The Whore of Babylon – Act Five, Scene three

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Enter TRUTH and PLAIN DEALING, leading Soldiers with drum and colours; TIME meeting them.

 TIME
You sweat well in this harvest.

PLAIN DEALING
Nay, when we come to bind up the whore of Babylon’s punks and pinnaces in sheaves, we’ll sweat worse.

TIME
Have you bestowed the other bands?

TRUTH
I have.

TIME
Incorporate this to you then.  ‘Tis the mandate
Of your lieutenant general.  You fight
In your great Fairy’s quarrel, and Truth’s right.
Stand therefore to’t?

VOLUNTEER
I will have no wounds on my shoulders.  I scorn to run or to cry out of warlike kibes in the heel.

TIME
Go, thou most god-like maid, and buck on
The breastplates fetch’d from thine own armoury.
Let every soldier were one, on each leader
Bestow a guiding-staff and a strong shield
That may as faithful be to his good sword
As thou art to his heart.  Head all the spears
With gold of angel-proof.  Sit like a dove
Upon the horseman’s helm, and on his face
Fan with thy silver wings sweet victory.
Go, beat thy drum, that men may know thy march,
Spread thine own colours, Truth, so let them shine.
Soldiers may swear they’ll follow none but thine.
Away.

TRUTH
I fly, swift as the winged wings.                            [Exit.

PLAIN DEALING
Today is workaday with me for all I have my best clothes on.  What do you set me to?

TIME
Go thou and sweep th’abuses from the camp.

PLAIN DEALING
Conscience has left no brooms big enough to do that clean.

TIME
Then purge the tents of all infectious airs.

PLAIN DEALING
Yonder’s one infection new broke out, if it be not top’d from running, will choke us all.

TIME
Name it.  I’ll minister the remedy.

PLAIN DEALING
Time may do it.  This ‘tis:  a broker and his wife that dropp’d out of the hangman’s budget but last day are now eating into the camp, and are victuallers to it.  Their very cans have hoops of gold lace now, that hang’d captain’s jerkins all o’er but yesterday.  Fifteen lieutenants have eaten up their buff jerkins with cheese and mustard.  Nay, this villain of fourscore i’th’hundred has set up three armourers shops with harness caps and pewter coats that are lined clean out with ale.  The rogue lies every night upon as many feathers which grew in soldiers’ hats as will undo four hundred schoolmasters to hire them for their boys to go a feasting.

TIME
Breed such disorders mongst the soldiers?

PLAIN DEALING
They swarm like lice.  Nay, his wife tickles it too for three musketeers came but to drink tobacco in her cabin, and she fired their flasks and touch-boxes.

TIME
Go rid the camp of these and all like these.

PLAIN DEALING
If any soldier swear I’ll cashier him too.

TRUTH
You will scarce leave two in the army then.

PLAIN DEALING
What shall I do with those pioneers yonder?

TRUTH
You know the ground; lead them to cast up trenches.
Away.

PLAIN DEALING
They are by this time leading one another, for when I left them, I left them all casting.  I’ll now go see what it comes to.                        [Exit.

TRUTH
I’ll fly hence to the fleet of Babylon,
And from their tacklings and their mainmast tops
Time shall shoot vengeance through his bow of steel,
Wedge-like, to split their navy to the keel.
I’ll cut their princes down as blades of grass,
As this glass, so the Babylonian power,
The higher shall run out to fill the lower.             [Exit.

Proceed to the next scene

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