Friday 15 April 2016

A Cry for Relief - by William Blundell, 1600, Catholics in England during Penal times, poems and prayers

We Catholics, tormented sore
With heresy's foul railing tongue,
With prisons, tortures, loss of goods,
Of land, yea, lives, even thieves among,
Do crave, with heart surcharged with grief,
Of thee, sweet Jesu, some relief.
We crave relief in this distress,
We seek some ease of this annoy;
Yet are we well content with all,
So thee in end we may enjoy;
Ourselves to thee we do resign -
Relieve us, Lord, our cause is thine.
Our cause is thine, and thine we are,
Who from thy truth refuse to slide;
Our faith thy truth, true faith the cause
For which these garboyles (troubles) we abide;
True faith, I say, as plain appears
To all who shut not eyes and ears.
To all who shut not eyes and ears
'Gainst fathers, scriptures, Church, and thee,
Who built thy Church, as doctors all
With scriptures plainly do agree,
Not, soon to fall, upon the sand,
But on a Rock still sure to stand.
Still sure to stand, yea, on a hill,
For all her friends and foes to see,
Her friends to foster and defend,
Her foes to vanquish gloriously;
From age to age this hath she done,
Thus shall she do in time to come.
In time to come, as heretofore,
Most certainly she shall prevail
'Gainst all the force and sleighty wiles,
Wherewith hell-gates may her assail;
Who shoot against this brazen wall
With their fond bolts themselves with gall.
Themselves with gall they will be sure,
Who strive to ruinate thy house,
And to withdraw thy children dear
From soft lap of thy dearest spouse,
Thy children whom, with streams of blood,
Thou bought, sweet Lord, upon the rood.
Upon the rood thou bought our souls
With price more worth than all thou bought,
Yet doth the fiend our foes so blind,
Both souls and price they set at naught;
They reckon not enough their ill,
Except with theirs our souls they spill.
Our souls to spill they think full soon
Or else our bodies to enthrall;
Or, at the least, to wantful state,
Through hard pursuits, to bring us all;
Come quickly, therefore, Lord Jesus,
And judge this cause 'twixt them and us.
Give judgement, Lord, 'twixt them and us,
The balance yet let pity hold:
Let mercy measure their offence,
And grace reduce them to thy fold,
That we, all children of thy spouse,
May live as brethren in thy house.
Written in 1600 during Penal Times, by William Blundell, a Catholic gentleman.
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