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Monologues for Men


Tut, Lucius, this was but a deed of charity

To that which thou shalt hear of me anon.

’Twas her two sons that murdered Bassianus;

They cut thy sister’s tongue, and ravish’d her,

And cut her hands, and trimm’d her as thou sawest.

Why, she was wash’d, and cut, and trimm’d, and ’twas

Trim sport for them which had the doing of it.

Indeed I was their tutor to instruct them.

That codding spirit had they from their mother,

As sure a card as ever won the set;

That bloody mind I think they learn’d of me,

As true a dog as ever fought at head.

Well, let my deeds be witness of my worth:

I train’d thy brethren to that guileful hole,

Where the dead corpse of Bassianus lay;

I wrote the letter that thy father found,

And hid the gold within that letter mentioned,

Confederate with the Queen and her two sons;

And what not done, that thou hast cause to rue,

Wherein I had no stroke of mischief in it?

I play’d the cheater for thy father’s hand,

And when I had it, drew myself apart,

And almost broke my heart with extreme laughter.

I pried me through the crevice of a wall,

When, for his hand, he had his two sons’ heads,

Beheld his tears, and laugh’d so heartily

That both mine eyes were rainy like to his;

And when I told the Empress of this sport,

She sounded almost at my pleasing tale,

And for my tidings gave me twenty kisses.

Even now I curse the day—and yet I think

Few come within the compass of my curse—

Wherein I did not some notorious ill:

As kill a man, or else devise his death,

Ravish a maid, or plot the way to do it,

Accuse some innocent, and forswear myself,

Set deadly enmity between two friends,

Make poor men’s cattle break their necks,

Set fire on barns and haystalks in the night,

And bid the owners quench them with their tears.

Oft have I digg’d up dead men from their graves,

And set them upright at their dear friends’ door,

Even when their sorrows almost was forgot,

And on their skins, as on the bark of trees,

Have with my knife carved in Roman letters,

“Let not your sorrow die, though I am dead.”

But I have done a thousand dreadful things,

As willingly as one would kill a fly,

And nothing grieves me heartily indeed,

But that I cannot do ten thousand more.

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