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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
From the ‘Life of Mr. George Herbert’
By Izaak Walton (1593–1683)
 
(See full text.)

I SHALL now proceed to his marriage; in order to which it will be convenient that I first give the reader a short view of his person, and then an account of his wife, and of some circumstances concerning both. He was for his person of a stature inclining toward tallness; his body was very straight, and so far from being cumbered with too much flesh, that he was lean to an extremity. His aspect was cheerful, and his speech and motion did both declare him a gentleman; for they were all so meek and obliging that they purchased love and respect from all that knew him.  1
  These and his other visible virtues begot him much love from a gentleman of a noble fortune, and a near kinsman to his friend the Earl of Danby; namely, from Mr. Charles Danvers of Bainton, in the County of Wilts, Esq. This Mr. Danvers, having known him long and familiarly, did so much affect him that he often and publicly declared a desire that Mr. Herbert would marry any of his nine daughters,—for he had so many,—but rather his daughter Jane than any other, because Jane was his beloved daughter. And he had often said the same to Mr. Herbert himself; and that if he could like her for a wife, and she him for a husband, Jane should have a double blessing: and Mr. Danvers had so often said the like to Jane, and so much commended Mr. Herbert to her, that Jane became so much a platonic as to fall in love with Mr. Herbert unseen.  2
  This was a fair preparation for a marriage: but alas! her father died before Mr. Herbert’s retirement to Dauntsey; yet some friends to 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; insomuch that she changed her name into Herbert the third day after this first interview.  3
  This haste might in others be thought a love-frenzy or worse: but it was not, for they had wooed so like princes as to have select proxies; such as were true friends to both parties, such as well understood Mr. Herbert’s and her temper of mind, and also their estates, so well before this interview, that the suddenness was justifiable by the strictest rules of prudence: and the more because it proved so happy to both parties; for the eternal lover of mankind made them happy in each other’s mutual and equal affections and compliance: indeed, so happy that there never was any opposition betwixt them, unless it were a contest which should most incline to a compliance with the other’s desires. And though this begot, and continued in them, such a mutual love, and joy, and content, as was no way defective; yet this mutual content, and love, and joy did receive a daily augmentation, by such daily obligingness to each other, as still added such new affluences to the former fullness of these divine souls as was only improvable in heaven, where they now enjoy it.  4
 
 
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