Verses Made by a Catholic in Praise of Campion That Was Executed at Tyburn for Treason, As Is Made Known by the Proclamation

Why do I use my paper, ink, and pen,
And call my wits to counsel what to say?
Such memories were made for mortal men.
I speak of saints whose names shall not decay.
And angels' trump were fitter for to sound
Their glorious death if such on earth were found.

Pardon my want, I offer nought but will;
Their register remaineth safe above.
Campion exceeds the compass of my skill.
Yet let me use the measure of my love,
And give me leave in base and lowly verse
His high attempts in England to rehearse.

He came by vow, the cause to conquer sin;
His armour, prayer; the Word, his targe and shield;
His comfort, heaven; his spoil, our souls to win;
The devil, his foe; the wicked world, his field;
His triumph, joy; his wage, eternal bliss;
His captain, Christ, which ever blessed is.

From ease to pain, from honour to disgrace,
From love to hate, to danger being well,
From safe abode to fear in every place,
Contemning death, to save our souls from hell,
Our new apostle coming to restore
The faith which Austin planted here before.

His natures's flowers were mixed with herbs of grace,
His mild behaviour tempered well with skill;
A lowly mind possessed a learned place,
A sugared speech a rare and virtuous will;
A saintlike man was set on earth below
The seed of truth in erring hearts to sow.

With tongue and pen the truth he taught and wrote,
By force whereof they came to Christ apace;
But when it pleased God it was his lot
He should be thralled, He lent him so much grace
His patience then did work as much, or more,
Than had his heavenly speeches done before.

His fare was hard, yet mild and sweet his cheer,
His prison close, yet free and loose his mind,
His torture great, yet small or none his fear,
His offers large, yet nothing could him blind.
O constant man, O mind, O virtue strange,
Whom want nor woe, nor fear nor hope could change!

From rack in Tower they brought him to dispute,
Bookless, alone, to answer all that came.
But Christ gave grace; he did them all confute
So sweetly there in glory of His name
That even the adverse part were forced to say
That Campion's cause did bear the bell away.

This foil enraged the minds of some so far
They thought it best to take his life away,
Because they saw he would their matter mar,
And leave them shortly nought at all to say.
Traitor he was with many a silly sleight,
Yet packed a jury that cried guilty straight.

Religion there was treason to the Queen,
Preaching of penance, war against the land;
Priests were such dangerous men as had not been;
Prayers and beads were fight and force of hand;
Cases of conscience, bane unto the state:
So blind is error, so false witness, hate.

And yet behold, these lambs are drawn to die;
Treason proclaimed, the Queen is put in fear.
Out upon Satan! Fie, malice, fie!
Speak'st thou to those that did the guiltless hear?
Can humble souls departing now to Christ
Protest untrue? Avaunt, foul fiend, thou li'st!

My sovereign liege, behold your subjects' end:
Your secret foes do misinform your grace;
Who for your cause their holy lives would spend,
As traitors die—a rare and monstrous case.
The bloody wolf condemns the harmless sheep
Before the dog, the while the shepherds sleep.

England look up: thy soil is stained with blood.
Thou hast made martyrs many of thine own.
If thou have grace, their death will do thee good;
The seed will take that in such blood is sown,
And Campion's learning, fertile so before,
Thus watered to must needs of force be more.

Repent thee, Eliot, of thy Judas kiss:
I wish thy penance, not thy desperate end.
Let Norton think, which now in prison is,
To whom he said he was not Caesar's friend,
And let the judge consider well in fear
That Pilate washed his hands and was not clear.

The witness false, Sled, Munday, and the rest,
That had your slanders noted in your book,
Confess your fault beforehand it were best,
Lest God do find it written when he look
In dreadful doom upon the souls of men:
It will be late alas to mend it then.

You bloody jury, Lee and all th'eleven,
Take heed your verdict which was given in haste
Do not exclude you from the joys of heaven
And cause you rue it when the time is past,
And every one whose malice caused him say
‘Crucifige!’ dread the terror of that day.

Fond Elderton, call in thy foolish rhymes,
Thy scurril ballads are too bad to sell;
Let good men rest, and mend thyself betimes,
Confess in prose thou hast not metred well.
Or if thy folly cannot choose but feign,
Write alehouse toys, blaspheme not in thy vein.

Remember ye that would oppress the cause,
The Church is Christ's, His honour cannot die,
Though hell herself revest her grisly jaws
And join in league with schism and heresy;
Though craft devise, and cruel rage oppress,
Yet still will write and martyrdom confess.

Ye thought, perhaps, when learned Campion dies,
His pen must cease, his sugared tongue be still.
But you forget how loud his death it cries,
How far beyond the sound of tongue or quill.
You did not know how rare and great a good
It was to write those precious gifts in blood.

He living spake to them that present were;
His writings took their censure of the view.
Now fame reports his learning far and near,
And now his death confirms their doctrine true.
His virtues now are written in the skies
And often read with holy inward eyes.

All Europe wonders at so rare a man.
England was filled with rumour of his end,
And London most, for it was present then
When constantly three saints their lives did spend.
The streets, the steps, the stones you hauled them by
Proclaims the cause wherefore these martyrs die.

The Tower doth tell the truth he did defend;
The bar bears witness of his guiltless mind;
Tyburn did try he made a patient end;
On every gate his martyrdom we find.
In vain ye wrought that would obscure his name,
For heaven and earth will still record the same.

Your sentence wrong pronounced of him here
Exempts him from the Judgment now to come.
O happy he that is not judged there!
God grant me too to have an earthly doom!
Your witness false and lewdly taken in
Doth cause he is not now accused of sin.

His prison now the city of the King,
His rack and torture, joys and heavenly bliss;
For men's reproach, with angels he doth sing
A sacred song that everlasting is.
For shame but short and loss of small renown
He purchased hath an ever during crown.

His quartered limbs shall join with joy again,
And rise a body brighter than the sun.
Your blinded malice tortured him in vain;
For every wrench some glory hath been won.
And every drop of blood that he did spend
Hath reaped a joy that never shall have end.

Can dreary death then daunt our deeds or pain?
Is't ling'ring life we fear to lose or ease?
No, no: such death procureth life again:
'Tis only God we tremble to displease,
Who kills but once and ever still we die,
Whose hot revenge torments eternally.

We cannot fear a mortal torment, we;
This martyr's blood hath moistened all our hearts;
Whose parted quarters when we chance to see
We learn to play the constant Christian's parts.
His head doth speak, and heavenly precepts give
How that we look, should frame ourselves to live.

His youth instructs us how to spend our days;
His flying bids us how to banish sin;
His strait profession shows the narrow ways
Which they must walk that look to enter in.
His home return by danger and distress
Emboldens us our conscience to profess.

His hurdle draws us with him to the cross;
His speeches there provoketh us to die;
His death doth say his life is but our loss;
His martyred blood from heaven to us doth cry.
His first and last and all agree in this,
To show the way that leadeth unto bliss.

Blessed be God who lent him so much grace!
Thanked be Christ that blest his martyr so!
Happy is he that sees his master's face!
Cursed are they that thought to work his woe!
Bounden we be to give eternal praise
To Jesus' name who such a saint did raise!
Rate this poem: 


No reviews yet.