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Enter ACHILLES and PATROCLUS.
Ther. You see him there, do you?
Ther. Nay, look upon him.
Achil. So I do what's the matter?
Ther. But yet you look not well upon him; for, whosoever you take him to be, he is Ajax. Achil. I know that, fool.
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
SCENE II.-Troy. A Room in Priam's Palace.
Pri. After so many hours, lives, speeches spent, AJAX offers to strike him. Thus once again says Nestor from the Greeks: 'Deliver Helen, and all damage else,
Achil. Nay, good Ajax.
Ther. As will stop the eye of Helen's needle, for whom he comes to fight.
Achil. Peace, fool!
Ajax. O thou damned cur! I shall-
Patr. Good words, Thersites.
Ajax. I bade the vile owl go learn me the tenour of the proclamation, and he rails upon me. Ther. I serve thee not. Ajax. Well, go to, go to. Ther. I serve here voluntary. 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. E'en 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.
Ther. Yes, good sooth: to, Achilles! to, Ajax! to!
Ajax. I shall cut out your tongue.
As honour, loss of time, travail, expense,
In hot digestion of this cormorant war,
As far as toucheth my particular,
Fie, fie! my brother,
You are so empty of them. Should not our father
Ther. "Tis no matter; I shall speak as much Because your speech hath none that tells him so? as thou afterwards.
Patr. No more words, Thersites; peace!
Ther. I will hold my peace when Achilles' brach bids me, shall I ?
Tro. You are for dreams and slumbers, brother priest;
You fur your gloves with reason. Here are your
We do not throw in unrespective sink
He brought a Grecian queen, whose youth and freshness
Wrinkles Apollo's, and makes stale the morning. Why keep we her? the Grecians keep our aunt: Is she worth keeping? why, she is a pearl, Whose price hath launch'd above a thousand ships,
And turn'd crown'd kings to merchants.
What noise? what shriek? Tro. 'Tis our mad sister, I do know her voice.
And I will fill them with prophetic tears.
Cas. Virgins and boys, mid-age and wrinkled eld,
Soft infancy, that nothing canst but cry,
Hect. Now, youthful Troilus, do not these high strains
Of divination in our sister work
Some touches of remorse? or is your blood
Cannot distaste the goodness of a quarrel
Par. Else might the world convince 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 propugnation 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.
Pri. Paris, you speak Like one besotted on your sweet delights: You have the honey still, but these the gall; So to be valiant is no praise at all.
Where Helen is the subject: then, I say,
Hect. Paris and Troilus, you have both said well;
And on the cause and question now in hand
Than wife is to the husband? If this law
To have her back return'd: thus to persist
Tro. Why, there you touch'd the life of our design:
Were it not glory that we more affected
be not taken till these two undermine it, the walls will stand till they fall of themselves. O! thou great thunder-darter of Olympus; forget that thou art Jove the king of gods, and, Mercury, lose all the serpentine craft of thy caduceus, if ye take not that little, little, less than little wit from them that they have; which shortarmed 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 Neapolitan bone-ache! for that, methinks, is the curse dependant 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 would'st 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 blood be thy direction till thy death! then if she that lays thee out says thou art a fair corpse, I'll be sworn and sworn upon't she never shrouded any but lazars. Amen. Where's Achilles?
Patr. What! art thou devout? wast thou in prayer?
Ther. Ay; the heavens hear me!
A chil. Who's there?
Patr. Thersites, my lord.
Achil. Where, where? Art thou come? Why, 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. pray thee, what's thyself?
Then tell me, I
Ther. Thy knower, Patroclus. Then tell me, Patroclus, what art thou?
Patr. Thou may'st tell that knowest.
Ther. I'll decline the whole question. Agamemnon commands Achilles; Achilles is my lord; I am Patroclus' knower; and Patroclus is a fool.
Patr. You rascal!
Ther. Peace, fool! I have not done. Achil. He is a privileged man. Proceed, Thersites.
Ther. Agamemnon is a fool; Achilles is a fool; Thersites is a fool; and, as aforesaid, Patroclus is a fool.
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?
Achil. Patroclus, I'll speak with nobody. Come in with me, Thersites. Exit. Ther. Here is such patchery, such juggling, and such knavery! all the argument is a cuckold and a whore; a good quarrel to draw emulous factions and bleed to death upon. Now, the dry serpigo on the subject! and war and lechery confound all! Exit. 82
Enter AGAMEMNON, ULYSSES, NESTOR,
Agam. Where is Achilles?
