Edward, Lord Herbert of Cherbury Poems

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Edward, Lord Herbert of Cherbury
Edward Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Cherbury (March 3, 1583 August 20, 1648) was a British soldier, diplomat, historian, poet and religious philosopher. He was the eldest son of Richard Herbert of Montgomery Castle (a member of a collateral branch of the family of the Earls of Pembroke) and of Magdalen, daughter of Sir Richard Newport, and brother of the poet George Herbert. He was born at Eyton-on-Severn near Wroxeter. After private tuition he matriculated at University College, Oxford, as a gentleman commoner, in May 1596. On February 28, 1599 he married his cousin Mary, daughter and heiress of Sir William Herbert (d. 1593). He returned to Oxford with his wife and mother, continued his studies, and learned modern languages as well as music, riding and fencing. On the accession of King James I he presented himself at court and was created a Knight of the Bath on July 24, 1603. In 1608 he went to Paris, enjoying the friendship and hospitality of the old Constable de Montmorency and meeting King Henry IV. On his return, as he says himself, he was "in great esteem both in court and city, many of the greatest desiring my company." In 1610 he served as a volunteer in the Low Countries under the Prince of Orange, whose intimate friend he became, and distinguished himself at the capture of Juliers from the emperor. He offered to decide the war by engaging in single combat with a champion chosen from among the enemy, but his challenge was declined. During an interval in the fighting he paid a visit to Spinola, in the Spanish camp near Wezel, and afterwards to the elector palatine at Heidelberg, subsequently travelling in Italy. At the instance of the Duke of Savoy he led an expedition of 4,000 Huguenots from Languedoc into Piedmont to help the Savoyards against Spain, but after nearly losing his life in the journey to Lyon he was imprisoned on his arrival there, and the enterprise came to nothing. Thence he returned to the Netherlands and the Prince of Orange, arriving in England in 1617. In 1619, Herbert was made ambassador to Paris, but a quarrel with de Luynes and a challenge sent by him to the latter occasioned his recall in 1621. After the death of de Luynes, Herbert resumed his post in February 1622. He was very popular at the French court and showed considerable diplomatic ability, his chief objects being to accomplish the marriage between Charles and Henrietta Maria and secure the assistance of Louis XIII for the elector palatine. He failed in the latter, and was dismissed in April 1624. He returned home greatly in debt and received little reward for his services beyond the Irish peerage of Castle Island on 31 May 1624 and the English barony of Cherbury, or Chirbury, on May 7, 1629. In 1632 he was appointed a member of the council of war. He attended the king at York in 1639, and in May 1642 was imprisoned by the parliament for urging the addition of the words "without cause" to the resolution that the king violated his oath by making war on parliament. He determined after this to take no further part in the struggle, retired to Montgomery Castle, and declined the king's summons. On September 5, 1644 he surrendered the castle to the parliamentary forces, returned to London, submitted, and was granted a pension of 20 a week. In 1647. he paid a visit to Pierre Gassendi at Paris, and died in London the following summer, being buried in the church of St Giles's in the Fields. Lord Herbert left two sons, Richard (c. 1600-1655), who succeeded him as 2nd Lord Herbert of Cherbury, and Edward, the title becoming extinct in the person of Henry Herbert, the 4th baron, grandson of the 1st Lord Herbert, in 1691. In 1694, however, it was revived in favour of another Henry Herbert (1654-1709), son of Sir Henry Herbert (1595-1673), brother of the 1st Lord Herbert of Cherbury. Lord Herbert's cousin and namesake, Sir Edward Herbert, was also a prominent figure in the English Civil War.

elegy over a tomb
 
 
Must I then see, alas, eternal night
Sitting upon those fairest eyes,
And closing all ... [read poem]
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