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James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

July 16

From “The Fight of Faith”

By Anne Askew (1521–1546)

  • Anne Askew was an Englishwoman who, in the reign of Henry VIII., was accused of heresy in regard to the sacraments and was burned on July 16, 1546.

  • LIKE as the armed knight

    Appointed to the field,

    With this world will I fight,

    And faith shall be my shield.

    Faith is that weapon strong,

    Which will not fail at need;

    My foes, therefore, among

    Therewith will I proceed.

    Thou sayst, lord, whoso knock,

    To them wilt thou attend,

    Undo, therefore, the lock,

    And thy strong power send.

    More enemies now I have

    Than hairs upon my head;

    Let them not me deprave,

    But fight thou in my stead.

    Not oft I used to write

    In prose, nor yet in rhyme;

    Yet will I show one sight,

    That I saw in my time:

    I saw a royal throne,

    Where Justice should have sit;

    But in her stead was one

    Of moody, cruel wit.

    Absorpt was rightwiseness,

    As by the raging flood;

    Satan, in his excess,

    Sucked up the guiltless blood.

    Then thought, I—Jesus, Lord,

    When thou shalt judge us all,

    Hard is it to record

    On these men what will fall!

    Yet, Lord, I thee desire,

    For that they do to me,

    Let them not taste the hire

    Of their iniquity.