Friday, 25 March 2011

The Ballad of Walsingham

Bitter, bitter oh to behoulde
The grass to growe
Where the walles of Walsingham
So stately did shewe.

Such were the worth of Walsingham
While she did stand,
Such are the wrackes as now do shewe
Of that (so) holy lande.

Levell, levell with the ground
The Towres do lye
Which with their golden, glitt'ring tops
Pearsed oute to the skye.

Where the weare gates noe gates are nowe,
The waies unknown,
Where the presse of freares did passe
While her fame was far blowen.

Oules do scrike where the sweetest himnes
Lately were songe,
Toads and serpents hold thie dennes
Where the palmers did throng.

Weep, weep, O Walsingham,
Whose days are nightes,
Blessings turned to blasphemies,
Holy deedes to dispites.

Sinne is where Our Lady sate,
Heaven turned is to helle;
Sathan sitte where Our Lord did swaye,
Walsingham, oh, farewell!


  1. "Bare ruined choirs where once the sweet birds sang..."

  2. Wow! Do you know if the melody is extant?

  3. Anthony - one of your countrymen, Stephanie Mann on may well know.

  4. Genty - you mean "Bare ruin'd choires where once the sweete byrdes sang" :) Did I omit a verse?

  5. The addendum from a Shakspere (I wot not the current spelling) sonnet seemed to fit, especially as the weight of opinion appears to be growing that he was secretly a Catholic. But I didn't want to seem too OTT by using the olde version!

  6. Genty - Shakespeare, should have known!Trust me to go OTT!