Troilus and Cressida

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Original text
Act II, Scene I
Enter Aiax, and Thersites.

Aia.
Thersites?

Ther.
Agamemnon, how if he had Biles (ful) all
ouer generally.

Aia.
Thersites?

Ther.
And those Byles did runne, say so; did not
the General run, were not that a botchy core?

Aia.
Dogge.

Ther.
Then there would come some matter from
him: I see none now.

Aia.
Thou Bitch-Wolfes-Sonne, canst yu not heare? Feele
then.
Strikes him.

Ther.
The plague of Greece vpon thee thou
Mungrel beefe-witted Lord.

Aia.
Speake then you whinid'st leauen speake, I will
beate thee into handsomnesse.

Ther.
I shal sooner rayle thee into wit and holinesse:
but I thinke thy Horse wil sooner con an Oration, then
yu learn a prayer without booke: Thou canst strike, canst
thou? A red Murren o'th thy Iades trickes.

Aia.
Toads stoole, learne me the Proclamation.

Ther.
Doest thou thinke I haue no sence thou
strik'st me thus?

Aia.
The Proclamation.

Ther.
Thou art proclaim'd a foole, I thinke.

Aia.
Do not Porpentine, do not; my fingers itch.

Ther.
I would thou didst itch from head to foot,
and / I had the scratching of thee, I would make thee the
lothsom'st scab in Greece.

Aia.
I say the Proclamation.

Ther.
Thou grumblest & railest euery houre on
Achilles, and thou art as ful of enuy at his greatnes, as
Cerberus is at Proserpina's beauty. I, that thou
barkst at him.

Aia.
Mistresse Thersites.

Ther.
Thou should'st strike him.

Aia.
Coblofe.

Ther.
He would pun thee into shiuers with his fist,
as a Sailor breakes a bisket.

Aia.

You horson Curre.

Ther.
Do, do.

Aia.
Thou stoole for a Witch.

Ther.
I, do, do, thou sodden-witted Lord: thou
hast no more braine then I haue in mine elbows: An
Asinico may tutor thee. Thou scuruy valiant Asse, thou
art heere but to thresh Troyans, and thou art bought and
solde among those of any wit, like a Barbarian slaue. If
thou vse to beat me, I wil begin at thy heele, and tel
what thou art by inches, thou thing of no bowels thou.

Aia.
You dogge.

Ther.
You scuruy Lord.

Aia.
You Curre.

Ther.
Mars his Ideot: do rudenes, do Camell, do,
do.
Enter Achilles, and Patroclus.

Achil.
Why how now Aiax? wherefore do you this?
How now Thersites? what's the matter man?

Ther.
You see him there, do you?

Achil.
I, what's the matter.

Ther.
Nay looke vpon him.

Achil.
So I do: what's the matter?

Ther.
Nay but regard him well.

Achil.
Well, why I do so.

Ther.
But yet you looke not well vpon him: for
who some euer you take him to be, he is Aiax.

Achil.
I know that foole.

Ther.
I, but that foole knowes not himselfe.

Aiax.
Therefore I beate thee.

Ther.
Lo, lo, lo, lo, what modicums of wit he
vtters: his euasions haue eares thus long. I haue bobb'd
his Braine more then he has beate my bones: I will buy
nine Sparrowes for a peny, and his Piamater is not
worth the ninth part of a Sparrow. This Lord (Achilles)
Aiax who wears his wit in his belly, and his guttes in his
head, Ile tell you what I say of him.

Achil.
What?

Ther.
I say this Aiax---

Achil.
Nay good Aiax.

Ther.
Has not so much wit.

Achil:
Nay, I must hold you.

Ther.
As will stop the eye of Helens Needle, for
whom he comes to fight.

Achil.
Peace foole.

Ther.
I would haue peace and quietnes, but the
foole will not: he there, that he, looke you there.

Aiax.
O thou damn'd Curre, I shall---

Achil.
Will you set your wit to a Fooles.