Patr. Within his tent; but ill dispos'd, my lord.
Let him be told so; lest perchance he think
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.
Nest. Then will Ajax lack matter, if he have lost his argument.
Ulyss. No, you see, he is his argument that has his argument, Achilles.
Nest. All the better; their fraction is more our wish than their faction: but it was a strong composure a fool could disunite.
Ulyss. The amity that wisdom knits not folly may easily untie. Here comes Patroclus. Nest. No Achilles with him?
Ulyss. The elephant hath joints, but none for courtesy: his legs are legs for necessity, not for flexure.
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 To call upon him; he hopes it is no other But for your health and your digestion sake, An after-dinner's breath.
Much attribute he hath, and much the reason
If you do say we think him over-proud
And under-honest, in self-assumption greater Than in the note of judgment; and worthier
Here tend the savage strangeness he puts on,
Disguise the holy strength of their command,
Exit. Agam. In second voice we 'll not be satisfied; We come to speak with him. Ulysses, enter you. Exit ULYSSES.
Ajax. What is he more than another? Agam. No more than what he thinks he is. Ajax. Is he so much? Do you not think he thinks himself a better man than I am ? Agam. No question.
Ajax. Will you subscribe his thought, and say he is?
Agam. No, noble Ajax; you are as strong, as valiant, as wise, no less noble, much more gentle, and altogether more tractable.
Ajax. Why should a man be proud? How doth pride grow? I know not what pride is.
Agam. Your mind is the clearer, Ajax, and your virtues the fairer. He that is proud eats up himself pride is his own glass, his own trumpet, his own chronicle; and whatever praises itself but in the deed, devours the deed in the praise.
Ajax. I do hate a proud man, as I hate the engendering of toads.
Nest. Aside. Yet he loves himself is 't not strange?
Ulyss. Achilles will not to the field to-morrow. Agam. What's his excuse?
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,
He makes important: possess'd he is with greatness,
And speaks not to himself but with a pride
Ulyss. O Agamemnon! let it not be so.
And here's a lord,-come knights from east to west,
And cull their flower, Ajax shall cope the best. Agam. Go we to council. Let Achilles sleep:
Ulyss. Not for the worth that hangs upon our Light boats sail swift, though greater hulks draw quarrel.
Ajax. A paltry, insolent fellow !
Nest. Aside. How he describes himself! Ajax. Can he not be sociable?
Ulyss. A side. The raven chides blackness. Ajax. I'll let his humours blood.
Agam. Aside. He will be the physician that should be the patient.
Ajax. An all men were o' my mind,Ulyss. Aside. Wit would be out of fashion. Ajax. A' should not bear it so, a' should eat swords first: shall pride carry it?
Nest. Aside. An 'twould, you'd carry half. Ulyss. Aside. A' would have ten shares. Ajax. I will knead him; I'll make him supple. Nest. Aside. He's not yet through warm: force him with praises: pour in, pour in; his ambition is dry.
Ulyss. To AGAMEMNON. My lord, you feed too much on this dislike.
Nest. Our noble general, do not do so.
Here is a man-but 'tis before his face;
Would he were a Trojan !
Nest. What a vice were it in Ajax now,-
Or covetous of praise,-
Praise him that got thee. she that gave thee suck:
But he that disciplin'd thine arms to fight,
Enter PANDARUS and a Servant.
Pan. Friend! you! pray you, a word: do not
you follow the young Lord Paris?
Serv. Ay, sir, when he goes before me
Serv. Sir, I do depend upon the Lord.
Pan. You depend upon a noble gentleman; I must needs praise him.
Serv. The Lord be praised!
Pan. You know me, do you not?
Pan. Friend, know me better. I am the Lord Pandarus.
Serv. I hope I shall know your honour better. Pan. I do desire it.
Serv. You are in the state of grace.
Pan. Grace! not so, friend; honour and lordship are my titles. Music within. What music is this?
Serv. I do but partly know, sir: it is music in parts.
Pan. Know you the musicians?
Serv. Wholly, sir.
Pan. Who play they to?
Serv. To the hearers, sir.
Pan. At whose pleasure, friend?
Serv. At mine, sir, and theirs that love music.
Pan. Friend, we understand not one another I am too courtly, and thou art too cunning. At whose request do these men play?
Serv. That's to 't, indeed, sir. Marry, sir, at the request of Paris my lord, who's there in person; with him the mortal Venus, the heartblood of beauty, love's invisible soul.
Pan. Who, my cousin Cressida ?
Serv. No, sir, Helen: could you not find out that by her attributes?