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Monologues for Men


No matter where—of comfort no man speak:

Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs,

Make dust our paper, and with rainy eyes

Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth.

Let’s choose executors and talk of wills;

And yet not so, for what can we bequeath

Save our deposed bodies to the ground?

Our lands, our lives, and all are Bullingbrook’s,

And nothing can we call our own but death,

And that small model of the barren earth

Which serves as paste and cover to our bones.

For God’s sake let us sit upon the ground

And tell sad stories of the death of kings:

How some have been depos’d, some slain in war,

Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed,

Some poisoned by their wives, some sleeping kill’d,

All murdered—for within the hollow crown

That rounds the mortal temples of a king

Keeps Death his court, and there the antic sits,

Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp,

Allowing him a breath, a little scene,

To monarchize, be fear’d, and kill with looks,

Infusing him with self and vain conceit,

As if this flesh which walls about our life

Were brass impregnable; and humor’d thus,

Comes at the last and with a little pin

Bores thorough his castle wall, and farewell king!

Cover your heads, and mock not flesh and blood

With solemn reverence, throw away respect,

Tradition, form, and ceremonious duty,

For you have but mistook me all this while.

I live with bread like you, feel want,

Taste grief, need friends: subjected thus,

How can you say to me I am a king?

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