Troilus and Cressida


Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Sennet. Enter Agamemnon, Nestor, Ulysses,

Diomedes, Menelaus, with other Greek leaders



What grief hath set the jaundice on your cheeks?
grief (n.) 1 grievance, complaint, hurt, injury
jaundice (n.) sallowness, yellowness [as a sign of envy or jealousy]

The ample proposition that hope makes
proposition (n.) 1 offer, proposal

In all designs begun on earth below

Fails in the promised largeness: checks and disasters
check (n.) 2 repulse, reverse, resistance

Grow in the veins of actions highest reared,

As knots, by the conflux of meeting sap,
conflux (n.) confluence, conjunction, flowing together

Infect the sound pine, and divert his grain

Tortive and errant from his course of growth.
course (n.) 2 habit, custom, practise, normal procedure
errant (adj.) wandering, straying, erring
tortive (adj.) contorted, tortuous, twisting

Nor, princes, is it matter new to us
matter (n.) 1 subject-matter, content, substance

That we come short of our suppose so far
suppose (n.) 2 expectation, hope; purpose, intention

That, after seven years' siege, yet Troy walls stand;

Sith every action that hath gone before

Whereof we have record, trial did draw
draw (v.) 8 proceed, move, progress
trial (n.) 1 action of testing, putting to the proof

Bias and thwart, not answering the aim
answer (v.) 10 live up to, correspond to, be equal to
bias (adv.) awry, wrong, amiss
thwart (adv.) adversely, untowardly, detrimentally

And that unbodied figure of the thought
figure (n.) 1 form, design, shape, conception
unbodied (adj.) abstract, conceptual, formless

That gave't surmised shape. Why then, you princes,
surmised (adj.) imagined, hoped-for, intended

Do you with cheeks abashed behold our works,
work (n.) 1 deed, doing, action

And call them shame, which are, indeed, naught else

But the protractive trials of great Jove
protractive (adj.) protracted, interminable, long-drawn-out

To find persistive constancy in men? –
persistive (adj.) persisting, long-lasting, persevering

The fineness of which metal is not found

In fortune's love: for then the bold and coward,

The wise and fool, the artist and unread,
artist (n.) 1 scholar, intellectual, learned person

The hard and soft, seem all affined and kin;
affined (adj.) 1 related, connected, affiliated

But in the wind and tempest of her frown,

Distinction, with a broad and powerful fan,
distinction (n.) act of distinguishing, discrimination, differentiation

Puffing at all, winnows the light away,

And what hath mass or matter by itself

Lies rich in virtue and unmingled.
virtue (n.) 5 worth, value, excellence


With due observance of thy godlike seat,
observance (n.) 2 honour, dutiful ceremony, due respect
seat (n.) 1 throne

Great Agamemnon, Nestor shall apply

Thy latest words. In the reproof of chance
reproof (n.) 2 rebuff, rebuke, censure

Lies the true proof of men. The sea being smooth,
proof (n.) 3 test, trial

How many shallow bauble boats dare sail
bauble (adj.) like a toy, paltry, insignificant

Upon her patient breast, making their way

With those of nobler bulk;

But let the ruffian Boreas once enrage

The gentle Thetis, and anon behold
anon (adv.) 1 soon, shortly, presently See Topics: Frequency count
gentle (adj.) 4 peaceful, calm, free from violence

The strong-ribbed bark through liquid mountains cut,
bark, barque (n.) ship, vessel

Bounding between the two moist elements,
element (n.) 1 (plural) substances from which all material things are made [believed to be earth, water, air, fire]

Like Perseus' horse. Where's then the saucy boat,
saucy (adj.) 1 insolent, impudent, presumptuous, defiant

Whose weak untimbered sides but even now
untimbered (adj.) lacking a strong wooden frame; unsound, frail

Co-rivalled greatness? – Either to harbour fled
corrival, co-rival (v.) vie with, compete with, be a rival of

