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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    of Babylon.
    Empre s s e of Babylon: her Canopie supported by 4. Cardinals: 2. persons in
    55 Pontificall roabes on either hand, the one bearing a sword, the other the
    keies: before her 3. Kings crowned, behinde her Friers, &c.
    Empr. THat we, in pompe, in peace, in god-like splendor,
    With adoration of all dazeled eies,
    Should breath thus long, and grow so full of daies,
    60Be fruitfull as the Vine, in sonnes and daughters,
    (All Emperors, Kings, and Queenes) that (like to Cedars
    Vpri sing from the breas st of Lybanus,
    Or Oliues nur st vp by Ierusalem)
    Heightened our glories, whil st we held vp them:
    65That this va st Globe Terre striall should be cantled,
    And almo st three parts ours, and that the nations,
    Who su spiration draw out of this aire,
    With vniuersall Aues, showtes, and cries,
    Should vs acknowledge to be head supreame
    70To this great body (for a world of yeares:)
    Yet now, when we had made our Crowne compleat,
    And clos'd it strongly with a triple arch,
    And had inrich'd it with those pretious jewels
    Few Princes euer see (white haires) euen now
    75Our greatne s s e hangs in ballance, and the stampe
    Of our true Soueraignty, clipt, and abas'd.
    1. King. By whom dread Empre s s e?
    Emp. Aske these holy Fathers:
    Aske those our out-ca st sonnes: a throne vsurped
    80Our chaire is counted, all our titles stolne.
    2. King. What bla sphemy dare speake so?
    Empr. All our roabes,
    Your ve stments, (reuerend, yet pontificall:)
    This sword, these keyes, (that open kingdoms hearts
    85To let in sweet obedience) All, but borrowed.
    3. King. What soule aboue the earth----
    Emp. Our royall signet,
    With which, we, (in a mothers holy loue)
    Haue sign'd so many pardons, is now counterfeit:
    90From our mouth flow riuers of bla sphemy
    And lies; our Babylonian Sinagogues
    Are counted Stewes, where Fornications
    And all vncleanne s s e Sodomiticall,
    (Whose leprosy touch'd vs neuer) are now daily acted:
    95Our Image, which (like Romane Cae sars) stamp'd
    In gold, through the whole earth did currant pa s s e;
    Is now blanch'd copper, or but guilded bra s s e.
    3. King. Can yonder roofe, thats naild so fa st with ( starres,
    Couer a head so impious, and not cracke?
    100That Sulphure boyling o're cele stiall fires,
    May drop in whizing flakes (with skalding vēgeāce)
    On such a horrid sinne!
    1. King. No mortall bosome
    Is so vnsanctified.
    105 2. King. Who i' st bright Empre s s e,
    That feeds so vlcerous, and so ranke a Spleene?
    Emp. A woman.
    Omn. Woman! who?
    Emp. The Fairie Queene:
    110Fiue Summers haue scarce drawn their glimmering (nights
    Through the Moons siluer bowe, since the crownd (heads
    Of that adored bea st, on which we ride,
    Were strucke and wounded, but so heal'd againe,
    The very scarres were hid. But now, a mortall,
    115An vnrecouerable blovv is taken,
    And it must bleed to death.
    3. King. Heauen cannot suffer it.
    Empr. Heauen suffers it, and sees it, and giues ayme,
    Whil st euen our Empires heart is cleft in sunder:
    120That strumpet, that inchantre s s e, (who, in robes
    White as is innocence, and with an eye
    Able to tempt stearne murther to her bed)
    Calles her selfe Truth, has stolne faire Truths attire,
    Her crowne, her sweet songs, counterfets her voyce,
    125And by pre stigious tricks in sorcerie,
    Ha's raiz'd a base impo stor like Truths father:
    This subtile Curtizan sets vp againe,
    Whom we but late bani sht, to liue in caues,
    In rockes and desart mountaines.
    130 2. King. Feare her not, shee's but a shadow.
    Empr. O t'is a cunning Spider,
    And in her nets so wraps the Fairie Queene,
    That shee suckes euen her brea st: Sh'as writ a booke,
    Which shee calles holy Spels.
    135 3. King. Weele breake those spels.
    Empr. The poles of heauen mu st fir st in sunder breake,
    For from the Fairie shores this Witch hath driuen
    All such as are like these (our Sooth-Saiers)
    And cal'd false Seers home, that of things pa st,
    140Sing wonders, and diuine of things to come:
    Through whose bewitching tongues runne golden chaines,
    To which ten thousand eares so fa st are bound,
    As spirits are by spells; that all the Tones
    Of harmony, that Babylon can sound,
    145Are charmes to Adders, and no more regarded,
    Than are by him that's deafe, the sicke mans groanes
    Shee, they, Titania, and her Fairie Lords,
    Yea euen her va s s aile elues, in publike scorne
    Defame me, call me Whore of Babylon.
