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#1
Old 03-24-2004, 04:18 PM
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Best of Shakespeare monologues

Just what the title says - post your favorite monologues or soliloquies penned by The Immortal Bard here. Preferably with link or complete text - isn't it nice to be a fan of an author whose work is in the public domain?
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#2
Old 03-24-2004, 04:52 PM
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Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
. . .
The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'

Henry IV, Part II -- I'll bet generals don't make speeches like that war today.
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#3
Old 03-24-2004, 05:04 PM
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Sorry - the last monologue I posted was Henry from Henry IV, part I.

Also a very funny monologue from the same play by Falstaff (after pretending to die in battle):

Falstaff
[Rising up] Embowelled! if thou embowel me to-day,
I'll give you leave to powder me and eat me too
to-morrow. 'Sblood,'twas time to counterfeit, or
that hot termagant Scot had paid me scot and lot too.
Counterfeit? I lie, I am no counterfeit: to die,
is to be a counterfeit; for he is but the
counterfeit of a man who hath not the life of a man:
but to counterfeit dying, when a man thereby
liveth, is to be no counterfeit, but the true and
perfect image of life indeed. The better part of
valour is discretion; in the which better part I
have saved my life.'Zounds, I am afraid of this
gunpowder Percy, though he be dead: how, if he
should counterfeit too and rise? by my faith, I am
afraid he would prove the better counterfeit.
Therefore I'll make him sure; yea, and I'll swear I
killed him. Why may not he rise as well as I?
Nothing confutes me but eyes, and nobody sees me.
Therefore, sirrah,
[Stabbing him]
with a new wound in your thigh, come you along with me.
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#4
Old 03-25-2004, 08:20 AM
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The opening soliloquy from Richard III:

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings;
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-visag’d war hath smooth’d his wrinkled front;
And now,—instead of mounting barbed steeds,
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,—
He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
But I, that am not shap’d for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
I, that am rudely stamp’d, and want love’s majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtail’d of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deform’d, unfinish’d, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me, as I halt by them;
Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time,
Unless to see my shadow in the sun
And descant on mine own deformity:
And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain,
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
By drunken prophecies, libels, and dreams,
To set my brother Clarence and the king
In deadly hate the one against the other:
And if King Edward be as true and just
As I am subtle, false, and treacherous,
This day should Clarence closely be mew’d up,
About a prophecy, which says, that G
Of Edward’s heirs the murderer shall be.
Dive, thoughts, down to my soul: here Clarence comes.



What an evil son of a bitch ol' Richard is!
#5
Old 03-25-2004, 09:30 AM
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Well I suppose I’ll add the best father / son talk ever written down. From Act I, Scene III of Hamlet, Polonius’ advice to Laertes.

POLONIUS: Yet here, Laertes? Aboard, aboard, for shame!
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
And you are stayed for. There -- my blessing with thee,
And these few precepts in thy memory
Look thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel,
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatched, unfledged courage. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel; but being in,
Bear't that th' opposèd may beware of thee.
Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not expressed in fancy; rich, not gaudy,
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of a most select and generous chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulleth edge of husbandry.
This above all, to thine own self be true,
And it must follow as the night the day
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell. My blessing season this in thee!
#6
Old 03-25-2004, 09:56 AM
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Puck's closing from A Midsummer Night's Dream (and this is from memory, so forgive me if I fudge it a little)...

If we shadows have offended
Think but this, and all is mended
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear;
And this weak and idle theme
No more yielding, but a dream.
Gentles, do not reprehend;
If you will pardon, we will mend.
As I am an honest Puck,
We have unearned luck
To have 'scaped the serpent's tongue;
We will make amends 'ere long.
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, goodnight, unto you all
Give me your hands if we be friends;
And Robil shall restore amends.

Gives me a nice happy-cry feeling every time.
#7
Old 03-25-2004, 10:21 AM
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I second Draelin's monologue and sentiment. I love Tigers2B1's contribution too.

The last moment where Iago's trechary might have been guessed, but instead, Othello succumbs.

