Digital Renaissance Editions

Become a FriendSign in

About this text

  • Title: The Whore of Babylon (Quarto, 1607)
  • Editors: Frances E. Dolan, Anna Pruitt

  • Copyright Digital Renaissance Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: Thomas Dekker
    Editors: Frances E. Dolan, Anna Pruitt
    Not Peer Reviewed

    The Whore of Babylon (Quarto, 1607)

    Titania Fidely, Florimell, Elfiron,
    Pentioners,
    350 Tita. Wee thought the fates would haue closde vp our eyes,
    That wee should nere haue seene this day- starre rise:
    How many plots were laid to barre vs hence,
    (Euen from our Cradle?) but our Innocence
    Your wisedome (fairy Peeres) and aboue all,
    355That Arme) that cannot let a white soule fall,
    Hath held vs vp, and lifted vs thus hie,
    Euen when the Arrowes did mo st thickly flie:
    Of that bad woman, (Babilons proud Queene,
    Who yet (we heare) swels with Inuenomed spleene.
    360 Fid. Whose poyson, shall (like Arrowes shot vpright)
    When forth it bur sts, to her owne downfall light.
    Tita. Truth be my witnes (whome we haue imployde,
    To purge our Aire that has with plagues de stroyed
    Great numbers, shutting them in darksome shades)
    365I seeke no fall of hirs, my spirit wades,
    In Clearer streames; her bloud I would not shed,
    to gaine that triple wreath that binds her head,
    Tho mine shee would let forth, I know not why,
    Only through rancke lu st after Souereigntie.
    370 Flor. Enough it is for me, if with a hand,
    (Vn staind and vn-ambitious) fairy Land
    I Crowne with Oliue-branches: all those wounds,
    Whose goary mouthes but lately staind our Rounds,
    Bleed yet in me: for when great (a) Elfiline
    (a) Hen. 7.
    375(Our grand sire) fild this throne, your bowers did shine
    With fire-red steele, and not with Fairies eies,
    You heard no mu sicke then, but shriekes and cries,
    Then armed Vrchins, and stearne hou shold Elues,
    Their fatall pointed swords turnd on themselues.
    380But when the royall Elfiline sat crowned,
    These ciuill woes in their own depth lay drowned.
    He to immortall shades beeing gone,
    (Fames minion) great King (b) Oberon
    (b) Hen. 8.
    Titaniaes royall father, liuely springs,
    385Whose Court was like a campe of none but Kings.
    From this great conquering Monarchs glorious stemme,
    Three (in direct line) wore his Diadem:
    (c) A King fir st, then a paire of (d) Queenes, of whom,
    (c) Edw. 6.
    Shee that was held a downe-ca st, by Fates doome,
    (d) Q. Mar
    390Sits now aboue their hopes: her maiden hand,
    & Q. Eliz.
    Shall with a silken thred guide Fairie land.
    Omn. And may shee guide it,
    Fid. Euen till stooping time
    Cut for her (downe) long yeeres that shee may climbe
    395(With ease) the highe st hill old age goes o're,
    Or till her Fairie subiects (that adore
    Her birth-day as their beeing) shall complaine,
    They are weary of a peacefull, golden raigne.
    Titan. Which, that they neuer shall, your stately towers
    400Shall keepe their ancient beauty: and your bowers
    (Which late) like prophan'd Temples empty stood,
    The tops defac'd by fire, the floores by blood,)
    Shall be fill'd full of Chori sters to sing
    Sweet heauenly songs, like birds before the spring:
    405The flowers we set, and the fruits by vs sowne,
    Shall cheere as well the stranger as our owne.
    We may to strange shores once our selues be driuen,
    For who can tell vnder what point of heauen
    His graue shall open? neither shall our oakes,
    410Trophies of reuerend Age, fall by our stroaks,
    Nor shall the brier, or hawthorne (growing vnder)
    Feare them, but flie to them, to get from thunder,
    And to be safe from forraine wild-fire balles,
    Weele build about our waters wooden walles.
