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Monologues for Men


I will tell you.

The barge she sat in, like a burnish’d throne,

Burnt on the water. The poop was beaten gold,

Purple the sails, and so perfumed that

The winds were love-sick with them; the oars were silver,

Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made

The water which they beat to follow faster,

As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,

It beggar’d all description: she did lie

In her pavilion—cloth of gold, of tissue—

O’er-picturing that Venus where we see

The fancy outwork nature. On each side her

Stood pretty dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids,

With divers-color’d fans, whose wind did seem

To glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool,

And what they undid did.

Her gentlewomen, like the Nereides,

So many mermaids, tended her i’ th’ eyes,

And made their bends adornings. At the helm

A seeming mermaid steers; the silken tackle

Swell with the touches of those flower-soft hands,

That yarely frame the office. From the barge

A strange invisible perfume hits the sense

Of the adjacent wharfs. The city cast

Her people out upon her; and Antony

Enthron’d i’ th’ market-place, did sit alone,

Whistling to th’ air, which, but for vacancy,

Had gone to gaze on Cleopatra too,

And made a gap in nature.

Upon her landing, Antony sent to her,

Invited her to supper. She replied,

It should be better he became her guest;

Which she entreated. Our courteous Antony,

Whom ne’er the word of “No” woman heard speak,

Being barber’d ten times o’er, goes to the feast;

And for his ordinary pays his heart

For what his eyes eat only.

I saw her once

Hop forty paces through the public street;

And having lost her breath, she spoke, and panted,

That she did make defect perfection,

And breathless, pow’r breathe forth.

Never, he will not:

Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale

Her infinite variety. Other women cloy

The appetites they feed, but she makes hungry

Where most she satisfies; for vildest things

Become themselves in her, that the holy priests

Bless her when she is riggish.

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