A SONNET BY DANIEL STERRIE
Daniel Sterrie is the progenitor of the Lowestoft line.
A brief sonnet declaring the lamentation of Beckles, a Market Town in Suffolk which was in the great wind upon St Andrew's eve pitifully burned with fire to the value by estimation of twenty thousand pounds. And to the number of four score dwelling houses, besides a great number of other houses. 1586. To the tune of Labandalashotte.
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My loving good neighbours, that come to behold
My silly poor Beckles in cares many fold,
In sorrow all drowned, which floated of late,
With tears all bedewed, at my woeful state,
With fire so consumed, most woeful to view,
Whose spoil my poor people, for ever may rue,
When well you have viewed, my doleful decay,
And pity have pierced, your hearts as it may,
Say thus my good neighbours, that God in his ire:
For sin hath consumed, my Beckles with fire.
For one only parish, myself I might vaunt,
To match with the bravest for who but will grant
The Sea and the Country, me fitting so nigh,
The fresh water River, so sweet running by,
My meadows and commons, such prospect of health,
My favours in summer, so garnished with wealth,
My market so served, with corn, flesh and fish.
And all kind of victuals, that poor men would wish,
That who but knew Beckles, with sighing may say,
Would God of his service, had spared my decay.
But O my destruction, O most dismal day,
My temple is spoiled, and brought in decay,
My marketsted burned, my beauty defaced,
My wealth overwhelmed, my people displaced,
My music is wailing, my mirth it is none,
My toys are departed, my comfort is gone,
My people poor creatures, are mourning in woe,
Still wandering not wotting, which way for to go,
Like silly poor Trojans, whom Sinon betrayed,
But God of thy mercy, relieve them with aid.
A day most unlucky, the wind loud in sky,
The water hard frozen, the houses so dry,
To see such a burning, such flaming of fire,
Such wailing, such crying, through scourge of God's ire,
Such running, such working, such taking of pain,
Such whirling, such haling, such rearing in vain,
Such robbing, such stealing, from more to the less,
Such dishonest dealing, in time of distress,
That who so hard hearted and worn out of grace,
But pity may pierce him to think of my case.
But O my good neighbours that see mine estate
Be all one as Christians, not live in debate,
With wrapping and trapping, each other in thrall,
With watching and prying at each other's fall,
With heaving and shoving and striving in Law
Of God nor his Gospel, once standing in awe,
Live not in heart-burning, at God never wrest,
To Christ once be turning, not use him in jest,
Live lovely together and not in discord,
Let me be your mirror, to live in the Lord.
But though God have pleaded, for sin to plague we,
Let none think their living is cause they scape free,
But let them remember, how Christ once did tell,
Their sins were not greater, on whom the wall fell,
But least you repent ye, thus much he doth day,
Be sure and certain ye also decay,
Let none then persuade them, so free from all thrall,
But that their ill living deserveth a fall,
Thus farewell forget not, my woeful annoy,
God send you good new year and bless me with joy.
Finis D. Sterrie