Robert Southwell was born at Horsham St. Faith's, Norfolk, England, in 1561; hanged at Tyburn, 21 February, 1595. His grandfather, Sir Richard Southwell, had been a wealthy man and a prominent courtier in the reign of Henry VIII. His grandfather had been a prominent man in Henry VIII's court and the family remained among the elite of the land. He was so beautiful as a young boy that a gypsy stole him. He was soon recovered by his family and became a short, handsome man, with gray eyes and red hair.
It was Richard Southwell who in 1547 had brought the poet Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, to the block, and Surrey had vainly begged to be allowed to "fight him in his shirt". ... more »
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Robert Southwell Poems
The Burning Babe
AS I in hoary winter's night Stood shivering in the snow, Surprised I was with sudden heat Which made my heart to glow;
Man's Civil War
MY hovering thoughts would fly to heaven And quiet nestle in the sky, Fain would my ship in Virtue's shore Without remove at anchor lie.
New Prince New Pomp
Behold, a seely tender babe In freezing winter night In homely manger trembling lies; Alas, a piteous sight!
A Child My Choice
Let folly praise that fancy loves, I praise and love that Child Whose heart no thought, whose tongue no word, whose hand no deed defiled. I praise Him most, I love Him best, all praise and love is His;
The Nativity of Christ
Behold the father is his daughter's son, The bird that built the nest is hatched therein, The old of years an hour hath not outrun, Eternal life to live doth now begin,
Retired thoughts enjoy their own delights, As beauty doth in self-beholding eye ; Man's mind a mirror is of heavenly sights, A brief wherein all marvels summed lie,
Love's Servile Lot
LOVE, mistress is of many minds, Yet few know whom they serve; They reckon least how little Love Their service doth deserve.
Content and Rich
I dwell in Grace's court, Enriched with Virtue's rights; Faith guides my wit, Love leads my will, Hope all my mind delights.
Upon The Image Of Death
Before my face the picture hangs That daily should put me in mind Of those cold names and bitter pangs That shortly I am like to find;
New Heaven, New War
Come to your heaven, you heavenly choirs, Earth hath the heaven of your desires; Remove your dwelling to your God, A stall is now his best abode;
Comments about Robert Southwell
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The Burning Babe
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, scorched with excessive heat,
Such floods of tears did shed,
As though His floods should quench His flames,
Which with His tears were bred:
'Alas!' quoth He, 'but newly born
In fiery ...