The Whore of Babylon – Prologue

Return to Dramatis Personæ

The charms of silence through this square be thrown,
That an unused attention, like a jewel,
May hang at every ear, for we present
Matter above the vulgar argument,
Yet drawn to lively that the weakest eye,
Through those thin veils we hang between your sight,
And this our piece, may reach the mystery.
What in it is most grave, will most delight.
But as in lantskip, towns and woods appear
Small afar off, yet to the optic sense
The mind shows them as great as those more near.
So, winged time that long ago flew hence
You must fetch back, with all those golden years
He stole, and here imagine still he stands,
Thrusting his silver lock into your hands.
There hold it but two hours; it shall from graves
Raise up the dead; upon this narrow floor
Swell up an ocean, with an armed fleet,
And lay the dragon at a dove’s soft feet.
These wonders sit and see, sending as guides
Your judgement, not your passions; passion slides
When judgement goes upright; for though the muse,
That’s thus inspir’d, a novel path does tread,
She’s free from foolish boldness, or base dread.
Lo, scorn she scorns and Envy’s rankling tooth,
For this is all she does; she wakens Truth.

—–

A Dumb Show

He draws a curtain, discovering TRUTH in sad abiliments, uncrown’d, her hair dishevell’d, and sleeping on a rock.  TIME, her father, attired likewise in black, and all his properties, a scythe hourglass, and wings, of the same colour, using all means to waken TRUTH, but not being able to do it, he sits by her and mourns.  Then enter Friars, Bishops, Cardinals before the hearse of a queen; after it counsellors, pensioners, and ladies; all these last having scarfs before their eyes, the other singing in Latin.  TRUTH suddenly awakens, and beholding this sight, shows, with her father, arguments of joy, and exeunt, returning presently.  TIME being shifted into light colours, his properties likewise altered into silver, and TRUTH crowned, being clothed in a robe spotted with stars, meet the hearse, and pulling the veils from the counsellors’ eyes, they, wondering awhile, and seeming astonished at her brightness, at length embrace TRUTH and TIME, and depart with them, leaving the rest going on.

This being done, enter TITANIA, the Fairy Queen, attended with those councellors and other persons fitting her estate.  TIME and TRUTH, meet her, presenting a book to her, which, kissing it, she receives, and showing it to those about her, they draw out their swords, embracing TRUTH, vowing to defend her and that book.  TRUTH then, and TIME are sent in, and return presently, driving before them those Cardinals, Friars, &c., that came in before, with images, crozier staves &c.  They gone, certain grave learned men, that had been banished, are brought in, and presented to TITANIA, who shows to them the book, which they receive with great signs of gladness and exeunt Omnes.

Proceed to the first scene

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