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Monologues for Men


Now, York, or never, steel thy fearful thoughts,

And change misdoubt to resolution;

Be that thou hop’st to be, or what thou art

Resign to death; it is not worth th’ enjoying.

Let pale-fac’d fear keep with the mean-born man,

And find no harbor in a royal heart.

Faster than spring-time show’rs comes thought on thought,

And not a thought but thinks on dignity.

My brain, more busy than the laboring spider,

Weaves tedious snares to trap mine enemies.

Well, nobles, well; ’tis politicly done,

To send me packing with an host of men:

I fear me you but warm the starved snake,

Who, cherish’d in your breasts, will sting your hearts.

’Twas men I lack’d, and you will give them me;

I take it kindly. Yet be well assur’d

You put sharp weapons in a madman’s hands.

Whiles I in Ireland nourish a mighty band,

I will stir up in England some black storm

Shall blow ten thousand souls to heaven or hell;

And this fell tempest shall not cease to rage

Until the golden circuit on my head,

Like to the glorious sun’s transparent beams,

Do calm the fury of this mad-bred flaw.

And for a minister of my intent,

I have seduc’d a headstrong Kentishman,

John Cade of Ashford,

To make commotion, as full well he can,

Under the title of John Mortimer.

In Ireland have I seen this stubborn Cade

Oppose himself against a troop of kerns,

And fought so long, till that his thighs with darts

Were almost like a sharp-quill’d porpentine;

And in the end being rescued, I have seen

Him caper upright like a wild Morisco,

Shaking the bloody darts as he his bells.

Full often, like a shag-hair’d crafty kern,

Hath he conversed with the enemy,

And undiscover’d come to me again,

And given me notice of their villainies.

This devil here shall be my substitute;

For that John Mortimer, which now is dead,

In face, in gait, in speech, he doth resemble.

By this I shall perceive the commons’ mind,

How they affect the house and claim of York.

Say he be taken, rack’d, and tortured,

I know no pain they can inflict upon him

Will make him say I mov’d him to those arms.

Say that he thrive, as ’tis great like he will,

Why then from Ireland come I with my strength,

And reap the harvest which that rascal sow’d.

For Humphrey being dead, as he shall be,

And Henry put apart, the next for me.

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