Poem: “Times Go By Turns”

Times Go By Turns

The lopped tree in time may grow again
Most naked plants renew both fruit and flower
The sorriest weight may find release of pain
The driest soil suck in some moistening shower
Times go by turns and chances change by course
From foul to fair from better happ to worse

The sea of fortune does not ever flow
She draws her favours to the lowest ebb
Her tide has equal times to come and go
Her loom does weave the fine and coarsest web
No joy so great but runneth to an end
No happ so hard but may in fine amend.

Not always fall of leaf nor ever spring
No endless night yet not eternal day
The saddest birds a season find to sing
The roughest storm a calm may soon alaye.
Thus with succeeding turns god tempers all
That man may hope to rise yet fear to fall

A Chance may win that by mis-chance was lost
The net that holds no great takes little fish
In some things all, in all things none are crossed
Few all they need but none have all they wish
Unmeddled joys here to no man befall
Who least has some who most has never all.

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.