    150 Omn. O vnheard of prophanation!
    Empr. Giue out I am common: that for lu st, and hire
    I pro stitute this body: that to Kings
    I quaffe full bowles of strong enchanting wines,
    To make them dote on me.
    155 Omn. Lets heare no more.
    Emp. And that all Potentates that tread on earth,
    With our abhominations should be drunke,
    And be by vs vndone.
    Omn. Weele heare no more.
    160 3. King. You haue thru st Furies whips into our hands.
    1. King. Say but the word, and weele turne home your wrōgs,
    In torne and bloody collours.
    2. King. All her bowers,
    shall like burnt offerings purge away (in fire)
    165Her lands pollution.
    Omn. Let's to armes.
    Empr. Stay: heare me:
    Her kingdome weares a girdle wrought of waues,
    Set thicke with pretious stones, that are so charm'd,
    170No rockes are of more force: her Fairies hearts,
    Lie in inchanted towers (impregnable)
    No engine scales them. Therefore goe you three,
    Draw all your faces sweetly, let your browes
    Be sleekd, your cheekes in dimples, giue out smiles,
    175Your voyces string with siluer, wooe (like louers)
    Sweare you haue hils of pearle: shew her the world,
    And say shee shall haue all, so shee will kneele
    And doe vs reuerence: but if shee grow nice,
    Di s s emble, flatter, stoope to licke the du st
    180Shee goes vpon, and (like to serpents) creepe
    Vpon your bellies, in humilitie;
    And beg shee would but with vs ioyne a league,
    To wed her land to ours: our ble s sing, goe.
    3. King. When mines are to be blowne vp, men dig low.
    185 All three. And so will wee.
    Emp. Prosper: till this sunne set
    The beames that from vs shoot, seeme counterfet. Exeunt.
    Manent 4. Cardinals, and certaine Priests.
    1. Card. This phy sicke cures not me.
    190 2. Card. Nor me.
    3. Card. Nor vs.
    1. Card. It is not strong of poyson, to fetch vp
    Thats bak't within: my gall is ouerflowne,
    My blood growne ranke and fowle: An inflamation
    195Of rage, and madnes so burnes vp my liuer,
    That euen my heart- strings cracke (as in a furnace)
    And all my nerues into my eye-balles shrinke,
    To shoot those bullets, and my braines at once
    Again st her soule that ha's halfe dambd vs: falls
    200Fetcht hie, and neare to heauen, light on no ground,
    But in hels bottome, take their fir st rebound.
    2. Card. Such are our falles: we once had mountaine-growth,
    With Pines and Cedars.
    3. Card. Now with none of both.
    205 1. Card. I could be glad to loose the diuine office
    Of my creation, to be turn'd into
    A dogge, so I might licke vp but her blood,
    That thru sts vs from our vineyards.
    Tres. So could all.
    210 4. Card. Reuenge were milke to vs.
    2. Card. Manna.
    1. Card. And it shall.
    But how? wee will not (as the head supreame
    Ouer all nations, counselleth) licke the du st
    215The Faierie treads on, nor (like serpents) creepe
    Vpon our bellies in humilitie:
    This were (with Fencers) basely to giue ground,
    When the fir st bowt may speed: or to sound parly,
    Whil st they within, get swords to cut our throats:
    220No, weele at one blow strike the heart through.
    Tres. How?
    2. Card. By ponyards.
    1. Card. No.
    3. Card. Poyson.
    225 1. Card. No.
    4. Card. Treason.
    1. Card. Neither.
    2. Card. How (reuerend Como) then?
    1. Card. Thus---let's consult---nay you shal heare.
    230You know that all the springs in Fairie land
    Ran once to one head: from that head, to vs:
    The mountaine and the valley paid vs fruit;
    The field her corne, the countrey felt no heat
    But from our fires: Plenty still spread our boards,
    235And Charitie tooke away. We stept not forth
    But with a god like adoration
    All knees bowed low vnto vs: why was this?
    Why were our gardens Eden? why our bowers
    Built like to those in Paradise? I shall tell you,
    240It was because the Law mo st my sticall,
    Was not made common: therefore was not vile;
    It was because in the great Prophets Phanes
    And hallowed Temples, we were Chori sters:
    It was because (wise Pylots) we from rockes,
    245And gulfes infernall, safely set on shore
    Mens soules at yonder hauen: or (beeing shipwrackt)
    Strong lines forth ca st we, suffering none to sinke
    To that Abi s s e, which some hold bottomle s s e.