Ther.
No I warrant you, for a fooles will shame
it.

Pat.
Good words Thersites.

Achil.
What's the quarrell?

Aiax.
I bad thee vile Owle, goe learne me the tenure of the
Proclamation, and he rayles vpon me.

Ther.
I serue thee not.

Aiax.
Well, go too, go too.

Ther.
I serue heere voluntary.

Achil.
Your last seruice was sufferance, 'twas not
voluntary, no man is beaten voluntary: Aiax was heere
the voluntary, and you as vnder an Impresse.

Ther.
E'neso, a great deale of your wit too lies in
your sinnewes, or else there be Liars. Hector shall haue a
great catch, if he knocke out either of your braines, he
were as good cracke a fustie nut with no kernell.

Achil.
What with me to Thersites?

Ther.
There's Vlysses, and old Nestor, whose Wit
was mouldy ere their Grandsires had nails on their toes,
yoke you like draft-Oxen, and make you plough vp
the warre.

Achil.
What? what?

Ther.
Yes good sooth, to Achilles, to Aiax, to---

Aiax.
I shall cut out your tongue.

Ther.
'Tis no matter, I shall speake as much as thou
afterwards.

Pat.
No more words Thersites.

Ther.
I will hold my peace when Achilles Brooch
bids me, shall I?

Achil.
There's for you Patroclus.

Ther.
I will see you hang'd like Clotpoles ere I
come any more to your Tents; I will keepe where there is
wit stirring, and leaue the faction of fooles.
Exit.

Pat.
A good riddance.

Achil.
Marry this Sir is proclaim'd through al our host,
That Hector by the fift houre of the Sunne,
Will with a Trumpet, 'twixt our Tents and Troy
To morrow morning call some Knight to Armes,
That hath a stomacke, and such a one that dare
Maintaine I know not what: 'tis trash. Farewell.

Aiax.
Farewell? who shall answer him?

Achil.
I know not, 'tis put to Lottry: otherwise
He knew his man.

Aiax.
O meaning you, I wil go learne more of it.
Exit.
Original text
Act II, Scene II
Enter Priam, Hector, Troylus, Paris and Helenus.

Pri.
After so many houres, liues, speeches spent,
Thus once againe sayes Nestor from the Greekes,
Deliuer Helen, and all damage else
(As honour, losse of time, trauaile, expence,
Wounds, friends, and what els deere that is consum'd
In hot digestion of this comorant Warre)
Shall be stroke off. Hector, what say you too't.

Hect.
Though no man lesser feares the Greeks then I,
As farre as touches my particular:
yet dread Priam,
There is no Lady of more softer bowels,
More spungie, to sucke in the sense of Feare,
More ready to cry out, who knowes what followes
Then Hector is: the wound of peace is surety,
Surety secure: but modest Doubt is cal'd
The Beacon of the wise: the tent that searches
To'th'bottome of the worst. Let Helen go,
Since the first sword was drawne about this question,
Euery tythe soule 'mongst many thousand dismes,
Hath bin as deere as Helen: I meane of ours:
If we haue lost so many tenths of ours
To guard a thing not ours, nor worth to vs
(Had it our name) the valew of one ten;
What merit's in that reason which denies
The yeelding of her vp.

Troy.
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? Wil you with Counters summe
The past proportion of his infinite,
And buckle in a waste most fathomlesse,
With spannes and inches so diminutiue,
As feares and reasons? Fie for godly shame?

Hel.
No maruel though you bite so sharp at reasons,
You are so empty of them, should not our Father
Beare the great sway of his affayres with reasons,
Because your speech hath none that tels him so.

