The Honest Whore Monologue
|The Honest Whore Monologue by Thomas Dekker|
- 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.
Credits: Reprinted from The Chief Elizabethan Dramatists. Ed. William Allan Neilson. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1911.