Christ the epicentre, Craig Martin

New prince, new pomp (Robert Southwell, 1605)

Behold, a silly tender babe

In freezing winter night

In homely manger trembling lies,—

Alas, a piteous sight!

The inns are full, no man will yield
This little pilgrim bed,
But forced he is with silly beasts
In crib to shroud his head.

Despise him not for lying there,
First, what he is enquire,
An orient pearl is often found
In depth of dirty mire.

Weigh not his crib, his wooden dish,
Nor beasts that by him feed;
Weigh not his mother’s poor attire
Nor Joseph’s simple weed.

This stable is a prince’s court,
This crib his chair of state,
The beasts are parcel of his pomp,
The wooden dish his plate.

The persons in that poor attire
His royal liveries wear;
The prince himself is come from heaven—
This pomp is prizèd there.

With joy approach, O Christian wight,
Do homage to thy king;
And highly prize his humble pomp
Which he from heaven doth bring.

(Image: Christ the epicentre, Craig Martin)

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4 Responses to New prince, new pomp

  1. Emily says:

    Somehow these poetic words seem much more poignant and meaningful than in years past. We’re so much more keenly aware of our fractured world right now, as Craig’s image disturbingly and yet powerfully shows.

    Is there a new composition in the works set to this old text?

  2. Pattie k says:

    Stephanie,
    Beautifully moving poetry. And yes, a strikingly compelling image.
    Thank you for sharing this. The poetry is bringing to mind Christina Rossetti’s words. “Could it be true,” that her poem (In the Bleak Mid-Winter) is actually reminiscent of Robert Southwell’s: New Prince, New Pomp?

    New Prince, new pomp, new piece………
    Hmmm.
    Like Emily and Richard Birney-Smith said!!!

    Merry Christmas, Steph!

  3. Stephanie Martin says:

    Thanks so much – I do SO appreciate your thoughtful comments. Merry Christmas to all : )

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