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

Monologues for Men

ULYSS.

Troy, yet upon his bases, had been down,

And the great Hector’s sword had lack’d a master,

But for these instances:

The specialty of rule hath been neglected,

And look how many Grecian tents do stand

Hollow upon this plain, so many hollow factions.

When that the general is not like the hive

To whom the foragers shall all repair,

What honey is expected? Degree being vizarded,

Th’ unworthiest shows as fairly in the mask.

The heavens themselves, the planets, and this centre

Observe degree, priority, and place,

Insisture, course, proportion, season, form,

Office, and custom, in all line of order;

And therefore is the glorious planet Sol

In noble eminence enthron’d and spher’d

Amidst the other; whose med’cinable eye

Corrects the ill aspects of planets evil,

And posts like the commandment of a king,

Sans check, to good and bad. But when the planets

In evil mixture to disorder wander,

What plagues and what portents, what mutiny!

What raging of the sea, shaking of earth!

Commotion in the winds!, frights, changes, horrors

Divert and crack, rend and deracinate

The unity and married calm of states

Quite from their fixure! O, when degree is shak’d,

Which is the ladder of all high designs,

The enterprise is sick. How could communities,

Degrees in schools, and brotherhoods in cities,

Peaceful commerce from dividable shores,

The primogenity and due of birth,

Prerogative of age, crowns, sceptres, laurels,

But by degree stand in authentic place?

Take but degree away, untune that string,

And hark what discord follows. Each thing meets

In mere oppugnancy: the bounded waters

Should lift their bosoms higher than the shores,

And make a sop of all this solid globe;

Strength should be lord of imbecility,

And the rude son should strike his father dead;

Force should be right, or rather, right and wrong

(Between whose endless jar justice resides)

Should lose their names, and so should justice too!

Then every thing include itself in power,

Power into will, will into appetite,

And appetite, an universal wolf

(So doubly seconded with will and power),

Must make perforce an universal prey,

And last eat up himself. Great Agamemnon,

This chaos, when degree is suffocate,

Follows the choking,

And this neglection of degree it is

That by a pace goes backward with a purpose

It hath to climb. The general’s disdain’d

By him one step below, he by the next,

That next by him beneath; so every step,

Exampled by the first pace that is sick

Of his superior, grows to an envious fever

Of pale and bloodless emulation,

And ’tis this fever that keeps Troy on foot,

Not her own sinews. To end a tale of length,

Troy in our weakness stands, not in her strength.

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