    415 Omn. On which weele spend for you our late st liues. Enter Parthen.
    Titan. Fairies I thank you all, stay who comes here?
    Flor. Parthenophill, a Fairie Peere.
    Titan. Parthenophill.
    Parth. Bright Empre s s e, Queene of maides
    420To vs your Lords, amid st your Fairie shades:
    Three Princes (so themselues they style) are come,
    From whence, they'l vs not learne, and doe intreat
    Faire, and a free acce s s e.
    Titan. What is their bu sine s s e?
    425 Parth. The splendor of your glories, which a farre
    Shines (as they say, and iu stly say) as brightly
    As here at hand, hither them drawes, prote sting
    All faith and seruice to you, and reque sting
    That they the tribute of their loues may pay,
    430At your mo st sacred feet.
    Titan. Allow them entrance.
    Parth. They in a Fairie maske, the argument
    Of this their dutie, gladly would present.
    Titan. As be st them please.
    435 The Hault-boyes sounding , Titania in dumbe shew sends her Lords to
    fetch them in, who enter bare headed the three Kings queintly attired
    like Masquers following them, who doing honour to her in-
    treat to dance with her maides, and doe so: This done they discouer.
    Titan. Your painted cheeks beeing off, your owne discouers,
    440You are no Fairies.
    All three. No: but wounded louers.
    Titan. How! louers! what! would you deflower my bed,
    And strike off a poore maiden-head?
    We know you not: what are you? and from whence?
    445 3. King. The (a) land of whom the sunne so enamor'd is,
    He lends them his complexion, giues me birth,
    (a) Spaine
    The Indian and his gold are both my slaues,
    Vpon my sword (as on the Axell tree)
    A world of kingdomes mooue: and yet I write
    450 Non sufficit that lu stie sonne of Ioue
    That twelue times shewed himselfe more then a man,
    Reard vp two pillars for me, on whose Capitals
    I stand (Colo s s us-like) striding ore seas,
    And with my head knock at the roofe of Heauen:
    455Hence come I, this I am, (O mo st diuine)
    All that I am is yours, be you but mine.
    2. King. The country (a) at whose brea st, hundreds of Kings
    Haue royally bin fed, is nurce to me:
    (a) France.
    The god of grapes is mine, whose bounteous hand
    460In clu sters deales his gifts to euery land:
    My Empire beares for greatnes, pollicy,
    State, skill in Arts and Armes, sole soueraigntie
    Of this Globe vniuersall. All her Princes
    Are warriours borne: whose battels to be told,
    465Would make the hearers souldiers: t'is a land
    Of breath so sweet, and of aspect so faire,
    That to behold her, and to conquer her,
    (In amorous combats,) great king Oberon,
    Your awefull father, oft ha's thither come,
    470Like to a bridegrome, or a Reueller,
    And gone agen in goodly triumphs home.
    From hence I spring, (faire st and mo st diuine)
    All that this is, is yours, be you but mine.
    3. King. Be you but mine, and doubly will I treble
    475Their glories and their greatne s s e: like to thunder
    My voyce farre off, shakes kingdomes; whil st mine owne
    Stands on Seauen (b) hills, whose towers, and pinnacles,
    And renarend Monuments, hold in them such worth,
    And are so sacred, Emperours and Kings
    480(Like barefoote pilgrims) at her feet doe fall,
    Bowing to her trible crowne imperiall.
    The language which shee speakes, goes through the world,
    To proue that all the world should stoope to her,
    And (saue your selfe) they doe; you thinke you leaue
    485A rich inheritance, if to your sonnes,
    Our fluent tongue you leaue, (nor need they more)
    Who speake and spend it well, cannot be poore:
    On many nations necks, a foot to set,
    If it be glorious, then may you be great.
    490 1. King. We are all pleasd, so please you be the bride,
    Of three, we care not which two be deni'd.
    2. King. For we are brethren, and those sacred brea sts
    From whence we draw our nouri shment, would runne
    Nectar to you (sweete as the food of life:)
    495Our aged mother twentie times an hower,
    Would breath her wholesome ki s s es on your cheeke,
    And from her own cup you should drinke that wine
    Which none but Princes ta st, to make you looke
    With cheerefull countenance.
