Next to his great contemporary John Donne, who was a family friend, fellow poet, and fellow churchman, Herbert is regarded as the foremost among the seventeenth-century metaphysical poets. His book of verse, The Temple, in which "Virtue" is included, enjoyed immense popularity throughout the seventeenth century in part because of the devotional aspect of his poetry and in part because of his reputation for having a character marked by gentleness and saintliness. His poetry remained popular despite the disfavor his religion, his family, and his allegiance to the monarchy earned him...
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