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PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource

Monologues for Men

FAL.

If I be not asham’d of my soldiers, I am a sous’d gurnet.

I have misus’d the King’s press damnably. I have got, in exchange of a hundred and fifty soldiers, three hundred and odd pounds. I press me none but good householders, yeomen’s sons, inquire me out contracted bachelors, such as had been ask’d twice on the banes, such a commodity of warm slaves, as had as lieve hear the devil as a drum, such as fear the report of a caliver worse than a struck fowl or a hurt wild duck. I press’d me none but such toasts-and-butter, with hearts in their bellies no bigger than pins’ heads, and they have bought out their services; and now my whole charge consists of ancients, corporals, lieutenants, gentlemen of companies—slaves as ragged as Lazarus in the painted cloth, where the glutton’s dogs lick’d his sores, and such as indeed were never soldiers, but discarded unjust servingmen, younger sons to younger brothers, revolted tapsters, and ostlers trade-fall’n, the cankers of a calm world and a long peace, ten times more dishonorable ragged than an old feaz’d ancient: and such have I, to fill up the rooms of them as have bought out their services, that you would think that I had a hundred and fifty totter’d prodigals lately come from swine-keeping, from eating draff and husks. A mad fellow met me on the way and told me I had unloaded all the gibbets and press’d the dead bodies. No eye hath seen such scarecrows. I’ll not march through Coventry with them, that’s flat. Nay, and the villains march wide betwixt the legs, as if they had gyves on, for indeed I had the most of them out of prison. There’s not a shirt and a half in all my company, and the half shirt is two napkins tack’d together and thrown over the shoulders like a herald’s coat without sleeves; and the shirt, to say the truth, stol’n from my host at Saint Albons, or the red-nose innkeeper of Daventry. But that’s all one, they’ll find linen-enough on every hedge.

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