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this application, if we are to believe the account in the Latin manuscript, which was formerly deposited in the Archives of the English college at St. Omers, and of which a translation is given in Challoner's Memoirs of Missionary Priests, the Lord Treasurer answered, "that if he was in so much haste to be hanged, he should quickly have his desire.” Shortly after this he was removed from the Tower to Newgate, where he was put down into the dungeon called Limbo, and there kept for three days. On the 20th February, he was carried to Westminster to take his trial before Lord Chief Justice Popham and others. The indictment was under the Statute 27 Eliz. c. 2.; which enacted, "That any Popish priest, born in the dominions of the crown of England, who should come over thither from beyond sea, (unless driven by stress of weather, and tarrying only a reasonable time,) or should be in England three days without conforming and taking the oaths, should be guilty of high treason." A true bill being found against him, Father Southwell was ordered to the bar, and held up his hand according to custom. On being asked whether he was guilty or not guilty, he answered, "I confess that I was born in England, a subject to the Queen's Majesty; and that, by authority derived from God, I have been promoted to the sacred order of Priesthood in the Roman church," but he denied that he ever entertained any designs against the Queen or kingdom; alleging, that he had no other intention, in returning to his native country, than to administer the sacraments, according to the Catholic church, to such as desired them. Whereupon he was told, that he must leave such matters and plead directly guilty or not guilty. Then he said he was not guilty of any treason whatever, and being asked by whom he would be tried, he answered by God and you. The judge told him he must answer by God and his country, which he at first refused, saying, that the laws of his country were disagreeable to the laws of God, and that he was unwilling those poor harmless men, whom they obliged to represent the country, should have any share in their guilt or any hand in his death. "But," said he, " if, through your iniquity, it must be 'so and I cannot help it, be it as you will. I am ready to be judged by God and my country." The jury were accordingly sworn without a single challenge, the prisoner observing, that they were all equally strangers to him, and, therefore, charity did not allow him to except against one more than another. He was found guilty on his own confession, and being asked if he had any thing more to say why sentence should not be pronounced against, him, he replied, "Nothing, but, from my heart, I forgive all who have been any way accessory to my death." The judge having pronounced sentence
according to the usual form, Father Southwell made a low bow, returning him thanks as for an unspeakable favour.
The next morning he was drawn through the streets, on a sledge, to Tyburn, where a great concourse of people had assembled to witness his execution. He confessed, that he was a Priest of the Society of Jesus, but again denied that he had ever contrived or imagined any evil against the queen, for whom and for his country he offered up his prayers. The cart was then driven away; but the unskilful hangman had not applied the noose to the right place, so that he several times made the sign of the cross while he was hanging, and was some time before he was strangled. He was afterwards cut down, bowelled, and quartered.*
So perished Father Southwell, at thirty-three years of age, and so, unhappily, have perished many of the wise and virtuous of the earth. Conscious of suffering in the supposed best of causes, he seems to have met death without terror-to have received the crown of martyrdom not only with resignation but with joy. Indeed, persecution and martyrdom, torture and death, must have been frequent subjects of his contemplation. His brethren of the priesthood were falling around him, and he himself assumed the character of a comforter and encourager to those who remained. Life's uncertainty and the world's vanity -the crimes and follies of humanity, and the consolations and glories of religion, are the constant themes of his writings, both in prose and verse; and the kindliness and benignity of his nature, and the moral excellence of his character, are diffused alike over both.
The principal and longest poem Southwell has written is St. Peter's Complaint, a lamentation over the weakness which induced him to betray his master. It is written with considerable energy, as the following extract will shew.
"Ah, whither was forgotten love exil'd?
Where did the truth of pledge and promise sleep
Why through my soul such foul suggestions creep?
Threats threw me not, torments I none essay'd;
My fray, with shades; conceits did make me yield,
*This account of the trial and death of Father Southwell is taken from Challoner's Memoirs of Missionary Priests, &c. v. i. p. 324.
O shameful foil! a maiden's easy breath
Did blow me down, and blast my soul to death.
Titles I make untruths: am I a rock,
That with so soft a gale was overthrown?
