For Valentine’s Day, a heart-warming account by the first biographer of the poet George Herbert on how he met his wife.

Jane Danvers was one of nine daughters of Charles Danvers, who liked George Herbert so much he said repeatedly that he’d be delighted to have him as a son-in-law, in particular if he were to marry his favourite daughter Jane. He also spoke so well of Herbert that when mutual friends arranged a meeting, the ground was already strewn with promise. 

Yet, yet, Love still stormed the ramparts of the surprised city.

And yes, they lived happily ever after, even though Herbert didn’t live so long. 

‘… some friends of both parties procured their meeting; at which time a mutual affection entered into both their hearts, as a conqueror enters into a surprised city, and Love, having got such possession, governed, and made there such laws and resolutions as neither party was able to resist …’

Source: Isaak Walton, The Life of Mr. George Herbert (1670), quoted in John Drury, Music at Midnight: The Life and Poetry of George Herbert (London: Penguin Books, 2014), pp. 198-99

Photo: Beatrice Otto


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