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The Burninge Babe | by Simon_K
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The Burninge Babe

St John the Baptist, Coltishall, Norfolk

 

As I in hoary Winter's night stood shiveringe in the snowe,

Surpris'd I was with sodayne heat, which made my hart to glowe;

And liftinge upp a fearefull eye to vewe what fire was nere,

A prety Babe all burninge bright, did in the ayre appeare.

Who scorchèd with excessive heate, such floodes of teares did shedd,

As though His floodes should quench His flames which with His teares were fedd;

Alas! quoth He, but newly borne, in fiery heates I frye,

Yet none approch to warme their hartes or feele my fire but I!

My faultles brest the fornace is, the fuell woundinge thornes,

Love is the fire, and sighes the smoke, the ashes shame and scornes;

The fuell Justice layeth on, and Mercy blowes the coales,

The metall in this fornace wrought are men's defilèd soules,

For which, as nowe on fire I am, to worke them to their good,

So will I melt into a bath to washe them in My bloode:

With this He vanisht out of sight, and swiftly shroncke awaye,

And straight I callèd unto mynde that it was Christmas-daye.

 

Robert Southwell, The Burning Babe, 1594

 

St Robert Southwell (c. 1561 – 21 February 1595) was an English Jesuit priest and poet. He was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn, and became a Catholic martyr. He was born at Horsham St. Faith in Norfolk.

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Uploaded on December 16, 2008