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"Ora pro me, sánete Herberte": James Duport and the Reputation of George Herbert by Tony Prancic and James Doelman The research of Robert Ray and John Shawcross has demonstrated the wealth of seventeenth-century allusions to George Herbert.1 As they show, the bulk of allusions in the period are to The Temple, and a surprising number to "The Church-porch" and "The Church Militant" sections of that work. It is also clear that for many in the latter half of the seventeenth century Herbert was epitomized by two famous quotations: "A verse may find him, who a sermon flies, / And turn delight into a sacrifice," from "The Church-porch," and "Religion stands on tip-toe in our land, / Readie to passe to the American strand" from "The Church Militant." Ray also demonstrates how Herbert was cited by figures ranging across the religious spectrum of the time, both lay and clergy.2 In The Herbert Allusion Book Ray notes three neo-Latin poems of James Duport (1606-1679), the well-known Cambridge scholar, but overlooks two others from the same volume. This article will attempt a number of things: to give some background on Duport's life and work, and indicate some of the particularly relevant contexts of his allusions to Herbert; to identify and gather all known references by Duport to George Herbert, and provide an accessible translation of these references; and finally, to consider the significance of these references in establishing Herbert's reputation as a sacred writer. We will proceed by offering each reference and translation followed by a short commentary, and conclude with a general discussion of the significance of Duport's comments on Herbert.3 James Duport was one generation younger than Herbert, but in a striking way his early life parallels that of the poet he admired. Like Herbert he attended Westminster as a boy before moving on to Trinity College, Cambridge in 1622, while Herbert was serving as University Orator. Duport's scholarly abilities quickly marked him as one who would prosper in a clerical and scholarly life: he took holy orders in the early 1630s, and served as a College tutor through that decade. Duport's scholarly success was marked by being elected 36Tony Prancic and James Doelman a Fellow of Trinity College in 1627, and proceeding to his M.A. in 1630. In 1637 he took the degree of B.D., and two years later was named Regius Professor of Greek. In subsequent years he accepted a number of church positions, including the Archdeaconry of Stow in Lincoln. The Civil Wars limited his clerical and scholarly success: he resigned his position of Archdeacon in 1641 and the Greek Professorship in 1654 . However, with the shifting tides of the Civil Wars and Interregnum he attained other positions: he was named Lady Margaret preacher in Cambridge in 1646, and in 1655 he was elected Vice-Master of Trinity College. Duport's early nineteenth-century biographer, J.H. Monk, takes great pains to demonstrate that Duport remained loyal to the pre-Civil War Church of England, but, as John Twigg shows, Duport clearly was willing to work with the new regime.4 Monk's suggestion that Duport somehow eluded taking the Covenant has no evidence to sustain it.5 Whatever compromises Duport made in the 1640s and 1650s, he clearly renewed his earlier academic and clerical success at the Restoration.6 He was named one of the royal chaplains, reinstituted as Professor of Greek — although he resigned that post in favor of his former student Isaac Barrow soon after — and in 1664 became Dean of Peterborough Cathedral. In the late 1660s he was appointed Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, and Vice-Chancellor of the University. At Westminster and Cambridge, Duport developed interests in the classical writings of Homer, Aristotle, and Martial, all of whose influence was to mark his own scholarship and poetry for the rest of his life. Like the verse of many Cambridge students and scholars of the time, his early work found its first publication in collections to mark various public events, one in a collection to the memory of Bacon in 1626.7 His more substantial poetic aspirations saw...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1931-1192
Print ISSN
0161-7435
Pages
pp. 35-55
Launched on MUSE
2010-10-13
Open Access
No
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