 23 Mar 2004 (UTC)

No one is speaking up, so I've restored the Elliot reference, Bemerton, and the transitional sentence. The rest I'm not certain of; biographical info in the article could profitably be expanded and sourced. -- Jmabel 23:43, 30 Mar 2004 (UTC)

It seems to me that the phrase regarding 'balance' is incorrect--he did not do this: he moved from a secular career into a religious. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:59, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Dab issue (& ?)[edit]

The contribution reading

== Special:Allpages/George Herbert ==

may intend to say something beyond the facts that

  1. George Herbert and George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon need dab'n, and
  2. care should be taken to tag the corresponding articles in other WPs accurately.


  • the Dab tag should not be used anywhere but on a Dab page,
  • George Herbert is Dab'd adequately by its ToP Dab,
  • the vital stats suggest that all the interwiki lks from George Herbert currently go to bios on the same person,
  • the articles, other than the two i've mentioned, with titles beginning "George Herbert.." are of no interest here: they certainly do not belong on a Dab page, and
  • if there's more, i'll not be the one to puzzle it out.

Jerzyt 22:17, 10 May 2006 (UTC)


I notice that the category category:Christian writers is a broad enough to include Oscar Wilde and Evelyn Waugh; surely it should then include Herbert. I am adding it. -- Jmabel | Talk 23:45, August 13, 2005 (UTC)

Last paragraph[edit]

I find the last paragraph rather high brow, but on the whole acceptable, with two exceptions.

1) I would strike out "the last syllable of recorded time", words of an utterly disenchanted Macbeth, that definitely don't mean to suggest (neither directly nor via dramatic irony) a "signifier" beyond this life, this "tale told by an idiot,...signifying nothing".

2) The lines from The Collar

   "Thy rope of sands,
   Which petty thoughts have made, and made to thee
   Good cable, to enforce and draw,
   And be thy law,
   While thou didst wink and would not see." 

are out of place here. In The Collar different voices are heard, dramatizing a fundamental inner conflict. It seems to me that in the passage quoted a certain secundary egotism - secundary in that it reacts to and derides the 'puritan' choice - voices its claim. In Kierkegaards terms: the esthetic stage criticizes the ethic stage. But whatever the 'proper' sense of these lines, as they stand here, they give an impression of Herbert as some sort of hermetic poet.

Max Staudt (21 Oct 2005)

Secondary — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:43, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

Removed material[edit]

The box created by {{Anglicanism}} may become relevant if and when the article clarifies some interesting relationship between what his poetry expresses and the Anglican Communion (as opposed to Christianity, Western thot, or the output of poets worldwide), beyond his association with CofE. At present it adds nothing to the article, unless someone intended to brag about the poets the church breeds.

Given that no WP article has ever been created on white literature, and that the phrase appears in WP articles (other than with White as surname) only in Loretta Brown, "like nothing else in white literature" seems at best a quirky term, and at worst an expression of a PoV about racial disqualifications from specific poetic genres. It also states as fact, or an unattributed judgement, something about not just quality in GH's work, but uniqueness of kind. That is a PoV that WP can report but not assert.

I tried striking "profound" (which is so hard to judge as to be PoV -- even "restless" is easier to discern --) and then adjusting for the gap it left. In the end, i took out completely

They combine a profound spirituality with a restless experimentation.
Their language remains fresh and inspiring today. The contributor is
clearly asserting the ability to speak on behalf of all educated English
speakers, and my trying without research to come up with substitutes
that are both NPoV and accurate was just silly.

His bro. was knighted during GH's lifetime, but is worth mentioning only as part of GH's literary milieu, so

(after being knighted by James I, Lord Herbert of Cherbury) 

is irrelevant in the absences of some explanation.

Many of our readers will share my ignorance of the significance of this fact:

(a name best known today through the poem "Little Gidding" by T. S. Eliot)

Presumably it would be suitable to reinsert, along with an Eliot or Gidding fan's explanation of why we should regard it as more than a coincidence.

Altho his work is public domain, the line drawn re fair use reflects not just the need to protect authors, but the difference in value to readers of commenting and/or analyzing, versus simply reproducing. WP is not a collection of poetry, but part or all of the following may become appropriate to the article if and when an editor uses it to support (NPoV) commentary on or analysis of the poetry:

==Poetic Excerpts==
From the poem "Denial":
"When my devotions could not pierce
                  Thy silent ears,
Then was my heart broken, as was my verse;
     My breast was full of fears
                  And disorder;

  My bent thoughts, like a brittle bow,
                  Did fly asunder:
each took his way; some would to pleasures go,
       Some to the wars and thunder
                  Of alarms

  As good go anywhere, they say,
                 As to benumb
Both knees and heart in crying night and day,
    'Come, come, my God, O come!'
                 But no hearing.

