I am seeing that the majority of time (40% or more) is being taken up with many thousands of calls to main::BEGIN.
The answer can be found in a recent p5p post
by Tim Bunce
A BEGIN block gets a CV, executes, the CV is freed and another sub
is created with the same CV address. The result is that Devel::DProf
(for example) will report BEGIN blocks being called many times when
in fact it's a different sub. Very frustrating.
The initial p5p thread starts here
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