A Satire against the citizens of London

Henry Howard 1517 – 1547

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
  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,
  By unknown means it liked me
  My hidden burden to express,
  Whereby it might appear to thee
  That secret sin hath secret spite;
  From justice' rod no fault is free;
  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 reckless breast,
  To wake thy sluggards with my bow--
  A figure of the Lord's behest,
  Whose scourge for sin the Scriptures show.
  That, as the fearful thunder-clap
  By sudden flame at hand we know,
  Of pebble-stones the soundless rap
  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,
  How other seek him to offend;
  And wrath taste of each cruel thought
  The just shapp higher in the end;
  And idle sloth, that never wrought,
  To heaven his spirit lift may begin;
  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,
  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 spite;
  But proud people that dread no fall,
  Clothed with falsehood and unright,
  Bred in the closures of thy wall;
  But wrested to wrath in fervent zeal,
  Thou haste to strife, my secret call.
  Endured hearts no warning feel.
  O shameless whore, is dread then gone
  By 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;
  Thy martyrs' 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
  Stricken shall be thy lechers all;
  Thy proud towers and turrets high,
  En'mies to God, beat stone from stone,
  Thine idols burnt that wrought iniquity;
  When none thy ruin shall bemoan,
  But render unto the right wise Lord
  That so hath judged Babylon,
Immortal praise with one accord.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Henry Howard

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, KG, (courtesy title), was an English nobleman, politician and poet. He was one of the founders of English Renaissance poetry and the last known execution by King Henry VIII. He was a first cousin of both Queen Anne Boleyn and Queen Catherine Howard, second and fifth wives of King Henry VIII. His name is usually associated in literature with that of Wyatt, who was the older poet of the two. He was the son of Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey and when his father became Duke of Norfolk (1524) the son adopted the courtesy title of Earl of Surrey. Owing largely to the powerful position of his father, Surrey took a prominent part in the Court life of the time, and served as a soldier both in France and Scotland. He was a man of reckless temper, which involved him in many quarrels, and finally brought upon him the wrath of the aging and embittered Henry VIII. He was arrested, tried for treason and beheaded on Tower Hill. more…

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