Or made a toast for Neptune. Even so
toast (n.) piece of hot toast, sop

Doth valour's show and valour's worth divide

In storms of fortune; for in her ray and brightness

The herd hath more annoyance by the breese

Than by the tiger; but when the splitting wind

Makes flexible the knees of knotted oaks,

And flies fled under shade, why then the thing of courage,
shade (n.) 4 covered place, sheltered spot

As roused with rage, with rage doth sympathize,
sympathize with (v.) resemble, be like, have an affinity with

And with an accent tuned in selfsame key
accent (n.) 3 sound, voice quality, way of talking

Returns to chiding fortune.
chiding (adj.) noisy, brawling, tumultuous
return (v.) 1 answer, report, say in reply [to]



Thou great commander, nerve and bone of Greece,
nerve (n.) 1 sinew, ligament, muscle

Heart of our numbers, soul and only spirit,

In whom the tempers and the minds of all
temper (n.) 1 frame of mind, temperament, disposition

Should be shut up: hear what Ulysses speaks.
shut up (v.) 4 embody, sum up, include

Besides the applause and approbation
approbation (n.) 1 expression of approval, pleasurable confirmation, ready sanctioning

The which, most mighty for thy place and sway –
place (n.) 1 position, post, office, rank See Topics: Frequency count
sway (n.) 3 position of authority, powerful office

(To Nestor) And thou most reverend for thy stretched-out life –

I give to both your speeches, which were such

As, Agamemnon, every hand of Greece

Should hold up high in brass; and such again

As venerable Nestor, hatched in silver,
hatched (adj.) inlaid, streaked, ornamented

Should with a bond of air, strong as the axletree
axletree, axle-tree (n.) 2 pivot, spindle, axis [around which the heavenly bodies revolve]

On which the heavens ride, knit all Greeks' ears

To his experienced tongue – yet let it please both,

Thou great, and wise, to hear Ulysses speak.


Speak, Prince of Ithaca; and be't of less expect
expect (n.) expectation, anticipation

That matter needless, of importless burden,
burden, burthen (n.) 4 capacity, load, weight
importless (adj.) trivial, unimportant, insignificant
matter (n.) 1 subject-matter, content, substance

Divide thy lips than we are confident

When rank Thersites opes his mastic jaws
mastic (adj.) gummy, resinous, sticky
ope (v.) open See Topics: Frequency count
rank (adj.) 4 gross, outlandish, coarse

We shall hear music, wit, and oracle.
wit (n.) 1 intelligence, wisdom, good sense, mental ability See Topics: Frequency count


Troy, yet upon his basis, had been down,
basis (n.) 1 base, foot, foundation

And the great Hector's sword had lacked a master,

But for these instances:
instance (n.) 2 illustration, example, case

The specialty of rule hath been neglected,
rule (n.) 2 proper discipline, good management
specialty (n.) 1 obligation, bond, requirement

And look how many Grecian tents do stand

Hollow upon this plain, so many hollow factions.
faction (n.) 1 party, group, set [of people]
hollow (adj.) 1 empty, false, insincere
hollow (adj.) 2 empty, wanting, insubstantial

When that the general is not like the hive

To whom the foragers shall all repair,
repair (v.) 1 come, go, make one's way

What honey is expected? Degree being vizarded,
degree (n.) 1 rank, station, standing
vizard (v.) cover with a mask; conceal, hide

Th' unworthiest shows as fairly in the mask.

