Scripture Verse

Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth. Isaiah 65:17

Introduction

portrait
Robert Southwell (ca. 1561–1595)
© National Portrait Gallery

Words: Ro­bert South­well (cir­ca 1561–1595), alt. Some hym­nals omit the first four stan­zas, and in­stead be­gin the text with This lit­tle Babe so few days old.

Music: Heut’ Tri­um­phier­et Got­tes Sohn Se­thus Cal­ve­si­us, 1597 (🔊 pdf nwc).

portrait
Sethus Calvisius
(1556–1615)

Lyrics

Come to your heav’n, you heavenly choirs,
Earth hath the heaven of your desires.
Remove your dwelling to your God;
A stall is now His best abode.
Since men their homage do deny,
Come, angels, all their fault supply.

His chilling cold doth heat require;
Come, seraphim, in lieu of fire.
This little ark no cover hath;
Let cherubs’ wings His body swathe.
Come, Raphael, this Babe must eat;
Provide our little Savior meat.

Let Gabriel be now His groom,
That first took up His earthly room.
Let Michael stand in His defense,
Whom love hath linked to feeble sense.
Let Graces rock when He doth cry,
And angels sing His lullaby.

The same you saw in heav’nly seat
Is He that now sucks Mary’s teat;
Now see your king a mortal wight,
His borrowed weed deceives your sight.
Come, kiss the manger where He lies,
That is your bliss above the skies.

This little Babe so few days old
Is come to rifle Satan’s fold;
All hell doth at His presence quake,
Though He Himself for cold doth shake;
For in this weak unarmèd wise
The gates of hell He will surprise.

With tears He fights and wins the field,
His tiny breast stands for a shield;
His battering shot are babish cries,
His arrows, looks of weeping eyes,
His martial ensigns, cold and need,
And feeble flesh His warrior’s steed.

His camp is pitchèd in a stall,
His bulwark but a broken wall,
The crib His trench, hay stalks His stakes,
Of shepherds He His army makes;
And thus, as sure His foe to wound,
The angels’ trumps the charge now sound.

My soul, with Christ join thou in fight;
Stick to His tents, the place of might.
Within His crib is surest ward;
This little Babe will be thy guard.
If thou wilt foil thy foes with joy,
Then flit not from this heav’nly Boy!

Southwell’s orig­in­al text (New Hea­ven, New Warre), from The Com­plete Po­ems of Ro­bert South­well, ed­it­ed by Al­ex­an­der B. Gro­sart (St. George’s, Black­burn, Lan­ca­shire). Print­ed for pri­vate cir­cu­la­tion, 1872, pag­es 108–111:

Original Lyrics

Come to your heaven, yowe heavenly quires!
Earth hath the heaven of your desires;
Remove your dwellinge to your God,
A stall is nowe His beste aboade;
Sith men their homage do denye.
Come, angells, all their fault supply.

His chilling could doth heate require,
Come, seraphins, in liew of fire;
This little ark no cover hath,
Let cherubs’ winges His boody swath;
Come, Raphiell, this babe must eate,
Prouide our little Tobie meate.

Let Gabriel be nowe His groome,
That first tooke upp His earthly roome;
Let Michell stand in His defence,
Whome love hath linckd to feeble sence;
Let Graces rocke, when He doth crye,
And angells singe His lullybye.

The same yow sawe in heavenly seate,
Is He that now suckes Marye’s teate;
Agnize your Kinge a mortall wighte,
His borowed weede letts not your sight
Come, kysse the maunger where He lies;
That is your blisse aboue the skyes.

This little babe so fewe daies olde,
Is come to rifle Satan’s foulde;
All hell doth at His presence quake,
Though He Him self for cold do shake;
For in this weake unarmed wise
The gates of hell He will surprise.

With teares He fightes and wynnes the feild,
His naked breste standes for a sheilde,
His battering shott are babishe cryes,
His arrowes, lookes of weepinge eyes,
His martiall ensignes, colde and neede.
And feeble fleshe His warrier’s steede.

His campe is pitchèd in a stall,
His bulwarke but a broken wall,
The cribb His trench, hay-stalkes His stakes,
Of shepeherdes He His muster makes;
And thus, as sure His foe to wounde,
The angells’ trumpes alarum sounde.

My soule, with Christ joyne thow in fighte;
Sticke to the tents that He hath pight;
Within His cribb is sureste warde,
This little babe will be thy garde;
If thow wilt foyle thy foes with joye,
Then flitt not from this heavenly boye.