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William Wordsworth
Complete Poetical Works

ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS

XXXIV

LATIMER AND RIDLEY

HOW fast the Marian death-list is unrolled!
See Latimer and Ridley in the might
Of Faith stand coupled for a common flight!
One (like those prophets whom God sent of old)
Transfigured, from this kindling hath foretold
A torch of inextinguishable light;
The Other gains a confidence as bold;
And thus they foil their enemy's despite.
The penal instruments, the shows of crime,
Are glorified while this once-mitred pair
Of saintly Friends the "murtherer's chain partake,
Corded, and burning at the social stake:"
Earth never witnessed object more sublime
In constancy, in fellowship more fair!

NOTE

5 'One (like those prophets whom God sent of old)
Transfigured,' etc.

"M. Latimer suffered his keeper very quietly to pull off his
hose, and his other array, which to looke unto was very simple:
and being stripped into his shrowd, he seemed as comely a person
to them that were present, as one should lightly see: and whereas
in his clothes hee appeared a withered and crooked sillie (weak)
olde man, he now stood bolt upright, as comely a father as one
might lightly behold. * * * * Then they brought a faggotte,
kindled with fire, and laid the same downe at doctor Ridley's
feete. To whome M. Latimer spake in this manner, 'Bee of good
comfort, master Ridley, and play the man: wee shall this day light
such a candle by God's grace in England, as I trust shall never be
put out.'"--"Fox's Acts, etc."

Similar alterations in the outward figure and deportment of
persons brought to like trial were not uncommon. See note to the
above passage in Dr. Wordsworth's Ecclesiastical Biography, for an
example in an humble Welsh fisherman.