The heavens themselves, the planets, and this centre
centre (n.) 2 Earth [seen as centre of the Ptolemaic universe] See Topics: Cosmos

Observe degree, priority, and place,
place (n.) 2 precedence, proper place

Insisture, course, proportion, season, form,
course (n.) 2 habit, custom, practise, normal procedure
form (n.) 6 formal procedure, due process, formality
insisture (n.) [unclear meaning] steady continuance, constancy, regularity
proportion (n.) 4 natural order, proper relationship
season (n.) 1 time, due time, occasion

Office, and custom, in all line of order.
line (n.) 1 degree, rank, station
office (n.) 2 role, position, place, function

And therefore is the glorious planet Sol

In noble eminence enthroned and sphered
sphere (n.) 3 place in the heavens

Amidst the other; whose med'cinable eye
medicinable (adj.) 1 medicinal, healing, curative, restorative

Corrects the ill aspects of planets evil,
aspect (n.) 4 [astrology] influential phase, direction of alignment See Topics: Cosmos
ill (adj.) 1 bad, adverse, unfavourable See Topics: Frequency count

And posts like the commandment of a king,
post (v.) 1 hasten, speed, ride fast

Sans check, to good and bad. But when the planets
check (n.) 4 pause, interruption, stoppage
sans (prep.) without

In evil mixture to disorder wander,

What plagues and what portents, what mutiny,
mutiny (n.) 1 riot, civil disturbance, state of discord

What raging of the sea, shaking of earth,

Commotion in the winds, frights, changes, horrors,
change (n.) 3 change of fortune, new circumstances

Divert and crack, rend and deracinate
deracinate (v.) uproot, pluck up, eradicate

The unity and married calm of states
state (n.) 10 government, ruling body, administration

Quite from their fixure! O, when degree is shaked,
degree (n.) 1 rank, station, standing
fixure (n.) 2 stability, fixed position, settled state

Which is the ladder to all high designs,
design (n.) 1 undertaking, purpose, enterprise

Then enterprise is sick. How could communities,

Degrees in schools, and brotherhoods in cities,
brotherhood (n.) guild, fraternity, society
degree (n.) 1 rank, station, standing
school (n.) 1 university

Peaceful commerce from dividable shores,
dividable (adj.) in a divided state, separated

The primogenitive and due of birth,
primogenitive (n.) primogeniture; right of inheritance due to the first-born child

Prerogative of age, crowns, sceptres, laurels,

But by degree, stand in authentic place?
authentic (adj.) 2 valid, authoritative, credible

Take but degree away, untune that string,

And hark what discord follows! Each thing meets

In mere oppugnancy: the bounded waters
bounded (adj.) confined, enclosed, operating within limits
mere (adj.) 1 complete, total, absolute, utter See Topics: Frequency count
oppugnancy (n.) opposition, conflict, contention

Should lift their bosoms higher than the shores,
bosom (n.) 6 surface

And make a sop of all this solid globe;
sop (n.) piece of bread or cake steeped in liquid [before being eaten]

Strength should be lord of imbecility,
imbecility (n.) physical weakness, feebleness, puniness

And the rude son should strike his father dead;
rude (adj.) 1 violent, harsh, unkind

Force should be right, or, rather, right and wrong –

Between whose endless jar justice resides –
jar (n.) 2 discord, disharmony, disagreement

Should lose their names, and so should justice too.

Then everything includes itself in power,

Power into will, will into appetite;
appetite (n.) 1 desire, longing, inclination, fancy
will (n.) 3 wilfulness, self-will, determination

And appetite, an universal wolf,

So doubly seconded with will and power,
second (v.) 1 support, assist, reinforce

Must make perforce an universal prey,
perforce (adv.) 2 of necessity, with no choice in the matter See Topics: Frequency count

And last eat up himself. Great Agamemnon,

This chaos, when degree is suffocate,

Follows the choking;

And this neglection of degree it is
neglection (n.) negligence, neglect, disregard

That by a pace goes backward in a purpose
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count

It hath to climb. The general's disdained

By him one step below, he by the next,

That next by him beneath: so every step,

Exampled by the first pace that is sick
example (v.) 1 find an example for, provide a model for
sick (adj.) 6 envious, resentful, malicious

Of his superior, grows to an envious fever
envious (adj.) malicious, spiteful, vindictive, full of enmity See Topics: Frequency count

Of pale and bloodless emulation,
emulation (n.) 1 ambitious rivalry, contention, conflict

And 'tis this fever that keeps Troy on foot,

Not her own sinews. To end a tale of length,
sinew (n.) 1 muscle

Troy in our weakness lives, not in her strength.