    500 3. King. You haue a (a) sonne,
    (a) The Iri sh.
    Rebellious, wild, ingratefull, poore, and yet
    Apollo from's owne head cuts golden lockes,
    To haue them grow on his: his harp is his,
    The darts he shoots are his: the winged me s s enger
    505That runnes on all the errands of the gods,
    Teaches him swiftnes; hee'l out strip the windes:
    This child of yours is (by adoption)
    Our mothers now, her ble s sing he receiues;
    And tho (as men did in the golden Age)
    510He liue ith' open fields, hiding his head
    In dampi sh caues, and woods, (sometimes for feare,)
    Yet doe we succour him. This your lo st sheep,
    We home agen will bring, to your owne fold,
    Humbly to graze vpon your Faierie plaines,
    515Prouided, that you sow them with such seed,
    On which your whole land wholesomely may feed.
    Titan. We know you now: O what a deale of paines
    Would you (as others of this wing haue taken)
    To be in Faierie land calld Soueraignes?
    520Thankes for it: ra shly nothing mu st we doe:
    When kingdoms marrie, heauen it selfe stands by
    To giue the bride: Princes in tying such bands,
    Should vse a thousand heads, ten thousand hands:
    For that one Acte giues like an enginous wheele
    525Motion to all, sets all the state a going,
    And windes it vp to height, or hurles it down,
    The lea st bla st turnes the scale, where lies a crowne:
    Weele therefore take aduice. If these thinke fit
    We should be yours, you ours, we signe to it:
    530Your counsell Fairie Lords: Fideli speake.
    Fid. Would you (my royal mi stres) haue those chri stal
    Faire, double-leaued doores, where light comes forth
    To cheere the world, neuer to open more?
    Would you haue all your slūbers turn'd to dreams,
    535Frightfull and broken? would you see your Lords
    (In stead of sitting at your Councell boards)
    Locking their graue, white, reuerend heads in steele?
    If so, you cannot for all Fairie land
    Find men to fit you better.
    540 Titan. Florimell,
    Breathes there in you Fidelies spirit?
    Flor. No Lady.
    3. King. No nor in any bre st that's soūd: true Coūceller,
    Already you speake mu sicke: you are strung
    545With golden chords; Angels guide on your tongue.
    Flor. These potent, politicke, and twin-borne states,
    Would to their mitred fortunes tie our fates:
    Our Fairie groues are greene, our temples stand
    Like goodly watch-towers, wafting pa s s engers
    550From rockes, t'arriue them in the Holy land:
    Peace (here) eats fruits, which her own hād hath sown,
    Your lambes with lyons play: about your throne,
    The Palme, the Lawrell, and the abundant Vine
    Grow vp, and with your roses doe entwine.
    555But if these gripe your Scepter once,
    Titan. What then?
    Flor. Vultures are not more rauenous thā these men,
    Confu sion, tyranie, vproares will shake all,
    Tygres, & wolues, and beares, will fil your seat,
    560In nothing (but in miserie) youle be great:
    Those black and poisonous waters that bore down
    In their rough torrent, Fairie townes and towers,
    And drownd our fields in Marianaes daies,
    Will (in a mercile s s e inundation)
    565Couer all againe: red Seas will flow again:
    The Deuill will roare againe: if these you loue,
    Be (as the Serpent,) wise then, tho a Doue.
    2. King. This hee that speakes in mu sicke?
    Titan. Are you all,
    570Of this opinion Lordes?
    Omn. All, all.
    All 3. Lets hence.
    3. King. When close plots faile, vse open violence.
    Titani. Stay: Princes are free-borne, & haue free wils,
    575 Theis are to vs, as vallies are to hills,
    We may, be counceld by them, not controld:
    Our wordes our Law.
    Elfyr. Bright Souereigne.
    Titan. Y'are too bold.
    580 3. King. I knew the fort would yeeld.
