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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
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    The Whore of Babylon (Quarto, 1607)

    Fideli, Florimell, Parthenophill, Elfiron,
    Flory. These euill spirits are vext, & tho they vani sht
    Like hideous dreames, yet haue they left behind them,
    675Throbs, and heart akings, in the generall boosome,
    As omynous bodings. Fairy Lackeyes.---
    4. Footmen Here.
    Flory. Flie Sirra throug the Ayre and neuer re st
    (On paine to be into an vrchin turnd)
    680Till thou ha st fixt vpon the highe st gates,
    Of our great' st Cities The'rs a warning peece. Away. (Exit.
    Fidel. Theis to the Spirits that our waters keepe,
    Charge thē that none row st there, but those whose nets,
    Are ca st out of our Fairy gundolets. Away. Exit. 2.
    685 Elfyr. Theis to the keepers of those royall woods
    Where Lyons, Panthers, and the kingly heardes
    Feede in one company; that if wild Boares,
    Mad Buls, or rauing Beares, breake in for prey,
    Hoping to make our groues their wildernes,
    690Ours may like souldiers bid thē battaile. Flie. Exit. 3.
    Parth. Theis to the Shepheards on our Fairie downs
    To warne them not to sleepe, but with sweet Layes
    And Iolly pipings driue into fat pa stures
    Their goodly flocks: Wolues are abroad say, Fly. Exit. 4.
    695 Fidel. Place Prouidence, (because she has quick eye:
    And is the be st at kenning) in our Nauy,
    Courage shall wait on her.
    Flor. No: shees mo st fit
    Titania and
    her maids
    standing alofe.
    To goe with vs.
    700 Omn. Let her in Counsell sit.
    Fid. Tis said: and lea st they breake into our walkes
    And kil our fairie deare, or change themselues
    Into the shape of Fawnes, being indeed Foxes,
    Range all the forre st danger to preuent,
    705Fore sight, beats stormes backe, when mo st Imminent.
    Omn. Away then. Exeunt.
    Manent Titania, and her maides.
    Titani. Wise Pilots? firme st pillars? how it agrees,
    When Princes heads sleepe on their counsels knees:
    710Deepe rooted is a state, and growes vp hie,
    When Prouidence, Zeale, and Integritie
    Husband it well: Theis fathers twill be said
    (One day) make me a grandame of a maid.
    Meane time my farewell to such gaudy lures
    715As here, were thrown vp t'haue me quite ore-thrown,
    I charge you maids, entertaine no de sires,
    So irreligious and vnsanctified:
    Oh, they ha snakes sleeky tongues, but hearts more rugged
    Then is the Russian Beare: our Fairie bowres
    720Would turne to Arabian desarts, if such flowers,
    (Mortall as killing Hemlocke) here should grow,
    Which to preuent, Ile haue you vow.
    Aur. We vowe
    By the white balles in bright Titaniaes eies,
    725We their inchantments skorne.
    Titan. It does suffice:
    To bind it sure, Strew all your meades with charmes,
    Which if they doe no good, shall doe no harme.
    Aur. Here comes your new sworne seruant.
    730 Enter Plaine dealing.
    Titan. Now Sirra, where haue you bin?
    Plain. Where haue I bin? I haue bin in the braue st prison---
    Titan. What prison? a braue prison? Can there be a braue prison?
    Plain. All your fine men liue and die there, it's the Knights
    735ward, and therefore mu st needs bee braue: some call it an Ordi-
    narie, but I say tis a prison, for mo st of our gallants that are ser-
    ued euery day with woodcockes there, lie there in a manner vp-
    on Execution: they dare not peepe out of doores for feare of
    740 Titan. What are those Serieants?
    Plain. Doe not you know (mi stre s s e) what Serieants are? a
    nūber of your courtiers are deare in their acquaintāce: why they
    are certaine men-midwiues, that neuer bring people to bed, but
    when they are sore in labour, that no body els can deliuer them.
