The Whore of Babylon – Act Four, Scene four

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Dumb show:  EMPRESS on the Beast.  Then enter FIRST CARDINAL and the THREE KINGS.

 EMPRESS
Feels the base earth our weight?  Is’t common air
We suck in and respire?  Do servile clouds,
Whose azure wings spread over graves and tombs,
Our glorious body circumvolve?  Dare night
Cast her black nets into day’s crystal streams,
To draw up darkness on our golden beams
And us t’eclipse?   Why is not Babylon
In a contorted chair made all of stars
Would up by wheels as high, nay ‘bove the thrones
Supernal, which with Jove’s own seat stand even,
That we might ride here as the queen of heaven,
And with a spurn from our controlling foot
That should like thunder shake th’etherial floor
Of life and heaven both at once bereave
That thither up dare climb without our leave.

FIRST CARDINAL
You do.  You ride there now.  This is your sphere.
Earth is all one with heaven when you are here.

THIRD KING
Yet there’s a hell on earth or if not hell.
Devils there are or worse than devils, that roar
Only at you.

EMPRESS
At us?  What, dare they roar?

THIRD KING
Your pardon, and I’ll tell it.

EMPRESS
Tell.  We fear
No spots, the orb we shine in is so clear.

THIRD KING
Thus then:  the Fairy adders hiss; they call you
The superstitious harlot, purple whore,
The whore that rides on the rose-coloured beast;
The great whore that on many waters sitteth,
Which they call many nations, whilst their kings
Are slaves to sate your lust and that their blood,
When with them you have done, serves as a flood
For you to drink or swim in.

OMNES
O, profane!

EMPRESS
Go on; the searching small wounds is no pain.

THIRD KING
These cowards thus when your back’s turn’d, that strike,
Follow their blow and swear that where you claim
Supremacy monarchical over kings
‘Tis but your tyrannous pride and not your due.

EMPRESS
But what yourselves give, what have we from you?
You say we are your mother, and if so,
Must not sons kneel?  They pay but what they owe.

THIRD KING
They say the robes of purple which you wear,
Your scarlet veils and mantles are not given you
As types of honour and regality,
But dyed so deep with blood upon them spilt,
And that, all o’er y’are with red murder gilt.
The drink even in that golden cup, they swear,
Is wine sophisticated that does run
Low on the lees of error, which in taste,
Is sweet and like the neat and wholesome juice
Of the true grape, but ‘tis rank poison down.

OMNES
Have we not all it tasted?

EMPRESS
Nay, utter all.
Out of their lips you see flows naught but gall.

THIRD KING
What can my breath do more to blast your cheeks
And leave them glowing as red gads of steel?
My tongue’s already blistered sounding this,
Yet must I whisper to your sacred ear
That on your brow, they say, is writ a name
In letters mystical, which they interpret,
“Confusion,” by great Babylon they mean
The city of confusion.

EMPRESS
View our forehead.
Where are we printed with such characters?
Point out these marks.  Which of you all can lay
A finger on that mole that marks our face?

THIRD KING
They say you can throw mists before our eyes
To make us think you fair.

OMNES
Damn’d blasphemies!

FIRST CARDINAL
You shall with rods of iron scourge these treasons.

FIRST KING
The mace is in your hand; grind them to dust.

SECOND KING
And let your blows be sound.

THIRD KING
For they are just.

EMPRESS
Let’s hear with what loud throats our thunder speaks.
Repeat our vengeance o’er, which to hear kings
Must not fly o’er the seas with linen wings.

FIRST CARDINAL
Our galleons, galleasses, zabras, galleys,
Ships, pinnaces, pataches,  huge carvels,
For number, rib, and belly are so great
That they should want a sea near Fairy Land
Of depth to bear them up; they in their wombs
Might swim with a sea thunder.  Here are briefs
Of your imperial army.

EMPRESS
Read them loud.
Thunder ne’er speaks but the voice cracks a cloud.

FIRST CARDINAL
In the first squadron twelve great galleons
Float like twelve moving castles; zabras two,
Habilimented gloriously for war
With soldiers, seamen, shot and ordinance.
This squadron stout Medina does command,
Who of the main is captain general.
The second squadron brave Ricalde leads,
Being admiral to fourteen galleons.
Flores de Valdes, that tried warrior.
Oquendo in the fifth front cries a charge.
Bretandona brings up the Levantines
With his sixth squadron.  Gomes de Medina
Wafts up the seventh like the god of war.
The eighth obeys Mendoza, and the ninth
Fierce Ugo de Montada.  All these squadrons
For vessels numbered are one hundred thirty;
The sight of soldiers, mariners, and slaves,
Twenty-nine thousand, eight hundred thirty-three.
Pieces of brass for battery these,
Six hundred thirty; add to these galleons
Twenty carvels and salves ten, which make
The whole Armada eightscore lusty sail.
Add to all these your generals of armies,
Your captains, ensign bearers, which in role
Are eightscore and eleven, the voluntaries
With officers and servants, then the regiments
That are in pay.  To these, all men of orders,
All ministers of justice, and to these
Supplies of forces that must second us
And last that host of stars which from the moon
Will fall to guide us on.  These totall’d up,
You shall a hundred thousand swords behold,
Brandish’d at once, whose {          } stands
Men will seem born with weapons in their hands.

EMPRESS
Go.  Cut the salt foam with your mooned keels
And let our galleons feel even child-birth pangs
Till their great bellies be delivered
On the soft Fairy shores; captive their queen
That we may thus take off her crown, whilst she
Kneels to these glorious wonders, or be trampled
To death for her contempt.  Burn, batter, kill,
Blow up, pull down, ruin all; let not white hairs
Nor red cheeks blunt your wrath; snatch babes from breasts
And when they cry for milk, let them suck blood;
Turn all their fields to lakes of jellied gore
That seamen one day sailing by the land
May say, “There Fairy kingdom once did stand.”

OMNES
They shall!

THIRD KING
‘Tis done already.

EMPRESS
To be sure,
You all are ours; bow and adore the beast
On whom we ride.

OMNES
We fall beneath his feet.

EMPRESS
Be blest; obedience is in sons most sweet.
O strange, to you he stoops as you before him.
Humility, he bows whilst you adore him.
To kindle lusty fires in all your blood
A health to all!  And as our cup goes round,
Draw near; we’ll mark you for our chosen flock
Who builds on hearts confirm’d, builds on a rock
The seal of heaven!  Who on their foreheads wear it,
We choose for counsel; on their hands who bear it
We mark for action.  Here, a health to all!

OMNES
Brave health!  To pledge it, see kings prostrate fall.         [Kneel.

EMPRESS
On!

OMNES
On!

THIRD KING
Sing, war, thy loud and loftiest notes.
We win; our ships meet none but fisher-boats.                [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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