The Whore of Babylon – Dramatis Personæ

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TITANIA, the Fairy Queen, under whom is figured our late Queen Elizabeth.
FIDELI.
FLORIMELL.
PARTHENOPHIL.
ELFIRON.
CASTINA.
AURA.
PHILÆMA.
AGATHE.
CAMPEIUS, a Scholar.
PARIDEL, a Doctor.
TIME.
TRUTH.
Plain-Dealing.
TH’EMPRESS OF BABYLON, under whom is figured Rome.
FIRST KING, of France.
SECOND KING, of the Holy Roman Empire.
THIRD KING, SATYRANE of Spain.
CARDINALS FOUR.
RAGAZZONI.
CAMPEGGIO.
ROPUS, a Doctor of Physic.
An Albanois.
PALMIO, a Jesuit.
Gentleman, sworn to kill Titania.
Gentleman, sworn to kill Paridel.
Sailor, attendant on the Three Kings.
Conjurer.
Volunteer.
MILITES.
MINISTRI.

—–

Lectori

The general scope of this dramatical poem is to set forth, in tropical and shadowed colours, the greatness, magnanimity, constancy, clemency, and other the incomparable heroically virtues of our late Queen.  And, on the contrary part, the inveterate malice, treasons, machinations, underminings, and continual bloody stratagems of that purple whore of Rome, to the taking away of our princes’ lives, and utter extirpation of their kingdoms.  Wherein, if according to the dignity of the subject, I have not given it lustre and, to use the painters’ rhetoric, do so fail in my depths and heightening, that it is not to the life, let this excuse me; that the pyramids upon whose top the glorious reign of our deceased sovereign was mounted, stands yet so high, and so sharply pointed into the clouds, that the art of no pen is able to reach it.  The stream of her virtues is so immeasurable that the farther they are waded into, the farther is it to the bottom.

In sailing upon which two contrary seas you may observe, on how direct a line I have steered my course, for of such a scantling are my words set down that neither the one party speaks too much nor the other, in opposition, too little in their own defence.

And whereas I may, by some more curious in censure then sound in judgement, be critically taxed, that I falsify the account of time, and set not down occurents, according to their true succession, let such, that are so nice of stomach, know, that I write as a poet, not as an historian, and that these two do not live under one law.  How true fortunes dial hath gone whose players, like so many clocks, have struck my lines, and told the world how I have spent my hours, I am not certain, because mine ear stood not within reach of their larums.  But of this my knowledge cannot fail, that in such consorts many of the instruments are for the most part out of tune, and no marvel, for let the poet set the note of his numbers, even to Apollo’s own lyre, the player will have his own crochets, and sing false notes, in dispute of all the rules of music.  It fares with these two, as it does with good stuff and a bad tailor; it is not marr’d in the wearing, but in the cutting out.  The labours therefore of writers are as unhappy as the children of a beautiful woman, being spoil’d by ill nurses, within a month after they come into the world.  What a number of throws do we endure ere we be delivered?  And yet even then, though that heavenly issue of our brain be never so fair and so well lim’d, is it made lame by the bad handling of them to who it is put to learn to go.  If this of mine be made a cripple by such means, yet despise him not for that deformity which struck not upon him at his birth, but fell upon him by misfortune, and in recompense of such favour, you shall, if you patience can suffer so long, bear now how himself can speak.

Proceed to Prologue

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