    745 Titan. Are there such places in our kingdome, as Ordinaries,
    what is the true fa shion of them, whats their order?
    Plain. They are out of all true fa shion: they keep no order.
    Titan. Where about in Fairie land stand they?
    Plain. In your great cittie: and here's the picture of your Or-
    Titan. When Ma ster Painter please we shall haue it: come Sir.
    Plain. Your gallants drink here right wor shipfully, eat mo st
    impudently, dice mo st swearingly, sweare mo st damnably, quar-
    rell mo st desperatly, and put vp mo st cowardly. Suppose I were
    755a young countrey gentleman, and that I were to come in (like an
    a s s e) among 'em, new ca st into the bonds of sattin.
    Titan. What then?
    Plain. Mary then doe all the gylt rapiers turne their Tobacco
    faces in the roome vpon me, and they puffe, they gape on a fre sh
    760man like so many stale Oy sters at a full tyde: then is there no
    salt to throw vpon them, and to make them leaue gaping, but
    this; to ca st off his cloake, hauing good cloathes vnderneath, si -
    ngle out some in the roome worse accou stred then himselfe, with
    him to walke boldly vp and downe strutting, laugh alowd at a-
    765ny thing, talke alowde of nothing, so they make a noise, it is no
    Titan. You are growne Sirra an obseruer since you came out
    of Babylon.
    Plain. Troth mi stre s s e, I left villains and knaues there, & find
    770knaues & fooles here: for your Ordinary is your I sle of Gulles,
    your ship of fooles, your hospitall of incurable madmen: it is the
    field where your captaine and braue man is cal'd to the la st rec-
    koning, and is ouerthrown horse and foot: it is the onely schoole
    to make an hone st man a knaue: for Intelligencers may heare e-
    775nough there, to set twenty a begging of lands: it is the strange st
    Che s s e-board in the world.
    Titan. Why?
    Plain. Because in some games at Che s s e, knights are better
    then pawnes, but here a good pawne is better then a knight.
    780 Titan. Affoard our shores such wonders?
    Plain. Wonders? why this one little Cocke-pit, (for none come
    into it, but those that haue spurs) is able to shew all the follies of
    your kingdome, in a few Apes of the kingdome.
    Yitan. Haue we not in our Land Phy sitions
    785To purge these red impo stumes?
    Plain. Troth yes mi stre s s e; but I am Plaine dealing, and mu st
    speake truth, thou ha st many Phy sitions, some of thē sound men,
    bnt a number of them more sicke at heart, then a whole pari sh
    full of Patients: let them cure themselues fir st, & then they may
    790better know how to heale others: then haue you other fellowes
    that take vpon them to be Surgeons, and by letting out the cor-
    ruption of a State, and they let it out Ile be sworne; for some of
    them in places as big as this, and before a thousand people, rip
    vp the bowels of vice in such a bea stly manner, that (like women
    795at an Execution, that can endure to see men quartred aliue) the
    beholders learne more villany then they knew before: others
    likewise there be of this consort la st named, that are like Beadles
    bribed, they whip, but draw no blood, and of these I haue made
    a Rime. Titan. Let's heare it.
    800 Plain. Those that doe jerke these times, are but like fleas,
    They bite the skinne, but leap from the disease.
    Titan. Ile haue you Sir (because you haue an eye so sharp-
    ly pointed) to looke through and through that our great Citie,
    and like death, to spare the liues of none, whose conscience you
    805 find sickly and going.
    Plain. If I giue you the copie of the Cities countenance, Ile
    not flatter the face, as painters do; but shew al the wrinckles of it.
    Titan. Doe so you shall no more to Babylon,
    But liue with vs, and be our Officer.
    810 Plain. Haue I any kinred in your Court? is there any one of
    my name an officer? if there bee, part vs; because it will not bee
    good, to haue two of the Plain-dealings in one office, they'l bee
    beggars if they doe.
    Titan. No Sirra, wee'le prouide you shall not want
    815Whil st vs you serue. Goe learne where Truth doth lie.