OTHELLO
I had been happy, if the general camp,
Pioners and all, had tasted her sweet body,
So I had nothing known. O, now, for ever
Farewell the tranquil mind! farewell content!
Farewell the plumed troop, and the big wars,
That make ambition virtue! O, farewell!
Farewell the neighing steed, and the shrill trump,
The spirit-stirring drum, the ear-piercing fife,
The royal banner, and all quality,
Pride, pomp and circumstance of glorious war!
And, O you mortal engines, whose rude throats
The immortal Jove's dead clamours counterfeit,
Farewell! Othello's occupation's gone!
Villain, be sure thou prove my love a whore,
Be sure of it; give me the ocular proof:
Or by the worth of man's eternal soul,
Thou hadst been better have been born a dog
Than answer my waked wrath!
Make me to see't; or, at the least, so prove it,
That the probation bear no hinge nor loop
To hang a doubt on; or woe upon thy life!
If thou dost slander her and torture me,
Never pray more; abandon all remorse;
On horror's head horrors accumulate;
Do deeds to make heaven weep, all earth amazed;
For nothing canst thou to damnation add
Greater than that.

- 3.3. Othello

The despair makes me ache.
#8
Old 03-25-2004, 10:31 AM
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From the Scottish Play

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last sylable of recorded time
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death
Out out brief candle
Life’s but a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing

Not a happy chappy today then?
#9
Old 03-25-2004, 11:00 AM
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One of my favorite characters, Aaron the Moor, from Titus Andronicus:

Ay, that I had not done a thousand more.
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 hay-stacks 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' doors,
Even when their sorrows almost were 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.'
Tut, 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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#10
Old 03-25-2004, 11:28 AM
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I have to give a shout out to Henry V. Makes suicide charges seem like a good idea.

King Henry V:
If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires:
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England:
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more, methinks, would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made
And crowns for convoy put into his purse:
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

Also, I have to mention "Exit, pursued by bear" from A Winter's Tale (III, iii) as his best stage direction.
#11
Old 03-25-2004, 02:05 PM
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Curse you, Small Clanger, for getting here first!

As a fallback choice, I'll post the following from "As You Like It". Besides the similiar subject matter, they have in common the fact that I've seen Ian McKellen peform both of them, which brought a quality to each that is hard to get from stark words on the page and was sadly lacking from the school productions of Shakesepeare that I had seen. The MacBeth soliloquoy was from a TV program that aired on PBS many years ago and was my first exposure to Sir Ian. I was lucky enough to be in the second row of the audience for the performance of the following passage last year.

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
#12
Old 03-25-2004, 02:45 PM
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Juliet's monologue from "Romeo and Juliet":

Come gentle night, come, loving black-browed night,
Give me my Romeo; and when he shall die
Take him and cut him into little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night,
And pay no worship to the garish sun.
#13
Old 03-25-2004, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Also, I have to mention "Exit, pursued by bear" from A Winter's Tale (III, iii) as his best stage direction.
Nah, his best stage direction is from Titus Andronicus: "Enter a messenger with two heads and a hand"

And just 'cos this thread needs a little more Richard III, I nominate this one:
Quote:
Was ever woman in this humour woo'd?
Was ever woman in this humour won?
I'll have her; but I will not keep her long.
What! I, that kill'd her husband and his father,
To take her in her heart's extremest hate,
With curses in her mouth, tears in her eyes,
The bleeding witness of her hatred by;
Having God, her conscience, and these bars against me,
And I nothing to back my suit at all,
But the plain devil and dissembling looks,
And yet to win her, all the world to nothing!
Ha!
Hath she forgot already that brave prince,
Edward, her lord, whom I, some three months since,
Stabb'd in my angry mood at Tewksbury?
A sweeter and a lovelier gentleman,
Framed in the prodigality of nature,
Young, valiant, wise, and, no doubt, right royal,
The spacious world cannot again afford
And will she yet debase her eyes on me,
That cropp'd the golden prime of this sweet prince,
And made her widow to a woful bed?
On me, whose all not equals Edward's moiety?
On me, that halt and am unshapen thus?
My dukedom to a beggarly denier,
I do mistake my person all this while:
Upon my life, she finds, although I cannot,
Myself to be a marvellous proper man.
I'll be at charges for a looking-glass,
And entertain some score or two of tailors,
To study fashions to adorn my body:
Since I am crept in favour with myself,
Will maintain it with some little cost.
But first I'll turn yon fellow in his grave;
And then return lamenting to my love.
Shine out, fair sun, till I have bought a glass,
That I may see my shadow as I pass.
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#14
Old 03-25-2004, 03:52 PM
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Thou, nature, art my goddess; to thy law
My services are bound. Wherefore should I
Stand in the plague of custom, and permit
The curiosity of nations to deprive me,
For that I am some twelve or fourteen moon-shines
Lag of a brother? Why bastard? wherefore base?
When my dimensions are as well compact,
My mind as generous, and my shape as true,
As honest madam's issue? Why brand they us
With base? with baseness? bastardy? base, base?
Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take
More composition and fierce quality
Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed,
Go to the creating a whole tribe of fops,
Got 'tween asleep and wake? Well, then,
Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land:
Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund
As to the legitimate: fine word,--legitimate!
Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed,
And my invention thrive, Edmund the base
Shall top the legitimate. I grow; I prosper:
Now, gods, stand up for bastards!

