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That next, by him beneath : so, every step,
Nest. Most wisely hath Ulysses here discover'd
Agam. The nature of the sickness found, Ulysses, What is the remedy?
Ulyss. The great Achilles, whom opinion crowns
Nest. And in the imitation of these twain,
Ulyss. They tax our policy, and call it cowardice;
That do contrive how many hands shall strike,
Nest. Let this be granted, and Achilles' horse
[A Tucket. Agam.
What trumpet? look, Menelaus.
What would you 'fore our tent? Æne.
Is this Great Agamemnon's tent, I pray you? Ayam.
Even this. Æne. May one, that is a herald and a prince, Do a fair message to his kingly ears ?
Agam. With surety stronger than Achilles' arm, 'Fore all the Greekish heads, which with one voice Call Agamemnon head and general.
Æne. Fair leave, and large security. How may
Agam. This Trojan scorns us, or the men of Troy Are ceremonious courtiers.
Æne. Courtiers as free, as debonair, unarm'd, As bending angels: that's their fame in peace; But when they would seem soldiers, they have galls, Good arms, strong joints, true swords; and, Jove's
accord, Nothing so full of heart. But peace, Æneas! Peace, Trojan ! lay thy finger on thy lips. The worthiness of praise distains his worth, If that the prais'd himself bring the praise forth; What the repining enemy commends, That breath fame blows; that praise, soul-pure, tran
scends. Agam. Sir, you of Troy, call you yourself Æneas ? Æne. Ay, Greek, that is my name. Agam. What's
pray you? Æne. Sir, pardon: 'tis for Agamemnon's ears. Agam. He hears nought privately that comes from
Speak frankly as the wind.
Trumpet, blow loud,
Is rusty grown: he bade me take a trumpet,
As banks of Libya, (though, Apollo knows, And to this purpose speak.-Kings, princes, lords, 'Tis dry enough) will, with great speed of judgment, If there be one among the fair'st of Greece,
Ay, with celerity, find Hector's purpose That holds his honour higher than his ease;
Pointing on him. That seeks his praise more than he fears his peril ; Ulyss. And wake him to the answer, think you? That knows his valour, and knows not his fear;
Nest. Why, 'tis most meet: whom may you else That loves his mistress more than in confession
oppose, With truant vows to her own lips he loves,
That can from Hector bring his honour off, And dare avow her beauty and her worth
If not Achilles ? Though't be a sportful combat, In other arms than hers,—to him this challenge. Yet in the trial much opinion dwells; Hector, in view of Trojans and of Greeks,
For here the Trojans taste our dear'st repute Shall make it good, or do his best to do it.
With their fin'st palate : and trust to me, Ulysses, He hath a lady, wiser, fairer, truer,
Our reputation shall be oddly pois'd Than ever Greek did couple in his arms;
In this wild action; for the success,
Although particular, shall give a scantling
And in such indexes (although small pricks
To their subsequent volumes) there is seen
The baby figure of the giant mass
He that meets Hector issues from our choice :
Makes merit her election, and doth boil, We left them all at home; but we are soldiers, As 'twere from forth us all, a man distillid And may that soldier a mere recreant prove,
Out of our virtues; who miscarrying, That means not, hath not, or is not in love!
What heart receives from hence the conquering part, If then one is, or hath, or means to be,
To steel a strong opinion to themselves?
Nest. Tell him of Nestor, one that was a man In no less working, than are swords and bows
Ulyss. Give pardon to my speech :-
Therefore 'tis meet Achilles meet not Hector. To answer for his love, tell him from me,
Let us, like merchants, show our foulest wares,
And think, perchance, they'll sell; if not,
That ever Hector and Achilles meet;
Ène. Now heavens forbid such scarcity of youth ! Nest. I see them not with my old eyes : what are
they? Agam. Fair lord Æneas, let me touch your hand; Ulyss. What glory our Achilles shares from Hector, To our pavilion shall I lead you, sir.
Were he not proud, we all should share with him : Achilles shall have word of this intent,
But he already is too insolent;
Than in the pride and salt scorn of his eyes,
Should he 'scape Hector fair. If he were foil'd, [Exeunt all but Ulysses and Nestor. Why, then we did our main opinion crush Ulyss. Nestor!
