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Monologues for Men


Why should this change of thoughts,

The sad companion, dull-ey’d melancholy,

Be my so us’d a guest as not an hour

In the day’s glorious walk or peaceful night,

The tomb where grief should sleep, can breed me quiet?

Here pleasures court mine eyes, and mine eyes shun them,

And danger, which I fear’d, is at Antioch,

Whose arm seems far too short to hit me here.

Yet neither pleasure’s art can joy my spirits,

Nor yet the other’s distance comfort me.

Then it is thus: the passions of the mind,

That have their first conception by misdread,

Have after-nourishment and life by care;

And what was first but fear what might be done,

Grows elder now, and cares it be not done.

And so with me: the great Antiochus,

’Gainst whom I am too little to contend,

Since he’s so great can make his will his act,

Will think me speaking, though I swear to silence;

Nor boots it me to say I honor him,

If he suspect I may dishonor him;

And what may make him blush in being known,

He’ll stop the course by which it might be known.

With hostile forces he’ll o’erspread the land,

And with th’ ostent of war will look so huge,

Amazement shall drive courage from the state,

Our men be vanquish’d ere they do resist,

And subjects punish’d that ne’er thought offense:

Which care of them, not pity of myself—

Who am no more but as the tops of trees,

Which fence the roots they grow by and defend them—

Makes both my body pine and soul to languish,

And punish that before that he would punish.

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