Internet Shakespeare Editions

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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    The Whore of Babylon.
    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, presses, apparrels,
    Their backes like Innocent Lambes, their minds like
    Rubs or'e their tongues with poyson, which they spet
    Against 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 whilst they haue stings, & bring thighs laden
    1310With hony, hiue them, when they are droanes, destroy them.
    1. King. The earnest which he giues you (adored Empresse,)
    Are three fit engines for vs.
    Empr. Are they wrought?
    2. King. They are: and waite in Court your vtmost pleasure,
    1315Out of your Cup made wee them drunke with wines,
    To sound their hearts, which they with such deuotion
    Receiued downe, that euen whilst 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 must run
    Vpon short lines of life: yet wil Wee vse them,
    Like instruments of musicke 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 must we these: we know they loue vs not,
    But Swallow-like when their owne summers past,
    Here seeke for heat: or like flight Traualers,
    (Swolne with vaine-glory, or with lust to see,)
    They come to obserue fashions and not mee.
    13351. King. As Traualers vse them then, till they be gone,
    Looke Cheerefully; backs turn'd, no more thought vpon.