Lord Edward Herbert of Cherbury Biography

Edward Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Cherbury (3 March 1583 – 20 August 1648) was a British soldier, diplomat, historian, poet and religious philosopher.

The De religione gentilium was a posthumous work, influenced by the De theologia gentili of Gerardus Vossius, and seen into print by Isaac Vossius. It is an early work on comparative religion, and gives, in David Hume's words, "a natural history of religion." It is also to some extent dependent on the De dis Syris of John Selden, and the Quaestiones celeberrimae in Genesim of Marin Mersenne. By examining pagan religions Herbert finds the universality of his five great articles, and that these are clearly recognizable. The same vein is maintained in the tracts De causis errorum, an unfinished work on logical fallacies, Religio laici, and Ad sacerdotes de religione laici (1645).

Herbert's first historical work was the Expeditio Buckinghami ducis, a defence of the Duke of Buckingham's conduct on the La Rochelle expedition of 1627. The Life and Raigne of King Henry VIII (1649) is considered good for its period, but hampered by limited sources.

His poems, published in 1665 (reprinted and edited by John Churton Collins in 1881), show him in general a faithful disciple of Donne. His satires are poor, but a few of his lyrical verses show power of reflection and true inspiration, while his use of the metre afterwards employed by Tennyson in his "In Memoriam" is particularly happy and effective. His Neo-Latin poems are evidence of his scholarship. Three of these had appeared together with the De causis errorum in 1645.

To these works must be added A Dialogue between a Tutor and a Pupil[16], which is of disputed authenticity;[ and a treatise on the king's supremacy in the Church (manuscript in the Record Office and at the Queen's College, Oxford). His well-known autobiography, first published by Horace Walpole in 1764, a naïve and amusing narrative, is much occupied with his duels and amorous adventures, and breaks off in 1624. Missing from it are his friendships and the diplomatic side of his embassy in France, in relation to which he only described the splendour of his retinue and his social triumphs.

He was a lutenist, and Lord Herbert of Cherbury's Lute-Book survives in manuscript.

Lord Edward Herbert of Cherbury Popular Poems
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