POETRY: New Heaven, New War by Robert Southwell

New Heaven, New War, by Robert Southwell

Come to your Heaven, you Heavenly choirs,
Earth hath the Heaven of your desires.
Remove your dwelling in your God;
A stall is now his best abode.
Since men their homage do deny,
Come, angels, all their fault supply.

His chilling cold doth heat require;
Come, seraphims, in lieu of fire.
This little ark no cover hath;
Let cherubs’ wings his body swathe.
Come, Raphael, this babe must eat;
Provide our little Toby meat.

Let Gabriel be now his groom,
That first took up his Earthly room.
Let Michael stand in his defense,
Whom love hath linked to feeble sense.
Let graces rock when he doth cry,
And angels sing his lullaby.

The same you saw in Heavenly seat
Is he that now sucks Mary’s teat;
Agonize your king a mortal wight,
His borrowed weed lets not your sight.
Come, kiss the manger where he lies,
That is your bliss above the skies.

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 unarméd 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 pitchéd in a stall,
His bulwark but a broken wall,
The crib his trench, hay stalks his stakes
Of shepherds he his muster makes;
And thus, as sure his foe to wound
The angels’ trumps alarm sound.

My soul, with Christ join thou in fight
Stick to the tents that he hath plight;
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.

 

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