Robert Southwell was a Jesuit missioner to England in the time of Elizabeth I; he was imprisoned, tortured, condemned and hung drawn and quartered. Paul VI canonised him as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.
Despite his religion, his poetry was respected in his lifetime. Much of it was overtly religious like this exploration of Mary’s feelings at Calvary. My apologies for presenting a less than sunny post today, England’s Mother’s Day, but there are mothers who will be forgotten this year, mothers who have lost children: let’s spare a thought and prayer for them. And give our own mothers a good day.
A sword will pierce your heart.
|What mist hath dimm’d that glorious face?|
What seas of grief my sun doth toss?
The golden rays of heavenly grace
Lies now eclipsèd on the cross.
Jesus, my love, my Son, my God,
Behold Thy mother wash’d in tears:
Thy bloody wounds be made a rod
To chasten these my later years.
You cruel Jews, come work your ire
Upon this worthless flesh of mine,
And kindle not eternal fire
By wounding Him who is divine.
Thou messenger that didst impart
His first descent into my womb,
Come help me now to cleave my heart,
That there I may my Son entomb.
You angels, all that present were
To show His birth with harmony,
Why are you not now ready here,
To make a mourning symphony?
The cause I know you wail alone,
And shed your tears in secrecy,
Lest I should movèd be to moan,
By force of heavy company.
But wail, my soul, thy comfort dies,
My woful womb, lament thy fruit;
My heart give tears unto mine eyes,
Let sorrow string my heavy lute.