Troy.
You are for dreames & slumbers brother Priest
You furre your gloues with reason: here are your reasons
You know an enemy intends you harme,
You know, a sword imploy'd is perillous,
And reason flyes the obiect of all harme.
Who maruels then when Helenus beholds
A Grecian and his sword, if he do set
The very wings of reason to his heeles:
And flye like chidden Mercurie from Ioue,
Or like a Starre disorb'd. Nay, if we talke of Reason,
Let's shut our gates and sleepe: Manhood and Honor
Should haue hard hearts, wold they but fat their thoghts
With this cramm'd reason: reason and respect,
Makes Liuers pale, and lustyhood deiect.

Hect.
Brother,
she is not worth / What she doth cost the holding.

Troy.
What's aught, but as 'tis valew'd?

Hect.
But value dwels not in particular will,
It holds his estimate and dignitie
As well, wherein 'tis precious of it selfe,
As in the prizer: 'Tis made Idolatrie,
To make the seruice greater then the God,
And the will dotes that is inclineable
To what infectiously it selfe affects,
Without some image of th'affected merit.

Troy.
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 eares,
Two traded Pylots 'twixt the dangerous shores
Of Will, and Iudgement. How may I auoyde
(Although my will distaste what it elected)
The Wife I chose, there can be no euasion
To blench from this, and to stand firme by honour.
We turne not backe the Silkes vpon the Merchant
When we haue spoyl'd them; nor the remainder Viands
We do not throw in vnrespectiue same,
Because we now are full. It was thought meete
Paris should do some vengeance on the Greekes;
Your breath of full consent bellied his Sailes,
The Seas and Windes (old Wranglers) tooke a Truce,
And did him seruice; he touch'd the Ports desir'd,
And for an old Aunt whom the Greekes held Captiue,
He brought a Grecian Queen, whose youth & freshnesse
Wrinkles Apolloes, and makes stale the morning.
Why keepe we her? the Grecians keepe our Aunt:
Is she worth keeping? Why she is a Pearle,
Whose price hath launch'd aboue a thousand Ships,
And turn'd Crown'd Kings to Merchants.
If you'l auouch, 'twas wisedome Paris went,
(As you must needs, for you all cride, Go, go:)
If you'l confesse, he brought home Noble prize,
(As you must needs) for you all clapt your hands,
And cride inestimable; why do you now
The issue of your proper Wisedomes rate,
And do a deed that Fortune neuer did?
Begger the estimation which you priz'd,
Richer then Sea and Land? O Theft most base!
That we haue stolne what we do feare to keepe.
But Theeues vnworthy of a thing so stolne,
That in their Country did them that disgrace,
We feare to warrant in our Natiue place.

Cas.

Cry Troyans, cry.

Priam.
What noyse? what shreeke is this?

Troy.
'Tis our mad sister, I do know her voyce.

Cas.
Cry Troyans.

Hect.
It is Cassandra.
Enter Cassandra with her haire about her
eares.

Cas.
Cry Troyans cry; lend me ten thousand eyes,
And I will fill them with Propheticke teares.

Hect.
Peace sister, peace.

Cas.
Virgins, and Boyes; mid-age & wrinkled old,
Soft infancie, that nothing can but cry,
Adde to my clamour: let vs pay betimes
A moity of that masse of moane to come.
Cry Troyans cry, practise your eyes with teares,
Troy must not be, nor goodly Illion stand,
Our fire-brand Brother Paris burnes vs all.
Cry Troyans cry, a Helen and a woe;
Cry, cry, Troy burnes, or else let Helen goe.
Exit.

Hect.
Now youthfull Troylus, do not these hie strains
Of diuination in our Sister, worke
Some touches of remorse? Or is your bloud
So madly hot, that no discourse of reason,
Nor feare of bad successe in a bad cause,
Can qualifie the same?

Troy.
Why Brother Hector,
We may not thinke the iustnesse of each acte
Such, and no other then euent doth forme it,
Nor once deiect the courage of our mindes;
Because Cassandra's mad, her brainsicke raptures
Cannot distaste the goodnesse of a quarrell,
Which hath our seuerall Honours all engag'd
To make it gracious. For my priuate part,
I am no more touch'd, then all Priams sonnes,
And Ioue forbid there should be done among'st vs
Such things as might offend the weakest spleene,
To fight for, and maintaine.

