Born: Ap­ril 3, 1593, Mont­go­me­ry Cas­tle, Wales.

Died: March 1, 1632, Bem­er­ton, Wilt­shire, Eng­land.

Buried: Be­mer­ton, Eng­land.


Herbert at­tend­ed West­min­ster School and Tri­ni­ty Col­lege at Cam­bridge, Eng­land. When he was ap­point­ed the school’s Pub­lic Or­a­tor, it be­came his du­ty to give speech­es—in La­tin—to vis­it­ing dig­ni­tar­ies, and to give thanks for books do­nat­ed to the school lib­ra­ry. King James I was im­pressed with Her­bert, and it seemed for a while he might make Her­bert an am­bass­a­dor.

When the king’s death dashed these hopes, Her­bert fell back on his orig­in­al ca­reer plans, and was or­dained in 1626. His first ap­point­ment was as vi­car, then rec­tor, of the par­ish of Be­mer­ton and Fug­gle­stone.


Shortly be­fore he died, Her­bert en­trust­ed a ma­nu­script of po­et­ry to Ed­mond Dun­con, tell­ing him:

Sir, I pray de­liv­er this lit­tle book to my bro­ther [Ni­cho­las] Fer­rar [of Lit­tle Gid­ding, Cam­bridges­hire], and tell him that he shall find in it a pic­ture of the ma­ny spi­ri­tu­al con­flicts that have passed be­twixt God and my soul, be­fore I could sub­ject mine to the will of Je­sus my mas­ter; in whose ser­vice I have now found per­fect free­dom; de­sire him to read it, and then, if he can think it may turn to the ad­van­tage of any de­ject­ed poor soul, let it be made pub­lic; if not let him burn it; for I and it are less than the least of God’s mer­cies.

The ma­nu­script was pub­lished post­hu­mous­ly as The Tem­ple.