To guide their souls, that murder'd thus my own?
A pastor-not to feed--but to betray!
Fidelity was flown, when fear was hatch'd,
Like solest swan, that swims in silent deep,
And never sings but obsequies of death,
In suing pardon spend thy perjur'd breath;
Weep balm and myrrh, you sweet Arabian trees,
With purest gums perfume and pearl your rine;
I, barren plant, must weep unpleasant brine:
The piece entitled, St. Mary Magdalen's Tears is of a similar kind, and, although written in prose, is much more fervid and impassioned than the greater part of his poetry. A short extract will give a sufficient idea of the strain in which it is composed.
"But fear not, Blessed Mary, for thy tears will obtain. They are too mighty orators to let thy suit fall; and though they pleaded at the most rigorous bar, yet have they so persuading a silence and so conquering a complaint, that, by yielding, they overcome, and, by entreating, they command. They tie the tongues of all accusers, and soften the rigour of the severest judge. Yea, they win the invincible and bind the omnipotent. When they seem most pitiful they have greatest power, and being most forsaken they are more victorious. Repentant eyes are the cellars of angels, and penitent tears their sweetest wines, which the savour of life perfumeth, the taste of grace
sweeteneth, and the purest colour of returning innocency highly beautifieth. This dew of devotion never faileth, but the sun of justice draweth it up, and upon what face soever it droppeth, it maketh it amiable in God's eye. For this water hath thy heart been long a limbeck, sometimes distilling it out of the weeds of thy own offences with the fire of true contrition. Sometimes out of the flowers of spiritual comforts with the flames of contemplation, and now out of the bitter herbs of thy master's miseries with the heat of a tender compassion. This water hath better graced thy looks than thy former alluring glances. It hath settled worthier beauties in thy face than all thy artificial paintings. Yea, this only water hath quenched God's anger, qualified his justice, recovered his mercy, merited his love, purchased his pardon, and brought forth the spring of all thy favour. Thy tears were the proctors for thy brother's life, the inviters of those angels for thy comfort, and the suitors that shall be rewarded with the first sight of thy revived saviour. Rewarded they shall be, but not refrained; altered in their cause, but their course continued. Heaven would weep at the loss of so pretious a water, and earth lament the absence of so fruitful showers. No, no, the angels must bathe themselves in the pure stream of thy eyes, and thy face shall still be set with this liquid pearl, that, as out of thy tears were stroken the first sparks of thy lord's love, so, thy tears may be the oil to feed his flame. Till death dam up the springs, they shall never cease running; and then shall thy soul be ferried in them to the harbour of life, that, as by them it was first passed from sinne to grace, so, in them it may be wafted from grace to glory." p. 139.
The lines entitled Scorn not the least, display the amiable spirit of the author, and are beautiful withal.
"Where wards are weak, and foes encount'ring strong,
And silent sees, that speech could not amend:
While pike doth range, the silly tench doth flie,
And crouch in privy creekes with smaller fish:
These fleete aflote, while those do fill the dish;
Nor greedy greyhound still pursue the chase,
And fearefull hare to run a quiet race.
In Haman's pomp poor Mardocheus wept,
Southwell thought the art of poetry discredited by the meretricious graces and idle fancies, "the follies and feignings of love," in which poets have indulged; and it was to bring them back to those "solemn and devout matters to which, in duty, they owe their abilities," that he was induced "to weave a new web in their own loom." Poetry, therefore, with him is solely used as a medium for the expression of his ardent religious feelings and aspirations, or to enforce some point of religious or moral obligation. These lines are from his Mæoniæ.
The Image of Death.
That daily should put me in mind,
Do think hereon, that I must die.
I often look upon a face
Most ugly, grisly, bare, and thin;
I often view the hollow place
Where eyes and nose had sometime been;
I see the bones across that lie,
Yet little think that I must die.
I read the label underneath,
That telleth me whereto I must;
Continually at my bed's head
A hearse doth hang, which doth me tell
Though now I feel myself full well;
Have little mind that I must die!
The gown which I am us'd to wear,
The knife wherewith I cut my meat;