THOMAS POUNDE’S POEM FROM PRISON written upon the occasion of St. Edmund Campion’s Martyrdom.

“Thomas Pounde was evidently a man of great ability and of considerable poetical talent . The late Mr. Simpson in p. 325 of his Life of Father Campion ascribes to Pounde the following lines, written upon the occasion of the martyrdom of Father Edmund Campian and his companions, when among other prodigies mentioned by Father Persons in his Epistle of Comfort to the Priests, which he wrote early in 1582, he gives an account of “the wonderful stay and standing of the Thames the same day that Campian and his company were martyred, to the great marvel of the citizens and mariners, and the like stay of the river Trent about the same time. Which accidents, though some will impute to other causes, yet happening at such special times, when so open and unnatural injustice was done they cannot but be interpreted as tokens of God’s indignation.”

Taken from Records of the English province of the Society of Jesus : Historic Facts Illustrative of the Labours and Sufferings of its Members in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. Vol. III. by Henry Foley, S.J. London : Burns and Oates. 1878.

What iron heart that would not melt in grief?
what steel or stone could keep him dry from tears?
to see a Campion hailed like a Thief,
to end his life, with both his glorious peers.
in whose three deaths unto the standers by :
even all the world almost might seem to die.

England must lose a sovereign salve for sin
a sweet receipt for subtle Heresy :
India a Saint her silly souls to win,
Turkey a bane for her idolatry.
the Church a soldier against Babylon :
to batter hell and her confusion.

The scowling skies did storm and puff apace,
they could not bear the wrong that malice wrought,
the sun drew in his shining purple face,
the moistened clouds shed brinish tears for thought,
the river Thames awhile astonished stood
to count the drops of Campion’s sacred blood.

Nature with tears bewailed her heavy loss,
honesty feared herself should shortly die,
religion saw her champion on the cross,
angels and saints desired leave to cry,
even heresy the eldest child of hell,
began to blush, and thought she did not well.

And yet behold when Campion made his end,
his Humble heart was so bedewed with grace,
that no reproach could once his mind offend,
mildness possessed his sweet and cheerful face,
a patient spectacle was presented then,
in sight of God, of angels, saints, and men.

The heavens did clear, the sun like gold did shine,
the clouds were dry, the fearful river ran,
nature and virtue wept their watered eyen,
religion joyed to see so mild a man,
men, angels, saints, and all that saw him die,
forgot their grief, his joys appeared so nigh.

They saw his patience did expect a crown,
his scornful cart a glorious heavenly place.
his lowly mind a happy high reknown,
his humble cheer a shining angel’s face,
his fear, his grief, his death & agony,
a joy, a peace, a life in majesty.

From thence he prays and sings in melody
for our recure, and calleth us to him,
he stands before the throne with harmony,
and is a glorious suture for our sin.
with wings of love he jumped up so high,
to help the cause for which he sought to die.

Rejoice, be glad, triumph, sing hymns of joy,
Campion, Sherwin, Brian, live in bliss,
they sue, they seek the ease of our annoy,
they pray, they speak, and all effectual is,
not like to men on earth as heretofore,
but like to saints in heaven, and that is more.


Transcribed by E.T.H. III from A true reporte on the death & martyrdome of M. Campion, iesuite and preiste, & M. Sherwin, and M. Bryan preistes, at Tiborne the first of December 1581, observid and written by a Catholique preist, wich was present thereat.



Filed under Bardic Poetry & Christian Verse, Recusant History

6 responses to “THOMAS POUNDE’S POEM FROM PRISON written upon the occasion of St. Edmund Campion’s Martyrdom.

  1. I’m glad to see this poem here. I’ve been working on Pounde’s poetry for the last few years. At the Wikipedia page for Pounde you can find a ref. to an essay of mine which prints P’s long poem “A challenge unto ffox the martirmonger (John Foxe, the martyrologist) . . . with a comforte vnto all afflicted Catholyques,” written about 1581. This is the first time in its 400 years of existence the complete 512-line poem has been published.

    Too bad, but

  2. Pingback: Feast of St. Edmund Campion | Regnum Novum

  3. Dr. Loran Carrier

    I am very heartened by your publishing venture. In this day and age of many anglicans ‘coming home’ I hope that your work will be an inspiration and guide to others.

  4. Dr. Loran Carrier

    I should have enclosed these items earlier. I am very interested in your work and would like to stay in touch.

  5. Pingback: » Feast of St. Edmund Campion Omar Gutierrez

  6. Pingback: » Feast of St. Edmund Campion Deacon Omar F. A. Gutiérrez

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