Tuesday, December 25, 2018

"The Burning Babe"

The poem by St. Robert Southwell, priest and martyr. 
As I in hoary winter's night stood shivering in the snow,
Surprised I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow ;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty babe all burning bright did in the air appear ;
Who, scorchëd with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed
As though his floods should quench his flames which with his tears were fed.
Alas, quoth he, but newly born in fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I !
My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns,
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns ;
The fuel justice layeth on, and mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought are men's defilëd souls,
For which, as now on fire I am to work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood.
With this he vanished out of sight and swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I callëd unto mind that it was Christmas day.



Enbrethiliel said...


Merry Christmas, Elena! =D

I really like this poem by Southwell.

I also want to mention an odd coincidence. This same poem was posted on another 'blog I read, where the 'blogmistress is also a historical novelist! She mentioned that she is always disconcerted to remember around Chritmas time that Southwell was martyred under Queen Elizabeth.

elena maria vidal said...

Merry Christmas, dear! That's amazing! Now, I am curious......

Isabel Azar said...

What a vivid poem - Southwell's kinship to Shakespeare (they were apparently cousins) is evident.

A Secular Franciscan said...

Thank you for posting this! It was what I needed today.

elena maria vidal said...

May God be praised!