Sunday, June 26, 2011

There Is an Adventure in Here Somewhere

My youngest daughter absolutely loves the concert DVD A Winter's Night — Sting at the Durham Cathedral doing winter and Christmas-themed music. If she hears the opening of Three Ships, she'll drop whatever she is doing and come running. I mention this, because as a result of her enthusiasm, I have had the opportunity to become very familiar with many of the songs. One of my favorites is this rendition of The Burning Babe:

The lyrics of the song come from the poem by the Jesuit Robert Southwell:

As I in hoary winter's night stood shivering in the snow,
Surprised I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty babe all burning bright did in the air appear;
Who, scorchëd with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed
As though his floods should quench his flames which with his tears were fed.
Alas, quoth he, but newly born in fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I!
My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns,
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns;
The fuel justice layeth on, and mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought are men's defilëd souls,
For which, as now on fire I am to work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood.
With this he vanished out of sight and swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I callëd unto mind that it was Christmas day. 
Given my recent interest in an Averoigne-like campaign setting, this poem just feels right — like it somehow should be a part of the fabric of the campaign. There has to be an adventure in here somewhere — what dangerous direction could the visage of a burning babe lead a band of adventurers?

1 comment:

Theodric the Obscure said...

She has great taste, says I.