I recently came across a long poem called ‘Our Blessed Lady’s Lullaby’ and then found out about its writer. My research led me to Our Dear Lord in the Attic, an attic in Amsterdam, where we visited him. Here is one verse from the poem: Mary is speaking.
The earth is now a heaven become,
And this base power of mine
A princely palace unto me,
My Son doth make to shine.
This sight I see, this Child I have,
This Infant I embrace,
O endless Comfort of the earth
And heaven’s eternal Grace.
Richard Rowlands alias Verstegen wrote this hymn around 1600. He was an English Catholic who fled to Amsterdam after escaping from imprisonment for his faith at home. He made a new and prosperous life in Amsterdam, a Protestant city.
All the Catholic churches there were closed down, including the big church at the Beguinage Convent, now a Scottish Presbyterian church. The good beguine ladies there simply carried on after moving their place of worship to ground floor rooms in their main building. I do not know where Rowlands worshipped, but a little after his time people met for Mass at another city centre site, now known as Our Dear Lord in the Attic. its presence was an open secret; the people of Amsterdam were not given to executions for those who worshipped differently to the official norm.
The Attic Church remained open till the mid nineteenth Century when a new Catholic church was erected nearby. It is now a museum, with the Church area all ready for the occasional worship that takes place there.
This statue of the Madonna and Child belongs here.
We will return to Our Dear Lord in the Attic.
There are many links to the poem on the web, some set to music.