Our Ladie's Nativitye


On the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, when the Catholic world remembers the Blessed Virgin in her apparition at Lourdes to S. Bernadette, when she identified herself as the Immaculate Conception, we have this beautiful poet by the English priest and martyr, S. Robert Southwell. This extract is from Elizabeth Jennings (ed.), In Praise of Our Lady, B. T. Batsford Ltd., London, 1982, p. 24. S. Robert speaks of Mary as the rising of our star, bearer of the Sun, who should soon end our enslavement to the lord of this world; and again as the royal throne, who gave flesh to the God-man; it is she who is the Rod of Jesse, daughter of men, Mother of God.

"Joye in the risinge of our orient starr,
that shall bring forth the Sunne that lent her light;
joy in the peace that shall conclude our warr,
and soone rebate the edge of Saton's spight;
Load-starr of all engolfd in worldly waves,
the card and compasse that from shipwracke saves.

"The patriark and prophettes were the floures
which Tyme by course of ages did distill,
and culld into this little cloude the shoures
whose gracious droppes the world with joy shall fill;
whose moysture suppleth every soule with grace,
and bringeth life to Adam's dyinge race.

"For God, on Earth, she is the royall throne,
the chosen cloth to make His mortall weede;
the quarry to cutt out our Corner-stone,
Soyle full of fruite, yet free from mortall seede;
for heavenly floure she is the Jesse rodd
the childe of man, the parent of a God."

ROBERT SOUTHWELL (1560 - 1595)