Most wisely hath Ulysses here discovered
discover (v.) 1 reveal, show, make known See Topics: Frequency count

The fever whereof all our power is sick.
power (n.) 3 authority, government


The nature of the sickness found, Ulysses,

What is the remedy?


The great Achilles, whom opinion crowns
opinion (n.) 1 public opinion, popular judgement

The sinew and the forehand of our host,
forehand, fore-hand (n.) 2 leading power, mainstay, linchpin
sinew (n.) 3 strength, force, power

Having his ear full of his airy fame,
airy (adj.) carried by the wind, widely acknowledged
fame (n.) 1 reputation, renown, character

Grows dainty of his worth, and in his tent
dainty (adj.) 3 fastidious, scrupulous, refined, particular

Lies mocking our designs. With him Patroclus,

Upon a lazy bed, the livelong day

Breaks scurril jests,
break up (v.) 3 [of jokes] crack, make
scurril (adj.) scurrilous, coarse, vulgar

And with ridiculous and awkward action –

Which, slanderer, he imitation calls –

He pageants us. Sometime, great Agamemnon,
pageant (v.) imitate as if in a play, impersonate, parody

Thy topless deputation he puts on,
deputation (n.) 2 position, office, appointment
sometime (adv.) 2 sometimes, now and then
topless (adj.) supreme, paramount

And, like a strutting player whose conceit
conceit (n.) 1 imagination, fancy, wit

Lies in his hamstring, and doth think it rich

To hear the wooden dialogue and sound

'Twixt his stretched footing and the scaffoldage,
footing (n.) 3 footfall, footsteps, strides
scaffoldage (n.) theatre scaffolding, stage platform
stretched (adj.) 2 strained, forced, affected

Such to-be-pitied and o'er-wrested seeming
over-wrested (adj.) overstrained, overdone, over-the-top
seeming (n.) 3 demeanour, outward behaviour

He acts thy greatness in; and when he speaks,

'Tis like a chime a-mending, with terms unsquared
mend (v.) 1 amend, improve, make better, put right
unsquared (adj.) badly fitting, unsuitable, unbecoming

Which, from the tongue of roaring Typhon dropped,

Would seem hyperboles. At this fusty stuff
fusty (adj.) musty, mouldy, stale-smelling

The large Achilles, on his pressed bed lolling,

From his deep chest laughs out a loud applause,

Cries ‘ Excellent! 'Tis Agamemnon just.
just (adv.) 1 exactly, precisely

Now play me Nestor; hum, and stroke thy beard,
hum (v.) 2 say ‘hum’ [as a sign of displeasure, dissatisfaction, impatience, etc] See Topics: Exclamations

As he being dressed to some oration.’
dress (v.) 1 prepare, make ready

That's done, as near as the extremest ends

Of parallels, as like as Vulcan and his wife;
like (adj.) 1 same, similar, alike, equal See Topics: Frequency count

Yet god Achilles still cries ‘ Excellent!
still (adv.) 2 ever, now [as before]

'Tis Nestor right. Now play him me, Patroclus,
right (adv.) 2 just, precisely

Arming to answer in a night-alarm.’
answer (v.) 9 respond, react

And then, forsooth, the faint defects of age
forsooth (adv.) in truth, certainly, truly, indeed See Topics: Frequency count

Must be the scene of mirth; to cough and spit,

And with a palsy fumbling on his gorget
gorget (n.) piece of armour for protecting the throat See Topics: Body-armour
palsy (adj.) palsied, trembling, shaking

Shake in and out the rivet – and at this sport
rivet (n.) bolt for fastening a piece of armour

Sir Valour dies; cries ‘ O, enough, Patroclus,
sport (n.) 1 recreation, amusement, entertainment See Topics: Frequency count

