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for their loyalty have suffered much in their estates, and seen the ruin of that excellent structure, where their ancestors have long lived, and been memorable for their hospitality.
This Mother of George Herbert—of whose person, and wisdom, and virtue, I intend to give a true account in a seasonable place - was the happy Mother of seven sons and three daughters, which she would often say was Job's number, and Job's distribution; and as often bless God, that they were neither defective in their shapes, or in their reason : and very often reprove them that did not praise God for so great a blessing. I shall give the Reader a short account of their names, and not say much of their fortunes.
Edward, the eldest, was first made Knight of the Bath, at that glorious time of our late Prince Henry's being installed Knight of the Garter; and after many years useful travel, and the attainment of many languages, he was by King James sent Ambassador resident to the then French King, Lewis the thirteenth. There he continued about two years; but he could not subject himself to a compliance with the humours of the Duke de Luisnes, who was then the great and powerful favourite at Court:
: so that upon a complaint to our King, he was called back into England in some displeasure ; but at his return he gave such an honourable account of his employment, and so justified his comportment to the Duke and all the Court, that he was suddenly sent back upon the same Embassy, from which he returned in the beginning of the reign of our good King Charles the First, who made him first Baron of Castle-Island, and not long after of Cherbury in the County of Salop. He was a man of great learning and reason, as appears by his printed book “De Veritate,” and by his “ History of the reign of King Henry the Eighth,” and by several other tracts.*
* That eloquent and acute biographer, Edmund Lodge, thus truly gives the character of Lord Herbert of Cherbury. “Of that anomaly of character by the abundance and variety of which foreigners are pleased to tell us that our country is distinguished, we meet with few examples more striking than in the subject of this memoir-wise and unsteady; prudent and careless; a philosopher, with ungovernable and ridiculous prejudices; a good humoured man, who even sought occasions to shed the blood of his fellow creatures; a deist, with superstition too gross for the most secluded cloister. These observations are not founded on the report of others, but on the fragment which remains of his own sketch of his life,-a piece of infinite curiosity.”
The second and third brothers were Richard and William, who ventured their lives to purchase honour in the wars of the Low Countries, and died officers in that employment. Charles was the fourth, and died fellow of New College in Oxford. Henry was the sixth, who became a menial servant to the Crown in the days of King James, and hath continued to be so for fifty years, during all which time he hath been Master of the Revels; a place that requires a diligent wisdom, with which God hath blessed him. The seventh son was Thomas, who being made Captain of a ship in that fleet with which Sir Robert Mansell was sent against Algiers, did there shew a fortunate and true English valour. Of the three sisters I need not say more, than that they were all married to persons of worth, and plentiful fortunes; and lived to be examples of virtue, and to do good in their generations.
I now come to give my intended account of George, who was the fifth of those seven brothers.
George Herbert spent much of his childhood in a sweet con tent under the eye and care of his prudent Mother, and the tuition of a Chaplain, or tutor to him and two of his brothers, in her own family,—for she was then a widow,—where he continued till about the age of twelve years; and being at that time well instructed in the rules of Grammar, he was not long after commended to the care of Dr. Neale,* who was then Dean of Westminster; and by him to the care of Mr. Ireland,t who was then Chief Master of that School ; where the beauties of his pretty behaviour and wit shined and became so eminent and lovely in this his innocent age, that he seemed to be marked out for piety, and to become the care of Heaven, and of a particular good angel to guard and guide him. And thus he continued in that School, till he came to be perfect in the learned languages, and especially in the Greek tongue, in which he after proved an excellent critic.
* It has been said of Dr. Richard Neale, that no one was more thoroughly acquainted with the distresses as well as the conveniences of the clergy, having served the Church as Schoolmaster, Curate, Vicar, Rector, Master of the Savoy, Dean of Westminster, Clerk of the Closet to James I. and Charles I., Bishop of Rochester, Lichfield, Durham, Winchester, and Archbishop of York. (1631) “ He died,” says Echard, " full of years as he was full of honours ; a faithful subject to his prince, an indulgent father to his clergy, a bountiful patron to his chaplains, and a true friend to all that relied upon him.”
+ He was made Master of Westminster School in 1599, and continued so to 1610.
About the age of fifteen-he being then a King's Scholar-he was elected out of that School for Trinity College in Cambridge, to which place he was transplanted about the year 1608 ; and his prudent Mother, well knowing that he might easily lose or lessen that virtue and innocence, which her advice and example had planted in his mind, did therefore procure the generous and lib. eral Dr. Nevil,* who was then Dean of Canterbury, and Master of that College, to take him into his particular care, and provide him a Tutor; which he did most gladly undertake, for he knew the excellencies of his mother, and how to value such a friend. ship.
