|The Temple (1633
Editor's Note: This is the preface to the 1633 edition of The Temple. The
"s," except when it is at the end of a word, looks like an "f". There is
no equivalent on the internet. [See scanned pages of the 1633 Edition.]
then = than
1 A passage in "The Church Militant" almost prevented
the publication of The Temple. The Licensers debated the unpatriotic
|Religion stands on tip-toe in our land,
Readie to passe to the American strand.
The debate ended because the Licensers believed that Herbert would not write
them if they were not true. Henry Vaughan saw
Herbert as a "Seer" because of these lines.
[Return] Editor's note: This was during the Raleigh
Colonies in Virginia and the Puritan Settlement of New England. Religion
may have moved farther west since then.
2 Leighton Bromswold, also called Leighton Ecclesia, in
Huntingtonshire. One of Herbert's early works of devotion. He solicited money
to rebuild the church. [Return]
of Leighton Bromswold.
Nicholas Ferrar of Little Gidding, in Huntingtonshire. He compiled and may have
edited The Temple. See Isaac Walton's "Life of George Herbert."
T. S. Eliot's "Little Gidding" from Four Quartets portrays the religious importance of this time. [Return]
Links to Biographies
expressed in two early sonnets [Link].
George Herbert & The Temple Home Page
The Printers to the Reader.
THe dedication of this
work having been made by the Authour to the Divine Majestie onely,
how should we now presume to interest any mortall man in the patronage of
it? Much lesse think we it meet to seek the recommendation of the Muses,
for that which himself was confident to have been inspired by a diviner breath
then flows from Helicon. The world therefore shall receive it in that
naked simplicitie, with which he left it, without any addition either of
support or ornament, more then is included in it self. We leave it free and
unforestalled to every mans judgement, and to the benefit that he shall finde
by perusall. Onely for the clearing of some
we have thought it not unfit to make the common Reader privie to some few
particularities of the condition and disposition of the Person;
Lesse then the least of Gods
Being nobly born, and
as eminently endued with gifts of the minde, and having by industrie and
happy education perfected them to that great height of excellencie, whereof
his fellowship of Trinitie Colledge in Cambridge, and his Orator-ship in
the Universitie, together with that knowledge which the Kings Court had taken
of him, could make relation farre above ordinarie. Quitting both his deserts
and all the opportunities that he had for worldly preferment, he betook himself
to the Sanctuarie and Temple of God, choosing rather to serve at Gods Altar,
then to seek the honour of State-employments. As for those inward enforcements
to this course (for outward there was none) which many of these ensuing verses
bear witnesse of, they detract not from the freedome, but adde to the honour
of this resolution in him. As God had enabled him, so he accounted him meet
not onely to be called, but to be compelled to this service: Wherein his
faith full discharge was such, as may make him justly a companion to the
primitive Saints, and a pattern or more for the age he lived in.
To testifie his independencie
upon all others, and to quicken his diligence in the kinde, he used in his
ordinarie speech, when he made mention of the blessed name of our Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ, to adde,
Next God, he loved that
which God himself hath magnified above all things, that is, his Word: so
as he hath been heard to make solemne protestation, that he would not part
with one leaf thereof for the whole world, if it were offered him in
His obedience and conformitie
to the Church and the discipline thereof was singularly remarkable. Though
he abounded in private devotions, yet went he every morning and evening with
his familie to the Church; and by his example, exhortations, and encouragements
drew the greater part of his parishioners to accompanie him dayly in the
publick celebration of Divine Service.
As for worldly matters,
his love and esteem to them was so little, as no man can more ambitiously
seek, then he did earnestly endeavour the resignation of an Ecclesiasticall
dignitie, which he was possessour of. But God permitted not the accomplishment
of this desire, having ordained him his instrument for reedifying of the
Church belonging thereunto, that had layen ruinated almost twenty yeares.
The reparation whereof having been uneffectually attempted by publick
collections, was in the end by his own and some few others private
With the remembrance whereof, as of an especiall good work, when a
went about to comfort him on his death-bed, he made answer, It is a good
work, if it be sprinkled with the bloud of Christ: otherwise then in
this respect he could finde nothing to glorie or comfort himself with, neither
in this, not in any other thing.
And these are but a few
of many that might be said, which we have chosen to premise as a glance
to some parts of the ensuing book, and for an example to the Reader. We conclude
all with his own Motto, with which he used to conclude
all things that might seem to tend any way to his own honour;
Concerning the Motto: It is used for the poem Posie.