Or give me ribs of steel; I shall split all

In pleasure of my spleen.’ And in this fashion,
spleen (n.) 4 amusement, delight, merriment

All our abilities, gifts, natures, shapes,

Severals and generals of grace exact,
exact (adj.) accomplished, highly skilled, expert
general (n.) 3 (plural) general points, group features
grace (n.) 2 virtue, good quality
several (n.) 1 (plural) details, particulars, individual points

Achievements, plots, orders, preventions,
plot (n.) 1 plan, scheme, stratagem
prevention (n.) 1 forestalling action, preventive measure

Excitements to the field, or speech for truce,
excitement (n.) incentive, encouragement, exhortation
field (n.) 1 field of battle, battleground, field of combat See Topics: Frequency count

Success or loss, what is or is not, serves

As stuff for these two to make paradoxes.
paradox (n.) statement going against accepted belief, absurdity


And in the imitation of these twain,

Who, as Ulysses says, opinion crowns

With an imperial voice, many are infect.
imperial (adj.) commanding, authoritative, unquestioned
voice (n.) 3 authoritative opinion, judgement

Ajax is grown self-willed, and bears his head

In such a rein, in full as proud a place

As broad Achilles; keeps his tent like him,
broad (adj.) 4 high and mighty, arrogant
keep (v.) 2 stay within, remain inside

Makes factious feasts, rails on our state of war
factious (adj.) 1 sectarian, partisan, arising from factions
rail (v.) rant, rave, be abusive [about] See Topics: Frequency count
state (n.) 1 condition, circumstances, situation, state of affairs

Bold as an oracle, and sets Thersites –

A slave whose gall coins slanders like a mint –
gall (n.) 1 bile [reputed for its bitterness]
slave (n.) 1 fellow, rascal, rogue, villain

To match us in comparisons with dirt,

To weaken and discredit our exposure,
exposure (n.) unprotected state, defensive weakness, vulnerability

How rank soever rounded in with danger.
rank (adv.) densely, thickly, completely


They tax our policy, and call it cowardice,
policy (n.) 1 statecraft, statesmanship, diplomacy
tax (v.) 1 censure, blame, take to task, disparage

Count wisdom as no member of the war;

Forestall prescience, and esteem no act
forestall (v.) 1 prevent, stop, intercept, waylay
prescience (n.) 2 foresight, forethought, planning ahead

But that of hand; the still and mental parts,

That do contrive how many hands shall strike,

When fitness calls them on, and know by measure
fitness (n.) 3 state of readiness, being properly prepared
measure (n.) 6 course of action, means

Of their observant toil the enemies' weight –

Why, this hath not a finger's dignity.

They call this bed-work, mappery, closet-war;
closet-war (n.) armchair strategy
mappery (n.) mere map-making

So that the ram that batters down the wall,

For the great swing and rudeness of his poise,
poise (n.) 4 forceful impact, heavy blow
rudeness (n.) 2 violent action, forceful strength
swing (n.) driving force, thrusting power

They place before his hand that made the engine,
engine (n.) 2 weapon, instrument of warfare

Or those that with the fineness of their souls

By reason guide his execution.
execution (n.) 1 action, performance, doing


Let this be granted, and Achilles' horse

Makes many Thetis' sons.



What trumpet? Look, Menelaus.


From Troy.

Enter Aeneas


What would you 'fore our tent?


Is this great Agamemnon's tent, I pray you?


Even this.


May one that is a herald and a prince

Do a fair message to his kingly ears?
fair (adj.) 5 appropriate, courteous, pleasing


With surety stronger than Achilles' arm
surety (n.) 1 guarantee, ratification, warrant

'Fore all the Greekish lords, which with one voice
Greekish (adj.) Greek, Grecian

Call Agamemnon head and general.


Fair leave and large security. How may
large (adj.) 6 high, great, extensive

A stranger to those most imperial looks

Know them from eyes of other mortals?





