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Monologues for Women


What studied torments, tyrant, hast for me?

What wheels? racks? fires? What flaying? boiling

In leads or oils? What old or newer torture

Must I receive, whose every word deserves

To taste of thy most worst? Thy tyranny,

Together working with thy jealousies

(Fancies too weak for boys, too green and idle

For girls of nine), O, think what they have done,

And then run mad indeed—stark mad! for all

Thy by-gone fooleries were but spices of it.

That thou betrayedst Polixenes, ’twas nothing—

That did but show thee, of a fool, inconstant,

And damnable ingrateful; nor was’t much

Thou wouldst have poison’d good Camillo’s honor,

To have him kill a king—poor trespasses,

More monstrous standing by; whereof I reckon

The casting forth to crows thy baby-daughter

To be or none or little—though a devil

Would have shed water out of fire ere done’t;

Nor is’t directly laid to thee, the death

Of the young Prince, whose honorable thoughts

(Thoughts high for one so tender) cleft the heart

That could conceive a gross and foolish sire

Blemish’d his gracious dam; this is not, no,

Laid to thy answer: but the last—O lords,

When I have said, cry “Woe!”—the Queen, the Queen,

The sweet’st, dear’st creature’s dead, and vengeance for’t

Not dropp’d down yet.

I say she’s dead; I’ll swear’t. If word nor oath

Prevail not, go and see. If you can bring

Tincture or lustre in her lip, her eye,

Heat outwardly or breath within, I’ll serve you

As I would do the gods. But, O thou tyrant!

Do not repent these things, for they are heavier

Than all thy woes can stir; therefore betake thee

To nothing but despair. A thousand knees,

Ten thousand years together, naked, fasting,

Upon a barren mountain, and still winter

In storm perpetual, could not move the gods

To look that way thou wert.

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