‘Love's Garden Griefe’ bears somewhat similar relation to Nicholas Breton's ‘Strange Description of a Rare Garden Plot’ (in ‘Phœnix Nest,’ 1593). Southwell's example was not without effect. The number of the early editions of his poems attest their popularity with protestants and catholics alike, and imitations soon abounded. The anonymous works, ‘Mary Magdalen's Love,’ 1595, ‘St. Peter's Ten Tears,’ 1597 (reissued as ‘St. Peter's Tears,’ 1602), and ‘St. Peter's Path to the Joys of Heaven,’ 1598, all expand Southwell's chief poem, to which authors of established repute like Thomas Lodge in his ‘Prosopopœia,’ 1596, Gervase Markham in ‘Mary Magdalen's Lamentations’ (1601), and Samuel Rowlands [q. v.] in his ‘Peter's Tears at the Cock's Crowing’ (in his ‘Betraying of Christ,’ 1598), were no less conspicuously indebted. At a later date Richard Crashaw [q. v.] followed in Southwell's footsteps to better purpose. Southwell's prose work, ‘Mary Magdalen's Tears’ (1591), excited equal emulation. ‘Christs Tears over Jerusalem’ by Thomas Nashe (1567–1601) [q. v.] is clearly framed on the model of Southwell's tract. Gabriel Harvey [q. v.] directed attention to the fact, and compared Nashe's effort unfavourably with its forerunner: ‘I know not who weeped the Funeral Tears of Mary Magdalen; I would he that sheddeth the pathetical tears of Christ and trickleth the liquid tears of repentance were no worse affected in pure devotion.’
Harvey declared Southwell's prose (in ‘Mary Magdalen's Tears’) to be both ‘elegant and pathetical’ (Works, ed. Grosart, ii. 291), and Francis Bacon told his brother Anthony that Southwell's ‘Humble Supplication’ was ‘curiously written, and worth the writing out for the art, though the argument be bad’ (Spedding, Bacon, ii. 308). But, despite such contemporary testimonies to its merits, the euphuistic redundancy and artificial construction of Southwell's prose deprive it of permanent literary value. The ‘pure devotion’ with which it is impregnated gives it all its modern interest. Southwell's poetry stands on another footing, and still enjoys something of the favour which was extended to it at the outset by literary critics. It is true that Hall in his ‘Satires,’ 1597, ridiculed Southwell with other writers of sacred poetry of his time:
Now good St. Peter weeps pure Helicon,
And both the Marys make a music-moan.
But Hall found few sympathisers. Marston fiercely avenged Hall's attack on ‘Peter's tears and Mary's moving-moan.’ Ben Jonson declared that he would willingly have destroyed many of his own poems, could he have claimed the authorship of Southwell's ‘Burning Babe’ (Conversations with Drummond of Hawthornden, p. 13). Bolton in his ‘Hypercritica’ wrote: ‘Never must be forgotten “St. Peter's Complaint” and those other serious poems said to be of Father Southwells; the English whereof as it is most proper, so the sharpness and light of wit is very rare in them.’ By modern critics Southwell's poetry has been rarely underrated. James Russell Lowell stands almost alone in pronouncing ‘St. Peter's Complaint’ to be a drawl of thirty pages of maudlin repentance. A genuinely poetic vein is latent beneath all the religious sentimentalism which at times obscures the literary merit of Southwell's verse. As in his prose, his exuberant fancy, too, finds frequent expression in extravagant conceits, which suggest the influence of Marino and other Italian writers of pietistic verse. But many poems, like the ‘Burning Babe,’ which won Ben Jonson's admiration, are as notable for the simplicity of their language as for the sincerity of their sentiment, and take rank with the most touching examples of sacred poetry.
[There are abundant materials for Southwell's biography. An elaborate manuscript memoir, drawn up soon after his death, formerly at St. Omer's College, is now in the public record office at Brussels, and was largely employed by Bishop Challoner in his Memoirs of Missionary Priests (ed. 1878, i. 215–22). A brief discourse on Southwell's condemnation and execution by Henry Garnett, in both Italian and English, of which the original manuscript is at Stonyhurst, was widely disseminated in manuscript copies, and most of it is printed verbatim in the accounts of Southwell which were published by Henry More. Hist. Missionis Angl. S. J. (1660, pp. 171–201), in Bartoli's Inghilterra, Rome, 1667, ff. 369 seq., and in Matthew Tanner's Vita et Mors Jesuitarum pro fide interfectorum (Prague, 1675). Mr. Foley, in his Records of the English Province of the Society of Jesus, i. 301–87, gives a very full memoir, with numerous quotations from the English state papers. Dr. Grosart's memoir prefixed to his edition of the Poems is also valuable, although in some respects erroneous. See also: Month, December 1877 (by the Rev. J. G. Macleod), and February and March 1895 (two valuable papers on Southwell's literary work by the Rev. Herbert Thurston); Gent. Mag. 1798, ii. 933; Retrospective Review, iv. 267; Vie du Père Southwell par R. P. Alexis Possoz, 1866, and Morris's Troubles of our Catholic Forefathers.]
SOUTHWELL, Sir ROBERT (1635–1702), diplomatist, eldest son and heir of Robert Southwell, called of Kinsale, esquire, and his wife Helena, only daughter and