Henry Howard (1517 – 19 January 1547 / Norfolk)
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
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.
Comments about this poem (A Satire against the citizens of London by Henry Howard )
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