A monologue from the play by Thomas Middleton

NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from A Yorkshire Tragedy. Thomas Middleton. London: Thomas Pavier, 1608.

HUSBAND: O thou confused man! Thy sweet sins have undone thee; thy damnation has beggar’d thee. That heaven should say we must not sin, and yet made women! give our senses way to sniff out pleasure, which being found, confounds us! Why should we know those things so much misuse us? O, would virtue had been forbidden! We should then have prov’d all virtuous; for ’tis our blood to love what is forbidden. Had not drunkenness been forbidden, what man would have been fool to a beast, and slave to a swine–to show tricks in the mire? What is there in three dice to make a man draw thrice three thousand acres into the compass of a little round table, and with the gentleman’s palsy in hand to shake out his posterity for thieves and beggars? ‘Tis done; I have done i’ faith: terrible, horrible misery! How well was I endowed ! Very well, very well. My lands show’d like a full moon about me; but now the moon’s in the last quarter–waning, waning; and I am mad to think that moon was mine; mine and my father’s, and my fore-fathers’; generations, generations. Down goes the house of us; down, down it sinks! Now is the name a beggar; begs in me. That name which hundreds of years has made this shire famous, in me and my posterity expires. In my seed, five are made miserable besides myself: my folly is now my brother’s jailer, my wife’s sighing, my three boys’ poverty, and mine own confusion. O, my brother’s in execution among devils that stretch him and make him bend; and I in want, not able for to live, nor to redeem him! Divines and dying men talk of hell, but in my heart her several torments dwell; slavery and misery. Who here would not take up money upon his soul? Pawn his salvation, live at interest? I, that did ever in abundance dwell, for me to want, exceeds the throes of hell.

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