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The sort to fight with Hector: Among ourselves,||
That we have better men. But, hit or miss,
Now I begin to relish thy advice;
To Agamemnon: go we to him straight.
Ajax. Thou stool for a witch!
Ther. Ay, do, do; thou sodden-witted lord! thou
Ther. You scurvy lord!
[Beating him. Ther. Mars his idiot! do, rudeness; do, camel; do, do.
Enter Achilles and Patroclus.
Achil. Why, how now, Ajax? wherefore do you
Ther. But yet you look not well upon him: for,
Ther. Ay, but that fool knows not himself.
Ther. Lo, lo, lo, lo, what modicums of wit he utters! his evasions have ears thus long. I have bobbed his brain, more than he has beat my bones: I will buy nine sparrows for a penny, and his pia mater is not worth the ninth part of a sparrow. This lord, Achilles, Ajax,-who wears his wit in his belly, and his guts in his head,-I'll tell you what I say of him.
Ther. I say, this Ajax
[Ajax offers to strike him, Achilles interposes. Achil. Nay, good Ajax.
Ther. Has not so much wit
Achil. Nay, I must hold you.
Ther. As will stop the eye of Helen's needle, for whom he comes to fight. Achil. Peace, fool!
Ther. I would have peace and quietness, but the fool will not: he there; that he; look you there. Ajax. O thou damned cur! I shall
Achil. Will you set your wit to a fool's?
Ther. No, I warrant you; for a fool's will shame it.
Ajax. I bade the vile owl, go learn me the tenor
Ajax. Well, go to, go to.
Achil. Your last service was sufferance, 'twas not voluntary; no man is beaten voluntary; Ajax was here the voluntary, and you as under an impress.
Ther. Even so?-a great deal of your wit too lies in your sinews, or else there be liars. Hector shall have a great catch, if he knock out either of your brains; a' were as good crack a fusty nut with no kernel.
Achil. What, with me too, Thersites ?
Ther. There's Ulysses, and old Nestor,-whose
(7) The membrane that protects the brain. (8) Voluntarily.
wit was mouldy ere your grandsires had nails on their toes,-yoke you like draught oxen, and make you plough up the wars.
Achil. What, what?
Ther. Yes, good sooth; To, Achilles! to, Ajax! to! Ajax. I shall cut out your tongue. Ther. 'Tis no matter; I shall speak as much as thou afterwards.
Patr. No more words, Thersites; peace. Ther. I will hold my peace when Achilles' brach bids me, shall I?
Achil. There's for you, Patroclus. Ther. I will see you hanged, like clotpoles, ere I come any more to your tents; I will keep where there is wit stirring, and leave the faction of fools.
Patr. A good riddance.
Achil. Marry, this, sir, is proclaimed through all our host:
That Hector, by the first hour of the sun,
Ajax. O, meaning you :-I'll go learn more of it. [Exeunt.
SCENE II.-Troy. A room in Priam's palace. Enter Priam, Hector, Troilus, Paris, and He
Pri. After so many hours, lives, speeches spent, Thus once again says Nestor from the Greeks; Deliver Helen, and all damage else— As honour, loss of time, travel, expense, Wounds, friends, and what else dear that is con
In hot digestion of this cormorant war,—
There is no lady of more softer bowels,
Tro. Fie, fie, my brother! Weigh you the worth and honour of a king, So great as our dread father, in a scale Of common ounces? will you with counters sum The past-proportion of his infinite? And buckle-in a waist most fathomless, With spans and inches so diminutive As fears and reasons? fie, for godly shame! Hel. No marvel, though you bite so sharp at
Bear the great sway of his affairs with reasons, Because your speech hath none, that tells him so? Tro. You are for dreams and slumbers, brother priest,
You fur your gloves with reason. Here are your
You know, an enemy intends you harm;
Should have hare hearts, would they but fat their thoughts
With this cramm'd reason: reason and respecta Make livers pale, and lustihood deject.
Hect. Brother, she is not worth what she doth cost The holding.
What is aught, but as 'tis valued? Hect. But value dwells not in particular will; It holds his estimate and dignity As well wherein 'tis precious of itself As in the prizer: 'tis mad idolatry, To make the service greater than the god; And the will dotes, that is attributive To what infectiously itself affects, Without some image of the affected merit.
Tro. I take to-day a wife, and my election Is led on in the conduct of my will; My will enkindled by mine eyes and ears, Two traded pilots 'twixt the dangerous shores Of will and judgment: How may I avoid, Although my will distaste what it elected, The wife I chose? there can be no evasion To blench4 from this, and to stand firm by honour: We turn not back the silks upon the merchant, When we have soil'd them; nor the remainder viands
We do not throw in unrespective sieve,3
He brought a Grecian queen, whose youth and freshness
Wrinkles Apollo's, and makes pale the morning.
What noise? what shriek is this?
(6) Priam's sister, Hesione,
Tro. 'Tis our mad sister, I do know her voice.