In taint of our best man. No; make a lottery, Nest. What says Ulysses ?
And by device let blockish Ajax draw Ulyss. I have a young conception in my brain; The sort to fight with Hector: among ourselves Be you my time to bring it to some shape.
Give him allowance for the better man, Nest. What is't?
For that will physic the great Myrmidon, Ulyss. This 'tis.
Who broils in loud applause; and make him fall Blunt wedges rive hard knots : the seeded pride, His crest, that prouder than blue Iris bends. That hath to this maturity grown up
If the dull, brainless Ajax come safe off, In rank Achilles, must or now be cropp'd,
We'll dress him up in voices: if he fail, Or, shedding, breed a nursery of like evil,
Yet go we under our opinion still,
That we have better men. But, hit or miss,
Our project's life this shape of sense assumes,-Ulyss. This challenge that the gallant Hector sends, Ajax employ'd plucks down Achilles' plumes. However it is spread in general name,
Nest. Now I begin to relish thy advice; Relates in purpose only to Achilles.
And I will give a taste of it forthwith Nest. The purpose is perspicuous even as substance, To Agamemnon: go we to him straight. Whose grossness little characters sum up :
Two curs shall tame each other : pride alone And in the publication make no strain,
Must tarre the mastiffs on, as 'twere their bone. But that Achilles, were his brain as barren
see none now.
ACT II. SCENE I.—Another Part of the Grecian Camp.
Ther. But yet you look not well upon him; for,
whosoever you take him to be, he is Ajax. Enter Ajax and TAERSITES.
Achil. I know that, fool. Ajax. Thersites!
Ther. Ay, but that fool knows not himself. Ther. Agamemnon-how if he had boils ? full, all Ajax. Therefore I beat thee. over, generally ?
Ther. Lo, lo, lo, lo, what modicums of wit he utters! Ajax. Thersites!
his orations have ears thus long. I have bobbed his Ther. And those boils did run ?-Say so,did not brain, more than he has beat my bones: I will buy the general run then ? were not that a botchy sore ? nine sparrows for a penny, and his pia mater is not Ajax. Dog!
worth the ninth part of a sparrow. This lord, Achilles, Ther. Then would come some matter from him: I Ajax, who wears his wit in his belly, and his guts in
his head, I'll tell you what I say of him. Ajax. Thou bitch-wolf's son, canst thou not hear? Achil. What? Feel then.
[Strikes him. Ther. I say, this AjaxTher. The plague of Greece upon thee, thou mon- Achil. Nay, good Ajax. [Ajax offers to strike him. grel beef-witted lord !
Ther. Has not so much witAjax. Speak then, thou vinewd'st leaven, speak : I Achil. Nay, I must hold you. will beat thee into handsomeness.
Ther. As will stop the eye of Helen's needle, for Ther. I shall sooner rail thee into wit and holiness : whom he comes to fight. but, I think, thy horse will sooner con an oration, than Achil. Peace, fool! thou learn a prayer without book. Thou canst strike, Ther. I would have peace and quietness, but the canst thou? a red murrain o'thy jade's tricks ! fool will not: he there ; that he, look you there.
Ajax. Toads-stool, learn me the proclamation. Ajax. O, thou damned cur! I shall-
you set your wit to a fool's ? me thus ?
Ther. No, I warrant you; for a fool's will shame it. Ajax. The proclamation
Patr. Good words, Thersites. Ther. Thou art proclaimed a fool, I think.