--Edmund, King Lear, Act I, scene ii

You have witchcraft in your lips, Kate: there is
more eloquence in a sugar touch of them than in the
tongues of the French council; and they should
sooner persuade Harry of England than a general
petition of monarchs.

--King Hery V to Katherine, Henry V, Act V, scene ii
#15
Old 03-25-2004, 04:36 PM
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I know you all, and will awhile uphold
The unyoked humour of your idleness.
Yet herein will I imitate the sun,
Who doth permit the base contagious clouds
To smother up his beauty from the world,
That when he please again to be himself,
Being wanted, he may be more wondered at
By breaking through the foul and ugly mists
Of vapours that did seem to strangle him.
If all the year were playing holidays,
To sport would be as tedious as to work;
But when they seldom come, they wished-for come,
And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents.
So, when this loose behaviour I throw off
And pay the debt I never promisèd,
By how much better than my word I am,
By so much shall I falsify men’s hopes;
And like bright metal on a sullen ground,
My reformation, glitt’ring o’er my fault,
Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes
Than that which hath no foil to set it off.
I’ll so offend to make offence a skill,
Redeeming time when men think least I will.

Henry IV, Part 1
#16
Old 03-26-2004, 01:56 AM
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Egad, I love this board. Where else can you see threads on Shakespeare bumping up against threads on Southpark?

My contribution (since many of my favorites have already been posted), the ol' standard from Hamlet:
Quote:
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.-Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.
#17
Old 03-26-2004, 02:22 AM
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Ooh, lovely thread. Here's a favorite of mine -- from Richard II, 5.5. Richard, deposed and imprisoned (and, in fact, about to be killed) tries to make sense of what's happened to him:

I have been studying how I may compare
This prison where I live unto the world,
And for because the world is populous
And here is not a creature but myself
I cannot do it -- yet I'll hammer it out:
My brain I'll prove the female to my soul,
My soul the father, and these two beget
A generation of still-breeding thoughts,
And these same thoughts people this little world
In humors like the people of this world,
For no thought is contented: the better sort,
As thoughts of things divine, are intermixed
With scruples, and do set the word itself
Against the word:
As thus: 'Come, little ones,' and then again,
'It is as hard to come as for a camel
To thread the postern of a small needle's eye.'
Thoughts tending to ambition, they do plot
Unlikely wonders: how these vain weak nails
May tear a passage through the flinty ribs
Of this hard world, my ragged prison walls --
And, for they cannot, die in their own pride.
Thoughts tending to content flatter themselves
That they are not the first of fortune's slaves
And shall not be the last -- like silly beggars
Who, sitting in the stocks, refuge their shame
That many have, and others must, sit there,
And in these thoughts they find a kind of ease,
Bearing their own misfortune on the back
Of such as have before endured the like.
Thus play I in one person many people,
And none contented: sometimes am I king,
Then treasons make me wish myself a beggar,
And so I am; then crushing penury
Persuades me I was better when a king;
Then am I kinged again, and by and by
Think that I am unkinged by Bolingbroke
And straight am nothing -- but whate'er I be,
Nor I nor any man that but man is
With nothing shall be pleased, till he be eased
With being nothing. [music] Music do I hear?
Ha, ha! Keep time! How sour sweet music is
When time is broke and no proportion kept:
So is it in the music of men's lives.
And here have I the daintiness of ear
To check time broke in a disordered string,
But for the concord of my state and time
Had not an ear to hear my true time broke.
I wasted time, and now doth time waste me,
For now hath time made me his numb'ring clock:
My thoughts are minutes, and with sighs they jar
Their watches on unto mine eyes, the outward watch,
Whereto my finger, like a dial's point,
Is pointing still in cleansing them from tears.
Now, sir, the sounds that tell what hour it is
Are clamorous groans that strike upon my heart,
Which is the bell: so sighs and tears and groans
Show minutes, times, and hours; but my time
Runs posting on in Bolingbroke's proud joy,
While I stand fooling here, his Jack o'the clock.
This music mads me; let it sound no more,
For though it have holp madmen to their wits,
In me it seems it will make wise men mad.
Yet blessing on his heart that gives it me!
For 'tis a sign of love, and love to Richard
Is a strange brooch in this all-hating world.
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#18
Old 03-26-2004, 02:29 AM
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I know it doesn't count, but I'd like to mention the Player's monologue from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead.

