Poem: “Look Home”

Look Home

Retired thoughts enjoy their own delights,
As beauty doth in self-beholding eye ;
Man’s mind a mirror is of heavenly sights,
A brief wherein all marvels summed lie,
Of fairest forms and sweetest shapes the store,
Most graceful all, yet thought may grace them more.

The mind a creature is, yet can create,
To nature’s patterns adding higher skill ;
Of finest works with better could the state
If force of wit had equal power of will.
Device of man in working hath no end,
What thought can think, another thought can mend.

Man’s soul of endless beauty image is,
Drawn by the work of endless skill and might ;
This skillful might gave many sparks of bliss
And, to discern this bliss, a native light ;
To frame God’s image as his worths required
His might, his skill, his word and will conspired.

All that he had his image should present,
All that it should present it could afford,
To that he could afford his will was bent,
His will was followed with performing word.
Let this suffice, by this conceive the rest,
He should, he could, he would, he did, the best.

Robert Southwell

Robert Southwell was born in Norfolk, England in 1561. He studied and was ordained a Jesuit priest in Rome. At his own request he was sent as a missionary to England, well knowing the dangers he faced. It was a crime for any Englishman who had been ordained as a Catholic priest to remain in England more than forty days at a time. Although he lived mostly in London, he traveled in disguise and preached secretly throughout England. He was eventually caught and imprisoned. There he wrote poems to comfort himself and his fellow prisoners. On February 21, 1595 Southwell was brought to Tyburn, where he was hanged and then quartered for treason. Southwell's writings, both in prose and verse, were extremely popular with his contemporaries. He was declared a Saint by the Catholic Church in the year 1970.