Verse > Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey > Poetical Works
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Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517–47).  The Poetical Works.  1880.
 
Songs and Sonnets
A Satire against the Citizens of London
 
LONDON! hast thou accused me
Of breach of laws? the root of strife!
Within whose breast did boil to see,
So fervent hot, thy dissolute life;
That even the hate of sins, that grow        5
Within thy wicked walls so rife,
For to break forth did convert so,
That terror could it not repress.
The which, by words, since preachers know
What hope is left for to redress,        10
By unknown means it liked me
My hidden burthen to express.
Whereby it might appear to thee
That secret sin hath secret spite;
From justice’ rod no fault is free        15
But that all such as work unright
In most quiet, are next ill rest.
In secret silence of the night
This made me, with a rechless breast,
To wake thy sluggards with my bow:        20
A figure of the Lord’s behest;
Whose scourge for sin the Scriptures shew.
That as the fearful thunder’s clap
By sudden flame at hand we know;
Of pebble stones the soundless rap,        25
The dreadful plague might make thee see
Of God’s wrath, that doth thee enwrap.
That pride might know, from conscience free,
How lofty works may her defend;
And envy find, as he hath sought,        30
How other seek him to offend:
And wrath taste of each cruel thought,
The just shape higher in the end:
And idle sloth, that never wrought,
To heaven his spirit lift may begin:        35
And greedy lucre live in dread,
To see what hate ill got goods win.
The lechers, ye that lusts do feed,
Perceive what secrecy is in sin:
And gluttons’ hearts for sorrow bleed,        40
Awaked, when their fault they find,
In loathsome vice each drunken wight,
To stir to God this was my mind.
Thy windows had done me no spight;
But proud people that dread no fall,        45
Clothed with falsehood, and unright
Bred in the closures of thy wall.
But wrested to wrath in fervent zeal
Thou hast to strife, my secret call.
Indured hearts no warning feel.        50
O! shameless whore! is dread then gone?
Be such thy foes, as meant thy weal?
O! member of false Babylon!
The shop of craft! the den of ire!
Thy dreadful doom draws fast upon.        55
Thy martyr’s blood by sword and fire,
In heaven and earth for justice call.
The Lord shall hear their just desire!
The flame of wrath shall on thee fall!
With famine and pest lamentably        60
Stricken shall be thy lechers all.
Thy proud towers, and turrets high
Enemies to God, beat stone from stone:
Thine idols burnt that wrought iniquity:
When, none thy ruin shall bemoan;        65
But render unto the righteous Lord,
That so hath judged Babylon,
Immortal praise with one accord.
 
 
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