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Monologues for Men


Our stars must glister with new fire, or be

Today extinct. Our argument is love,

Which if the goddess of it grant, she gives

Victory too. Then blend your spirits with mine,

You whose free nobleness do make my cause

Your personal hazard. To the goddess Venus

Commend we our proceeding, and implore

Her power unto our party.

Here they advance to the altar of Venus, and fall on their faces; then kneel, as formerly.

Hail, sovereign queen of secrets, who hast power

To call the fiercest tyrant from his rage,

And weep unto a girl; that hast the might,

Even with an eye-glance, to choke Mars’s drum

And turn th’ alarm to whispers; that canst make

A cripple flourish with his crutch, and cure him

Before Apollo; that mayst force the king

To be his subject’s vassal, and induce

Stale gravity to dance; the poll’d bachelor,

Whose youth, like wanton boys through bonfires,

Have skipp’d thy flame, at seventy thou canst catch,

And make him, to the scorn of his hoarse throat,

Abuse young lays of love. What godlike power

Hast thou not power upon? To Phoebus thou

Add’st flames, hotter than his; the heavenly fires

Did scorch his mortal son, thine him. The huntress

All moist and cold, some say, began to throw

Her bow away, and sigh. Take to thy grace

Me thy vow’d soldier, who do bear thy yoke

As ’twere a wreath of roses, yet is heavier

Than lead itself, stings more than nettles. I

Have never been foul-mouth’d against thy law,

Nev’r reveal’d secret, for I knew none—would not,

Had I kenn’d all that were. I never practiced

Upon man’s wife, nor would the libels read

Of liberal wits. I never at great feasts

Sought to betray a beauty, but have blush’d

At simp’ring sirs that did. I have been harsh

To large confessors, and have hotly ask’d them

If they had mothers; I had one, a woman,

And women ’twere they wrong’d. I knew a man

Of eighty winters—this I told them—who

A lass of fourteen brided. ’twas thy power

To put life into dust: the aged cramp

Had screw’d his square foot round,

The gout had knit his fingers into knots,

Torturing convulsions from his globy eyes

Had almost drawn their spheres, that what was life

In him seem’d torture. This anatomy

Had by his young fair fere a boy, and I

Believ’d it was his, for she swore it was,

And who would not believe her? Brief, I am

To those that prate and have done, no companion;

To those that boast and have not, a defier;

To those that would and cannot, a rejoicer.

Yea, him I do not love that tells close offices

The foulest way, nor names concealments in

The boldest language. Such a one I am,

And vow that lover never yet made sigh

Truer than I. O then, most soft sweet goddess,

Give me the victory of this question, which

Is true love’s merit, and bless me with a sign

Of thy great pleasure.

Here music is heard; doves are seen to flutter. They fall again upon their faces, then on their knees.

O thou that from eleven to ninety reign’st

In mortal bosoms, whose chase is this world,

And we in herds thy game, I give thee thanks

For this fair token, which being laid unto

Mine innocent true heart, arms in assurance

My body to this business.—Let us rise

And bow before the goddess. Time comes on.

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