The Ballad Which Anne Askewe Made and Sang When She Was in Newgate

By Anne Askewe (1521-1546)


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.


As it is had in strength

And force of Christ's way,

It will prevail at length

Though all the devils say nay.


Faith in the father's old

Obtained rightwisenesso

Which make me very bold

To fear no world's distress.


I now rejoice in heart

And hope bid me do so,

For Christ will take my part

And ease me of my woe.


Thou sayst lord, who so kneck,

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,o

But fight thou in my stead.


On thee my care I cast

For all their cruel spite

I set not by their haste,

For thou art my delight.


I am not she that list O

My anchor to let fall

For every drizzling mist

My ship substantial.


Not oft use I to write

In prose nor yet in rhyme,


I. Askew was arrested and examined for heresy in June 1545. She was released, but was arrested again in June 1546, subjected to torture, and burned at the stake in July 1546. This ballad was included in the Protestant Bishop John Bale's two accounts of her examination and death, printed in 1546 and 1547, respectively. "Newgate": a London prison.


Ephesians 6.13-17 exhorts the Christian to put on "the whole armor of God," including "the shield of faith, with which ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked."


Knocks. Matthew 7.7: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."