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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 license 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. Ferrar 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 Prebendaries 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 fad 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, and music, and pleasant conversation, are “ now all past by me like a dream or as a shadow that returns not, and are
ow all become dead to me, or I to them; and I see that as my father and w generation hath done before me, so I also shall now suddenly (with Job) s make my bed also in the dark; and I praise God I am prepared for it; and 3 H 2
“ I praise
“ When Sein shall swallow Tiber ; and the Thames,
(Mr. Herbert's Church MILITANT.) It is unnecessary to remark the absurdity of supposing, that the productions of a prophet are contained in these lines of Mr. George Herbert.
“ I praise him, that I am not to learn patience, now I stand in such need “ of it ; and that I have practised mortification, and endeavoured to die “ daily, that I might not die eternally ; 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 perfect; 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 expressions, 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 instruments, took it into his hand, and said,
My God, my God,
And ev'ry 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 angels, and he, and Mr. Ferrar, now sing in heaven.
See the whole hymn entitled “Sunday," in Mr. Herbert's “ Temple.".
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 fuddenly 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 answer, 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 forrow, and an unwillingness to lose the sight of him whom they could not hope to see much longer. As they stood thus beholding 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 fighs and tears would not suffer them to make any reply, but they yielded him a fad 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 fhew 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 fake ; but I charge you, by the religion of our friendship, "" to be careful of them." And having obtained Mr. Woodnot's promise
to be fo, 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 my Jesus. And now Lord-Lord, now receive my soul.” And with those words he breathed forth his divine soul, without any apparent disturbance, Mr. Woodnot and Mr. Bostock attending his last breath, and closing his eyes'.
Thus he lived, and thus he died like a faint, 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 doubtless do so to suc: ceeding generations. I have but this to say more of him, that if Andrew
* Thus died Mr. George Herbert :
“ He taught us how to live ; and ah, too high
$ I am obliged to the ingenious author of “ The Lives of the Deans of Canterbury," for pointing out the little poem entitled “Death's final Conquest;" from which these lines were probably quoted. It was originally intended for a solemn dirge, in a play composed by James Shirley, a dramatic writer, who flourished in the beginning of the reign of Charles I. and who died in 1666. It was a favourite song with Charles II.; and Oliver Cromwell is faid, on the recital of it, to have been seized with great terror and agitation of mind. The following is the third and concluding stanza :
“ The garlands wither on your brow;
“ Then boast no more your mighty deeds :
“ All heads must come
“ To the cold tomb :
Melvin died before him', then George Herbert died without an enemy". 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 soul; and would often fay, “ 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 la“bour 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
t" Mr. George Herbert, Esq. Parson of Fugleston and Bemerton, was buried 3d day of “ March, 1632." (Parish Register of Bemerton.) --It does not appear whether 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, Sep. 29, 1632. It must be remembered, that the beginning of the year, at that time, was computed from 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.
u We cannot suppose that Andrew Melville could retain the least personal resentment against Mr. Herbert; whose letters 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.