The Whore of Babylon – Act Four, Scene two

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Enter TITANIA, FIDELI, ELFIRON, FLORIMEL, a Gentleman standing aloof, and ROPUS.

 TITANIA
What comes this paper for?

FIDELI
Your hand.

TITANIA
The cause?

FIDELI
The moon that from your beams did borrow light
Hath from her silver bow shot pitchy clouds
T’eclipse your brightness.  Heaven took your part,
And her surpris’d.  A jury of bright stars
Have her unworthy found to shine again.
Your Fairies therefore on their knees entreat,
She may be pull’d out from the firmament
Where she was plac’d to glitter.

TITANIA
Must we then
Strike those whom we have lov’d?  Albeit the children
Whom we have nourish’d at our princely breast
Set daggers to it, we could be content
To chide, not beat them.  Might we use our will,
Our hand was made to save, but not to kill.

FORIMELL
You must not, cause he’s noble, spare his blood.

TITANIA
We should not, for he’s noble, that is good.

FIDELI
The fall of one, like multitudes on ice,
Makes all the rest, of footing, be more nice.
But if by vent’ring on that glassy floor
Too far, he sinks, and yet rise with no more harm
Ten thousand to like danger it doth arm.
All mercy in a prince makes vile the state;
All justice make seven cowards desperate.

TITANIA
In neither of these seas spread we our sails,
But are the impartial beam between both scales.
Yet if me needs must bow, we would incline
To that where mercy lies, that scale’s divine.
But so to save were our own breast to wound,
Nay, which is more, our peoples; for their good
We must the surgeon play and let out blood.
Every peer’s birth sticks a new star in heaven,
But falling by Luciferan insolence,
With him a constellation drops from thence.
Give me his axe.  [Writes.] How soon the blow is given?
Witness.  So little we in blood delight
That doing this work we wish we could not write.
Let’s walk, my lords.  Florimell?

FLORIMELL
Madam?

TITANIA
Stay.
Not one arm’d man amongst us?  You might now
Be all old-beaten soldiers.  Truth, I thank ye;
If I were now a jewel worth the stealing
Two thieves might bind you all.

OMNES
With much ado.

TITANIA
[To Gentleman.] Ay, marry I commend you, gentleman.
Pray, sir, come near.  Look you, he’s well-provided
For all rough weathers.  Sir, you may be proud
That you can give arms better than these lords.
I thank you yet, that if a storm should fall
We could make you our shelter.  A good sword?
This would go through stitch.   Had I heart to kill
I’d wish no better weapon, but our days
Of quarrelling are past.   Shall we put up, sir?
We ha’ put up wrongs ere now, but this si right.
Nay, we are not falling yet.                         [Exit Gentleman.

FLORIMELL
It did us good
To see how your majestic presence daunted
The silly gentleman.

TITANIA
The silly gentleman!

FIDELI
He knew not now to stand nor what to speak.

TITANIA
The silly gentleman!  Knew you him, lords?
Where is he?

FLORIMELL
Gotten hence, poor wretch, with shame.

TITANIA
That wretch hath sworn to kill me with that sword.

OMNES
How?

FIDELI
The traitor.

FLORIMELL
Lock the court gates.

OMNES
Guard her person.                              [Exeunt omnes.

TITANIA
You guard it well.  Alack!  When lovers woo,
An extreme joy and fear them so appal
That over much love shows no love at all.
Zeal sometimes overdoes her part.  It’s right.
When the fray’s done, cowards cry “Where’s the fight?”

Enter FLORIMELL.

FLORIMELL
The wolf’s in his own snare.  O, damned slave!
I had like to ha’ made his heart my poniard’s grave.
How got you to this knowledge?  Blessed heaven!

TITANIA
It came unto me strangely.  From a window.
Mine eyes took mark of him.  That he would shoot
‘Twas told me, and I tried if he durst do’t.
Is Ropus here, our doctor?

ROPUS
Gracious lady.

TITANIA
You have a lucky hand since you were ours.
It quickens our taste well.  Fill us of that
You last did minister.  A drought, no more,
And give it fire, even, Doctor, how thou wilt.

ROPUS
I made a new extraction.  You shall never
Relish the like.

TITANIA
Why?  Should that be my last?

ROPUS
Oh, my dear mistress!

TITANIA
Go, go.  I dare swear
Thou lov’st my very heart.                       [Exit ROPUS.

Enter PARTHENOPHLL.

PARTHENOPHIL
This Scaly serpent
Is thrown, as he deserves, upon the sword
Of justice; and to make these tidings twins,
I bring this happy news:  Campeius,
A snake that in my bosom once I warm’d,
The man for whom—

TITANIA
Oh, we remember him.

PARTHENOPHIL
This owl that did not love your sacred light
Stole o’er the seas by darkness, and was held
In Babylon a bird of noble flight;
They turn’d him with talents, and then gave him bells,
And hither charg’d him fly; he did, and soar’d
O’er all your goodliest woods and thickest groves,
Enticing birds that had the skill in song
To learn harsh notes; and those that fail’d in voice,
He taught to peck the tender blossoms off
To spoil the leavy trees, and with sharp bills
To mangle all the golden ears of corn.
But now he’s ta’en.

