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St. Robert Southwell—Mary Magdalene’s Complaint at Christ’s Death

By James T. Majewski ( bio - articles - email ) | Jul 23, 2021 | In Catholic Culture Audiobooks (Podcast)

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One that lives by other’s breath, / Dieth also by his death.”

In honor of the recent feast of St. Mary Magdalene, we’re returning to the poetry of the English Jesuit martyr, St. Robert Southwell, whom we’ve featured on this podcast before. In this episode, we’ll be hearing his poem “Mary Magdalene’s Complaint at Christ’s Death”, a meditation upon Mary Magdalene at the foot of the Cross. As an eventual martyr himself, Southwell’s reflections on death here are especially powerful.

First, however, we’ll listen to a brief letter by Southwell, written to his cousin, on the nature and purpose of poetry. Southwell was massively influential on later writers of the English Renaissance, and this letter had much to do with that. William Shakespeare, in fact, seems to have included a response to this very letter in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Some scholars have argued, even, that the cousin to whom Southwell is writing this letter is, in fact, Shakespeare himself.

You can learn more about St. Robert Southwell, his poetry, and the poetry of other English Martyrs, in episode 69 of the Catholic Culture Podcast.


St. Robert Southwell—Love & Suffering: 3 Poems | Catholic Culture Audiobooks:

Ep. 69—Poetry of the English Martyrs—Benedict Whalen | Catholic Culture Podcast:

Mary Magdalene’s Complaint at Christ’s Death full text:

Lyra Martyrum: The Poetry of the English Martyrs

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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.

James T. Majewski is Director of Customer Relations for, the “voice” of Catholic Culture Audiobooks, and co-host of Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast. Based in New York City, he holds both a BA in Philosophy and an MFA in Acting. See full bio.

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