George Herbert, Priest and Poet

The collect for today, the commemoration of George Herbert (1593-1633), Priest, Poet (source):

George HerbertKing of glory, king of peace,
who didst call thy servant George Herbert
from the pursuit of worldly honours
to be a priest in the temple of his God and king:
grant us also the grace to offer ourselves
with singleness of heart in humble obedience to thy service;
through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord,
who liveth and reigneth with thee,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Epistle: 1 St. Peter 5:1-4
The Gospel: St. Matthew 5:1-10

The hymn, “Let all the world in ev’ry corner sing”, was originally a poem by George Herbert, published in The Temple.

Let all the world in ev’ry corner sing,
My God and King.

The heavens are not too high,
His praise may thither fly:
The earth is not too low,
His praises there may grow.

Let all the world in ev’ry corner sing,
My God and King.

The church with psalms must shout,
No door can keep them out:
But above all, the heart
Must bear the longest part.

Let all the world in ev’ry corner sing,
My God and King.

George Herbert was born to a wealthy family in Montgomery, Wales. Educated at Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge, he appeared headed for a prominent public career, but the deaths of King James I and two patrons ended that possibility.

He chose to pursue holy orders in the Church of England and became rector at Bemerton, near Salisbury, in 1629, where he died four years later of tuberculosis. His preaching and service to church and parishioners contributed to his reputation as an exemplary pastor. He did not become known as a poet until shortly after he died, when his poetry collection The Temple was published.

He is buried in Saint Andrew Bemerton Churchyard.

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