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Charterhouse and at Gloucester hall, Oxford. While at the university, he wrote his lost comedy, The Scholar, and, after only two years' residence, he was admitted to the degree of master of arts at the solicitation of a court lady upon whom his 'most amiable and beautiful person, innate modesty, virtue and courtly deportment' had made a deep impression. The following years were spent in London, or at his Kentish residence, or as a soldier in the Scottish campaigns of 1639 and 1640. About 1640, he wrote his tragedy The Soldier, which seems never to have been acted or published, and which has shared the same fate as his comedy The Scholar. In 1642, he was chosen by the cavalier party in Kent to present to the House of Commons the so-called Kentish petition, which asked for 'a restoration of the bishops, liturgy and common prayer'; the petition was burnt by the common hangman and, for some seven weeks, Lovelace was a prisoner in the Gatehouse, Westminster. His imprisonment inspired the famous song, To Althea from Prison. A promise made to the Long parliament not to leave London without the permission of the Speaker prevented him from taking a very active part in the civil war, but he contributed horses and arms to the royalist cause, and, after the surrender of Oxford, in 1646, he offered his sword to the French king, Louis XIV, and was wounded at Dunkirk. On his return to England, in 1648, he was imprisoned in Petre house, Aldersgate, where he prepared for the press his volume of poems, entitled Lucasta: Epodes, Odes, Sonnets, Songs, etc., which was published in 1649. Set at liberty after the execution of Charles, he seems to have remained in Loudon, and Anthony à Wood gives us a gloomy picture of his last years:

Having by that time consumed all his estate, he grew very melancholy,... became very poor in body and purse, was the object of charity, went in ragged clothes (whereas when he was in his glory he wore cloth of gold and silver) and mostly lodged in obscure and dirty places, more befitting the worst of beggars and poorest of servants.

From the same account, we gather that he died amid miserable surroundings in Gunpowder alley, London, in 1658. In the following year, his brother, Dudley Posthumus Lovelace, published his remaining verses under the title, Lucasta: Posthume Poems. The Lucasta who, after the manner of the heroines of Elizabethan sonnet-sequences, lends her name to his two volumes of poetry, is said to have been Lucy Sacheverell.

Lovelace's standing among English poets is peculiar. He has left us two or three songs which are included in almost every

anthology of English verse, and which deserve enduring fame; in addition to these, he wrote a considerable number of lyric, descriptive and complimentary poems, of which it may, without rancour, be said that it would have been better if they had remained in manuscript and perished with his two plays. For, in them, he exhibits most, if not all, of the faults of taste found in Elizabethan sonneteers, together with the fantastic extravagances of the seventeenth century school of lyrists. His love-lyrics to Lucasta are as frigidly rhetorical as the worst poems in Cowley's Mistress, while his Pastoral: to Amarantha abounds in the otiose conceits of what Ruskin has taught us to call 'the pathetic fallacy.' To what excesses a labouring fancy, unrestrained by good taste, may run is well illustrated by such poems as Ellinda's Glove or Lucasta's Muff, by the verses entitled A Loose Saraband, in which he declares that love has made a whipping-top of his bleeding heart, or by the opening stanza of the song, Lucasta Weeping: Lucasta wept, and still the bright Enamoured god of day,

With his soft handkerchief of light,

Kissed the wet pearls away.

Judged by the bulk of his poems, Lovelace has more in common with Habington than with the typical cavalier lyrists, Suckling and Carew; and, although his addresses entitled The Grasshopper and The Snail faintly recall the Anacreontic Ode to the Cicada, he cannot well be called a neo-classic or a follower of Jonson.

When compared with his other poems, Lovelace's two songs To Althea from Prison and Going to the Wars seem nothing less than miracles of art. In them, there is no trace of the pedantry or prolixity, the frigid conceit and the tortured phrase, of his other poems; in their simplicity, their chivalrous feeling and their nobility of thought, they touch perfection. And scarcely inferior to them, though not so well known, is his song, To Lucasta going beyond the Seas, the third stanza of which deserves to rank with the most memorable things in English lyric poetry:

Though seas and land betwixt us both,

Our faith and troth,

Like separated souls,

All time and space controls:

Above the highest sphere we meet,

Unseen, unknown, and greet as angels greet.

Had Lovelace always written like this, the comparison which the seventeenth century biographer, William Winstanley, drew between him and Sir Philip Sidney might win our glad approval.



IN the history of English sacred verse, there has not been any group of poets like those who wrote in the second quarter of the seventeenth century. Herbert, Crashaw and Vaughan form, not, indeed, a school of poetry, but a group with definite links connecting them. Unlike the Fletchers and Habington, who looked back to 'Spenser's art and Sydney's wit,' they come under the influence both of the newer literary fashions of Jonson and Donne, and of the revived spirit of cultured devotion in the Anglican church. The welcome given to The Temple showed that an age more serious than the Elizabethan was interested in the intimate expression of personal religion. Herbert points the way; but each writer has an individual note and an intensity of feeling which ensure his survival for his own sake. In their development of the religious lyric, which was admirably adapted to the portrayal of subtle emotions, they achieved a modest success, while greater poets triumphed in the ampler fields of allegory and epic.

