A monologue from the
play by William
MORE MONOLOGUES BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
- VOLUMNIA: You are too absolute;
- Though therein you can never be too noble,
- But when extremities speak. I have heard you say,
- Honor and policy, like unsevered friends,
- I' th' war do grow together. Grant that, and tell me,
- In peace what each of them by th' other lose,
- That they combine not there.
- If it be honor in your wars to seem
- The same you are not, -- which, for your best ends,
- You adopt your policy -- how is it less or worse,
- That it shall hold companionship in peace
- With honor, as in war; since that to both
- It stands in like request?
- It lies on you to speak
- To th' people, not by your own instruction,
- Nor by th' matter which your heart prompts you,
- But with such words that are but roted in
- Your tongue, though but bastards and syllables
- Of no allowance to your bosom's truth.
- Now, this no more dishonors you at all
- Than to take in a town with gentle words,
- Which else would put you to your fortune and
- The hazard of much blood.
- I would dissemble with my nature where
- My fortunes and my friends at stake required
- I should do so in honor. I am in this
- Your wife, your son, these senators, the nobles;
- And you will rather show our general louts
- How you can frown than spend a fawn upon 'em,
- For the inheritance of their loves and safeguard
- Of what that want might ruin.
- I prithee now, my son,
- Go to them, with this bonnet in thy hand;
- And thus far having stretched it, -- here be with them --
- Thy knee bussing the stones, -- for in such business
- Action is eloquence, and the eyes of th' ignorant
- More learned than the ears -- waving thy head,
- Which, often thus correcting thy stout heart,
- Now humble as the ripest mulberry
- That will not hold the handling; or say to them
- Thou art their soldier, and being bred in broils
- Hast not the soft way which, thou dost confess,
- Were fit for thee to use as they to claim,
- In asking their good loves; but thou wilt frame
- Thyself, forsooth, hereafter theirs, so far
- As thou hast power and person.
- Go and be ruled; although I know thou hadst rather
- Follow thine enemy in a fiery gulf
- Than flatter him in a bower.