    Plain. Nay, nay, I haue heard of her, she dwelles (they say) at
    the signe of the Holy Lambe.
    Titan. Wee built her vp a lodging at our co st,
    To haue her labour in our Vineyards:
    820For till shee came, no Vines could please our ta ste,
    But of her fining. Set your hand to hers,
    Liue with her in one house, fetch from our Court
    Maintenance to serue you all: t'will be to her
    A comfort to haue you stil by her sides,
    825Shee ha's such prettie and delightfull songs,
    That you will count your fore st labour light,
    And time well spent only to heare her sing.
    Away loose no more minutes.
    Pl. Not a minute: Ile set more watches then a clockmaker. Exit.
    830 Elfiron. Paridel.
    Titan. Whats yonder man that kneeles?
    Elfi. Tis (a) Paridel
    (a) Doctor Parry.
    Titan. Our doctor?
    Par. The mo st wretched in your land.
    835the mo st in soule deiected; the mo st base,
    And mo st vnseruiceable weede, vnles
    You by your heauenly Influence change his vileues
    Into a vertuall habit fit for vse.
    Tita. Oh: we remember it; you are condemnd?
    840 Elf. To Death.
    Pari. Deseruedly.
    Tita. You had your hand
    Not coulored with his bloud.
    Elf. No deere st Lady
    845Vpon my vowed Loyalty.
    Pari. The law, hath fa stned on me only for attempt,
    It was no actuall nor commenced violence
    That brought death with it, but intent of ill.
    Tita. We would not saue them, that delight to kill,
    850For so we wound our selues: bloud wrongly spilt
    Who pardons, hath a share in halfe the guilt.
    You strooke, our lawes not hard, yet what the edge
    Of Iu stice could take from you, mercy giues you
    (Your life.) Yo haue it signed, rize.
    855 Pari. May yon Clouds
    Mu ster themselues in Armies, to confound
    Him that shall wi sh you dead, hurt, or vncrownd.
    Pathenophill with Campeius.
    Par. To run in debt thus basely for a life,
    860To spend which, had beene glory! O mo st vile!
    The good I reape from this superfluous grace,
    Is but to make my selfe like Cae sars horse,
    To kneele whil st he gets vp: my backe mu st beare
    Till the chine crack, yet still a seruile feare
    865Mu st lay more loades on me, and pre s s e me downe.
    When Princes giue life, they so bind men to 'em,
    That tru sting them with too much, they vndo 'em.
    Who then but I, from steps so low would rise?
    Great fortunes (eanrd thus) are great Slaueries:
    870Snatcht from the common hangmans hands for this?
    To haue my mind feele torture! now I see,
    When good dayes come, (the Gods so seldome giue them,)
    That tho we haue them, yet we scarce beleeue them.
    Heart how art thou confinde? and bard of roome,
    875Thart quicke enough, yet liue st within a tombe.
    Tita. His name.
    Parth. (a) Campeius: Deeply learnd.
    (a) Ed. Campion.
    Tit. We heare so:
    But with it heare (from some whome we haue weied
    880For iudgement and experience) that he caries:
    A soule within him framde of a thousand wheeles
    Yet not one steddy.
    Parthe. It may be the rumor
    That thus spreades ouer him, flowes out of hate.
    885 Tita. Belieue vs no: of his, and tothers fate,
    The threedes are too vnlike, to haue that wouen.
    Camp. To gaine her crowne Ile not kneele thus.
    Tita. Be sides
    The harue st which he seekes is reapde already:
    890We haue be stowed it.
    Parth. Here then dies our sute.
    Tita. Now shall you trie with what impatience
    That bay tree will endure a little fire,
    My Lord, my Lord,
    895Such swelling spirites hid with humble lookes,
    Are kingdoms poysons, hung on golden hookes,
    Parth. I hope heele proue none such.
    Tita. Such men oft proue.
    Valleyes that let in riuers to confound
    900The hils aboue them, tho themselues lie drounde,
    My Lord, I like not calme and cunning seas
    That to haue great ships taken or di stre st,
    Suffer base gallyes to creepe ore their brea st,
    Let course harts weare course skins: you know our wil.