The fascination of George Herbert is due as much to his character as to his writings. It is true that the reputation of The Temple was assured, and nine editions called for, before Izaak Walton's Life made Herbert one of the most familiar figures of the century. But The Temple, and its prose companion, The Priest to the Temple (1652), had already revealed the presence of conflicting traits in their author's character, as, with a rare and almost morbid sensitiveness, he watched his own growth and scrutinised his moods. His personal history, therefore, is of more than ordinary moment for understanding his poems.

The famous Border family of the Herberts had furnished a long line of soldiers, courtiers, judges and men of affairs-an ancestry such as lord Herbert of Cherbury delighted to tell of with a pleasing vanity. The persuasión to a more peaceful calling reached George Herbert, not through his father's line, but

through his mother, Magdalen, daughter of Sir Richard Newport of High Ercall, Shropshire. Her husband died in 1596, leaving her with a family of seven sons and three daughters, 'Job's number and Job's distribution as she herself would very often remember.' George, the fifth son, was born at Montgomery on 3 April 1593, in the same year as Walton his biographer, and Nicholas Ferrar who stood sponsor to The Temple. Magdalen Herbert had all her sons 'brought up in learning,' but most of them chose the life of the court or the camp. It was natural to a Herbert to 'chase brave employments with a naked sword throughout the world,' and not even George escaped the 'passion and choler' of his race.

At Westminster school, under Richard Ireland, he laid the foundation of his scholarship. His boyish performance in answer to the veteran Andrew Melville's Anti-Tami-Cami-Categoria may be lightly dismissed as deserving neither praise nor blame; an injudicious admirer printed it thirty years after Herbert's death. Of greater importance are the two sonnets which he sent to his mother as a New Year's gift, soon after his becoming a scholar of Trinity college, Cambridge. 'Doth poetry wear Venus' livery, only serve her turn?' he asks,

Cannot Thy love

Heighten a spirit to sound out Thy praise
As well as any she?

In this sixteen-year-old challenge to the love poetry of the day, he probably reveals the influence of John Donne, who was already his mother's friend, and had written many of his Divine Poems, though they first appeared in print in the same year as The Temple. If Herbert's early ambition to become a sacred poet never faded from his mind, it hardly held its own during the next fifteen years with academic ambitions of scholarship, and civic ambitions of state employment. Even on the death of his mother in 1627, Parentalia, the filial odes which he appended to Donne's funeral sermon, did not include any English poems, and deserved Barnabas Oley's comment, 'he made his ink with water of Helicon.' His rapid success in the university raised higher hopes. Fellow of Trinity in 1616, and praelector of rhetoric in 1618, he aspired to the office of public orator, 'the finest place in the University,' as he called it, especially because it brought the orator into relations with the court. The retiring orator, Sir Francis Nethersole, and his predecessor, Sir Robert Naunton, held important political offices. Herbert's high connections, courtly address and knowledge of languages were likely to win him similar

promotion. He had made no secret of his intention ultimately to seek the priesthood, and now brushed aside Nethersole's warning that the orator's office might divert him too much from divinity. He canvassed friends and kinsfolk for their support, and sought to 'work the Heads to my purpose.' He was installed orator on 18 January 1619, and held the post till his mother's death. As the official mouth-piece of the university, he was expected to use the language of flattery in addressing those whom Cambridge delighted to honour, and he was well qualified to 'trade in courtesies and wit'; but, even in an age of adulation, his hyperboles are conspicuous. It is impossible to acquit him of self-seeking in his use of the orator's opportunities. As Walton honestly says, 'he enjoyed his gentile humour for cloaths, and courtlike company, and seldom look'd towards Cambridge, unless the King were there, and then he never failed.' According to the same witness, 'all Mr Herbert's Court hopes' died with the death in rapid succession of his two most influential friends, and of the king himself in 1625. It is difficult to believe that his chances were all gone for a man of his parts, but the sudden check served to bring once more to the fore that alternative career which he had never put wholly from him. Retiring 'to a friend in Kent, where he lived very privately,' he debated with himself whether he should return to 'the painted pleasures of a Court life,' or take orders. Some part of his hesitancy must have been overcome very soon, for he was already a deacon', when he was instituted by proxy, on 5 July 1626, to the prebend of Leighton Ecclesia in Lincoln cathedral. How far his entering the diaconate committed him to clerical life cannot easily be gauged. It was one thing to qualify for honorary preferments, it was another to throw in his lot unreservedly with 'a despised order' and its professional duties. The parallel case of his friend Ferrar, ordained deacon in this same summer, may throw some light upon the contemporary opinion of the diaconate. Highly as Ferrar regarded it, he protested that 'he durst not advance one step higher,' and clearly shared that growing regard for the priesthood which the school of Andrewes had encouraged. The point is important, because it indicates that the period of conflict for Herbert was not over, and its long continuance wrung from him poems which bear the marks of mental suffering. The poems of this period have also many references to his agues and failing health. Life was slipping from

1 This fact has been generally overlooked or denied, but the evidence of the Lincoln chapter acts is cited in Daniell's Life, p. 103.

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