I can't post it because it's not in the public domain. I think it starts "Don't you see?! We're actors--we're the opposite of people!"
#19
Old 03-26-2004, 05:17 AM
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If a young student were to complain that Shakespeare is old-timey and irrelevant, I'd give them the following speech of the Duke of Burgundy, from Henry V, to the kings of England and France. He is pleading for a peaceful resolution to the war, and showing how devestating continuing conflict is.

BURGUNDY
My duty to you both, on equal love,
Great Kings of France and England! That I have labour'd,
With all my wits, my pains and strong endeavours,
To bring your most imperial majesties
Unto this bar and royal interview,
Your mightiness on both parts best can witness.
Since then my office hath so far prevail'd
That, face to face and royal eye to eye,
You have congreeted, let it not disgrace me,
If I demand, before this royal view,
What rub or what impediment there is,
Why that the naked, poor and mangled Peace,
Dear nurse of arts and joyful births,
Should not in this best garden of the world
Our fertile France, put up her lovely visage?
Alas, she hath from France too long been chased,
And all her husbandry doth lie on heaps,
Corrupting in its own fertility.
Her vine, the merry cheerer of the heart,
Unpruned dies; her hedges even-pleach'd,
Like prisoners wildly overgrown with hair,
Put forth disorder'd twigs; her fallow leas
The darnel, hemlock and rank fumitory
Doth root upon, while that the coulter rusts
That should deracinate such savagery;
The even mead, that erst brought sweetly forth
The freckled cowslip, burnet and green clover,
Wanting the scythe, all uncorrected, rank,
Conceives by idleness and nothing teems
But hateful docks, rough thistles, kecksies, burs,
Losing both beauty and utility.
And as our vineyards, fallows, meads and hedges,
Defective in their natures, grow to wildness,
Even so our houses and ourselves and children
Have lost, or do not learn for want of time,
The sciences that should become our country;
But grow like savages,--as soldiers will
That nothing do but meditate on blood,--
To swearing and stern looks, diffused attire
And every thing that seems unnatural.
Which to reduce into our former favour
You are assembled: and my speech entreats
That I may know the let, why gentle Peace
Should not expel these inconveniences
And bless us with her former qualities.
#20
Old 03-26-2004, 07:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Bravo
I know it doesn't count, but I'd like to mention the Player's monologue from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead.
Ohh, I love that scene.

"We're more of the love, blood, and rhetoric school. Well, we can do you blood and love without the rhetoric, and we can do you blood and rhetoric without the love, and we can do you all three concurrent or consecutive. But we can't give you love and rhetoric without the blood. Blood is compulsory. They're all blood, you see."
#21
Old 03-26-2004, 08:00 AM
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Portia's speech from The Merchant of Venice:

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there.
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#22
Old 03-26-2004, 08:02 AM
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Well, if we're doing passages relevant to today's geopolitical situation, here's one from Henry V:

