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Monologues for Men


Mad world, mad kings, mad composition!

John, to stop Arthur’s title in the whole,

Hath willingly departed with a part,

And France, whose armor conscience buckled on,

Whom zeal and charity brought to the field

As God’s own soldier, rounded in the ear

With that same purpose-changer, that sly devil,

That broker that still breaks the pate of faith,

That daily break-vow, he that wins of all,

Of kings, of beggars, old men, young men, maids,

Who having no external thing to lose

But the word “maid,” cheats the poor maid of that,

That smooth-fac’d gentleman, tickling commodity,

Commodity, the bias of the world—

The world, who of itself is peized well,

Made to run even upon even ground,

Till this advantage, this vile-drawing bias,

This sway of motion, this commodity,

Makes it take head from all indifferency,

From all direction, purpose, course, intent—

And this same bias, this commodity,

This bawd, this broker, this all-changing word,

Clapp’d on the outward eye of fickle France,

Hath drawn him from his own determin’d aid,

From a resolv’d and honorable war

To a most base and vile-concluded peace.

And why rail I on this commodity?

But for because he hath not woo’d me yet:

Not that I have the power to clutch my hand

When his fair angels would salute my palm,

But for my hand, as unattempted yet,

Like a poor beggar, raileth on the rich.

Well, whiles I am a beggar, I will rail,

And say there is no sin but to be rich;

And being rich, my virtue then shall be

To say there is no vice but beggary.

Since kings break faith upon commodity,

Gain, be my lord, for I will worship thee.

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