[The Roman Observation of Court of the Temple, Jerusalem, Model]from The Temple (1633), by George Herbert:


¶   Sinnes round.

SOrrie I am, my God, sorrie I am,
That my offences course it in a ring.
My thoughts are working like a busie flame,
Untill their cockatrice1 they hatch and bring;
And when they once have perfected their draughts,2
My words take fire from my inflamed thoughts.

My words take fire from my inflamed thoughts,
Which spit it forth like the Sicilian Hill.3
They vent the wares, and passe them with their faults,
And by their breathing ventilate the ill.
But words suffice not, where are lewd intentions:
My hands do joyn to finish the inventions.

My hands do joyn to finish the inventions:
And so my sinnes ascend three stories high,
As Babel4 grew, before there were dissensions.
Yet ill deeds loyter not: for they supplie
New thoughts of sinning: wherefore, to my shame,
Sorrie I am, my God, sorrie I am.

[Sinnes Round]
1 cockatrice. In Medieval belief, the egg or offspring of a rooster and a serpent.  Represents an evil such as deceit or treachery. [Return]
2 draughts. 1. Drawing or pulling. The act of pulling, as with horses. . . . 7. The act of pulling a net to catch fish or birds. Also the catch from the net. (Oxford English Dictionary) [Return]
3 Sicilian Hill. The volcano Mount Etna. [Return]
4 Babel. The Tower of Babel. Genesis 11:1-9. The prideful attempt to live without God, succeed in this world and oppose God. [Return]

Music Interpretations: "Sinnes Round" (2-part) ; "Sinnes Round" (4-part) by Red Dragon.

1633 Poem Index George Herbert & The Temple Home Page