How yet resolves the governor of the town?
This is the latest parle we will admit;
Therefore to our best mercy give yourselves;
Or like to men proud of destruction
Defy us to our worst: for, as I am a soldier,
A name that in my thoughts becomes me best,
If I begin the battery once again,
I will not leave the half-achieved Harfleur
Till in her ashes she lie buried.
The gates of mercy shall be all shut up,
And the flesh'd soldier, rough and hard of heart,
In liberty of bloody hand shall range
With conscience wide as hell, mowing like grass
Your fresh-fair virgins and your flowering infants.
What is it then to me, if impious war,
Array'd in flames like to the prince of fiends,
Do, with his smirch'd complexion, all fell feats
Enlink'd to waste and desolation?
What is't to me, when you yourselves are cause,
If your pure maidens fall into the hand
Of hot and forcing violation?
What rein can hold licentious wickedness
When down the hill he holds his fierce career?
We may as bootless spend our vain command
Upon the enraged soldiers in their spoil
As send precepts to the leviathan
To come ashore. Therefore, you men of Harfleur,
Take pity of your town and of your people,
Whiles yet my soldiers are in my command;
Whiles yet the cool and temperate wind of grace
O'erblows the filthy and contagious clouds
Of heady murder, spoil and villany.
If not, why, in a moment look to see
The blind and bloody soldier with foul hand
Defile the locks of your shrill-shrieking daughters;
Your fathers taken by the silver beards,
And their most reverend heads dash'd to the walls,
Your naked infants spitted upon pikes,
Whiles the mad mothers with their howls confused
Do break the clouds, as did the wives of Jewry
At Herod's bloody-hunting slaughtermen.
What say you? will you yield, and this avoid,
Or, guilty in defence, be thus destroy'd?
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#23
Old 03-26-2004, 09:05 AM
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And, as the counter-point to Portia, I'm fond of Shylock's speech from Merchant

"To bait fish withal. If it will feed nothing else it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me, and hath hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies, and what's his reason? I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same summer and winter as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we shall resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what's his humility? Revenge. And if a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me I will execute, and it will go hard, but I will better the instruction."

That's from memory, it might have a few mistakes.
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#24
Old 03-26-2004, 09:18 AM
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To bait fish withal: if it feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies; and what's his reason? I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge! If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge! The villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.

Act III, Scene 1

My Fave, too.


Substitute Jew and Christian with any other two groups and you get a good picture of what it feels like to put upon. For any reason. Still fits in today's world, mabe now even more so.
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#25
Old 03-26-2004, 02:57 PM
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Well, I tried to think of something uplifting and inspirational. Unfortunately, all I could think of was Monty Python’s rendition of John Gielgood’s King Lear:

KING LEAR
Act 5, Scene 6

Gloucester.
The trick of that voice I do well remember: Is't not the king?

Lear.
Ay, every inch a king.
When I do stare, see how the subject quakes.
I pardon that man's life.
What was thy cause?
Adultery?
Thou shall not die: die for adultery! No:
The wren goes to 't, and the small gilded fly
Does lecher in my sight.
Let copulation thrive; for Gloucester's bastard son
Was kinder to his father than my daughters
Got 'tween the lawful sheets.
To't, luxury, pell-mell! for I lack soldiers.
Behold yond simp'ring dame,
Whose face between her forks presages snow,
That minces virtue and does shake the head
To hear of pleasure's name.
The fitchew, nor the soiled horse, goes to't
With a more riotous appetite.
Down from the waist they are Centaurs,
Though women all above:
But to the girdle do the gods inherit,
Beneath is all the fiend's.
There's hell, there's darkness, there is the
sulphurous pit,
Burning, scalding, stench, consumption; fie, fie, fie! pah, pah!
Give me an ounce of civet; good apothecary,
sweeten my imagination: there's money for thee.

On The Album of the Soundtrack of the Trailer of the film of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, they take this speech and add sound effects. One of the most hilarious parts of the album.
#26
Old 03-26-2004, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maniondl
I have to give a shout out to Henry V.

That St. Crispin's Day speach is my all time favorite passage from Shakespeare. I often put in my DVD of Branaugh's Henry V and just put that scene on.
#27
Old 03-26-2004, 10:09 PM
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My favorite lines from any Shakespeare monologue are those from the end of the Player's speech in Act II, Scene II of Hamlet, as follows:

Aroused vengeance sets him new a-work;
And never did the Cyclops' hammers fall
On Mars's armour forged for proof eterne
With less remorse than Pyrrhus' bleeding sword
Now falls on Priam.

DAMN! Must be painful for ol' Priam.

After this, I'm seconding the St. Crispian's day speech from IV.iii of Henry V and the 'winter of our discontent' speech from Richard II, I, i.
#28
Old 03-26-2004, 10:51 PM
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I've always liked Gertrude's description of Ophelia's death. Short-ish, compared to the St. Swithin's Day and others. Anway, it's got some beautiful imagery for a description of a suicide.

