The misery of us that are born great,...

The Duchess of Malfi

The Duchess

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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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