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Edward Herbert 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 , [2] and brother of the poet George Herbert. After private tuition, he matriculated at University College, Oxford , as a gentleman commoner , in May On 28 February , at the age of 14, he married his cousin Mary, then aged 21, "notwithstanding the disparity of years betwixt us" [3] , who was daughter and heiress of Sir William Herbert d.

He returned to Oxford with his wife and mother, continued his studies, and learned French, Italian and Spanish, as well as music, riding and fencing. Herbert entered Parliament as knight of the shire for Montgomeryshire in In Herbert 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. Back in England in he survived an assault in London by Sir John Eyre who accused him of having an affair with his wife Dorothy Bulstrode.

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, 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 In , Herbert was made ambassador to Paris, taking in his entourage Thomas Carew. After the death of de Luynes, Herbert resumed his post in February He was popular at the French court and showed considerable diplomatic ability. He failed in the latter, and was dismissed in April Herbert returned home greatly in debt and received little reward for his services beyond the Irish peerage of Baron Herbert of Castle Island on 31 May and the English barony of Herbert of Cherbury, or Chirbury , on 7 May In , Herbert was appointed a member of the council of war.

He attended the king at York in , and in May 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, [2] pleading ill-health.

On 5 September he surrendered the castle, by negotiation, to the Parliamentary forces led by Sir Thomas Myddelton. In he paid a visit to Pierre Gassendi at Paris, and died in London the following summer, aged 65, being buried in the church of St Giles in the Fields.

Lord Herbert left two sons, Richard c. Richard's sons, Edward Herbert d. Herbert's major work is the De Veritate , prout distinguitur a revelatione, a verisimili, a possibili, et a falso [2] On Truth, as It Is Distinguished from Revelation, the Probable, the Possible, and the False [13] He published it on the advice of Grotius.

In the De veritate , Herbert produced the first purely metaphysical treatise, written by an Englishman. Herbert's real claim to fame is as "the father of English Deism ".

It has been placed on the index of forbidden books of the Catholic Church. The De religione gentilium [18] 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.

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 Herbert's first historical work was the Expedition Buckinghami ducis , [20] a defence of the Duke of Buckingham 's conduct on the La Rochelle expedition of His poems, published in reprinted and edited by John Churton Collins in , 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 To these works must be added A Dialogue between a Tutor and a Pupil , [22] which is of disputed authenticity; [23] and a treatise on the king's supremacy in the Church manuscript in the Record Office and at the Queen's College, Oxford. Missing from it are his friendships and the diplomatic side of his embassy in France, in relation to which he described only the splendour of his retinue and his social triumphs.

Joseph Waligore, in his article "The Piety of the English Deists" [25] has shown that Herbert was one of the most pious of the deists, as he fervently prayed to God and believed God gave signs in answer to our prayers. He was so sure God answered our prayers that he said prayer was an idea God put into every human. He said that:. For Herbert, this universal testimony of God answering our prayers meant that it was a common notion or something engraved into our heart by God.

Herbert was speaking from experience. In his autobiography, Herbert said he once prayed for and received a divine sign. He had written De Veritate and was wondering whether he should publish it. So he got down on his knees and prayed fervently to God for a sign instructing him what to do.

Even though it was a clear, sunny day with no wind, Herbert said he heard a gentle noise in the clear sky that so comforted him that he decided it was a sign from God that he should publish his book.

Herbert wrote:. Being thus doubtful in my Chamber, one fair day in the Summer, my Casement being opened towards the South, the Sun shining clear and no Wind stirring, I took my book, De Veritate , in my hand, and, kneeling on my Knees, devoutly said these words: "O Thou Eternal God, Author of the Light which now shines upon me, and Giver of all inward Illuminations, I do beseech Thee, of Thy infinite Goodness, to pardon a greater Request than a Sinner ought to make; I am not satisfied enough whether I shall publish this Book, De Veritate ; if it be for Thy glory, I beseech Thee give me some Sign from Heaven, if not, I shall suppress it.

Herbert was attacked by orthodox Protestant ministers of the eighteenth century as a religious enthusiast. One minister, John Brown, said his claim to have received a sign from God was "enthusiastic". I think it maybe justly doubted, whether an address of such a particular kind, as that made by his Lordship, was proper or regular. It does not seem to me, that we are well-founded to apply for or to expect an extraordinary sign from heaven. Rather, Herbert was attacked for believing in an overly-involved deity who had an overly-intimate relationship with people.

Modern scholars of deism often have difficulty fitting Herbert's religious views into their scheme of what deists believed. For example, Peter Gay said that Herbert — who lived in the early seventeenth century — was atypical of the later deists because Herbert thought he had received a divine sign. Besides believing in prayers and divine signs, Herbert also believed in miracles, revelation, and direct divine inspiration. Herbert was so sure God performed miracles that he thought this doctrine, and the related notion that God answered our prayers, was an idea God put into every human.

He said he thought the Bible was a "surer source of consolation and support" than any other book and reading it stirred "the whole inner man" to life. To begin with, said Herbert, "we must employ prayers, vows, faith and every faculty which can be used to invoke" the divine. Then "the breath of the Divine Spirit must be immediately felt" and the recommended course of action must be good.

When these conditions were met, "and we feel the Divine guidance in our activities, we must recognize with reverence the good will of God". From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

For other people with the same name, see Edward Herbert disambiguation. The date 5 August appears in the burial registers of St Giles in the Fields , and is corroborated by independent documentary evidence. However, his tombstone, erected some years later, apparently bore the date 20 August, and this date was subsequently accepted by many biographers. It is now believed to have been an error: see Roberts, Dunstan Notes and Queries.

Cambridge University Press. National Trust Collections, Places, Articles. Retrieved 2 September Archived from the original on 7 August Retrieved 20 September Archived from the original on 2 March Retrieved 7 January Intellectual History Review.

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Lord Herbert of Cherbury's lute book.

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More by Paul O'Dette

The early seventeenth-century lute book of Lord Herbert of Cherbury, inter alia a diplomat, contains pieces, mostly by leading composers of the day and many with no other source, which gives a unique overview of the last years of the ten-course renaissance lute. Cherbury was virtually self-taught but, if he was able to play many of the pieces in his book, his contacts with prominent international lutenists must have done wonders for both his technique and his knowledge of French and Italian styles. Looking at O'Dette's selected menu you might think ''Another hors d'oeuvres—28 items in 77 minutes'', but you would be doing it less than justice. A roll-call of composers some on record for the first time , a variety of styles and some striking music—start with the Fantasias of Hely, though I don't have the space to tell you where to end—ensure that one's attention doesn't wander.


Lute Society Meeting: Lord Herbert of Cherbury’s lute book



Edward Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Cherbury


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