1670 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Nicholas Ferrar

Izaak Walton, in Life of George Herbert (1670; 1865) 298-99.



Mr. Farrer had, by the death of his father, or an elder brother, or both, an estate left him, that enabled him to purchase land to the value of four or five hundred pounds a year; the greatest part of which land was at Little Gidden, four or six miles from Huntingdon, and about eighteen from Cambridge; which place he chose for the privacy of it, and for the Hall, which had the Parish-Church or Chapel, belonging and adjoining near to it; for Mr. Farrer having seen the manners and vanities of the world, and found them to be, as Mr. Herbert says, "a nothing between two dishes," did so contemn it, that he resolved to spend the remainder of his life in mortifications, and in devotion, and charity, and to be always prepared for death. And his life was spent thus:

He and his family, which were like a little College, and about thirty in number, did most of them keep Lent and all Ember-weeks strictly, both in fasting and using all those mortifications and prayers that the Church hath appointed to be then used; and he and they did the like constantly on Fridays, and on the Vigils or Eves appointed to be fasted before the Saints' days: and this frugality and abstinence turned to the relief of the poor: but this was but a part of his charity; none but God and he knew the rest.