St. Robert Southwell—3 Poems: The Burning Babe, A Child My Choice, I Die Alive
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“Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live.”
In this special, post-Valentine’s Day episode, we’ve compiled a selection of three poems by St. Robert Southwell.
Like St. Valentine, St. Robert Southwell was a martyr: an English Jesuit who served as a clandestine missionary in post-Reformation England. There he ministered in secret for six years before he was arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London. After three years of imprisonment and torture, he was convicted of high treason and executed by being hanged, drawn, and quartered.
During his time in England, Southwell witnessed the executions of many other Catholics, including those of people he knew personally. It’s in this light, and in light of his own eventual martyrdom, that his poetry carries with it an especial gravity. At once horrified and inspired by the martyrdoms he witnessed, Southwell wrote this paradox into his poetry, as reflected in the poems selected for this episode.
Poems of the English martyrs as found in Lyra Martyrum: https://www.clunymedia.com/product/lyra-martyrum/
For more poetry readings: the Daily Poem podcast https://shows.acast.com/the-daily-poem
Theme music: “2 Part Invention”, composed by Mark Christopher Brandt, performed by Thomas Mirus. ©️2019 Heart of the Lion Publishing Co./BMI. All rights reserved.
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