Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Wrecks of Walsingham

(Hat tip: Fr. Z)

Fr. Ray Blake of St. Mary Magdalen in Brighton, UK, posts the text of the poem (attributed to Sir Phillip Howard) "The Wrecks of Walsingham":

In the wrecks of Walsingham
Whom should I choose
But the Queen of Walsingham
to be my guide and muse !

Then, the Prince of Walsingham,
Grant me to frame
Bitter plaints to rue thy wrong,
Bitter woe for thy name.

Bitter was it, O to see
The silly sheep
Murdered by the ravenous wolves
While the shepherd did sleep.

Bitter was it, O to view
The sacred vine,
Whilst the gardeners played all close,
Rooted up by the swine.

Bitter, bitter, O to behold
The grass to grow
Where the walls of Walsingham
So stately did show.

Such were the worth of Walsingham
While she did stand,
Such are the wrecks as now do show
Of that Holy Land.

Level, level, with the ground
The towers do lie,
Which, with their golden glittering tops,
Pierced out to the sky.

Where were gates are no gates now,
The ways unknown
Where the press of friars did pass
While her fame was blown.

Owls do screech where the sweetest hymns
Lately were sung,
Toads and serpents hold their dens Where the
palmers did throng.

Weep, weep O Walsingham,
Whose days are nights,
Blessings turned to blasphemies,
Holy deeds to despites.

Sin is where Our Lady sat,
Heaven is turned to hell,
Satan sits where Our Lady did sway --
Walsingham, O farewell!

Fr. Blake concludes:
No other act symbolises the end of Catholic England than the destruction of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, and the burning of her statue at Chelsea. It marked the rejection of the Catholic idea of Grace. The model of the fragility of the Christ child in the arms of the fragile Virgin, was replaced by the state in its might imposing its will on the Christians of England.

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