An extraordinary and vivid image of sin as something that forces pain to infiltrate every vein.  Given the more pious age in which Herbert wrote, and his own great piety, I found this arresting and thought-provoking. 

It also neatly concatenates the two meanings of the word ‘vice’, both as a press and as a manifestation of sin in one form or another. 


‘Sin is that press and vice, which forceth pain

To hunt his cruel food through ev’ry vein.’


Source: ‘The Agony’, George Herbert, quoted in John Drury, Music at Midnight: The Life and Poetry of George Herbert (London: Penguin Books, 2014), p. 270

Image source: Capri23auto at pixabay


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