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Monologues for Men


Now I am alone.

O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!

Is it not monstrous that this player here,

But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,

Could force his soul so to his own conceit

That from her working all the visage wann’d,

Tears in his eyes, distraction in his aspect,

A broken voice, an’ his whole function suiting

With forms to his conceit? And all for nothing,

For Hecuba!

What’s Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,

That he should weep for her? What would he do

Had he the motive and the cue for passion

That I have? He would drown the stage with tears,

And cleave the general ear with horrid speech,

Make mad the guilty, and appall the free,

Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed

The very faculties of eyes and ears. Yet I,

A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak

Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,

And can say nothing; no, not for a king,

Upon whose property and most dear life

A damn’d defeat was made. Am I a coward?

Who calls me villain, breaks my pate across,

Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face,

Tweaks me by the nose, gives me the lie i’ th’ throat

As deep as to the lungs? Who does me this?

Hah, ’swounds, I should take it; for it cannot be

But I am pigeon-liver’d, and lack gall

To make oppression bitter, or ere this

I should ’a’ fatted all the region kites

With this slave’s offal. Bloody, bawdy villain!

Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain!

Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave,

That I, the son of a dear father murdered,

Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,

Must like a whore unpack my heart with words,

And fall a-cursing like a very drab,

A stallion. Fie upon’t, foh!

About, my brains! Hum—I have heard

That guilty creatures sitting at a play

Have by the very cunning of the scene

Been strook so to the soul, that presently

They have proclaim’d their malefactions:

For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak

With most miraculous organ. I’ll have these players

Play something like the murder of my father

Before mine uncle. I’ll observe his looks,

I’ll tent him to the quick. If ’a do blench,

I know my course. The spirit that I have seen

May be a dev’l, and the dev’l hath power

T’ assume a pleasing shape, yea, and perhaps,

Out of my weakness and my melancholy,

As he is very potent with such spirits,

Abuses me to damn me. I’ll have grounds

More relative than this—the play’s the thing

Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.

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