Ans. George Herbert ranks among the group of metaphysical poets in temperament and style of his writings and by virtue of his faith in God and religion, he stands as the most distinguished Anglican poet among the group. His poetry is a record of strivings, failures and victories in the practice of the Christian life. He gave up life of worldly pleasures and worldly ambition in order to become a country priest and to devote himself to the service of God both in the capacity as a poet and as a priest in practical life.
‘Easter Wings’ is a religious poem of Herbert that laments the utter moral and spiritual bankruptcy or degeneration of human race. The poem celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection. It means Christ’s return to life on the third day of his crucifixion. On that Easter Sunday, Herbert wished to sing the victory of Jesus Christ soaring above the sky harmoniously like a lark. He says:
“O let me rise
As larks, harmoniously,
And sing this day thy victories;
Then shall the fall further the flight in me.”
‘The Collar’ is regarded as one of the most important and also as one of the most interesting poems of Herbert. Its importance lies in the mental and spiritual conflict which Herbert actually experienced in the course of his priestly life. Having become a priest, he found that he had sacrificed all worldly ambition and the pleasure of life and therefore, he felt restless and discontented. He wants to be free like a road and independent of all restraints. He doesn’t want to lead a life of slavery to the church and of God. He often wants to revolt against Christianity but not against God. His attitude is vividly expressed in this poem. He says:
“I struck the board and cried, “No more; I will abroad!
What? Shall I ever sigh and pine?”
However, like all metaphysicals, Herbert suffers from self-division but he is sure of his ultimate success in reaching the spiritual heaven. His poems, most of which are argumentative, depict a conflict between the worldly and the unworldly pleasures. But at the end of each, he asserts his faith in the divine life of a Christian.
In fine, we can say without any doubt that Herbert is a great religious poet as he is a pure Christian in faith and belief. We find his religious nature in his poems in which he draws his religious philosophy skilfully.