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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Dumb shew: Empre s s e on the Bea st.
    Emp. Feeles the base earth our weight? i st common Aire
    We suck in and respire? doe seruile clowdes,
    2135(Whose azure winges spread ouer graues and tombes)
    Our glorious body circumvolue? dare night
    Ca st her black nets into dayes cri stall streames,
    To draw vp darkne s s e on our golden beames:
    And vs t'ecclipse, why is not Babilon
    2140In a contorted chaire made all of starres,
    Wound vp by wheeles as high, nay boue the thrones
    Supernall, which with Ioues owne seate stand euen,
    That we might ride heere as the Queene of heauen.
    And with a spurne from our controwling foote,
    2145That should like thunder shake th'etheriall floore,
    Of life and heauen them both ot once bereaue,
    That thither vp dare clime vithout our leaue.
    Com. You doe: you ride there now this is your Sphere,
    Earth is all one with heauen when you are heere.
    2150 3. King. Yet ther's a hell on earth or if not hell,
    Diuels there are or worse then Diuels, that roare onely at you.
    Emp. At vs? what, dare they roare?
    3. King. Your pardon, and ile tell it.
    Emp. Tell: We feare, no spots, the orbe we shine in is so cleere.
    2155 3. King. Thus then: the Faiery Adders hi s s e: they call you
    The super stitious Harlot: purple whore:
    The whore that rides on the rose-coloured bea st :
    The great whore, that on many waters sitteth,
    Which they call many Nations: whil st their Kings,
    2160Are slaues to sate your lu st, and that their bloud,
    (When with them you haue done) serues as a floud,
    For you to drinke or swimme in.
    Omn. O prophane!
    Emp. Goe on: the searching small wounds is no paine.
    2165 3. King. These cowards thus when your back's turnd (that strike)
    Follow their blowe and sweare, that where you claime,
    Supremacie monarchall ouer Kings,
    Tis but your tiranous pride, and not your due.
    Emp. But what your selues giue, what haue we from you?
    2170You say we are your mother, and if so,
    Mu st not sonnes kneele? they pay but what they owe.
    3. King. They say the robes of purple which you weare,
    Your scarlet veiles, and mantles are not giuen you
    As types of honour and regality,
    2175But dyed so deepe with bloud vpon them spilt,
    And that (all or'e) y'are with red murder gilt:
    The drinke euen in that golden cup, they sweare
    Is wine sophi sticated, that does runne
    Low on the lees of error, which in ta ste,
    2180Is sweete and like the neate and holsome iuyce
    Of the true grape, but tis ranke poyson downe.
    Omn. Haue we not all it ta sted?
    Emp. Nay, vtter all.
    Out of their lips you see flowes naught but gall.
    2185 3. King. What can my breath doe more, to bla st your cheekes,
    And leaue them glowing as red gads of steele?
    My tongue's already bli stred sounding this,
    Yet mu st I whisper to your sacred eare:
    That on your brow (they say) is writ a name
    2190In letters mi sticall, which they interpret
    Confu sion, by great Babylon they meane
    The Citie of Confu sion.
    Emp. View our forhead?
    Where are we printed with such Characters?
    2195Point out these markes: Which of you all can lay
    A finger on that Moale that markes our face?
    3. King. They say you can throw mi sts before our eyes,
    To make vs thinke you faire.
    Omn. Damnd blasphemies.
    2200 Com. You shall with rods of iron scourge these treasons.
    1. King. The Mace is in your hand, grinde them to du st.
    2. King. And let your blowes be sound.
    3. King. For they are iu st.
    Emp. Lets heare with what lowde throats our thunder speakes,
    2205Repeate our vengeance o're, which to beate Kings
    Mu st now flie o're the seas with linnen winges.
    Com. Our Galeons, Galea s s es, Zabraes, Gallies,
    Ships, Pynaces, Pataches, huge Caruiles,
    For number, rib and belly are so great,
    2210That should they want a Sea neere Faiery land
    Of depth to beare them vp, they in their wombs
    Might swim with a sea thither: here are breifes
    Of your imperiall Armies.
    Emp. Reade them lowde:
    2215Thunder ner'e speakes, but the voice crackes a clowde.
    Com. In the fir st Squadron twelue great Galeons:
    Floate like twelue moouing Ca stles: Zabraes two.
    Habilimented gloriou sly for warre,
    With Souldiers, Seamen, shot, and ordinance:
    2220This Squadron stout Medyna does command:
    Who of the maine is Captaine Generall.
    The second Squadron braue Ricalde leades,
    Being Admirall to fouretene Galleons.
    Flores de Ualdes guides the third, the fourth
    2225Followes the silken streamers of the haughty
    Pedro de Valdes that tryed warriour.
    Oquendo in the fift front cries a Charge.
    Bretandona bringes vp the Leuantines
    With his sixt Squadron: Gomes de Medyna
    2230Waftes vp the seauenth like the God of warre,
    The eighth obayes Mendoza: and the ninth
    Fierce Vgo de Montada: all these Squadrons,
    For ve s s ell, numbred are one hundred thirtie,
    The sight of Souldiers, Marriners, and Slaues
    2235Twentie nine thousand, eight hundred thirtie three.
    Peeces of bra s s e for battery these,
    Six hundred thirtie: adde to these Gallions
    Twentie Caruiles, and Saluees ten: which make
    The whole Armada, eightscore lu stie saile.
    2240Add to all these your Generals of Armies,
    Your Captaines, En signe bearers, (which in role,
    Are eightscore and eleauen) the Voluntaries,
    With officers and seruants, then the Regiments
    That are in pay: to these, all men of orders,
    2245All mini sters of iu stice: and to these
    Supplies of forces that mu st second vs,
    And la st that ho st of starres which from the Moone
    Will fall to guide vs on: these totald vp,
    You shal a hundred thowsand swordes behold
    2250Brandi sh't at once, whose----- standes
    Men will seeme borne with weapons in their handes.
    Emp. Goe: cut the salt fome with your mooned keeles,
    And let our Galeons feele euen child-birth panges,
    Till their great bellies be deliuered
    2255On the soft Faiery shoares: captiue their Queene,
    That we may thus take off her crowne, whil st she
    Kneeles to these glorious wonders, or be trampled
    To death for her contempt: burne, batter, kill,
    Blow vp, pull downe, ruine all, let not white haires,
    2260Nor red cheekes blunt your wrath, snatch babes from bre sts,
    And when they crie for milke, let them sucke bloud,
    Turne all their fieldes to lakes of gellyed goare,
    That Sea-men one day sayling by the land
    May say, there Faiery kingdome once did stand.
    2265 Omn. They shall. 3. King: Tis done already.
    Emp: To be sure
    You all are ours, bow and adore the bea st,
    On whome we ride.
    Omn. We fall beneath his feete.
    2270 Emp: Be ble st, obedience is in sonnes mo st sweete,
    O strange, to you he stoopes as you before him,
    Humility, he bowes whil st you adore him:
    To kindle lu stie fires in all your bloud,
    A health to all, and as our cup goes rownd,
    2275Draw neere, weele marke you for our chosen flocke,
    Who buildes on heartes confirmd, buildes on a rocke:
    The seale of heauen! who on their foreheads weare it,
    We choose for counsaile: on their hands who beare it,
    We marke for Action: Heere, a health to all.
    2280 Omn. Braue health! to pledge it, see Kings pro strate fall. Kneele.
    Emp: On: All: On:
    3. King. Sing warre thy lowd and loftie st notes.
    We winne; our ships meete none but fi sher-boates. Exeunt.