    1. King. Attend.
    2. King. Shees ours.
    Titan. You would Combine a League, which these
    would breake.
    585 1. King. A League!
    2. King. Holy.
    3. King. Honorable.
    Titan. Nay heare me speake,
    You court me for my loue, you I imbrace
    590As maides doe suiters, with a smiling face
    As you doe me: receiue our answere then:---
    I cannot loue you:---what! such hardy men
    And flie for one repulse? I meane as yet;
    As yet I'm not at leisure: But I sweare
    595Euen by my birth-day, by the crowne I weare,
    By those sweet waters, which into vs powre
    Health, that no sicknes taints, by that ble st flower
    Vpon whose roseal stalke our peace does grow,
    I sweare I will my loue on you be stow,
    600When one day comes, which now to you Ile name.
    1. King. The time! O ble s s ed time!
    2. King. Balme to our sorrow.
    3. King. Name that mo st happie houre.
    Tita. May be to morrow:
    605Marke els and iudge whether it may or no:
    When Lambes of ours, are kild by wolues of yours,
    Yet no bloud suckt: when Heauen two Suns endures:
    When Soules that re st in vnder-groundes,
    Heare Anthems sung, and prayse the soundes:
    610When drops of water are so spilt,
    That they can wa sh out murders guilt:
    When surgeons long since dead and gone,
    Can cure our woundes, being cald vpon:
    When from yon towers I heare one cry,
    615You may kill Princes lawfully:
    When a Court has no Para site,
    When truth speakes false, and fal shood right:
    When Conscience goes in cloth of gold,
    When Offices are giuen; not sold:
    620When merchants wiues hate co stly clothes,
    When ther's no lies in tradsmens oathes:
    When Farmers by deere yeeres do leeze,
    And Lawyers sweare to take no fees:
    (And that I hope will neuer, neuer bee)
    625But then (and not till then) I sweare,
    Shall your bewitching Charmes sleepe in mine eare.
    Away. Exeunt Faires: Manent 3. Kings.
    1. King. Derided to our faces!
    2. King. Baffuld!
    630 3. King. Made fooles!
    1. King. This mu st not be.
    Omn. It shall not be.
    3. King. Reuenge:
    Flie to our Empres bosome, there sucke treason,
    635Sedition, Herezies confederacies,
    The violation of al sacred leagues.
    The combination of all leagues vniu st,
    The dispensation for sacramentall oathes,
    And when ye'are swolne with theis, returne againe,
    640And let their poyson raine downe here in showres:
    Whole heards of bulls loaden with hallowed curses,
    With Interdictions, excommunications,
    And with vnbinding Subiects fealties,
    And with large pattents to kill Kings and Queens
    645Driue roaring hither, that vpon their hornes
    This Empire may be to st.
    2. King. Shee shall bee torne,
    Euen ioynt from ioynt: to haue her baited wel,
    (If we cannot) wee will vn-kennell hell:
    650 1. King. Will not you home with vs?
    3. King. No: here Ile lurke,
    And in a Doue-like shape rauen vpon Doues:
    Ile suck allegiance from the common bre st,
    Poyson the Courtier with ambitious drugs,
    655Throw bane into the cups where learning drinkes,
    Ile be a Saint, a Furie, Angell, Deuill,
    Or'e Seas, on this side Seas; Deuils forreners,
    With Deuils within hel freedome, Deuils in Vaults.
    And with Church Deuil, be it your soules health,
    660To drinke downe Babylonian Stratagems.
    And to forge three-forkt thunderbolts at home,
    Whil st I melt Sulphure here: If the sweet bane
    I lay bee swallowed, oh! a Kingdome bur sts,
    But if the poysoned hooke be spied, then leuy
    665Eightie eight Legions, and take open armes,
    The Guidon shall be mine, Ile beare the standard.
    Omn. Twi'll be a glorious warre.
    1. King. Farewell.
    3. Kidg. Bee gon,
    670Who cleaues a Realmes head, needs more swordes then one.
    Exeunt.