    But now our very graues
    250Cannot saue dead mens bones from shame and bruzes:
    The monumentall marble Vrnes of bodies
    (Laid to re st long agoe) vnreuerently
    Are turned to troughes of water now for jades:
    Va st Charnel-houses, where our fathers heads
    255Slept on the cold hard pillowes of the earth,
    Are emptied now, and chang'd to drinking roomes,
    Or vaults for baser office.
    2. Card. What's therefore to be done?
    1. Card. This mu st be done:
    260This shall be done: They hunted vs like wolues,
    Out of their Fairie forre sts, whipt vs away
    (As vagabonds) mockt vs, and said our fall
    Could not be dangerous, because we bore
    Our gods vpon our backes: now mu st we whip them,
    265But wiselier.
    Tres. How?
    1. Card. Thus: those that fill our roomes,
    Hold Beacons in their eies (blazing with fire
    Of a hot-seeming zeale) to watch our entrance,
    270And to arme all again st vs: these we mu st quench:
    They are counted wels of knowledge, poyson these wells:
    They are the kingdoms mu sicke, they the Organs,
    Vnto whose sound her Anthems now are sung,
    Set them but out of tune, alls out of square,
    275Pull downe the Church, and none can it repaire,
    But he that builds it: this is the faggot band
    That binds all fa st: vndoo't, vndoe the land---
    Card. omn. Mo st certaine.
    1. Card. You therefore (the be st consort of the soule)
    280Shepheards (whose flocks are men, lambs, Angels,) you
    That hold the roofe of yon Starre-chamber vp,
    From dropping downe to grinde the world to du st,
    You shall to Fairie land.
    Card. omnes. A joyfull voyage.
    285 1. Card. Those that sing there the holy Hymnes, as yet
    Haue not their voyces cleere, the streame of ceremony
    Is scarcely settled, trouble it more: bayte hookes
    To take some, some to choake: ca st out your net
    At fir st, for all the frie: let vs spread sayles
    290To draw vnto our shores the Fairie whales.
    That Truth, whose standard-bearer Babylon,
    And all we are, is not cleane driuen from thence,
    Whither we send you: there shee liues, but liues
    A widdow; steps not forth, dares not be seene
    295During her moneth of mourning: here we write you
    How, and with whom to finde her: what shee bids,
    That doe: your hire's aboue.
    Card. omnes. We know it well.
    1. Card. And when you see those Fairy fi shermen
    300Rowe in your streames, when they grow cold in working,
    And weary of their owne waters, that the sayles
    (Which stifly beare them vp) flag and hang low,
    And that (like reedes, playing with a paire of winds.)
    They promise facill pliance, then, then shake
    305The trees by the root, then'le make the branches blow,
    And drop their mellowed fruits, euen at your feet,
    Gather them they are our owne, then is the houre,
    To weane those sonnes of blacke Apo sta si
    From her. (their stepdame) and to make them take,
    310A ble s sing from our reuerend mothers hands,
    Be happie goe.
    Card. Omn. Wee shall remember you,
    In all our kneelings.
    1. Card. Stay: ere you shift Ayre,
    315Sprinkle your selues all ore with sacred droppes,
    Take Periapts, Pentacles, and potent Charmes
    To coniure downe fowle feinds, that will be rayzed
    To vex you, tempt you, and betray your bloud,
    About your necks hang hallowed Amulets,
    320That may Conserue you from the plagues of Error
    Which will strike at you.
    Sacr. Omn. Wee obey mo st holy fathers.
    1. Car. And heare you,
    If clymbing vp to this haught enterprize
    325The foot slip, and (ith' fal) with death you meet---
    Sacr. Omn. O glorious ladder!
    1. Car. A Saints winding sheet,
    Farewell: Mount all the engines of your wit Exeunt Sacr.
    When darts are sent from all parts, some mu st hit.
    330There is a fellow to whome, because he dare
    Not be a slaue to greatnes, nor is molded
    Of Court dow (flattering) but ( should it thunder)
    To his father. doing ill, (would speake ill) our Empre s s e,
    Hath giuen this name. (Plaine Dealing): this plaine dealing
    335Haue I shipd hence, and is long since arriued
    Vpon the fairy strnod: from him I expect,
    Intelligence of all Occurrences,
    He for the names sake, shall perhaps be welcome,
    Into that Harlots Company (whom the fairyes
    340Thinke hone st, and sweare deeply, she is Truth.
    That strumpet by inticement heele bring ouer,
    2. Card. It came to me in letters (two dayes since.
    That this plaine dealing serues the fairy Queene,
    And will no more be seene in Babilon.
    345 1. Card. How no more seene in Babilon, tis but one lo st,
    If Babilon subscribe to our wise-doome,
    Shee shall lodge Double-Dealing in his roome. Exeunt.