There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crowflowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples,
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them.
There, on the pendant boughs her coronet weeds
Clamb'ring to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up;
Which time she chaunted snatches of old tunes;
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indu'd
Unto that element: but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull'd the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.
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#29
Old 03-26-2004, 11:43 PM
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Richard II:
III, ii (if memory serves)

King Richard:
For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings,
How some have been deposed, some slain in war,
Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed,
Some poisoned by their wives, some sleeping killed,
All murdered. For within the hollow crown
That rounds the mortal temple of a king
Keeps Death his court. And there the antick sits,
Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp,
Allowing him a breath, a little scene
To monarchise, be feared, and kill with looks,
Infusing him with self and vain conceit
As if this flesh which walls about our lives
Were brass impregnable. And humoured thus,
Comes at the last, and with a little pin
Bores through his castle wall and Farewell, King!
Cover your heads and mock not flesh and blood
With solemn reverence. Throw away respect,
Tradition, form, and cermonious duty,
For you have but mistook me all this while.
I live with bread, like you. Feel want,
Taste grief, need friends. Subjected thus,
How can you say to me I am a King?

That's from memory, so I decline reponsibility for differences in punctuation between my rendering and your favorite edition.

Richard II is full to bursting with these things. Look for the scene (IV, i, I think it is) where Richard unkings himself. Practically every syllable from the middle of the scene to the end is brilliant. The King's speeches (as in the case of V, v, quoted elsewhere in this thread) are some of the most lyrical in the canon. The '70s-era BBC production with Derek Jacobi as Richard and John Gielgud as John of Gaunt is a real treat. I need hardly mention the 1961 Caedmon 3-LP audio recording with Gielgud as the King and Leo McKern as old Gaunt, and I wouldn't, except that I just found a pristine copy for $3 at a book fair, which replaces a lost (perhaps stolen) copy.
#30
Old 03-26-2004, 11:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HumptysHamhole
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
[etc.,etc]
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'

Henry IV, Part II -- I'll bet generals don't make speeches like that war today.
No, this is not from Henry IV, Part II, nor from Henry IV, Part I, as you said in your subequent "correction," but from Henry V. Act III, scene I (following the prologue), to be precise.
#31
Old 03-27-2004, 01:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nemo1
The '70s-era BBC production with Derek Jacobi as Richard and John Gielgud as John of Gaunt is a real treat.
I second this -- Derek Jacobi rocks my personal universe. (And, nemo, I must compliment you on your exquisite taste. )

I'm quite heartened to see how much love the English histories are getting in this thread. Generally, they don't get nearly enough.

Not from the English histories, but from another lesser-known Shakespeare play -- this has got to be one of the best "screw you" passages in literature:

You common cry of curs! whose breath I hate
As reek o' the rotten fens, whose loves I prize
As the dead carcasses of unburied men
That do corrupt my air, I banish you;
And here remain with your uncertainty!
Let every feeble rumour shake your hearts!
Your enemies, with nodding of their plumes,
Fan you into despair! Have the power still
To banish your defenders; till at length
Your ignorance, which finds not till it feels,
Making not reservation of yourselves,
Still your own foes, deliver you as most
Abated captives to some nation
That won you without blows! Despising,
For you, the city, thus I turn my back:
There is a world elsewhere.
-- Coriolanus, 3.3 -- it's the title character's reaction upon being banished from Rome.
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#32
Old 03-27-2004, 03:26 AM
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Thanks for the kind word, Katisha. You rock yourself, there, for bringing up Coriolanus. Now you've got me digging in my memory for a little something from Cymbeline, another maligned and neglected work.

But just at the moment I'm kind of in the mood for some JC.

preface -- All of Rome is partying because they want to see Great Ceasar, rejoice in his triumph etc.

I, i

Marullus:
Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home?
What tributaries grace in captive bonds his chariot-wheels?
You blocks! You stones! You worse than senseless things!
O, you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome!
Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft
Have you climbed to wall and battlements,
Windows and towers, yea, to chimneytops,
Your infants in your arms, and there have sat
The livelong day, with patient expectation
To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome.
And when you saw his chariot but appear
Have you not made an universal shout
That Tiber trembled underneath her banks
To hear the replication of your sounds
Made in her concave shores?
And do you now cull out a holiday?
And do you now put on your best attire?
And do you now strew flowers in his way
That comes in triumph over Pompey's blood?

