Sting included this song in his ...Winter's Night
project which was recorded live at Durham Cathedral. He said it had a very macabre image of the poet walking on a cold dark winter's night and being confronted by the infant Jesus burning; then suddenly he realises it's Christmas Day, i.e. Christ suffering for the sins of Man.
The poet concerned is Robert Southwell (1561-95), who was also a Jesuit priest. Unfortunately, Christ wasn't the only one who suffered for the sins of Man; in 1595, Southwell was tried for treason, his "crime" being that he had worked as a missionary at a time when Catholicism was proscribed by law. He was hung, drawn and quartered. The poem The Burning Babe
was published in St Peter's Complaint And Other Poems
, which was issued in 1595, shortly after his death.
In 1970, he was canonized by the Pope as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.
Alexander Baron - London, England