By Robert Southwell

Vain loves avaunt! infamous is your pleasure,
     Your joys deceit;
Your jewels jests, and worthless trash your treasure,
     Fools' common bait.
Your palace is a prison that allureth
To sweet mishap, and rest that pain procureth.

Your garden grief hedged in with thorns of envy
     And stakes of strife;
Your allies error gravel'd with jealousy
     And cares of life;
Your branches seats enwrapp'd with shades of sadness;
Your arbours breed rough fits of raging madness.

Your beds are sown with seeds of all iniquity
     And poisoning weeds,
Whose stalks ill thoughts, whose leaves words full of vanity,
     Whose fruits misdeeds;
Whose sap is sin, whose force and operation,
To banish grace, and work the soul's damnation.

Your trees are dismal plants of pining corrosives,
     Whose root is ruth,
Whose bark is bale, whose timber stubborn fantasies,
     Whose pith untruth;
On which in lieu of birds whose voice delighteth,
Of guilty conscience screeching note affrighteth.

Your coolest summer gales are scalding sighings,
     Your showers are tears;
Your sweetest smell the stench of sinful living,
     Your favours fears;
Your gard'ner Satan, all you reap is misery,
Your gain remorse and loss of all felicity.


The Poetical Works of the Rev. Robert Southwell.
William B. Turnbull, Esq., ed.
London: John Russell Smith, 1856. 77-8.

Backto Works of Robert Southwell

Site copyright ©1996-2007 Anniina Jokinen. All Rights Reserved.

Page created by Anniina Jokinen on August 31, 2006. Last updated February 7, 2007.