The Catholic Religious Poets for Southwell to Crashaw: A by Anthony D. Cousins

By Anthony D. Cousins

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P. 25). " (p. 7). In brief, "the Embleme is properly a sweet and 24 THE C A T H O L I C R E L I G I O U S POETS morall Symbole ... by which some weighty sentence is declared" (p. 7). The Art of Making Devises exactly describes the directing principles to be found in such representatively English emblem books as Whitney's A Choice of Emblemes (1586) and Peacham's Minerva Britanna (1612). 36 From such ways of thinking about, as well as designing, emblems the emblem theory and practice of the CounterReformation differ significantly (if by no means completely).

The aesthetic of the Exercises could seemingly take the reader no further than that - nor could its continuing importance be underestimated. Given the strong Jesuit influence among the Catholic religious poets, much less need be said here of St Francis de Sales's Introduction to the Devout Life (1609) than of St Ignatius' Exercises. And there is another good reason for that. 54 The indebtedness, yet also the individuality and usefulness, of St Francis's thinking on meditation become apparent when one turns to the Introduction itself.

As will become clearer below, the world-view thus proposed in The Sequence is essential to Southwell's verse. Southwell does not allow the reader, however, merely to study the divine love and its accommodation to man; he seeks to make the reader experience something of them in imaginarily entering Christ's presence. In the ninth poem ("The Presentation") the reader seems through the figure of Simeon to come into close contact with the Christ child (9,7-12). Yet much more direct and important is Southwell's bringing the reader into attendance, as it were, at Christ's Nativity.

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