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Monologues for Men


O, I have pass’d a miserable night,

So full of fearful dreams, of ugly sights,

That, as I am a Christian faithful man,

I would not spend another such a night

Though ’twere to buy a world of happy days—

So full of dismal terror was the time.

Methoughts that I had broken from the Tower

And was embark’d to cross to Burgundy,

And in my company my brother Gloucester,

Who from my cabin tempted me to walk

Upon the hatches. Thence we look’d toward England,

And cited up a thousand heavy times,

During the wars of York and Lancaster,

That had befall’n us. As we pac’d along

Upon the giddy footing of the hatches,

Methought that Gloucester stumbled, and in falling

Strook me (that thought to stay him) overboard

Into the tumbling billows of the main.

O Lord, methought what pain it was to drown!

What dreadful noise of waters in my ears!

What sights of ugly death within my eyes!

Methoughts I saw a thousand fearful wracks;

A thousand men that fishes gnaw’d upon;

Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl,

Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels,

All scatt’red in the bottom of the sea:

Some lay in dead men’s skulls, and in the holes

Where eyes did once inhabit, there were crept

(As ’twere in scorn of eyes) reflecting gems,

That woo’d the slimy bottom of the deep,

And mock’d the dead bones that lay scatt’red by.

O then began the tempest to my soul!

I pass’d (methought) the melancholy flood,

With that sour ferryman which poets write of,

Unto the kingdom of perpetual night.

The first that there did greet my stranger soul

Was my great father-in-law, renowned Warwick,

Who spake aloud, “What scourge for perjury

Can this dark monarchy afford false Clarence?”

And so he vanish’d. Then came wand’ring by

A shadow like an angel, with bright hair

Dabbled in blood, and he shriek’d out aloud,

“Clarence is come—false, fleeting, perjur’d Clarence,

That stabb’d me in the field by Tewksbury:

Seize on him, Furies, take him unto torment!”

With that (methoughts) a legion of foul fiends

Environ’d me, and howled in mine ears

Such hideous cries that with the very noise

I, trembling, wak’d, and for a season after

Could not believe but that I was in hell,

Such terrible impression made my dream.

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