Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IV. The Higher Life
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IV. The Higher Life.  1904.
 
III. Faith: Hope: Love: Service
The Fight of Faith
Anne Askewe (c. 1520–1546)
 
   [The author of this poem, one of the victims of the persecuting Henry VIII., was burnt to death at Smithfield in 1546. It was made and sung by her while a prisoner in Newgate.]

LIKE as the armèd Knighte,
Appointed to the fielde,
With this world wil I fight,
And faith shal be my shilde.
 
Faith is that weapon stronge,        5
Which wil not faile at nede;
My foes therefore amonge,
Therewith wil I precede.
 
As it is had in strengthe,
And forces of Christes waye,        10
It wil prevaile at lengthe,
Though all the devils saye naye.
 
Faithe of the fathers olde
Obtainèd right witness,
Which makes me verye bolde        15
To fear no worldes distress.
 
I now rejoice in harte,
And hope bides me do so;
For Christ wil take my part,
And ease me of my wo.        20
 
Thou sayst, Lord, whoso knocke,
To them wilt thou attende;
Undo, therefore, the locke,
And thy stronge power sende.
 
More enemies now I have        25
Than heeres upon my head;
Let them not me deprave,
But fight thou in my steade.
 
On thee my care I cast,
For all their cruell spight;        30
I set not by their hast,
For thou art my delight.
 
I am not she that list
My anker to let fall
For every drislinge mist;        35
My shippe’s substancial.
 
Not oft I use to wright
In prose, nor yet in ryme;
Yet wil I shewe one sight,
That I sawe in my time:        40
 
I sawe a royall throne,
Where Justice shulde have sitte;
But in her steade was One
Of moody cruell witte.
 
Absorpt was rightwisness,        45
As by the raginge floude;
Sathan, in his excess,
Sucte up the guiltlesse bloude.
 
Then thought I,—Jesus, Lorde,
When thou shalt judge us all,        50
Harde is it to recorde
On these men what will fall.
 
Yet, Lorde, I thee desire,
For that they doe to me,
Let them not taste the hire        55
Of their iniquitie.
 
 
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