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what he would be ; and that I am, by his grace, become now so like him, as to be pleased with what pleaseth him; and tell him that I do not repine, but am pleased with my want of health : and tell him, my heart is fixed on that place where true joy is only to be found; and that I long to be there, and do wait for my appointed change with hope and patience.” Having said this, he did, with so sweet a humility as seemed to exalt him, bow down to Mr. Duncon, and with a thoughtful and contented look, say to him, “Sir, I pray deliver this little book to my dear brother Farrer, and tell him, 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.” Thus meanly did this humble man think of this excellent book, which now bears the name of “ The Temple; or, Sacred Poems and Private Ejaculations ;" of which Mr. Farrer would say, “ There was in it the picture of a divine soul in every page : and that the whole book was such a harmony of holy passions, as would enrich the world with pleasure and piety.” And it appears to have done so; for there ave been more than twenty thousand of them sold since the first impression.
And this ought to be noted, that when Mr. Farrer sent this book to Cambridge to be licensed for the press, the Vice-Chancellor would by no means allow the two so much noted verses,
Religion stands a tiptoe in our land,
to be printed; and Mr. Farrer would by no means allow the book to be printed and want them. But after some time, and some arguments for and against their being made public, the Vice-chancellor said, " I knew Mr. Herbert well, and know that he had many heavenly speculations, and was a divine poet : but I hope the world will not take him to be an inspired prophet, and therefore I licence the whole book.” So that it came to be printed without the diminution or addition of a syllable, since it was delivered into the hands of Mr. Duncon, save only that Mr. Farrer hath added that excellent Preface that is printed before it.
At the time of Mr. Duncon's leaving Mr. Herbert,—which was about three weeks before his death,—his old and dear friend Mr. Woodnot came from London to Bemerton, and never left him till he had seen him draw his last breath, and closed his eyes on his death-bed. In this time of his decay, he was often visited and prayed for by all the Clergy that lived near to him, especially by his friends the Bishop and Prebends of the Cathedral Church in Salisbury ; but by none more devoutly than his wife, his three nieces,-then a part of his family,—and Mr. Woodnot, who were the sad witnesses of his daily decay ; to whom he would often speak to this purpose : “ I now look back upon the pleasures of my life past, and see the content I have taken in beauty, in wit, in music, and pleasant conversation, are now all past by me like a dream, or as a shadow that returns not, and are now all become dead to me, or I to them; and I see, that as my father and generation hath done before me, so I also shall now suddenly (with Job) make my bed also in the dark; and I praise God I am prepared for it ; and I praise him that I am not to learn patience now I stand in such need of it; and that I have practised morti. fication, and endeavoured to die daily, that I might not die eter. pally; and my hope is, that I shall shortly leave this valley of tears, and be free from all fevers and pain ; and, which will be a more happy condition, I shall be free from sin, and all the temptations and anxieties that attend it: and this being past, I shall dwell in the New Jerusalem ; dwell there with men made per. fect; dwell where these eyes shall see my Master and Saviour Jesus; and with him see my dear Mother, and all my relations and friends. But I must die, or not come to that happy place. And this is my content, that I am going daily towards it: and that every day which I have lived, hath taken a part of my appointed time from me; and that I shall live the less time, for having lived this and the day past.” These, and the like expres. sions, which he uttered often, may be said to be his enjoyment of Heaven before he enjoyed it. The Sunday before his death, he
rose suddenly from his bed or couch, called for one of his instru. ments, took it into his hand and said,
My God, my God,
And every string
And having tuned it, he played and sung :
The Sundays of man's life,
More plentiful than hope.
Thus he sung on earth such Hymns and Anthems, as the An. gels, and he, and Mr. Farrer, now sing in Heaven.