Enter Cassandra, raving.
Cas. Cry, Trojans, cry! lend me ten thousand
And I will fill them with prophetic tears.
Hect. Peace, sister, peace.
Cas. Virgins and boys, mid-age and wrinkled elders,
Soft infancy, that nothing canst but cry,
Of divination in our sister work
Some touches of remorse? or is your blood So madly hot, that no discourse of reason, Nor fear of bad success in a bad cause, Can qualify the same?
Tro. Why, brother Hector, We may not think the justness of each act Such and no other than event doth form it; Nor once deject the courage of our minds, Because Cassandra's mad: her brain-sick raptures Cannot distastel the goodness of a quarrel, Which hath our several honours all engag'd To make it gracious.2 For my private part, I am no more touch'd than all Priam's sons: And Jove forbid, there should be done amongst us Such things as might offend the weakest spleen To fight for and maintain !
Par. Else might the world convince3 of levity As well my undertakings, as your counsels : But I attest the gods, your full consent Gave wings to my propension, and cut off All fears attending on so dire a project. For what, alas, can these my single arms? What propugnation4 is in one man's valour, To stand the push and enmity of those This quarrel would excite? Yet, I protest, Were I alone to pass the difficulties, And had as ample power as I have will, Paris should ne'er retract what he hath done, Nor faint in the pursuit.
Par. Sir, I propose not merely to myself
(1) Corrupt, change to a worse state. (2) To set it off. (3) Convict. (4) Defence. (5) Commented.
Well may we fight for her, whom, we know well, The world's large spaces cannot parallel.
Hect. Paris, and Troilus, you have both said well:
The reasons, you allege, do more conduce
If Helen then be wife to Sparta's king,-
But makes it much more heavy. Hector's opinion
For 'tis a cause that hath no mean dependence
Tro. Why, there you touch'd the life of our
Hect. I am yours, Yon valiant offspring of great Priamus.— I have a roistings challenge sent amongst The dull and factious nobles of the Greeks, Will strike amazement to their drowsy spirits: I was advértis'd, their great general slept, Whilst emulation9 in the army crept; This, I presume, will wake him. [Exeunt. SCENE III.—The Grecian camp. Before Achilles' tent. Enter Thersites.
Ther. How now, Thersites? what, lost in the labyrinth of thy fury? Shall the elephant Ajax carry it thus? he beats me, and I rail at him: O worthy satisfaction! 'would, it were otherwise; that I could beat him, whilst he railed at me: 'Sfoot, I'll learn to conjure and raise devils, but I'll see some issue of my spiteful execrations. Then there's Achilles, a rare engineer. If Troy be not taken till these two undermine it, the walls will stand till they fall of themselves. O thou great thunderdarter of Olympus, forget that thou art Jove the king of gods; and, Mercury, lose all the serpen
(7) Incline to, as a question of honour. (8) Blustering. (9) Envy.
tine craft of thy caduceus; if ye take not that little little less than little wit from them that they have! which short-armed ignorance itself knows is so abundant scarce, it will not in circumvention deliver a fly from a spider, without drawing their massy irons, and cutting the web. After this, the vengeance on the whole camp! or, rather, the boneache! for that, methinks, is the curse dependent on those that war for a placket. I have said my prayers; and devil, envy, say Amen.-What, ho! my lord Achilles !
Patr. Who's there? Thersites? Good Thersites, come in and rail.
Ther. If I could have remembered a gilt counterfeit, thou wouldest not have slipped out of my contemplation: but it is no matter; Thyself upon thyself! The common curse of mankind, folly and ignorance, be thine in great revenue! heaven bless thee from a tutor, and discipline come not near thee! Let thy blood2 be thy direction till thy death! then if she, that lays thee out, says-thou art a fair corse, I'll be sworn and sworn upon't, she never shrouded any but lazars.3 Amen.-Where's Achilles?
Patr. What, art thou devout? wast thou in prayer?
Ther. Ay; The heavens hear me !
Achil. Who's there?
Patr. Thersites, my lord.
Achil. Where, where?-Art thou come? my cheese, my digestion, why hast thou not served thyself in to my table so many meals? Come; what's Agamemnon?
Ther. Thy commander, Achilles;-Then tell me, Patroclus, what's Achilles?
Patr. Thy lord, Thersites; Then tell me, I pray thee, what's thyself?
Patr. Thou mayest tell, that knowest.
Achil. O, tell, tell.
Ther. Here is such patchery, such juggling, and such knavery! all the argument is, a cuckold, and a whore; A good quarrel, to draw emulous4 factions, and bleed to death upon. Now the dry serpigo on the subject! and war, and lechery, confound all! [Exit.
Ther. Agamemnon is a fool; Achilles is a fool; Thersites is a fool; and, as aforesaid, Patroclus is a fool.
Agam. Where is Achilles?
Nest. All the better; their fraction is more our wish, than their faction: But it was a strong comWhy,posure, a fool could disunite.
