George Herbert

The Temple
  • The Temple

  • A collectible new Penguin Classics series: stunning, clothbound editions of ten favourite poets, which present each poet's most famous book of verse as it was originally published. Designed by the acclaimed Coralie Bickford-Smith and beautifully set, these slim, A format volumes are the ultimate gift editions for poetry lovers.

    On his deathbed George Herbert entrusted the manuscript of The Temple to his friend Nicholas Ferrar, asking him to publish it if he thought it was worthy. Herbert died in 1633 and the collection was published the same year to great acclaim, subsequently becoming one of the best-loved collections in the English language. The Temple is an astounding collection of verse poems: an extended meditation on man's relationship to God that is characterised by Herbert's clarity and directness of style. It includes such favourites as 'The Collar', 'The Pearl' and 'Love', with its beautiful opening lines: 'Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back, / Guilty of dust and sin'.

George Herbert was born in 1593. He was educated at Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was appointed Reader in Rhetoric in 1618, and PUblic Orator in 1620. Though he seemed destined for a great public career, attracting the attention of influential patrons, including King James I. However, when his patrons died, Herbert resigned from parliament and took holy orders in 1626, becoming rector of a tiny parish on Salisbury Plain. He died in 1633. John Tobin is currently a Professor of English Literature at the University of Massachusetts. he has published widely on the sources of Renaissance poetry.

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