By Robert Southwell

Till twelve years' age, how Christ His childhood spent
     All earthly pens unworthy were to write;
Such acts to mortal eyes He did present,
     Whose worth not men but angels must recite:
No nature's blots, no childish faults defiled,
Where grace was guide, and God did play the child.

In springing locks lay crouchèd hoary wit,
     In semblant young, a grave and ancient port;
In lowly looks high majesty did sit,
     In tender tongue sound sense of sagest sort:
Nature imparted all that she could teach,
And God supplied where nature could not reach.

His mirth of modest mien a mirror was;
     His sadness temper'd with a mild aspect;
His eye to try each action was a glass,
     Whose looks did good approve and bad correct;
His nature's gifts, His grace, His word and deed,
Well show'd that all did from a God proceed.


The Poetical Works of the Rev. Robert Southwell.
William B. Turnbull, Esq., ed.
London: John Russell Smith, 1856. 118.

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