I ask, that I might waken reverence,

And bid the cheek be ready with a blush

Modest as morning when she coldly eyes

The youthful Phoebus.

Which is that god in office, guiding men?
office (n.) 2 role, position, place, function

Which is the high and mighty Agamemnon?


This Trojan scorns us, or the men of Troy

Are ceremonious courtiers.


Courtiers as free, as debonair, unarmed,
debonair (adj.) gracious, courtly, of gentle disposition
free (adj.) 1 liberal, lavish, generous

As bending angels, that's their fame in peace;
bending (adj.) 2 bowing, reverential, respectful
fame (n.) 1 reputation, renown, character

But when they would seem soldiers, they have galls,
gall (n.) 3 spirit of anger, venom, ability to be angry

Good arms, strong joints, true swords; and – Jove's accord –
accord (n.) 2 agreement, assent, consent
true (adj.) 5 reliable, trustworthy, dependable

Nothing so full of heart. But peace, Aeneas,

Peace, Trojan, lay thy finger on thy lips.

The worthiness of praise distains his worth
distain (v.) 1 dishonour, defile, corrupt

If that he praised himself bring the praise forth;
bring forth (v.) 1 express, utter, voice

But what the repining enemy commends,
commend (v.) 4 praise, admire, extol
repining (adj.) grudging, grumbling

That breath fame blows; that praise, sole pure, transcends.
breath (n.) 1 utterance, speech, voice
sole (adv.) uniquely, singularly, incomparably


Sir, you of Troy, call you yourself Aeneas?


Ay, Greek, that is my name.


What's your affair, I pray you?


Sir, pardon, 'tis for Agamemnon's ears.


He hears naught privately that comes from Troy.


Nor I from Troy come not to whisper him;
whisper (v.) speak secretly with, talk confidentially to

I bring a trumpet to awake his ear,
trumpet (n.) 1 trumpeter; herald, announcer See Topics: Stage directions

To set his sense on the attentive bent,
bent (n.) 1 direction, turning, inclination
sense (n.) 1 senses, sensation, organs of sense

And then to speak.
frankly (adv.) 1 freely, without restraint, unrestrictedly


                         Speak frankly as the wind;

It is not Agamemnon's sleeping hour.

That thou shalt know, Trojan, he is awake,

He tells thee so himself.


                         Trumpet, blow loud;

Send thy brass voice through all these lazy tents;

And every Greek of mettle, let him know
mettle, mettell (n.) 2 spirit, vigour, zest

What Troy means fairly shall be spoke aloud.

The trumpets sound

We have, great Agamemnon, here in Troy

A prince called Hector – Priam is his father –

Who in this dull and long-continued truce

Is rusty grown. He bade me take a trumpet,
resty (adj.) lazy, sluggish

And to this purpose speak: ‘ Kings, princes, lords,
purpose (n.) 2 point at issue, matter in hand

If there be one amongst the fair'st of Greece

That holds his honour higher than his ease,

That seeks his praise more than he fears his peril,

That knows his valour, and knows not his fear,

That loves his mistress more than in confession
confession (n.) acknowledgement, avowal

With truant vows to her own lips he loves,

And dare avow her beauty and her worth

In other arms than hers; to him this challenge:

Hector, in view of Trojans and of Greeks,

Shall make it good, or do his best to do it,

He hath a lady, wiser, fairer, truer,

Than ever Greek did compass in his arms;
compass (v.) 5 embrace, enfold

And will tomorrow with his trumpet call

Midway between your tents and walls of Troy,

To rouse a Grecian that is true in love.

If any come, Hector shall honour him;

If none, he'll say in Troy when he retires,

The Grecian dames are sunburnt, and not worth
sunburnt (adj.) of dark complexion, not fair-skinned [and therefore unattractive]

The splinter of a lance.’ Even so much.


This shall be told our lovers, Lord Aeneas.

