In a reversal of traditional courtship, the Duchess sets out to woo
The misery of us that are born great,
We are forced to woo because none dare woo us:
And as a tyrant doubles with his words,
And fearfully equivocates, so we
Are forced to express our violent passions
In riddles and in dreams and leave the path
Of simple virtue which was never made
To seem the thing it is not. Go, go brag
You have left me heartless--mine is in your bosom,
I hope ‘twill multiply love there. You do tremble,
Make not your heart so dead a piece of flesh
To fear, more than to love me. Sir, be confident--
What is’t distracts you? This is flesh, and blood, sir;
‘Tis not the figure cut in alabaster
Kneels at my husband’s tomb. Awake, awake, man!
I do here put off all vain ceremony,
And only do appear to you a young widow
That claims you for her husband, and like a widow,
I use but half a blush in’t.
John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi Act 1, Sc.2, ll.374-392.
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