Herbert of Cherbury, Edward Herbert, 1st Baron, 1583–1648, English philosopher, poet, and diplomat; elder brother of George Herbert, the metaphysical poet. He was ambassador to France (1619–24) and was created Baron Herbert of Cherbury in 1629. A precursor of deism, Lord Herbert laid down his principles of natural religion in De veritate (1624), De religione laici (1645), and De religione gentilium (1663). His secular metaphysical poetry also shows the influence of his philosophy, for even his love poems in Poems (1665) reflect the serious, analytic approach of the rationalist. He also wrote a biography of Henry VIII (1649) and an autobiography, first published by Horace Walpole in 1764.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.