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  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    The Empres, Cardinals &c.
    Emp. Who sets those tunes to mocke vs? Stay them.
    Omn. Peace.
    1225 1. King. Peace there.
    1. Card. No more: your mu sicke mu st be dombe.
    Emp. When those Caele stiall bodies that doe moue,
    Within the sacred Spheres of Princes bosomes
    Goe out of order, tis as if yon Regiment,
    1230Weare all in vp-roare: heauen should then be vext,
    Me thinkes such indignation should resemble,
    Dreadfull eclypses, that portend dire plagues
    To nations, fall to Empires, death to Kings,
    To Citties deua station, to the world,
    1235That vniuersall hot calamitie
    Of the la st horror. But our royall bloud,
    Beates in our veines like seas strugling for bounds,
    Aetna, burns in vs: bearded Comets shoote
    Their vengeance through our eyes: our breath is lightning;
    1240Thunder our voyce; yet, as the idle Cannon,
    Strikes at the Aires Invulnerable bre st)
    Our darts are phillip'd backe in mockery,
    Wanting the poynts to wound.
    1. King. Too neere the heart,
    1245(Mo st royall Empre s s e) these di stempers fit,
    So please you, weele againe a s s ayle her bewtie
    In varied shapes, and worke on sutler Charmes,
    Again loues poysoned arrowes weele let flie.
    Emp. No: proud spirits once denying, still deny.
    1250 1. Car. Then be your selfe, (a woman) change those ouertures:
    You made so her of an vnusuall peace,
    To an vnusde defiance: giue your reuenge,
    A full and swelling saile, as from your greatnes
    You tooke, in veyling to her: you haue beene
    1255Too cold in puni shment, too soft in chyding,
    And like a mother (cause her yeares are greene)
    Haue winck't at Errors, hoping time, or councell,
    Or her owne guilt (seing how she goes awry,)
    Would streigten all.--- you find the contrarie.
    1260 Empe. What followes?
    1. Card. Sharp cha stizment, leaue the Mother
    And be the steptdame; wanton her no more
    On your Indulgent knee, signe no more pardons
    To her Off-fallings and her flyings out,
    1265But let it be a meritorious Act:
    Make it a ladder for the soule to climbe,
    Lift from the hindges all the gates of heauen;
    To make way for him that shall kill her.
    Omnes. Good.
    1270 1. Card. Giue him an office in yon Starr-chamber,
    Or els a Saints place and Canonize him;
    So Sanctifie the arme that takes her life,
    That sylly soules may go on pilgrimage,
    Only to ki s s e the In strument (that strikes)
    1275As a mo st reuerent relique.
    Empe. Be it so.
    1. King. In that one word she expires
    Empe. Her fayrie Lordes
    (That play the Pilots nowe, and steere her kingdome
    1280In fowle st weather) as white bearded corne
    Bowes his proud head before th'imperiall windes,
    Shall soly groueling (heere) when that day comes.
    1. Ki. And that it shall come fates thēselues prepare.
    Emp. True, but old Lyons hardly fall into the snare.
    1285 1. King. Is not the good and politique Satyran
    (Our leagued brother, and your va s s aile sworne)
    Euen now (this very minute) sucking close
    Their faire st bosomes? if his traynes take well:
    They haue strange workings (down-wards) into hel.
    1290 Emp. That Satiran is this hand: his braines a forge
    Still working for ys he's the trew set clocke
    By which we goe, and of our houres doth keepe
    The numbred strokes, when we lye bound in sleepe.
    1. Card. Be sides such voluntaries as will serue
    1295Vnder your holy cullors and forsake
    The Fairie standard, all such fugitiues
    Whose heartes are Babylonized: all the Mutiners
    All the damb'd Crew, that would for gold teare off
    The deuills beard: All schollers that doe eate
    1300The bread of sorrow, want, and discontent,
    Wise Satryan takes vp, pre s s es, apparrels,
    Their backes like Innocent Lambes, their minds like (woues,
    Rubs or'e their tongues with poyson, which they spet
    Again st their owne annointed; their owne Country,
    1305Their very parent. And thus shippes 'em hither.
    To make em yours.
    Emp. To vse.
    1. Card. Only to imploy them
    As Bees whil st they haue stings, & bring thighs laden
    1310With hony, hiue them, when they are droanes, de stroy them.
    1. King. The earne st which he giues you (adored Empre s s e,)
    Are three fit engines for vs.
    Empr. Are they wrought?
    2. King. They are: and waite in Court your vtmo st pleasure,
    1315Out of your Cup made wee them drunke with wines,
    To sound their hearts, which they with such deuotion
    Receiued downe, that euen whil st Bacchus, swom
    From lippe to lippe, in mid' st of taking healths,
    They tooke their owne damnation, if their bloud
    1320(As those grapes) stream'd not forth, to effect your good.