Achil. What's the quarrel ? Ajax. Do not, porcupine, do not: my fingers itch. Ajax. I bade the vise owl go learn me the tenour of
Ther. I would, thou didst itch from head to foot, the proclamation, and he rails upon me. and I had the scratching of thee; I would make thee Ther. I serve thee not. the loathsomest scab in Greece. When thou art forth Ajax. Well, go to, go to. in the incursions, thou strikest as slow as another. Ther. I serve here voluntary. Ajax. I say, the proclamation,
Achil. Your last service was sufferance, 'twas not Ther. Thou grumblest and railest every hour on voluntary; no man is beaten voluntary : Ajax was Achilles ; and thou art as full of envy at his greatness, here the voluntary, and you as under an impress. as Cerberus is at Proserpina's beauty, ay, that thou Ther. Even so ?-a great deal of your wit, too, lies barkest at him.
in your sinews, or else there be liars. Hector shall Ajax. Mistress Thersites!
have a great catch, if he knock out either of your Ther. Thou shouldest strike him.
brains : he were as good crack a fusty nut with no Ajax. Cobloaf!
kernel. Ther. He would pun thee into shivers with his fist, Achil. What, with me too, Thersites? as a sailor breaks a biscuit.
Ther. There's Ulysses, and old Nestor,—whose wit Ajax. You whoreson cur!
[Beating him. was mouldy ere your grandsires had nails on their toes, Ther. Do, do.
-yoke you like draught oxen, and make you plough Ajax. Thou stool for a witch!
up the war. Ther. Ay, do, do; thou sodden-witted lord! thou Achil. What? what? hast no more brain than I have in mine elbows; an Ther. Yes, good sooth: to Achilles, to Ajax, toassinego may tutor thee : thou scurvy valiant ass! Ajax. I shall cut out your tongue. thou art here but to thrash Trojans; and thou art Ther. 'Tis no matter; I shall speak as much as thou, bought and sold among those of any wit, like a Bar- afterwards. barian slave. If thou use to beat me, I will begin at Patr. No more words, Thersites; peace ! thy heel, and tell what thou art by inches, thou thing Ther. I will hold my peace when Achilles' brach of no bowels, thou !
bids me, shall I ? Ajax. You dog!
Achil. There's for you, Patroclus. Ther. You scurvy lord !
Ther. I will see you hanged, like clotpoles, ere I Ajax. You cur !
[Beating him. come any more to your tents : I will keep where there Ther. Mars's idiot! do, rudeness; do, camel; do, do. is wit stirring, and leave the faction of fools. Enter Achilles and PATROCLUS.
Patr. A good riddance. Achil. Why, how now, Ajax! wherefore do you
this? Achil. Marry, this, sir, is proclaimed through all our How now, Thersites! what's the matter, man?
host: Ther. You see him there, do you?
That Hector, by the fifth hour of the sun, Achil. Ay; what's the matter?
Will, with a trumpet, 'twixt our tents and Troy, Ther. Nay, look upon him.
To-morrow morning call some knight to arms, Achil. So I do : what's the matter?
That hath a stomach; and such a one, that dare Ther. Nay, but regard him well.
Maintain—I know not what: 'tis trash. Farewell. Achil. Well, why I do so.
Ajax. Farewell. Who shall answer him?
Achil. I know not: it is put to lottery ; otherwise, To what infectiously itself affects,
Without some image of th' affected merit.
[Exeunt. Is led on in the conduct of my will; SCENE II.—Troy. A Room in Priam's Palace.
My will enkindled by mine eyes and ears,
Two traded pilots 'twixt the dangerous shores
To blench from this, and to stand firm by honour. As honour, loss of time, travail, expence,
We turn not back the silks upon the merchant, Wounds, friends, and what else dear that is consum'd When we have soil'd them ; nor the remainder viands In hot digestion of this cormorant war,
We do not throw in unrespective sieve, Shall be struck off:"-Hector, what say you to't ? Because we now are full. It was thought meet,
Hect. Though no man lesser fears the Greeks than I, Paris should do some vengeance on the Greeks: As far as toucheth my particular,
Your breath of full consent bellied his sails; Yet, dread Priam,
The seas and winds (old wranglers) took a truce, There is no lady of more softer bowels,
And did him service : he touch'd the ports desir'd ; More spungy to suck in the sense of fear,
And for an old aunt, whom the Greeks held captive, More ready to cry out—"Who knows what follows?” He brought a Grecian queen, whose youth and freshThan Hector is. The wound of peace is surety, Surety secure; but modest doubt is callid
Wrinkles Apollo's, and makes pale the morning. The beacon of the wise, the tent that searches Why keep we her? the Grecians keep our aunt. To the bottom of the worst. Let Helen go :
Is she worth keeping? why, she is a pearl, Since the first sword was drawn about this question, Whose price hath launch'd above a thousand ships, Every tithe soul, 'mongst many thousand dismes, And turn’d crown'd kings to merchants. Hath been as dear as Helen ; I mean, of ours: If you'll avouch 'twas wisdom Paris went, If we have lost so many tenths of ours,
As you must need, for you all cry'd—“Go, go;" To guard a thing not ours, nor worth to us,
If you'll confess, he brought home noble prize, Had it our name, the value of one ten,
As you must needs, for you all clapp'd your hands, What merit's in that reason which denies
And cry'd—“Inestimable!” why do you now The yielding of her up?
