The antique Babel, empresse of the East,
Upreard her buildinges to the threatned skie:
And second Babell, tyrant of the West,
Her ayry towers upraised much more high.
But with the weight of their own surquedry**
They both are fallen, that all the earth did feare,
And buried now in their own ashes ly,
Yet shewing, by their heapes, how great they were.
But in their place doth now a third appeare,
Fayre Venice, flower of the last worlds delight;
And next to them in beauty draweth neare,
But farre exceedes in policie of right.
Yet not so fayre her buildinges to behold
As Lewkenors stile that hath her beautie told.
[* Prefixed to “The Commonwealth and Government of Venice, Written by the Cardinall Gaspar Contareno, and translated out of Italian into English by Lewes Lewkenor, Esquire.” London, 1599. TODD.]
[** Surquedry, presumption.]