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Now, thieves?

Now, thieves?
Soldiers, not thieves.
Both, too, and women’s sons.
We are not thieves, but men that much do want.

Each thing’s a thief.
The laws, your curb and whip, in their rough power
Has unchecked theft.

Your greatest want is, you want much of meat.
Why should you want? Behold, the earth hath roots.
Within this mile break forth a hundred springs.
The oaks bear mast, the briars scarlet hips.
The bounteous huswife Nature on each bush
Lays her full mess before you. Want? Why want?
First Bandit
We cannot live on grass, on berries, water,
As beasts and birds and fishes.
Nor on the beasts themselves, the birds and fishes;
You must eat men. Yet thanks I must you con
That you are thieves professed, that you work not
In holier shapes, for there is boundless theft
In limited professions. Rascal thieves,
Here’s gold.
(He gives them gold.)
 Go, suck the subtle blood o’ th’ grape
Till the high fever seethe your blood to froth,
And so ’scape hanging. Trust not the physician;
His antidotes are poison, and he slays
More than you rob. Take wealth and lives together.
Do, villainy, do, since you protest to do ’t,
Like workmen. I’ll example you with thievery.
The sun’s a thief and with his great attraction
Robs the vast sea. The moon’s an arrant thief,
And her pale fire she snatches from the sun.
The sea’s a thief, whose liquid surge resolves
The moon into salt tears. The earth’s a thief,
That feeds and breeds by a composture stol’n
From gen’ral excrement. Each thing’s a thief.
The laws, your curb and whip, in their rough power
Has unchecked theft. Love not yourselves. Away!
Rob one another. There’s more gold. (He gives them gold.) Cut throats.
All that you meet are thieves. To Athens go.
Break open shops. Nothing can you steal
But thieves do lose it. Steal less for this I give you,
And gold confound you howsoe’er! Amen.
Third Bandit
Has almost charmed me from my profession
by persuading me to it.
First Bandit
’Tis in the malice of mankind that he
thus advises us, not to have us thrive in our mystery.
Second Bandit
I’ll believe him as an enemy and give over my trade.
First Bandit
Let us first see peace in Athens. There is
no time so miserable but a man may be true.
 Thieves exit.

Act 4
Scene 3
Line 464

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