The issue of your proper wisdoms rate, Tro.
Fie, fie! my brother And do a deed that fortune never did, Weigh you the worth and honour of a king,
Beggar the estimation which you priz'd So great as our dread father, in a scale
Richer than sea and land ? O, theft most base, Of common ounces? will you with counters sum That we have stolen what we do fear to keep! The past-proportion of his infinite ?
But, thieves, unworthy of a thing so stolen, And buckle in a waist most fathomless,
That in their country did them that disgrace, With spans and inches so diminutive
We fear to warrant in our native place! As fears and reasons? fie, for godly shame!
Cas. [Within.) Cry, Trojans, cry! Hel. No marvel, though you bite so sharp at reasons, Pri.
What noise? what shriek is this? You are so empty of them. Should not our father Tro. 'Tis our mad sister: I do know her voice. Bear the great sway of his affairs with reasons,
Cas. [Within.] Cry, Trojans !
Enter CASSANDRA, raving.
Cas. Cry, Trojans, cry! lend me ten thousand eyes, You fur your gloves with reason. Here are your rea- And I will fill them with prophetic tears. sons :
Hect. Peace, sister, peace! You know, an enemy intends you harm,
Cas. Virgins and boys, mid-age and wrinkled eld, You know, a sword employ'd is perilous,
Soft infancy, that nothing canst but cry, And reason flies the object of all harm.
Add to my clamours ! let us pay betimes Who marvels, then, when Helenus beholds
A moiety of that mass of moan to come. A Grecian and his sword, if he do set
Cry, Trojans, cry! practise your eyes with tears : The very wings of reason to his heels,
Troy must not be, nor goodly Ilion stand; And fly like chidden Mercury from Jove,
Our fire-brand brother, Paris, burns us all. Or like a star dis-orb'd ?–Nay, if we talk of reason, Cry, Trojans, cry! a Helen, and a woe ! Let's shut our gates, and sleep: manhood and honour Cry, cry! Troy burns, or else let Helen go. [Exit. Should have hare hearts, would they but fat their Hect. Now, youthful Troilus, do not these high thoughts
strains With this cramm'd reason : reason and respect Of divination in our sister work Make livers pale, and lustihood deject.
Some touches of remorse? or is your blood
Nor fear of bad success in a bad cause,
Why, brother Hector, It holds his estimate and dignity,
We may not think the justness of each act As well wherein 'tis precious of itself,
Such and no other than event doth form it; As in the prizer. 'Tis mad idolatry,
Nor once deject the courage of our minds, To make the service greater than the god;
Because Cassandra's mad : her brain-sick raptures And the will dotes, that is inclinable
Cannot distaste the goodness of a quarrel,
Which hath our several honours all engag'd
Upon our joint and several dignities. To make it gracious. For my private part,
Tro. Why, there you touch'd the life of our design. I am no more touch'd than all Priam's sons;
Were it not glory that we more affected,
Spent more in her defence. But, worthy Hector,
A spur to valiant and magnanimous deeds; But, I attest the gods, your full consent
Whose present courage may beat down our foes, Gave wings to my propension, and cut off
And fame in time to come canonize us : All fears attending on so dire a project :
For, I presume, brave Hector would not lose For what, alas ! can these my single arms ?
