Sunday poem

The English geek in me likes the old spellings from the poets who lived before the Oxford English Dictionary, when lexicography was preserved by the Edwardians. At least it employed Tolkien when he was a postgraduate.

But the sins we love are the sins that will trap us, and we know what they are. As Herbert did. The difference is now, but not then, we have lost a societal structure that encourages repentance and a sober, godly and quiet life.


Lord, with what care hast thou begirt us round!
Parents first season us: then schoolmasters
Deliver us to laws; they send us bound
To rules of reason, holy messengers,

Pulpits and Sundayes, sorrow dogging sinne,
Afflictions sorted, anguish of all sizes,
Fine nets and stratagems to catch us in,
Bibles laid open, millions of surprises,

Blessings beforehand, tyes of gratefulnesse,
The sound of glorie ringing in our eares:
Without, our shame; within, our consciences;
Angels and grace, eternall hopes and fears.

Yet all these fences and their whole aray
One cunning bosome-sinne blows quite away.

The Temple, George Herbert, 1633