    Emp. Let vs behold these fire-workes, that mu st run
    Vpon short lines of life: yet wil Wee vse them,
    Like in struments of mu sicke play on them,
    A while for pleasure, and then hang them by,
    1325Who Princes can vpbrayd, tis good they die.
    For as in building sumptuous pallaces,
    We climb by base and slender scaffoldings,
    Till wee haue raized the Frame: and that being done,
    (To grace the worke) we take the Scaffolds downe,
    1330So mu st we these: we know they loue vs not,
    But Swallow-like when their owne summers pa st,
    Here seeke for heat: or like flight Traualers,
    (Swolne with vaine-glory, or with lu st to see,)
    They come to obserue fa shions and not mee.
    1335 1. King. As Traualers vse them then, till they be gone,
    Looke Cheerefully; backs turn'd, no more thought vpon.
    Emp. What are they that fly hither (to our bosome)
    But such as hang the wing, such as want nea sts;
    Such as haue no sound feathers; birds so poore,
    1340They scarce are worth the killing: with the Larke
    (The morning's fawlkner) so they may mount hie,
    Care not how base and low their ri sings be?
    What are they but leane hungry Crowes that tyre
    Vpon the mangled quarters of a Realme?
    1345And on the house-tops of Nobilitie
    (If there they can but sit) like fatall Rauens,
    Or Skrich-Owles croake their fals and hoarsely bode,
    Nothing but scaffolds and vnhallowed graues?
    1. King. Fitter for vs: yet sit they here like doues.
    1350 Emp. True: like corrupted Churchmē they are doues,
    That haue eate carrion: home weele therefore send
    These bu sie-working Spiders to the wals
    Of their owne countrey, when their venemous bags
    (Which they shall stuffe with scandales, libels, treasons)
    1355Are full and vpon bur sting: let them there
    Weaue in their politicke loomes nets to catch flies;
    To vs they are but Pothecary drugs,
    Which we will take as Phy sicall pils, not food:
    Vse them as lancets to let others bloud,
    1360That haue foule bodies, care not whom you wound,
    Nor what parts you cut off, to keepe this sound.
    Omn. Here come they.
    Campeius, Parydell, and †Lupus.
    Lopes
    Emp. Welcome: rise, and rise vp high
    1365In honours and our fauour: you haue thru st
    Your armes into our cofers, haue you not?
    All 3. Yes sacred Empre s s e.
    Camp. And into our owne,
    Haue rayned downe showers of gold.
    1370 Emp. You shall deserue it:
    You see what Ocean can repleni sh you,
    Be you but duteous tributarie streames:
    But is your temper right? are not the edges
    Of your sharpe spirits rebated? are you ours?
    1375Doe not your hearts sinke downe yet? will you on?
    All 3. Stood death ith' way.
    Lup. Stood hell.
    Emp. Nobly resolu'de:
    But li sten to vs, and obserue our counsell:
    1380Backe mu st we send you to the Fairie Land,
    Danger goes with you; here's your safetie: li sten.
    Chuse winds to sayle by; if the wayward seas
    Grow stormie, houer, keepe aloofe: if feares,
    Shipwracks, and death lie tumbling on the waues,
    1385And will not off, then ombe venturous,
    Conque sts hard got are sweet and glorious.
    Being landed, if suspition ca st on you.
    Her narrow eyes, turne your selues then to Moles,
    Worke vnder ground, and vndermine your countrey,
    1390Tho you ca st earth vp but a handfull high,
    To make her stumble: if that bloud-hound hunt you,
    (That long-ear'd Inqui sition) take the thickets,
    Climbe vp to Hay-mowes, liue like birds, and eate
    The vndeflowred corne: in hollow trees
    1395Take such proui sion as the Ant can make:
    Flie with the Batt vnder the eeues of night,
    And shift your nea sts: or like to Ancre s s es,
    Close vp your selues in artificiall wals:
    Or if you walke abroad, be wrapt in clouds,
    1400Haue change of haires, of cie-brows, halt with soldiers,
    Be shauen and be old women, take all shapes
    To escape taking: But if they ayre be cleere,
    Flie to the Court, and vnderneath the wings
    Of the Eagle, Faulcon, or some great bird houer,
    1405Oakes and large Beech-trees many, bea sts doe couer.
    He that fir st sings a Dirge tun'de to the death
    Of that my onely foe the Fairie Queene,
    Shalbe my loue, and (clad in purple) ride
    Vpon that scarlet-coloured bea st that beares
    1410Seuen Kingdomes on seuen heads.
    Camp. If all the Spels
    That wit, or eloquence, or arts can set:
    If all the sleights that bookemen vse in schooles
    Be powrefull in such happine s s e, 'tis mine.
