1844 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Thomas Herbert

Robert Chambers, in Cyclopaedia of English Literature (1844; 1850) 1:261.



The only other traveller of much note at this time [besides James Howell] was SIR THOMAS HERBERT, who in 1626 set out on a journey to the east, and, after his return, published, in 1634, A Relation of some Years' Travels into Africa and the Greater Asia, especially the Territory of the Persian Monarchy, and some parts of the Oriental Indies and Isles adjacent. According to the judgment of the author of the Catalogue in Churchill's Collection, these travels "have deservedly had a great reputation, being the best account of those parts written [before the end of the seventeenth century] by any Englishman, and not inferior to the beet of foreigners; what is peculiar in them in, the excellent description of all antiquities, the curious remarks on them, and the extraordinary accidents that often occur." This eulogy seems too high; at least we have found the author's accounts of the places which he visited far too meagre to be relished by modern taste. A brief extract from the work is given below. In the civil wars of England, Herbert sided with the parliament, and, when the king was required to dismiss his own servants, was chosen by his majesty one of the grooms of the bed-chamber. Herbert then became much attached to the king, served him with much zeal and assiduity, and was on the scaffold when the ill-fated monarch was brought to the block. After the Restoration, he was rewarded by Charles II, with a baronetcy, and subsequently devoted much time to literary pursuits. In 1678 he wrote Threnodia Carolina, containing an Historical Account of the Two Last Years of the Life of King Charles I. This was reprinted in a collection of "Memoirs of the Two Last Years of that Unparalleled Prince, of Everblessed Memory, King Charles I.," published in 1702. Sir Thomas Herbert died in 1682.