Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A SATIRE ON LONDON, by HENRY HOWARD



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A SATIRE ON LONDON, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: London, hast thou accused me
Last Line: Immortal praise with one accord.
Alternate Author Name(s): Surrey, Earl Of
Subject(s): 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 like;d 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 shape 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 way my mind.
Thy windows had done me no spight;
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 hast to strife my secret call.
Indured hearts no warning feel.
O shameless whore! is dread then gone?
Be such thy foes, as mean 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
Enemies to God, beat stone from stone:
Thine idols burnt that wrought iniquity:
When none thy ruin shall bemoan,
But render unto the righteous Lord,
That so high judged Babylon.
Immortal praise with one accord.





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