If none of them have soul in such a kind,
kind (n.) 4 mode of action, business, matter
soul (n.) 2 inner conviction, personal impulse

We left them all at home, but we are soldiers,

And may that soldier a mere recreant prove
mere (adj.) 1 complete, total, absolute, utter See Topics: Frequency count
recreant (n.) 1 coward, faint-hearted individual

That means not, hath not, or is not in love.

If then one is, or hath, or means to be,

That one meets Hector; if none else, I'll be he.


Tell him of Nestor, one that was a man

When Hector's grandsire sucked: he is old now;
grandsire (n.) 1 grandfather See Topics: Family

But if there be not in our Grecian mould
mould (n.) 1 soil, earth, clay

One noble man that hath one spark of fire

To answer for his love, tell him from me,

I'll hide my silver beard in a gold beaver,
beaver (n.) visor of a helmet, face-guard See Topics: Body-armour

And in my vantbrace put this withered brawn;
brawn (n.) 2 muscular arm, sturdy limb
vantbrace, vambrace (n.) armour to protect the fore-arm See Topics: Body-armour

And, meeting him, will tell him that my lady

Was fairer than his grandam, and as chaste
grandam (n.) grandmother See Topics: Family

As may be in the world – his youth in flood,
flood, in at its height, in its prime

I'll pawn this truth with my three drops of blood.
pawn (v.) stake, pledge, risk


Now heavens forbid such scarcity of youth!




Fair Lord Aeneas, let me touch your hand;

To our pavilion shall I lead you first.
pavilion (n.) ceremonial tent

Achilles shall have word of this intent;
intent (n.) intention, purpose, aim See Topics: Frequency count

So shall each lord of Greece, from tent to tent.

Yourself shall feast with us before you go,

And find the welcome of a noble foe.

Exeunt all but Ulysses and Nestor


Nestor –


What says Ulysses?


I have a young conception in my brain;
conception (n.) 1 design, plan, notion

Be you my time to bring it to some shape.
time (n.) 7 circumstance, particular occasion


What is't?


This 'tis:

Blunt wedges rive hard knots; the seeded pride
rank (adj.) 1 growing in abundance, excessively luxuriant [often unattractively]
rive (v.) 1 split, rend, cleave
seeded (adj.) run to seed, seasoned, matured

That hath to this maturity blown up
blow (v.) 4 puff up, swell, inflate

In rank Achilles must or now be cropped
rank (adj.) 6 bloated, swollen, puffed-up

Or, shedding, breed a nursery of like evil
like (adj.) 1 same, similar, alike, equal See Topics: Frequency count

To overbulk us all.
overbulk (v.) outgrow, dominate, tower over


                         Well, and how?


This challenge that the gallant Hector sends,

However it is spread in general name,
general (adj.) 3 joint, common, communal

Relates in purpose only to Achilles.
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count


True. The purpose is perspicuous even as substance
substance (n.) 2 property, wealth, possessions, treasure

Whose grossness little characters sum up;
character (n.) 5 figure, number
grossness (n.) 1 flagrant nature, obviousness, enormity

And in the publication make no strain

But that Achilles, were his brain as barren

As banks of Libya – though, Apollo knows,

'Tis dry enough – will, with great speed of judgement,
dry (adj.) 1 barren, arid, yielding no result

Ay, with celerity, find Hector's purpose

Pointing on him.


And wake him to the answer, think you?



It is most meet. Who may you else oppose,
meet (adj.) 1 fit, suitable, right, proper See Topics: Frequency count
oppose (v.) 3 place in opposition, set up as resistance

That can from Hector bring his honour off,

If not Achilles? Though't be a sportful combat,
combat (n.) duel, trial by duel
sportful (adj.) 1 sporting, recreational, not in earnest

Yet in this trial much opinion dwells;
opinion (n.) 2 reputation, character, honour

For here the Trojans taste our dear'st repute

With their fin'st palate; and trust to me, Ulysses,

Our imputation shall be oddly poised
imputation (n.) reputation, prestige, estimation
oddly (adv.) unequally, unevenly; or: unusually, in a peculiar way
poise (v.) balance, weigh, make even