This was the method of his education, till he was settled in Cambridge; where we will leave him in his study, till I have paid my promised account of his excellent Mother; and I will endeavour to make it short.
I have told her birth, her marriage, and the number of her children, and have given some short account of them. I shall next tell the Reader, that her husband died when our George was about the age of four years: I am next to tell, that she contin. ued twelve years a widow; that she then married happily to a noble gentleman, the brother and heir of the Lord Danvers, Earl of Danby, who did highly value both her person and the most ex. cellent endowments of her mind.
* Thomas Nevil, D. D. eminent for the splendour of his birth, his extraordipary piety and learning, was educated at Pembroke Hall in the University of Cambridge. In 1582 he was admitted Master of Magdalen College in the same University, and in 1593 he succeeded Dr. John Still in the Mastership of Trinity College, being then Dean of the Cathedral Church of Peterborough, over which he presided commendably eight years. Upon the demise of Queen Elizabeth, Dr. Nevi', who had been promoted to the Deanery of Canterbury in 1597, was sent by Archbishop Whitgift to King James in Scotland, in the names of the Bishops and Clergy of England, to tender their bounden duties, and to understand his Highness's pleasure for the ordering and guiding of the Clergy. The Dean brought a most gracious answer of his Highness's purpose, which was to uphold and maintain the government of the late Queen, as she left it settled.
In this time of her widowhood, she being desirous to give Ed. ward, her eldest son, such advantages of learning, and other edu. cation, as might suit his birth and fortune, and thereby make him the more fit for the service of his country, did, at his being of a fit age, remove from Montgomery Castle with him, and some of her younger sons, to Oxford ; and having entered Edward into Queen's College, and provided him a fit tutor, she commended him to his care: yet she continued there with him, and still kept him in a moderate awe of herself, and so much under her own eye, as to see and converse with him daily : but she managed this power over him without any such rigid sourness, as might make her company a torment to her child; but with such a sweetness and compliance with the recreations and pleasures of youth, as did incline him willingly to spend much of his time in the company of his dear and careful mother; which was to her great content: for she would often say, 6. That as our bodies take a nourishment suitable to the meat on which we feed; so our souls do as insensibly take in vice by the example or conversation with wicked company :” and would therefore as often say,
“ That ignorance of vice was the best preservation of virtue; and that the very knowledge of wickedness was tinder to inflame and kindle sin and keep it burning.” For these reasons she endeared him to her own company, and continued with him in Oxford four years ; in which time her great and harmless wit, her cheerful gravity, and her obliging behaviour, gained her an acquaintance and friendship with most of any eminent worth or learning, that were at that time in or near that University ; and particularly with Mr. John Donne, who then came accidentally to that place, in this time of her being there. It was that John Donne, who was after Dr. Donne, and Dean of Saint Paul's, London : and he, at his leaving Oxford, writ and left there, in verse, a character of the beauties of her body and mind: of the first he says,
No Spring nor Summer-beauty has such grace,
Of the latter he says,
In all her words to every hearer fit,
You may at revels, or at council sit. The rest of her character may be read in his printed poems, in that Elegy which bears the name of “The Autumnal Beauty." For both he and she were then past the meridian of man's life.
This amity, begun at this time and place, was not an amity that polluted their souls; but an amity made up of a chain of suitable inclinations and virtues; an amity like that of St. Chrysostom's to his dear and virtuous Olympias; whom, in his letters, he calls his Saint: or an amity, indeed, more like that of St. Hierome to his Paula; whose affection to her was such, that he turned poet in his old age, and then made her epitaph: wishing all his body were turned into tongues, that he might declare her just praises to posterity. And this amity betwixt her and Mr. Donne was begun in a happy time for him, he being then near to the fortieth year of his age,—which was some years before he entered into Sacred Orders;—a time, when his necessities needed a daily supply for the support of his wife, seven children, and a family. And in this time she proved one of his most bountiful benefactors; and he as grateful an acknowledger of it. You may take one testimony for what I have said of these two worthy persons, from this following Letter and Sonnet.
“ Your favours to me are every where : I use them, and have them. I enjoy them at London, and leave them there ; and yet find them at Mitcham. Such riddles as these become things in. expressible; and such is your goodness. I was almost sorry to find your servant here this day, because I was loath to have any witness of my not coming home last night, and indeed of my coming this morning. But my not coming was excusable, because earnest business detained me; and my coming this day is by the example of your St. Mary Magdalen, who rose early upon Sun. day, to seek that which she loved most; and so did I. And, from her and myself, I return such thanks as are due to one, to whom we owe all the good opinion, that they, whom we need most, have