The Whore of Babylon – Act Five, Scene one

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Enter PARIDEL and his Kinsman.

PARIDEL
What if I show you a foundation
Firm as Earth’s fixed center?  A strong warrant
To strike the head off; an injunction
That bids me do’t.  A dispensation
For what i do.  A pardon sign’d, that gives
Indulgence plenary, and full remission,
For any criminal breach of the highest law,
After ‘tis done, nay more, a voice as clear
As that of angels, which proclaims the act
Good, honourable, meritorious,
Lawful, and pious; what if I show you this?

COUSIN
Come, come, you cannot; then let riotous heirs
Beg patents to kill fathers.  Grant but this,
Murder may be a fair monopoly
And princes stabb’d by acts of parliament.
Who i’st dare that thing meritorious call
Which fiends themselves count diabolical?

PARIDEL
Your coldness makes me wonder.  Why should you
Run up to th’neck from drowning to save her
That treads upon your head, your throat, to sink you?

COUSIN
Say you should wound me.  Should I, in revenge,
Murder myself?  For what can be the close
But death, dishonour, yea damnation
To an act so base, nay, so impossible?

PARIDEL
Impossible.  The parting of the air
Is not more easy.  Look upon the court
Trough narrow sights and she’s the fairest mark
And soonest his of any; like the Turk,
She walks not with a janissary guard,
Nor, as the Russian, with foul big boned slaves,
Strutting on each side with the slicing axe
Like to a pair of hangmen.  No, alas,
Her courts of guard are ladies, and sometimes
She’s in the garden with as small a train
As is the sun in heaven; and our access
May then as easy be as that of clients
To lawyers out of term-time.

COUSIN
Grant all this;
Nay, say the blow were given.  How would you scape?

PARIDEL
Oh, sir, by water.

COUSIN
Ay, but—

PARIDEL
Nay, good cousin—

COUSIN
You leap as short at safety as at stars.
By water?  Why, the gates will all be lock’d.
Waters you must have none.

PARIDEL
Hear me.

COUSIN
Hear me.
You must not have a man, and if you kill
With powder, air betrays you.

PARIDEL
Powder!  No, sir,
My dag shall be my dagger.  Good sweet cousin,
Mark but how smooth my paths are.  Look you, sir—

COUSIN
I have thought upon a course.

PARIDEL
Nay, nay, hear mine:
You are my mark; suppose you are my mark.
My level is thus low, but ere I rise,
My hand’s got up thus high; the deer being struck,
The herd that stand about so frighted are,
I shall have leave to scape, as does a pirate,
Who having made a shot through one more strong,
All in that ship run to make agood the breach
Whilst th’other sails away.  How like you this?

COUSIN
As I like paper harness.

PARIDEL
Ha!  Well, pause then:
This bow shall stand unbent, and not an arrow
Be shot at her until we take our aim
In Saint Iago’s park.  A rare, rare alter!
The fitt’st to sacrifice her blood upon.
It shall be there, in Saint Iago’s park.
Ha, coz!  It shall be there.  In the meantime,
We may keep followers, nine or ten a piece,
Without suspicion.  Numbers may work wonders.
The storm being sudden too; for were the guard
A hundred strong about her, look you, sir,
All of us well appointed.  Case of dags
To each man, see you?  You shoot there, we here,
Unless some spirits put the bullets by,
There’s no escape for her.  Say the dags fail,
Then to our swords.  Come, there’s no mettle in you.

COUSIN
No mettle in me?  Would your wars were honest,
I quickly would find armour.  What’s the goad
So sharp that makes you wildly thus to run
Upon your certain ruin?

PARIDEL
Goad?  Sharp poniards!
Why should I spare her blood.

COUSIN
She gave you yours.

PARIDEL
To ha’ ta’en it had been tyranny; her own lips
Confess’d I struck her laws not hard.  I ha’ spent
My youth and means in serving her.  What reap I?
Wounds, discontents, what gives she me?  Good words,
Sweetmeats that rot the eater.  Why, last day
I did but beg of her the mastership
Of Santa Catarina; ‘twas denied me.

COUSIN
She keeps you to a better.

PARIDEL
Ay, tush, that’s not all.
My bonds are yonder seal’d.  And she must fall.

COUSIN
Well, coz, I’ll hence.

PARIDEL
When shall I see you?

COUSIN
Ha!
Soon.  Very soon.  Sooner than you expect.
Let me but breathe, and what I mean to do
I shall resolve you.

PARIDEL
Fare you well.

COUSIN
Adieu.                                                                                             [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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