In this willed action; for the success,
success (n.) 1 result, outcome, issue
wild (adj.) 2 rash, reckless, careless
willed (adj.) [debated reading] self-willed, deliberate, premeditated

Although particular, shall give a scantling
scantling (n.) guideline, index, standard of measurement

Of good or bad unto the general,
general (n.) 1 ordinary people, general public, populace

And in such indexes, although small pricks
index (n.) prologue, preface, table of contents
prick (n.) 4 marker, pointer, indication

To their subsequent volumes, there is seen

The baby figure of the giant mass

Of things to come at large. It is supposed

He that meets Hector issues from our choice;

And choice, being mutual act of all our souls,

Makes merit her election, and doth boil,
election (n.) choice, preference

As 'twere from forth us all, a man distilled

Out of our virtues; who miscarrying,
miscarry (v.) 3 go wrong, fail, be unsuccessful

What heart from hence receives the conquering part,

To steel a strong opinion to themselves? –

Which entertained, limbs are his instruments,
entertain (v.) 1 receive, admit, let in

In no less working than are swords and bows

Directive by the limbs.
directive (adj.) subject to direction, under the control [of]


Give pardon to my speech:

Therefore 'tis meet Achilles meet not Hector.
meet (adj.) 1 fit, suitable, right, proper See Topics: Frequency count

Let us, like merchants, show our foulest wares,

And think perchance they'll sell; if not,
perchance (adv.) 1 perhaps, maybe See Topics: Frequency count

The lustre of the better yet to show

Shall show the better. Do not consent

That ever Hector and Achilles meet,

For both our honour and our shame in this

Are dogged with two strange followers.


I see them not with my old eyes: what are they?


What glory our Achilles shares from Hector,
share from (v.) receive at the expense of

Were he not proud, we all should wear with him.

But he already is too insolent;

And we were better parch in Afric sun
Afric (adj.) African

Than in the pride and salt scorn of his eyes
salt (adj.) 3 stinging, bitter, biting

Should he 'scape Hector fair. If he were foiled,
fair (adv.) 6 successfully, promisingly, favourably
foil (v.) 1 defeat, overcome; throw [in wrestling]
scape, 'scape (v.) escape, avoid See Topics: Frequency count

Why then we did our main opinion crush
opinion (n.) 2 reputation, character, honour

In taint of our best man. No, make a lottery,
taint (n.) 3 disgracing, dishonouring, discrediting

And by device let blockish Ajax draw
blockish (adj.) thick, obtuse, stupid
device (n.) 1 plot, stratagem, trick

The sort to fight with Hector; among ourselves
sort (n.) 6 lot [item drawn from a receptacle in a lottery]

Give him allowance as the worthier man;
allowance (n.) 1 acknowledgement, admission, confirmation

For that will physic the great Myrmidon,
physic (v.) 1 cure, correct, dose with medicine

Who broils in loud applause, and make him fall
broil (v.) 2 bask, glow, warm [from]
fall (v.) 1 drop, descend, let fall

His crest that prouder than blue Iris bends.
crest (n.) 1 [originally the plume of feathers on a] helmet, head-piece

If the dull brainless Ajax come safe off,

We'll dress him up in voices; if he fail,
voice (n.) 5 shout of acclamation, cry of applause

Yet go we under our opinion still
still (adv.) 2 ever, now [as before]

That we have better men. But, hit or miss,

Our project's life this shape of sense assumes:
sense (n.) 8 interpretation, construction, signification
shape (n.) 1 appearance, aspect, visible form

Ajax employed plucks down Achilles' plumes.


Now, Ulysses, I begin to relish thy advice,

And I will give a taste of it forthwith

To Agamemnon. Go we to him straight.
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count

Two curs shall tame each other; pride alone

Must tarre the mastiffs on, as 'twere their bone.
tarre (v.) incite, provoke, arouse


  Previous scene     Next scene