John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton
jheaton

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This Little Babe

This Little Babe

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 unarmèd wise
The gates of hell he will surprise.

With tears he fights and wins the field,
His naked breast stands for a shield;
His battering shot are babish cries,
His arrows looks of weeping eyes,
His martial ensigns Cold and Need,
And feeble Flesh his warrior's steed.

His camp is pitchèd in a stall,
His bulwark but a broken wall;
The crib his trench, haystalks his stakes;
Of shepherds he his muster makes;
As this, as sure his foe to wound,
The angel's 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 (1561-1595)

Hm, two verses in a row by Jesuit priests. It's a conspiracy! Call the Priory of Sion!

"This Little Babe" is best known as part of Benjamin Britten's A Ceremony of Carols, which can be heard here. I've never sung it and I probably never will -- it's written for a boy's choir.

Tags: advent: 2003, poet's corner
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