So rich advantage of a promis'd glory, What propugnation is in one man's valour,
As smiles upon the forehead of this action, To stand the push and enmity of those
For the wide world's revenue. This quarrel would excite? Yet, I protest,
I am yours, Were I alone to poise the difficulties,
You valiant offspring of great Priamus.And had as ample power as I have will,
I have a roisting challenge sent amongst Paris should ne'er retract what he hath done,
The dull and factious nobles of the Greeks,
Will strike amazement to their drowsy spirits.
I was advertis’d, their great general slept,
Whilst emulation in the army crept : You have the honey still, but these the gall.
This, I presume, will wake him.
[Exeunt. So to be valiant is no praise at all.
SCENE III.—The Grecian Camp. Before Achilles' Par. Sir, I propose not merely to myself
Ther. How now, Thersites! what! lost in the labyWhat treason were it to the ransack'd queen, rinth of thy fury? Shall the elephant Ajax carry it Disgrace to your great worths, and shame to me, thus ? he beats me, and I rail at him: 0 worthy satisNow to deliver her possession up,
faction ! would, it were otherwise ; that I could beat On terms of base compulsion? Can it be,
him, whilst he railed at me. 'Sfoot, I'll learn to con- , That so degenerate a strain as this,
jure and raise devils, but I'll see some issue of my Should once set footing in your generous bosoms? spiteful execrations. Then, there's Achilles,-a rare There's not the meanest spirit on our party,
engineer. If Troy be not taken till these two underWithout a heart to dare, or sword to draw,
mine it, the walls will stand till they fall of themselves. When Helen is defended; nor none so noble, [Kneels.] 0, thou great thunder-darter of Olympus ! Whose life were ill bestow'd, or death unfam'd, forget that thou art Jove the king of gods; and, MerWhere Helen is the subject: then, I say,
cury, lose all the serpentine craft of thy Caduceus, if ye Well may we fight for her, whom, we know well, take not that little, little, less-than-little wit from them The world's large spaces cannot parallel.
that they have; which short-armed ignorance itself Hect. Paris, and Troilus, you have both said well; knows is so abundant scarce, it will not in circumAnd on the cause and question now in hand
vention deliver a fly from a spider, without drawing Have gloz’d,—but superficially ; not much
their massy irons and cutting the web. After this, the Unlike young men, whom Aristotle thought
vengeance on the whole camp! or, rather the NeaUnfit to hear moral philosophy.
politan bone-ache ; for that, methinks, is the curse The reasons you allege do more conduce
dependant on those that war for a placket. [Rises.] To the hot passion of distemper'd blood,
I have said my prayers, and devil, envy, say Amen. Than to make up a free determination
What, ho! my lord Achilles ! "Twixt right and wrong; for pleasure, and revenge,
Enter PATROCLUS. Have ears more deaf than adders to the voice
Patr. Who's there? Thersites? Good Thersites, Of any true decision. Nature craves,
come in and rail. All dues be render'd to their owners : now,
Ther. If I could have remembered a gilt counterfeit, What nearer debt in all humanity
thou wouldest not have slipped out of my contemplaThan wife is to the husband ? if this law
tion ; but it is no matter: thyself upon thyself! The Of nature be corrupted through affection,
common curse of mankind, folly and ignorance, be And that great minds, of partial indulgence
thine in great revenue ! heaven bless thee from a tutor, To their benumbed wills, resist the same,
and discipline come not near thee! Let thy blood be There is a law in each well-order'd nation,
thy direction till thy death! then, if she, that lays thee To curb those raging appetites that are
out, says thou art a fair corse, I'll be sworn and sworn Most disobedient and refractory.
upon't, she never shrouded any but lazars. Amen. If Helen, then, be wife to Sparta's king,
Where's Achilles ? As it is known she is, these moral laws
Patr. What! art thou devout? wast thou in prayer? Of nature, and of nation, speak aloud
Ther. Ay; the heavens hear me! To have her back return'd: thus to persist
Achil. Who's there?
Achil. Where, where ?-Art thou come? Why, my My spritely brethren, I propend to you
cheese, my digestion, why hast thou not served thyself In resolution to keep Helen still ;
in to my table so many meals ? Come; what's AgaFor 'tis a cause that hath no mean dependance memnon?