    1415 Rop. What phy sicke can I dare onely to grow
    (But as I merit shall) vp in your eye.
    Emp. Weele erect ladders for you strong and high,
    That you shall climbe to starrie dignitie.
    Both. We take our leaue dread Empre s s e. Exeunt.
    1420 Emp. Fare you well:
    Our benediction goe along with you----
    Our malediction and your soules confu sion
    Like shiuer'd towers fall on your luckele s s e heads,
    And wedge you into earth low as the deepe
    1425Where are the damned, if our world you fire,
    Since desperately you'le ride and dare aspire.
    1. King. But is this all? shall we thus bend our sinews
    Onely to emptie quiuers, and to shoot
    Whole sheafes of forked arrowes at the Sunne,
    1430Yet neuer hit him?
    2. Car. And the marke so faire!
    Com. Nay, which is more, suppose that al these torrēts
    Which from your sea of Greatne s s e, you (for your part)
    And all those stragling flouds which we haue driuen
    1435With full and stiffe winds to the Fairie Stronds,
    Should all breake in at once, and in a deluge
    Of Innouation, rough rebellion, factions,
    Of ma s s acres, and pale de struction
    Swallow the kingdome vp, and that the bloud
    1440Euen of Titania's heart should in deepe crimson
    Dye all these waters: what of this? what share
    Is yours? what land shall you recouer?
    1. King. All.
    Com. All!
    1445 1. King. I, all:
    Betweene the Transuersaries that doe run
    Vpon this cro s s e staffe, a dull eye may find
    In what degree we are, and of what height
    Your selfe (our brighte st Ariadne) is,
    1450Being vnderneath that Tropicke: as those jewels
    Of night and day are by alternate course
    Worne in Heauens fore-head,
    So when Deaths Winter comes,
    And shortens all those beames of Maie stie,
    1455Which in this oblique and Zodiacall Sphere
    Moue with Titania now, shall loose their heat,
    Where mu st the next Sunrise but here? from whence
    Shall Fairie land get warmth? meerely from hence.
    Let but the taper of her life burne out,
    1460We haue such torches ready in her land
    To catch fire from each other, that the flames
    Shall make the frighted people thinke earth burnes,
    And being dazled with our Copes of Starres,
    We shall their temples hallow with such ease,
    1465As 'twere in solemne gay proce s sion.
    Com. Some lyne sea cards, that know not the seas ta st,
    Nor scarce the colour: by your charmes I gather
    You haue seene Fairie land---but in a Map:
    Can tell how't stands: but if you giue't a fall,
    1470You mu st get bigger bones: for let me whisper
    This to your eare; though you bait hookes with gold,
    Ten thousand may be nibbling, when none bites,
    And those you take for Angels, you'le find sprites.
    Say that Titania were now drawing short breath,
    1475(As that's the Cone and Button that together
    Claspes all our hopes) out of her a shes may
    A second † Phoenix rise, of larger wing,
    K. Iames.
    Of stronger talent, of more dreadfull beake,
    Who swooping through the ayre, may with his beating
    1480So well commaund the winds, that all those trees
    Where sit birds of our hatching (now fled thither)
    Will tremble, & (through feare strucke dead) to earth,
    Throw those that sit and sing there, or in flockes
    Driue them from thence, yea and perhaps his talent
    1485May be so bonie and so large of gripe,
    That it may shake all Babilon.
    Emp. All Babylon!
    Com. Your pardon: but who'le swear this may not be?
    Emp. How the preuention?
    1490 Com. Thus; to fell downe their Q. is but one stroake;
    Our axe mu st cleaue the kingdome, that's the Oake.
    Emp. The manner.
    Com. Ea sie: while st our thunderbolts
    Are anuiling abroad, call Satyran home,
    1495He in his fadome metes va st Argozies,
    Huge Galea s s es, and such wodden Ca stles,
    As by enchantment of the waters moue:
    To his, marry yours and ours; and of them all
    Create a braue Armado, such a fleete,
    1500That may breake Neptunes backe to carry it:
    Such for varietie, number, pui s s ance,
    As may fetch all the Fairie Land in turfes,
    To make a greene for you to walke vpon
    In Babilon.
    1505 1. King. Inuincible! goe on.
    Com. Now when the volley of those murdring shot
    That are to play fir st on Titaniaes brea st,
    And (yet) leane on their re sts, goe off and kill her,
    So that the very Aluerado giuen,
    1510Sounds the lea st hope of conque st; then, then shew
    Your warlike Pageants dancing on the waues,
    Yours is the Land, the Nation are your slaues.
    Omn. Counsell from Heauen!
    Emp. None this shall ouer-whelme:
    1515Braue voyage! Rig out ships, and fetch a Realme.
    Exeunt.