    905 Parth. Which (as a doome diuine) I shall fulfill.
    Camp. Thrown downe, or raizd?
    Parth. All hopes (for this) are gone,
    ome planet stands in oppo sition. Exeunt Parth Camp. Vmh: So. & Camp.
    Tita. Now Doctor Paridell.
    910 Pari. An humble suite,
    I am growne bold finding so free a giuer,
    Where beggers once take almes, they looke for't euer.
    Tita. You ha beene sworne our seruant long.
    Pary. Tenne yeares.
    915 Tita. And we should wrong you; since you take vs gi(uing
    To let you goe with life, that should want liuing,
    What is it we can grant you.
    Pary. I ha beene by two great Fayries in your land,
    (Oppre st I dare not say) but so beaten downe,
    920And suncke so low now with my la st disgrace,
    That all my happy thoughts lie in the du st,
    A sham'd to looke vp yet: mo st humbly therefore
    Begge I your gratious leaue that I may vary,
    This natiue Aire for Forren.
    925 Tita. Oh you would trauell,
    You may, you haue our leaue: Challenge our hand.
    Pary. Stormes are at Sea, when it is calme at land. Exit.
    Fideli Florimell.
    Fidel. The Sea-God hath vpon your maiden shoares,
    930(On Dolphins backes that pittie men di stre st)
    In safetie sett a people that implores,
    The Soueraigne mercie flowing from your bre st.
    Tita. What people are they?
    Fidel. Neighbours: tis the nation, The Netherlanders.
    935With whome our Faries enterchange commerce,
    And by negotiation growne so like vs,
    That halfe of them are Fayries: th'other halfe
    Are hurtfull Spirits, that with sulphurous breath
    Bla st their corne feilds, deface their temples, cloth
    940their townes in mourning, poyson hallowed founts,
    And make their goodlie st Citties stand (like tombes)
    Full of dead bodies, or (like pallaces,
    From whence the Lords are gone) all desolate.
    They haue but 17. danghters young and faire,
    945Vowd to liue ve stalls, and to know the touch
    Of any forced or vnreuerend hand.
    Yet Lu st and Auarice (to get their dowers)
    Lay barbarous seidge again st their cha stitie,
    Threaten to raui sh them, to make their bodies
    950The temples of polution, or their bedds,
    Graues where their honors shall lie buried,
    They pray to haue their virgins wait on you,
    That you would be their mother, and their nurse,
    Their Guardian and their Gouernour; when Princes
    955Haue their liues giuen 'em, fine and golden threds
    Are drawne and spun (for them) by the good fates,
    That they may lift vp others in low states.
    Tit. Els let our selfe decline; giue them our presence:
    In mysery all nations should be kin,
    960And lend a brothers hand, v sher them in. Exeunt.
    Stood here my foes (di stre st) thus would I grieue them,
    Not how they ha bin, but how I might relieue them.
    Path. Your good deeds (matchle s s e Fayrie) like the Sun,
    965(Ri sing but onely in this poynt of heauen,
    Spred through the world, So that a Prince (made wretched,
    By his vnhappy father, that lies slaine
    By barbarous swords, and in his goary wounds,
    Drownes all the hopes of his po steritie)
    970Hether, is like an orphan come (from farre)
    To get reliefe and remedie gain st those,
    That would defeat him of his portion.
    Tita. Pittie and we had talke before you came,
    She hath not taken yet her hand from ours,
    975Nor shall shee part, vntill those higher powers
    Behold that Prince: good workes are theirs, not ou'rs;
    Goe: bid him tru st his misery in our hands,
    Great trees I see do fall, when the shrub stands. Exeunt.
    Fideli Florimell the states of the countries,
    980 Parthenophill Elfyron, the Prince of
    To the States.
    Auxilio tutos dimittam, opibusque Iuuabo.
    Non ignara mali, miseris succurrere disco. Exeunt.