The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #12602   Message #100738
Posted By: Murray on Saltspring
30-Jul-99 - 02:44 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: The Burning Babe (Robert Southwell, S.J.)
Subject: RE: Burning Babe
Hang it--I was all set to pass on this wonderful poem, but you beat me to it. Anyway, I got it in the first ed. of the Norton Anthology of English Literature. I've found that the poor Jesuit missionary was betrayed to the authorities in 1592, tortured and thrown into the Tower of London, and finally hanged and quartered at Tyburn for high treason. He was beatified in 1929. Ben Jonson remarked to the Scots poet William Drummond of Hawthornden that if he had written "The Burning Babe" he would have been willing to destroy many of his own poems. And it is a great piece, full of resonances, whatever the sect. BTW, "scorched", "defiled", and "called" pronounce all their syllables (as the rhythm will tell you). "Fry" in line 14 is a bit strange, I suppose, but it really just means "burn". ,