Monday, 26 December 2016

Poetry Revisited: For Saint Stephen's Day by Luke Wadding

For Saint Stephen’s Day

(from A Small Garland of Pious & Godly Songs: 1684)

Saint Stephen had an angel's face
All full of virtue, full of grace,
By the false Jews was stoned to death,
For Jesus Christ and for his faith;
But for those stones in Heaven he found
Of precious pearls a glorious crown.

The Jews do falsely him accuse
And in their council him abuse,
Their furious rage without delay
Make stones their arms him to destroy;
And for those stones in Heaven he found
Of precious pearls a glorious crown.

The most sweet saint with his last breath
Doth pray for those who seek his death,
And leaves not off whilst life doth last,
As thick as hail their stones to cast;
And for those stones in Heaven he found
Of precious pearls a glorious crown.

Luke Wadding, O.F.M. (1588-1657)
Irish Franciscan friar and historian

2 comments:

  1. Happy St Stephen's Day, though I am not much in favor of people stoning each other over their religion.

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    1. Well, the Christian martyrs lived in another time with rather barbaric mores and many died horrible deaths. It rather bothers me that this poem has a antisemitic undertone, but then the poet was a Catholic monk, he was Irish and he was born in the late sixteenth century, so I reckon that we can let him get through with it ;-)

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