Ulyss. The amity, that wisdom knits not, folly may easily untie. Here comes Patroclus.
Achil. Derive this; come.
Ther. Agamemnon is a fool to offer to command Achilles; Achilles is a fool to be commanded of Agamemnon; Thersites is a fool to serve such a fool; and Patroclus is a fool positive.
Patr. Why am I a fool?
Ther. Make that demand of the prover.-It fices me, thou art. Look you, who comes here? Enter Agamemnon, Ulysses, Nestor, Diomedes, and Ајах.
I shall say so to him. [Exit. Ulyss. We saw him at the opening of his tent; He is not sick.
Ajax. Yes, lion-sick, sick of proud heart: you may call it melancholy, if you will favour the man; but, by my head, 'tis pride: But why, why? let him show us a cause.-A word, my lord. [Takes Agamemnon aside. Nest. What moves Ajax thus to bay at him? Ulyss. Achilles hath inveigled his fool from him. Nest. Who? Thersites? Ulyss. He.
Ther. Thy knower, Patroclus; Then tell me,flexure. Patroclus, what art thou?
Achil. Patroclus, I'll speak with nobody;Come in with me, Thersites. [Exit.
Nest. Then will Ajax lack matter, if he have lost his argument.8
(1) The wand of Mercury, which is wreathed with serpents.
(2) Passions, natural propensities.
(3) Leprous persons. (4) Envious.
(5) Tetter, scab.
Ulyss. No, you see, he is his argument, that has his argument; Achilles.
Ther. I'll decline the whole question. Agamem-To call upon him; he hopes, it is no other, non commands Achilles; Achilles is my lord; I am || But, for your health and your digestion's sake, Patroclus' knower; and Patroclus is a fool.
An after-dinner's breath.9
Patr. You rascal!
Nest. No Achilles with him.
Ulyss. The elephant hath joints, but none for courtesy: his legs are legs for necessity, not for
Ther. Peace, fool; I have not done.
Much attribute he hath; and much the reason
Patr. Achilles bids me say-he is much sorry, If any thing more than your sport and pleasure Did move your greatness, and this noble state,
Ulyss. Achilles will not to the field to-morrow. Agam. What's his excuse? Ulyss. He doth rely on none; But carries on the stream of his dispose, Without observance or respect of any, In will peculiar and in self-admission.
Agam. Why will he not, upon our fair request, Untent his person, and share the air with us? Ulyss. Things small as nothing, for request's sake only,
Let Ajax go to him.Dear lord, go you and greet him in his tent: 'Tis said, he holds you well; and will be led, At your request, a little from himself.
Ulyss. O Agamemnon, let it not be so! We'll consecrate the steps that Ajax makes When they go from Achilles: Shall the proud lord, That bastes his arrogance with his own seam ;2 And never suffers matter of the world Enter his thoughts,-save such as do revolve And ruminate himself,-shall he be worshipp'd Of that we hold an idol more than he? No, this thrice-worthy and right valiant lord Must not so stale his palm, nobly acquir'd; Nor, by my will, assubjugate his merit, As amply titled as Achilles is, By going to Achilles :
That were to enlard his fat-already pride;
Ajax. If I go to him, with my arm'd fist I'l pash4 him Over the face.
Agam. O, no, you shall not go.
Ajax. An he be proud with me, I'll pheezes his pride:
Let me go to him.
Ulyss. Not for the worth that hangs upon our quarrel.
Ajax. A paltry, insolent fellow,-
Ajax. Can he not be sociable?
How he describes [Aside.
Chides blackness. [Aside. Ajax. I will let his humours blood. Agam. He'll be physician, that should be the patient. [Aside. Ajax. An all men Were o' my mind,
He makes important: Possess'd he is with greatness; || Here is a man-But 'tis before his face;
Wit would be out of fashion. [Aside.
Ajax. He should not bear it so, He should eat swords first: Shall pride carry it? Nest. An 'twould, you'd carry half. [Aside. Ulyss. He'd have ten shares. [Aside. Ajax. I'll knead him, I will make him supple :Nest. He's not yet thorough warm: forces him with praises: Pour in, pour in; his ambition is dry. [Aside. Ulyss. My lord, you feed too much on this dislike. [To Agamemnon. Nest. O noble general, do not do so. Dio. You must prepare to fight without Achilles. Ulyss. Why, 'tis this naming of him does him
I would, he were a Trojan! Nest.
Wherefore should you so? He is not emulous,7 as Achilles is.
Ulyss. Know the whole world, he is as valiant. Ajax. A whoreson dog, that shall palter thus with us!
(4) Strike. (6) Stuff.
What a vice
If he were proud?
Were it in Ajax now
Dio. Or covetous of praise?
Ay, or surly borne ?
Dio. Or strange, or self-affected?
Praise him that got thee, she that gave thee suck:
(3) The sign in the zodiac into which the sun enters June 21. 'And Cancer reddens with the solar blaze.'
(5) Comb or curry. (7) Envious. (8) Trifle.