John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

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New prince, new pomp

New prince, new pomp

Behold, a seely tender babe
  In freezing winter night
In homely manger trembling lies,—
  Alas, a piteous sight!
The inns are full, no man will yield
  This little pilgrim bed,
But forced he is with seely beasts
  In crib to shroud his head.
Despise him not for lying there,
  First, what he is enquire,
An orient pearl is often found
  In depth of dirty mire.
Weigh not his crib, his wooden dish,
  Nor beasts that by him feed;
Weigh not his mother's poor attire
  Nor Joseph's simple weed.
This stable is a prince's court,
  This crib his chair of state,
The beasts are parcel of his pomp,
  The wooden dish his plate.
The persons in that poor attire
  His royal liveries wear;
The prince himself is come from heaven—
  This pomp is prizèd there.
With joy approach, O Christian wight,
  Do homage to thy king;
And highly prize his humble pomp
  Which he from heaven doth bring.

Robert Southwell (1561-1595)

Robert Southwell, who also wrote "The Burning Babe" and "A Child My Choice", wrote "New Prince, New Pomp" in prison. He was a devout Roman Catholic serving a mission in England at a time when virulent anti-Catholicism was rampant. After two and a half years of imprisonment, during which he was tortured several times, Southwell was hanged at Tyburn. He was canonized in 1970.

Tags: advent: 2003, poet's corner

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