===

Previous disclaimers regarding my punctuation and my imperfect memory are still in force. And I've never seen this play done really well and I want to. Anyone know of a decent recorded production?
#33
Old 02-20-2016, 06:24 PM
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Julius Caesar Act III Scene II

MARCUS ANTONIUS:
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones:
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault;
And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest,--
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honorable men,--
Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome,
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once,--not without cause:
What cause withholds you, then, to mourn for him?--
O judgment, thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason!--Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.
#34
Old 02-20-2016, 06:43 PM
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nemo1 beat me to it: the one from Richard III, where he says, "...and with a little pin bores through his castle wall and Farewell, King!" That whole speech is one of my faves. Dick three eyes is prob'ly my fave of the plays.
#35
Old 02-21-2016, 04:06 AM
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I don't recall Shakespeare doing zombies. Ghosts and spirits from the vasty deep, though...
#36
Old 02-21-2016, 07:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quartz View Post
I don't recall Shakespeare doing zombies. Ghosts and spirits from the vasty deep, though...
Had zombies been a thing in his time and place, I bet he would have done it, and done it brilliantly!
#37
Old 02-21-2016, 07:37 AM
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nm, I already DID this one!

Last edited by Baker; 02-21-2016 at 07:40 AM.
#38
Old 02-21-2016, 07:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quartz View Post
I don't recall Shakespeare doing zombies. Ghosts and spirits from the vasty deep, though...
Oh yes, he did. Zombie apocalypse, even. This is probably one of my favorites.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Williams in Henry V
But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection.
#39
Old 02-21-2016, 07:56 AM
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From Richard II, Act 2, scene 1; spoken by John of Gaunt:

This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.
#40
Old 02-21-2016, 08:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Draelin View Post
Puck's closing from A Midsummer Night's Dream (and this is from memory, so forgive me if I fudge it a little)...

If we shadows have offended
Think but this, and all is mended
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear;
And this weak and idle theme
No more yielding, but a dream.
Gentles, do not reprehend;
If you will pardon, we will mend.
As I am an honest Puck,
We have unearned luck
To have 'scaped the serpent's tongue;
We will make amends 'ere long.
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, goodnight, unto you all
Give me your hands if we be friends;
And Robil shall restore amends.
I've always been intrigued by this but I'm not sure I'm getting the full understanding. Anyone care to offer their take on its meaning?
#41
Old 02-21-2016, 09:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrotherCadfael View Post
Had zombies been a thing in his time and place, I bet he would have done it, and done it brilliantly!
We just saw Pericles at the Guthrie. He did pirates. But no zombies or ninjas.

(I'm not much of a Shakespeare scholar, but the third act was way better than the first two - almost like it was written by someone else).
#42
Old 02-21-2016, 05:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glee View Post
From Richard II, Act 2, scene 1; spoken by John of Gaunt:

This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

That's the bit that's usually quoted, and it is inspiring, but the dramatic force of the speech - and occasional modern relevance, depending on your political point of view - lies in the bits that aren't so often quoted:

Methinks I am a prophet new inspired
And thus expiring do foretell of him:
His rash fierce blaze of riot cannot last,
For violent fires soon burn out themselves;
Small showers last long, but sudden storms are short;
He tires betimes that spurs too fast betimes;
With eager feeding food doth choke the feeder:
Light vanity, insatiate cormorant,
Consuming means, soon preys upon itself.
This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,
This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,
Fear'd by their breed and famous by their birth,
Renowned for their deeds as far from home,
For Christian service and true chivalry,
As is the sepulchre in stubborn Jewry,
Of the world's ransom, blessed Mary's Son,
This land of such dear souls, this dear dear land,
Dear for her reputation through the world,
Is now leased out, I die pronouncing it,
Like to a tenement or pelting farm:
England, bound in with the triumphant sea
Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege
Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,
With inky blots and rotten parchment bonds:
That England, that was wont to conquer others,
Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.
Ah, would the scandal vanish with my life,
How happy then were my ensuing death!
#43
Old 02-21-2016, 05:26 PM
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My favorite is Cassius's monologue from Act I of Julius Caesar. It basically boils down to "Caesar? LOL, that guy's a pussy." It's the same template used in modern political exposés that undermine candidates by digging up stupid and/or embarrassing incidents from long ago.

