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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Lectori.
    T He Generall scope of this Drammaticall
    Poem, is to set forth (in Tropicall and
    0.040 shadowed collours) the Greatnes, Magna-
    nimity, Con stancy, Clemency, and other
    the incomparable Heroical vertues of our
    late Queene And (on the contrary part)
    the inueterate malice, Treasons, Ma-
    0.045 chinations Vnderminings, & continual blody stratagems of that
    Purple whore of Roome, to the taking away of our Princes liues,
    and vtter extirpation of their Kingdomes. Wherein if accor-
    ding to the dignity of the Subiect, I haue not giuen it Lu stre,
    and (to vse the Painters rhethorick) doe so faile in my Depthes
    0.050 & Heightnings, that it is not to the life, let this excuse me, that
    the Pyramides vpon whose top the glorious Raigne of our de-
    ceased Soueraigne was mounted, stands yet so high, and so sharp-
    ly pointed into the clouds, that the Art of no pen is able to
    reach it. The streame of her Vertues is so immēsurable, that the
    0.055 farther they are waded into, the farther is it to the bottom.
    In sayling vpon which two contrary Seas, you may obserue,
    on how direct a line I haue steered my course: for of such a scant-
    ling are my words set downe, that neither the one party speakes
    too much, nor the other (in opppo sition) too little in their owne
    0.060 defence.
    And whereas I may, (by some more curions in censure, then
    sound in iudgement) be Critically taxed, that I fal si fie the ac-
    count of time, and set not down Occurrents, according to their
    true succe s s ion, let such (that are so nice of stomach) know, that
    0.065 I write as a Poet, not as an Hi storian, and that these two doe not
    Lectori.
    liue vnder one law. How true Fortunes dyall hath gone whose
    Players (like so many clocks, haue struck my lines, and told the
    world how I haue spent my houres) I am not certaine, because
    mine eare stood not within reach of their Larums. But of
    0.070 this my knowledge cannot faile, that in such Consorts,
    many of the Instruments are for the mo st part out of tune,
    And no maruaile; for let the Poet set the note of his Nombers,
    euen to Apolloes owne Lyre, the Player will haue his owne Cro-
    chets, and sing false notes, in di spite of all the rules of Mu sick.
    0.075 It fares with these two, as it does with good stuffe and a badde
    Tayler: It is not mard in the wearing, but in the cutting out.
    The labours therfore of Writers are as vnhappie as the children
    of a bewtifull woman, being spoyld by ill nurses, within a month
    after they come into the world. What a number of throwes doe
    0.080 we endure eare we be deliuered? and yet euen then (tho that hea-
    uenly i ssue of our braine be neuer so faire and so well lymd,) is
    it made lame by the bad handling of them to whome it is put to
    learne to goe: if this of mine bee made a cripple by such meanes,
    yet di spise him not for that deformity which stuck not vpon him
    0.085 at his birth; but fell vpon him by mis-fortune, and in recompence
    of such fauour, you shall (if your Patience can suffer so long)
    heare now how himselfe can speake.