Essay on Peace- George Herbert
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Peace- George Herbert
George Herbert depicts a search for peace through religion in his poem
"Peace" by utilizing allusion to the Bible and symbolism.
George Herbert begins his poem by asking a question; "Sweet Peace, where dost thou dwell?" This is an apostrophe to Peace because the narrator is seeking peace in a variety of sublunary places and objects such as a cave, a rainbow, a Crown Imperial flower, and he finally asks a reverend where he may find peace. The reverend recounts the life of a prince who "sweetly lived" and "who lived with good increase of flock and fold." The prince died and on his grave "there sprang twelve stalks of wheat" which prospered and spread throughout the
Earth. Anyone who fed on the wheat…show more content…
The symbolism in the poem is similar to the symbolism that is often used in the Bible; he compares Jesus to both a prince and a shepherd.
The prince reference is appropriate because he is the son of God, who is often called a king, and this relationship would properly make
Jesus a prince. The symbol of a shepherd is commonly used because people are considered his flock that he gathers and leads to the kingdom of God. The twelve stalks of wheat mentioned in the narration symbolize the twelve apostles. It is said to have grown and spread much like Christianity grew and spread throughout the known world.
Wheat is an important symbol because it relates the apostles closely to a motherly figure because they "gave birth" to the new religion.
The wheat also closely relates the image of bread that the seeker is supposed to create from the wheat that he sows. Bread is often used to symbolize Jesus, especially in church during communion, because he is known as the bread of life. People are supposed to feed off of him for eternal life, which is exactly what the reverend advises the seeker to do. It is imperative for the reader to understand the symbolism of
"Peace" to understand the full meaning of the poem.
George Herbert uses a man searching for peace as a comparison for someone who lacks religion and spirit. The man is on a quest, and he
George Herbert was born on April 3, 1593, the fifth son of an eminent Welsh family. His mother, Magdalen Newport, held great patronage to distinguished literary figures such as John Donne, who dedicated his Holy Sonnets to her. Herbert's father died when he was three, leaving his mother with ten children, all of whom she was determined to educate and raise as loyal Anglicans. Herbert left for Westminster School at age ten, and went on to become one of three to win scholarships to Trinity College, Cambridge.
Herbert received two degrees (a B.A. in 1613 and an M.A. in 1616) and was elected a major fellow of Trinity. Two years after his college graduation, he was appointed reader in Rhetoric at Cambridge, and in 1620 he was elected public oratora post wherein Herbert was called upon to represent Cambridge at public occasions and that he described as "the finest place in the university." In 1624 and 1625 Herbert was elected as a representative to Parliament. He resigned as orator in 1627, married Jane Danvers in 1629, and took holy orders in the Church of England in 1630. Herbert spent the rest of his life as rector in Bemerton near Salisbury. While there, he preached, wrote poetry, and helped rebuild the church out of his own funds.
Herbert's practical manual to country parsons, A Priest to the Temple (1652), exhibits the intelligent devotion he showed to his parishoners. On his deathbed, he sent the manuscript of The Temple to his close friend, Nicholas Ferrar, asking him to publish the poems only if he thought they might do good to "any dejected poor soul." He died of consumption in 1633 at the age of forty and the book was published in the same year. The Temple met with enormous popular acclaimit had been reprinted twenty times by 1680.
Herbert's poems have been characterized by a deep religious devotion, linguistic precision, metrical agility, and ingenious use of conceit. Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote of Herbert's diction that "Nothing can be more pure, manly, or unaffected," and he is ranked with Donne as one of the great Metaphysical poets.