28 December 2006

A Poem for Christmastime

This little Babe, so few days old,
Is come to rifle Satan's fold.
All Hell doth at His presence quake,
Though He Himself for cold do shake.
For in this weak, unarmed wise,
The gates of Hell He will surprise.

With tears He fights and wins the field;
His naked breast stands for a shield.
His batt'ring shot are babish cries,
His arrows looks of weeping eyes,
His martial ensigns Cold and Need,
And feeble flesh His warrior steed.

His camp is pitched in a stall,
His bulwark but a broken wall;
A crib His trench, haystalks His stakes;
Of shepherds He His muster makes.
And thus-- as sure His foe to wound--
The angels' trumps alarum sound!

My soul, with Christ join thou in fight,
Stick to the tents that He hath pight.
Within His crib is surest ward;
This little Babe will be thy guard.
If thou wilt foil thy foes with joy,
Then flit not from this heavenly Boy!

-Robert Southwell


Iambic Admonit said...

That's an amazing poem. It really shakes me up when I read it -- it is very new & old, soft & sharp, childish & militant. I guess just a good old Medieval worldview that sees no conflict between the Christ child & Christ the conquering warrior. But the images are startlingly unique.

To fully experience these lyrics, you need to hear them in their powerful
setting by Benjamin Britten. Merry Christmas (in retrospect) & a Happy New Year!

Rachel LeAnn said...

If you wouldn't mind, I'm returning the favor and asking if you could come back over to my site and give a thoughs on a reaction paper on The Problem of Pain I've just written.

Lovely Poem.