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    Not Peer Reviewed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 Charmes of silence through this Square be throwne,
    That an vn-vsde Attention (like a Iewell)
    May hang at euery eare, for wee present
    5Matter aboue the vulgar Argument:
    Yet drawne so liuely, that the weakest eye,
    (Through those thin vailes we hang betweene your sight,
    And this our peice) may reach the mistery:
    What in it is most graue, will most delight.
    10But as in Lantskip, Townes and Woods appeare
    Small a farre off, yet to the Optick sence,
    The mind shewes them as great as those more neere;
    So, winged Time that long agoe flew hence
    You must fetch backe, with all those golden yeares
    15He stole, and here imagine still hee stands,
    Thrusting his siluer locke into your hands.
    There hold it but two howres, It shall from Graues
    Raize vp the dead: vpon this narrow floore
    Swell vp an Ocean, (with an Armed Fleete,)
    20And lay the Dragon at a Doues soft feete.
    These Wonders sit and see, sending as guides
    Your Iudgement, not your passions: passion slides,
    When Iudgement goes vpright: for tho the Muse
    (Thats thus inspir'de) a Nouell path does tread,
    25Shee's free from foolish boldnes, or base dread.
    Loe; scorne she scornes and Enuies ranckling tooth,
    For this is all shee does, she wakens Truth.