George Herbert as a Religious poet


George Herbert a metaphysical poet of medieval English literature, considered as a religious poet because of his subject matter of his poetry that is fully devotional and religious by nature. George Herbert, through his poetry completely surrender himself to God and his master Jesus. George Herbert was born in an aristocratic family, on April 3, 1593 in Wales. He was an orator, a poet and an Anglican priest. He considered as metaphysical poet because his poetry is associated with metaphysical poets. He is recognized as pivotal figure, and enormously popular, deeply and broadly influential and arguably the most skillful and important British devotional lyricist.

Although, he was associated with metaphysical group he was exceptional for his treatment towards religion in his poetry. For his devotion to God he is known as the saint of the metaphysical group and his religious thought afterward influenced other metaphysical poets. However, his devotion to God reflects in his poems and we find a great touch of religions in almost all of his poems.

Herbert as a Religious poet:

 Herbert was a Churchman of the Anglican Church so the religious faith had grown and developed in this Church. He was influenced by its right from his childhood under benign guidance of his pious (भक्त, पवित्र) mother and seasoned family chaplains. His poems simply reflects his spiritual conflicts as no one can think but only those that have endured them.

George Herbert, after completing his university graduation, he was ordained and placed over the little church of Bremerton. Herbert`s mind was molded by religion and by the Anglican church as his religious faith is shaped by his mother, we can see that his poems are the representations of his sacred mind and thought. His poems are nothing but the true expression of love towards God and Jesus. Herbert finds and gets satisfaction writing religious poems. Even the two sonnets that he sent his mother when he was only seventeen, he wrote that what kind of poets he wants to be. In his after years he writes divine poems and sees beauty only in God.

George Herbert was all for God, his king whose praise he will sing in plain homely language, even just before his death he gave a manuscript to one of his friends and the message that he gave is worthy. He said deliver this little book to my dear brother Ferrar and tell him he shall find in it a picture of the many spirit 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. However, Herbert is called a devotional or the religious poet because he deals with such a subject.

The theme of his most of his poems is religious he deals with soul, life after death. The relation between human spirits and sense and so on. He talks of man`s relation to God of body to the soul of the life to the here and hereafter. In this relation he often shows rebellion, reconciliation (सुलह) and the final submission. Moreover, his poetry is a sequence of religious poem. His motives are to always to Make divine and original the secular imitation. He sees the thing of daily life in direct relation to supernatural order. Heavenly truths are indeed what he looks for in all his poems. There are many poems in which Herbert devoutly offers his homage to God and surrender himself to Almighty.

Herbert uses several literary devices in his poetry, although considered as a metaphysical poet alongside John Donne and Andrew Marvel, Herbert avoided secular love lyrics in favor of sincere holy worship. He uses devotional verse using simple direct speech. His simple diction and the habit of understatement clearly indicate a deep influence of the Bible and the Psalms. (एक पवित्र गीत या भजन) His poem are lucid, this simply manipulates his verse to reflect the thematic pattern. Like Andrew Marvell his companion of his time Herbert`s line suggest much more than lucid textured poem seems to state. His diction that appears to be simple and limited expands outwards in accordance with given context of the poem. For Example; In his poem `The Pulley` , God bestows on man all gifts holding back only one of what peace so it may become the pulley to draw man back to the divine breast.

Herbert`s fondness for the book of proverbs and parables gives his poetry those many concrete pictures and keeps the metaphysical abstractions bay (अयथाथ्रवादी). Herbert`s poetry posse a complexity dormant (जटिलता सुप्त) within the apparent simplicity. Similarly, his varied range of tones is direct result of his training as an orator. For Example; when he writes “My God thou art all love” there is no one final interpretation.


When we think of devotional poet first name spark in mind is George Herbert, he speaks with a gentle voice but he is one of the strongest poetic personality and simply a masterful craftsman of religious poet. His contemporaries regarded him as a pious and saintly man. George Herbert`s poem were like his private meditations, he is very much steeped into Christian ideology. His collection of poems were called `The Temple` and various poem` title like The Porch, The Window and The Collar etc. Herbert as a religious poet influenced many writers and authors, though He himself learnt from Donne was a very kind of person, he learn technical skills that reach out to the heart of matter.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s