for this time of year. Pr. Wilken and I were talking about Britten's setting of this the other day:
This Little Babe
This little Babe, so few days old,
Has come rifle Satan's fold.
All hell doth at his presence quake
Tho' he Himself with cold doth shake.
For in this weak unarmed 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 engines Cold and Need
And feeble Flesh his warrior's steed.
His camp is pitched in stall
His bulwark but a broken wall
His crib his trench, haystacks his stakes;
Of shepherds He his muster makes
and thus, as sure his foe to wound,
the angels' trumps alarums sound.
My soul with Christ, join thou in fight,
Stick to the tents that he hath pight,
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.
Robert Southwell (1561-1595)