Thus he continued meditating, and praying, and rejoicing, till the day of his death; and on that day said to Mr. Woodnot, "My dear friend, I am sorry I have nothing to present to my merciful God but sin and misery; but the first is pardoned, and a few hours will now put a period to the latter; for I shall suddenly go hence, and be no more seen.” Upon which expression Mr. Woodnot took occasion to remember him of the re-edifying Layton Church, and his many acts of mercy. To which he made an. swer, saying, “They be good works, if they be sprinkled with the blood of Christ, and not otherwise." After this discourse he became more restless, and his soul seemed to be weary of her earthly tabernacle: and this uneasiness became so visible, that his wife, his three nieces, and Mr. Woodnot, stood constantly about his bed, beholding him with sorrow, and an unwillingness to lose the sight of him, whom they could not hope to see much longer. As they stood thus be holding him, his wife observed him to breathe faintly, and with much trouble, and observed him to fall into a sudden agony; which so surprised her, that she fell into a sudden passion, and required of him to know how he did. To which his answer was, “ that he had passed a conflict with his last enemy, and had overcome him by the merits of his Master Jesus.” After which answer, he looked up, and saw his wife and nieces weeping to an extremity, and charged them, if they loved him to withdraw into the next room, and there pray every one alone for him ; for nothing but their lamentations could make his death uncomfortable. To which request their sighs and tears would not suffer them to make any reply ; but they yielded him a sad obedience, leaving only with him Mr. Woodnot and Mr. Bostock. Immediately after they had left him, he said to Mr. Bostock, “ Pray, Sir, open that door, then look into that cabinet, in which you may easily find my last Will, and give it into my hand :” which being done, Mr. Herbert delivered it into the hand of Mr. Woodnot, and said, “ My old friend, I here deliver you my last Will, in which you will find that I have made you my sole Executor for the good of my wife and nieces; and I desire you to shew kindness to them, as they shall need it: I do not desire you to be just ; for I know you will be so for your own sake ; but I charge you, by the religion of our friendship, to be careful of them.” And having obtained Mr.: Woodnot's promise to be so, he said, “I am now ready to die.” After which words, he said, “ Lord, forsake me not now my strength faileth me: but grant me mercy for the merits of
Jesus. And now, Lord—Lord, now receive my soul.” And with those words he breathed forth his divine soul, without any apparent disturbance, Mr. Woodnet and Mr. Bostock attending his last breath, and closing his eyes.
Thus he lived and thus he died, like a Saint, unspotted of the world, full of alms-deeds, full of humility, and all the examples of a virtuous life ; which I cannot conclude better, than with this borrowed observation :
-All must to their cold graves :
Mr. George Herbert's have done so to this, and will loubtless do so to succeeding generations.—I have but this to say more of
* Altered from a Dirge in Shirley's “Contention of Ajax and Ulysses."
him; that if Andrew Melvin died before him,* then George Her. bert died without an enemy,t I wish-if God shall be so pleased —that I may be so happy as to die like him.
There is a debt justly due to the memory of Mr. Herbert's virtuous Wife; a part of which I will endeavour to pay, by a very short account of the remainder of her life, which shall follow.
She continued his disconsolate widow about six years, bemoaning herself, and complaining that she had lost the delight of her eyes; but more that she had lost the spiritual guide for her poor
and would often say, “O that I had, like holy Mary, the Mother of Jesus, treasured up all his sayings in my heart ! But since I have not been able to do that, I will labour to live like him, that where he now is I may be also.” And she would often say, -as the Prophet David for his son Absalom,—“O that I had died for him !” Thus she continued mourning till time and conversation had so moderated her sorrows, that she became the happy wife of Sir Robert Cook, of Highnam, in the County of Gloucester, Knight. And though he put a high value on the excellent accomplishments of her mind and body, and was so like Mr. Herbert, as not to govern like a master, but as an affectionate husband; yet she would even to him often take occasion to mention the name of Mr. George Herbert, and say, that name must live in her memory till she put off mortality. By Sir Robert she had only one child, a daughter, whose parts and plentiful estate make
*“Mr. George Herbert, Esq. Parson of Fuggleston and Bemerton, was buried 3d day of March, 1632.” (Parish Register of Bemerton.) It does not appear weether he was buried in the parish church or in the chapel. His letter to Mr. Nicholas Ferrar, the translator of Valdesso, is dated from his Parsonage at Bemerton, near Salisbury, Sept. 29, 1632. It must be remembered, that the beginning of the year, at that time, was computed the 25th of March. In this year also, he wrote the short address to the Reader, which is prefixed to his “ Priest to the Temple,” which was not published till after his death.
+ It is not to be supposed that Andrew Melville could retain the least personal resentment against Mr. Herbert; whose veres have in them so little of the poignancy of satire, that it is scarce possible to consider them as capable of exciting the anger of him to whom they are addressed.