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This poem is taken from PN Review 21, Volume 8 Number 1, September - October 1981.

From 'London' Fiona Pitt-Kethley

[These poems are taken from the sequence 'London'. The main source of material was Stow's Survey of London; other sources include Henry Machyn's Diary, Reginald Scot's Discoverie of Witchcraft, Defoe's Journal of the Plague, Holinshed, Professor Morley's History of Bartholomew Fair, Holmes's Great Metropolis, The Romance of London by John Timbs and A Book of London English edited by R. W. Chambers and M. Daunt. The poems printed here follow a rough chronology. The first relates to the fourteenth century; the next two to the fifteenth; the next ten to the sixteenth; the following three to the seventeenth; and the last four to the eighteenth.]


There were twelve allowed
brothels in Southwark.
On their walls,
facing towards the Thames,
signs were painted-
The Gun, The Crane, The Boar's Head,
The Bell, The Swan, The Castle,
The Cross Keys and The Cardinal's Hat.
The prostitutes from these houses
were buried without Christian rites
in a plot of ground called-
The Single Woman's Churchyard.
William Walworth, esteemed Mayor of London,
who was knighted for killing Wat Tyler,

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