TITANIA
Good shepherds ought not care
How many foxes fall into the snare.

Enter ELFIRON.

 ELFIRON
Your civil doctor, Doctor Paridell,
Casts anchor on your shores again, being frighted
With a good venture, which he says yourself
Must only have the sight of.

TITANIA
Bring him hither.                           [Exit ELFIRON.
Lord Florimell, pray call Fideli to us.          [Exit FORIIMELL.

Re-enter FLORIMELL with FIDELI and ROPUS.

Sure, ‘tis too hot.

FIDELI
Oh, rogue!

TITANIA
Set it to cool.

FIDELI
Hell and damnation!  Devils!

FLORIMELL
What’s that?

FIDELI
The damned’st treason!  Dog, you whoreson dog!
Oh, blessed maid, let not the toad come near her!
What’s this?  If’t be his brewing, touch it not,
For ‘tis a drench to kill the strongest devil
That’s drunk all day with brimstone.  Come, suck, weasel,
Suck your own teat, you!  Pray, thou art preserv’d.

TITANIA
From what?  From whom?

FIDELI
Look to that glister-pipe.
One crown does serve thy turn, but here’s a thief
That must have fifty thousand crowns to steal
Thy life.  Here ‘tis in black and white.  Thy life,
Sirrah, thou urinal, Tynoco, Gama,
Andrada and Ibarra!  Names of devils.

ROPUS
Oh, me!  O, mercy, mercy!  I confess.

FIDELI
Well said.  Thou shalt be hang’d then.

TITANIA
Have we for this
Heap’d favours on thee?                         [She reads the letter.

FILELI
Heap halters on him.  Call the guard.  Out, polecat!

Enter Guard.

He smells.  Thy conscience stinks.  Doctor, go purge
Thy soul, for ‘tis diseased.  Away with Ropus.

OMNES
Away with him; foh!

ROPUS
Hear but my tale out.

FIDELI
There’s too much out already.

ROPUS
Oh, me accursed and most miserable!              [Exit with Guard.

TITANIA
Goodness of virtue!  Is my blood so sweet
That they would pay so dear for’t?

FIDELI
To suck lambs,
What would not wolves do?  He that this paper writ
Had never meaning we should finger it.

TITANIA
Our mercy makes them cruel.  Hunt out these leopards.
Their own spots will betray them.  They build caves
Even in our parks.  To them, him, and the rest,
Let death be sent, but sent in such a shape
As may not be too frightful.  Alack!  What glory
Is it to buffet wretches bound in gyves?
The debt is dearly paid that’s paid with lives.
Oh!  Leave us all!

Enter ELFIRON and PARIDEL.

FIDELI
More doctors!  If this do
As well as t’other, best to hang him too.

[Exeunt FIDELI, PARTHENPHIL, and ELFIRON.  Manent TITANIA,PARIDEL and FLORIMELL.

Florimell, stay, but give us liberty.          [FLORIMEL stands aloof.

PARIDEL
This is the blessed day for which, through want
Of those bright rays that sparkle from your eyes,
My frozen soul hath languish’d.  Goddess complete,
If you, a wretch so mean, will bid to speak,
I shall unclasp a book whose very first line,
Being not well pointed, is my doom to death.
But if your sacred judgement, on the margin,
Control all wresting comments, all your subjects
Will fold me in their bosoms.

TITANIA
Give your mind.

PARIDEL
A pilgrim have I been on foreign shores;
Your gracious hand allow’d it.  In my wand’ring
With monsters I encountered of strange shape:
Some that suck’d poison up, and spet it forth
Upon your land; some that shot forked stings
At your most godlike person.  All were giants
Fighting against the heaven of your blest reign.
With these, oh pardon me, with these I hald
A politic league, the lines of all their treasons,
Drawn from one damned circle, met in me
My heart became the center, and the point
Was this.  I dare not tell it.

TITANIA
Speak.

PARIDEL
To kill you.

TITANIA
How durst you, being our subject, wade so far?

PARIDEL
Your ear of mercy.  I became a sponge
To drink up all their mischief, and lay drown’d
In their infected waters, with much loathing,
Only that I before you might wring out
This their corruption, and myself make clear.
And now, immortal maid, I’m not unlike
A casket wherein papers stuff’d with danger
Have close been lock’d, but those ta’en out, the chest
Serves to good use, so may my loyal breast.
For from their flinty hearts what sparks I got
Were but to fire themselves.

TITANIA
I praise your plot.
You make us now your debtor, but a day
Will come when we shall pay.  My lord, we want your arm.

PARIDEL
Umh!  I fear—

TITANIA
Doctor, we’ll have, sir, other dialogues.  [Exeunt TITANIA and  FLORIMELL.

PARIDEL
O, shallow fool, thou hast thyself undone.
She’s hardened and thou melted at one sun.                          [Exit.

Proceed to the next scene

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