I know that virtue to be in you, Brutus,
As well as I do know your outward favor.
Well, honor is the subject of my story.
I cannot tell what you and other men
Think of this life, but, for my single self,
I had as lief not be as live to be
In awe of such a thing as I myself.
I was born free as Caesar, so were you;
We both have fed as well, and we can both
Endure the winter's cold as well as he.
For once, upon a raw and gusty day,
The troubled Tiber chafing with her shores,
Caesar said to me, "Darest thou, Cassius, now
Leap in with me into this angry flood
And swim to yonder point?" Upon the word,
Accoutred as I was, I plunged in
And bade him follow. So indeed he did.
The torrent roar'd, and we did buffet it
With lusty sinews, throwing it aside
And stemming it with hearts of controversy.
But ere we could arrive the point proposed,
Caesar cried, "Help me, Cassius, or I sink!
I, as Aeneas our great ancestor
Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder
The old Anchises bear, so from the waves of Tiber
Did I the tired Caesar. And this man
Is now become a god, and Cassius is
A wretched creature and must bend his body
If Caesar carelessly but nod on him.
He had a fever when he was in Spain,
And when the fit was on him I did mark
How he did shake. 'Tis true, this god did shake;
His coward lips did from their color fly,
And that same eye whose bend doth awe the world
Did lose his luster. I did hear him groan.
Ay, and that tongue of his that bade the Romans
Mark him and write his speeches in their books,
Alas, it cried, "Give me some drink, Titinius,"
As a sick girl. Ye gods! It doth amaze me
A man of such a feeble temper should
So get the start of the majestic world
And bear the palm alone.
#44
Old 02-21-2016, 05:38 PM
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King Lear:

And the creature run from the cur? There thou mightst behold the great image of authority: a dog’s obeyed in office.
Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand.
Why dost thou lash that whore? Strip thine own back.
Thou hotly lust’st to use her in that kind
For which thou whipp’st her. The usurer hangs the cozener.
Through tattered clothes great vices do appear;
Robes and furred gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks.
Arm it in rags, a pigmy’s straw does pierce it.
None does offend—none, I say, none. I’ll able 'em.
Take that of me, my friend, who have the power
To seal th' accuser’s lips. Get thee glass eyes,
And like a scurvy politician seem
To see the things thou dost not. Now, now, now, now,
Pull off my boots. Harder, harder. So.
#45
Old 02-21-2016, 06:17 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: outside DC
Posts: 928
Cassius:

Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonorable graves.
Men at some time are masters of their fates.
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Brutus and Caesar—what should be in that “Caesar”?
Why should that name be sounded more than yours?
Write them together, yours is as fair a name.
Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well.
Weigh them, it is as heavy. Conjure with 'em,
“Brutus” will start a spirit as soon as “Caesar.”
Now in the names of all the gods at once,
Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed
That he is grown so great? Age, thou art shamed!
Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods!
When went there by an age, since the great flood,
But it was famed with more than with one man?
When could they say till now, that talked of Rome,
That her wide walks encompassed but one man?
Now is it Rome indeed, and room enough,
When there is in it but one only man.
Oh, you and I have heard our fathers say,
There was a Brutus once that would have brooked
Th' eternal devil to keep his state in Rome
As easily as a king.
#46
Old 02-22-2016, 07:32 AM
Straight Dope Science Advisory Board
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: On the windowsill
Posts: 7,971
I'm surprised no one has yet mentioned this one, my own personal favorite, from Hamlet:

I have of late,
but wherefore I know not,
lost all my mirth,
forgone all custom of exercises;
and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth,
seems to me a sterile promontory;
this most excellent canopy,
the air, look you,
this brave o’erhanging firmament,
this majestical roof fretted with golden fire,
why, it appears no other thing to me but a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours.

What a piece of work is a man!
How noble in reason!
How infinite in faculty!
In form, in moving, how express and admirable!
In action how like an angel!
In apprehension how like a god!
The beauty of the world!
The paragon of animals!
And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?
Man delights not me; no, nor woman neither,
though, by your smiling, you seem to say so.
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