    Therefore my soul lay out of sight,
                 Untuned, unstrung;
My feeble spirit, unable to look right,
       Like a nipped blossom, hung

    O cheer and tune my heartless breast;
                 Defer no time,
That so thy favors granting my request,
    They and my mind may chime,
                 And mend my rhyme

There are a world of possible associations, and we should not waste readers' attention documenting them at random, as with

==George Herbert elsewhere==
George Herbert was also the name of the journalist charcter in the novel
The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells, an English writer. It is
unknown if this is a direct allusion to the poet George Herbert, but is
quite possible.

Anyone who doubts the principle's applicability in this case should consult the first two words of the novelist's bio for an alternative explanation.

Don't make cryptic see-also referrals. If there is a clear connection to Borges, state it briefly in the article, rather than abusing the reader's indulgence with e.g.

==See also==
*The Book of Sand

--Jerzyt 00:00, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

On Little Gidding: it is the name of the fourth of the "Four Quartets", a major work of 20th century literature. The reference is precisely to this monastic community. I don't see what is mysterious or obscure about this, and I believe that passage, at least, should be restored.
As for The Book of Sand, as you would have seen if you had followed up the "see also", that work's epigraph is a quotation from Herbert.
FWIW, Without reviewing the edit history, I believe the remark about Eliot was mine, the reference to Borges was not. I believe that the remark on Eliot should be restored, and I fail to see what was obscure about it, but if you think it needs more elucidation, please be clear about what you think is needed. I also think that some reference to Borges's story is in order; I don't really care how it is mentioned.
Unless you can explain what is wrong with the Eliot remark, other than your own apparent unfamiliarity with his work, I intend to restore it. - Jmabel | Talk 05:19, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Restored Eliot remark. Will restore "The Book of Sand" as a see-also. - Jmabel | Talk 22:22, 9 June 2006 (UTC)


I suggest that to use "consumption" in this case is better than using "tuberculosis" as it has a broader meaning. It is impossible at this stage to be sure precisely what a modern clinician would have diagnosed. "Consumption" - which is not should as archaic in my dictionary - certainly covers it.

Horis 17:12, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Indeed, and it is the word used within the context of the time. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:01, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Zbigniew Herbert[edit]

was he related with Zbigniew Herbert??

Kowalmistrz 17:48, 20 February 2007 (UTC)


I'm kind of interested in this page. Lucretius 01:34, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Citizendium article[edit]

A retired professor has written what looks to be a very interesting article on Herbert, here. Wikipedia editors may wish to incorporate some of the material into the WP article. Shawn in Montreal (talk) 23:16, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Revision APR2013[edit]

This has been on my list for revision and expansion for months now, as I've been hankering to improve the coverage of the metaphysical poets on wikipedia. My work on Thomas Traherne gives a good idea of where I'd like to go with it. Therefore, I propose to undertake this project with following outline. I look forward to anyone's suggestions, input, and contributions as I hope this article becomes good enough for GA or FA status in the near future.--ColonelHenry (talk) 13:20, 11 April 2013 (UTC)


  • Lede
  • 1.0 Bio
  • 1.1 Early life, Education
  • 1.2 Career as a scholar, the royal court, parliament
  • 1.3 Career as a writer
  • 1.4 Career as a priest
  • 2.0 Writings
  • 2.1 Publication history
  • 2.2 Style and themes / influences
  • 2.3 Reception
  • 3.0 Legacy
  • 3.1 How he influenced others, use in Christian hymn, texts for composers, modern influence
  • 3.2 Veneration by the church
  • 4.0 Works (List)
  • 4.1 His published works (during or near his lifetime)
  • 4.2 Editions of his work
  • See also
  • References (Notes/Further reading)
  • External links

Father's title (incorrect)[edit]

Richard is incorrectly described as "Lord Herbert" at time of his death when George was three, and Edward (George's brother) is described as inheriting "his father's barony". Richard never became a peer (he may have been a manorial lord which would not usually carry a prefix title) so there was no peerage for Edward to inherit. Edward did become Baron Herbert of Castleisland in the Irish Peerage in 1625 and Baron Herbert of Cherbury in the English peerage in 1629. I am correcting the references accordingly. (They might have appeared in the sources to which citations refer but they are still incorrect.)Cloptonson (talk) 21:42, 11 June 2015 (UTC)

Little Gidding[edit]

It seems that the reference to T.S.Eliot in connection with Little Gidding has been removed at least twice from the article. I too have deleted it and wish to give valid editorial reasons.

  1. The article is about George Herbert. It is irrelevant to bring in the future associations of a place which Herbert only visited, but where he did not reside.
  2. There is a link to the Little Gidding article, which mentions the Eliot association in its lead. Anyone who wants to know more about the place can find out that way. There is no need to bring it in here. The repetition is as stupid as the remark about "Brazil, where the nuts come from," in the play Charley's Aunt. Mzilikazi1939 (talk) 23:28, 29 December 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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