The Dutch Courtesan – Monologue (CRISPINELLA)

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A monologue from the play by John Marston

(Act III, Scene 1)

CRISPINELLA

Marry? No, faith; husbands are like lots in the lottery: you may draw forty blanks before you find one that has any prize in him.

A husband generally is a careless, domineering thing that grows like coral, which as long as it is under water is soft and tender,

but as soon as it has got his branch above the waves is presently hard, stiff, not to be bowed but burst;

so when your husband is a suitor and under your choice, Lord, how supple he is, how obsequious, how at your service, sweet lady!

Once married, got up his head above, a stiff, crooked, knobby, inflexible, tyrannous creature he grows; then they turn like water, more you would embrace, the less you hold.

I’ll live my own woman, and if the worst come to the worst, I had rather prove a wag than a fool. O, but a virtuous marriage, you say?

There is no more affinity betwixt virtue and marriage than betwixt a man and his horse.

Indeed, virtue gets up upon marriage sometimes and manageth it in the right way, but marriage is of another piece;

for as a horse may be without a man, and a man without a horse, so marriage, you know, is often without virtue, and virtue, I am sure, more oft without marriage.

But thy match, sister—by my troth, I think ‘twill do well. He’s a wellshaped, clean-lipped gentleman,

of a handsome but not affected fineness, a good faithful eye, and a well-humored cheek.

Would he did not stoop in the shoulders, for thy sake! See, here he is.

Read the play here

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