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Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives

George Herbert Collection

One of the largest Herbert collections in the United States, the Herbert collection was begun by a faculty member in UNCG's Department of English in the 1970s. None of his poetry had been published at the time of his death and no manuscripts in his hand survived. Nearly all of the early editions including the first edition of Herbert's famous collection of poems, The Temple, are in the collection. The collection is a major resource for Herbert students and scholars.

Short Bio

George Herbert was a Welsh poet, orator and a priest. Being born into an artistic and wealthy family, he received a good education which led on to him holding prominent positions at Cambridge University and Parliament. As a student at Trinity College, Cambridge, England, George Herbert excelled in languages and music. He went to college with the intention of becoming a priest, but his scholarship attracted the attention of King James I. Herbert served in parliament for two years. After the death of King James and at the urging of a friend, Herbert's interest in ordained ministry was renewed. In 1630, in his late thirties he gave up his secular ambitions and took holy orders in the Church of England, spending the rest of his life as a rector of the little parish of St. Andrew Bemerton, near Salisbury. He was noted for unfailing care for his parishioners, bringing the sacraments to them when they were ill, and providing food and clothing for those in need. Throughout his life he wrote religious poems characterized by a precision of language, a metrical versatility, and an ingenious use of imagery or conceits that was favored by the metaphysical school of poets.[1] He is best remembered as a writer of poems and the hymn "Come, My Way, My Truth, My Life." He is commemorated on February 27 throughout the Anglican Communion and on March 1 of the Calendar of Saints of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.