HIPPOLITO: Methinks a toad is happier than a whore.
That, with one poison, swells; with thousands more
The other stocks her veins. Harlot? Fie, fie!
You are the miserablest creatures breathing,
The very slaves of nature. Mark me else.
You put on rich attires--others' eyes wear them;
You eat, but to supply your blood with sin.
And this strange curse e'en haunts you to your graves.
From fools you get, and spend it upon slaves.
Like bears and apes, y'are baited and show tricks
For money; but your bawd the sweetness licks.
Indeed, you are their journeywomen, and do
All base and damned works they list set you to,
So that you ne'er are rich; for do but show me,
In present memory or in ages past,
The fairest and most famous courtesan,
Whose flesh was dear'st; that raised the price of sin,
And held it up; to whose intemperate bosom,
Princes, earls, lords, the worst has been a knight,
The mean'st a gentleman, have offered up
Whole hecatombs of sighs, and rained in showers
Handfuls of gold; yet, for all this, at last
Diseases sucked her marrow, then grew so poor
That she has begged e'en at a beggar's door.
And (wherein heaven has a finger) when this idol,
From coast to coast, has leaped on foreign shores,
And had more worship than the outlandish whores;
When several nations have gone over her;
When, for each several city she has seen,
Her maidenhead has been new, and been sold dear;
Did live well there, and might have died unknown
And undefamed--back comes she to her own,
And there both miserably lives and dies,
Scorned even of those that once adored her eyes,
As if her fatal, circled life thus ran:
Her pride should end there where it first began.
What, do you weep to hear your story read?
Nay, if you spoil your cheeks, I'll read no more.
Notes: NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Chief Elizabethan Dramatists. Ed. William Allan Neilson. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1911.
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