Wednesday, September 24, 2003

The Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham
is today. There is information on it here. Prayers for the return of Mary's Dowry, England, to the Faith would be especially appropriate. There is a link to the shrine website here.
The original shrine was, of course, destroyed by Henry VIII's henchmen. The following Elizabethan-era ballad was written to mourn the loss of this great place of pilgrimage. Tradtionally, it was ascribed to St. Philip Howard, but the authorship is not certain.

A Lament for Our Lady's Shrine at Walsingham


"In the wrackes of Walsingam
Whom should I chuse
But the Queene of Walsingam
To be guide to my muse?

Then thou Prince of Walsingam
Grant me to frame
Bitter plaintes to rewe thy wronge
Bitter wo for thy name.

Bitter was it oh to see
The seely sheepe
Murdered by the raveninge wolves
While the sheephards did sleep.

Bitter was it oh to vewe
The sacred vyne
While the gardiners plaied all close
Rooted up by the swine.

Bitter, bitter oh to behould
The grasse to growe
Where the walls of Walsingam
So stately did shewe.

Such were the works of Walsingam
While shee did stand
Such are the wrackes as now do shewe
Of that so holy land.

Levell levell with the ground
The towres doe lye
Which with their golden, glitteringe tops
Pearsed once to the skye.

Where weare gates no gates are nowe,
The waies unknowen,
Where the press of peares did passe
While her fame far was blowen.

Oules do scrike where the sweetest himnes
Lately weer songe,
Toades and serpents hold their dennes
Wher the palmers did thronge.

Weepe, weepe O Walsingam,
Whose dayes are nightes,
Blessings turned to blasphemies,
Holy deeds to dispites.

Sinne is wher our Ladie sate,
Heaven turned is to hell,
Satham sittes wher our Lord did swaye,
Walsingam, oh farewell ! "

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