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Seatonian Prize - 2019

last modified Nov 21, 2018 01:20 PM

The Examiners of the Seatonian Prize for the best English poem on a sacred subject give notice that the subject for 2019 is:

Take, O take him, Mighty Leader,
Take again thy servant's soul.
Grave his name, and pour the fragrant
Balm upon the icy stone.

from Prudentius

 

The Prize is open for competition among all members of the Senate, and all persons who are possessors of the status of Master of Arts. Further details are available at https://www.divinity.cam.ac.uk/about-us/prizes.

The Prize for 2018 was awarded to Mr Colin Wilcockson  of Pembroke College for the following poem:

 

There burst he forth: 'All ye, whose hopes rely
On God, with me amidst these deserts mourn;
Repent, repent, and from old errors turn!'
--Who listen'd to his voice, obey'd his cry?
   Only the echoes, which he made relent,
   Rung from their marble caves 'Repent! Repent!'

William Drummond of Hawthornden (1585-1649)

 

            Only the echoes

He speaks to shadows in the echoing caves.

His congregation flutters as he moves  ̶

Echoes grow louder as the hermit raves.

 

His fervour summons spirits from their graves̶

Squeezing through crevices and rocky grooves ̶

He speaks to shadows in the echoing caves.

 

His heartfelt message is ‘Repentance saves

And lethal stains from sinful souls removes’:

Echoes grow louder as the hermit raves.

 

‘You have denied the hungry and the slaves

̶  Christ’s sibling-sufferers of whom God approves.’ 

 He speaks to shadows in the echoing caves

 

‘Denied the homeless stranger whose grief craves

Protection from neglect’s cold iron-shod hooves.’

Echoes grow louder as the hermit raves

 

‘You, whose self-seeking urges and depraves,

Repent and hearken as God’s voice reproves’:

He speaks to shadows in the echoing caves

Echoes grow louder as the hermit raves.

 

            The last and greatest herald

 

Shadows take form and the Judeans bathe

In Jordan’s river, by the hermit blessed --

He foresees God’s dove in a bright cascade

 

‘He who comes after me will captives raise --

The dove descending is our wedding guest.’

Shadows take form and the Judeans bathe

                      

‘Israel’s redeemer whom his people crave

Is true king of a nation dispossessed’

He foresees God’s dove in a bright cascade

 

‘He will succeed me in a lightning blaze

The agnus dei in redemption’s quest.’

Shadows take form as the Judeans bathe

 

He recalls childhood when the cousins played

The unexpected babies at the breast.

He foresees God’s dove in a bright cascade.̶

 

Twin martyrdoms consign them to the grave

Their payment for redemption   ̶   in the West

 Shadows take form and the Judeans bathe.

He foresees God’s dove in a bright cascade.

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