Par.
Else might the world conuince of leuitie,
As well my vnder-takings as your counsels:
But I attest the gods, your full consent
Gaue wings to my propension, and cut off
All feares attending on so dire a proiect.
For what (alas) can these my single armes?
What propugnation is in one mans valour
To stand the push and enmity of those
This quarrell would excite? Yet I protest,
Were I alone to passe the difficulties,
And had as ample power, as I haue will,
Paris should ne're retract what he hath done,
Nor faint in the pursuite.

Pri.
Paris, you speake
Like one be-sotted on your sweet delights;
You haue the Hony still, but these the Gall,
So to be valiant, is no praise at all.

Par.
Sir, I propose not meerely to my selfe,
The pleasures such a beauty brings with it:
But I would haue the soyle of her faire Rape
Wip'd off in honourable keeping her.
What Treason were it to the ransack'd Queene,
Disgrace to your great worths, and shame to me,
Now to deliuer her possession vp
On termes of base compulsion? Can it be,
That so degenerate a straine as this,
Should once set footing in your generous bosomes?
There's not the meanest spirit on our partie,
Without a heart to dare, or sword to draw,
When Helen is defended: nor none so Noble,
Whose life were ill bestow'd, or death vnfam'd,
Where Helen is the subiect. Then (I say)
Well may we fight for her, whom we know well,
The worlds large spaces cannot paralell.

Hect.
Paris and Troylus, you haue both said well:
And on the cause and question now in hand,
Haue gloz'd, but superficially; not much
Vnlike young men, whom Aristotle thought
Vnfit to heare Morall Philosophie.
The Reasons you alledge, do more conduce
To the hot passion of distemp'red blood,
Then to make vp a free determination
'Twixt right and wrong: For pleasure, and reuenge,
Haue eares more deafe then Adders, to the voyce
Of any true decision. Nature craues
All dues be rendred to their Owners: now
What neerer debt in all humanity,
Then Wife is to the Husband? If this law
Of Nature be corrupted through affection,
And that great mindes of partiall indulgence,
To their benummed wills resist the same,
There is a Law in each well-ordred Nation,
To curbe those raging appetites that are
Most disobedient and refracturie.
If Helen then be wife to Sparta's King
(As it is knowne she is) these Morall Lawes
Of Nature, and of Nation, speake alowd
To haue her backe return'd. Thus to persist
In doing wrong, extenuates not wrong,
But makes it much more heauie. Hectors opinion
Is this in way of truth: yet nere the lesse,
My spritely brethren, I propend to you
In resolution to keepe Helen still;
For 'tis a cause that hath no meane dependance,
Vpon our ioynt and seuerall dignities.

Tro.
Why? there you toucht the life of our designe:
Were it not glory that we more affected,
Then the performance of our heauing spleenes,
I would not wish a drop of Troian blood,
Spent more in her defence. But worthy Hector,
She is a theame of honour and renowne,
A spurre to valiant and magnanimous deeds,
Whose present courage may beate downe our foes,
And fame in time to come canonize vs.
For I presume braue Hector would not loose
So rich aduantage of a promis'd glory,
As smiles vpon the fore-head of this action,
For the wide worlds reuenew.

Hect.
I am yours,
You valiant off-spring of great Priamus,
I haue a roisting challenge sent among'st
The dull and factious nobles of the Greekes,
Will strike amazement to their drowsie spirits,
I was aduertiz'd, their Great generall slept,
Whil'st emulation in the armie crept:
This I presume will wake him.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act II, Scene III
Enter Thersites solus.
How now Thersites? what lost in the
Labyrinth of thy furie? shall the Elephant Aiax carry it
thus? he beates me, and I raile at him: O worthy
satisfaction, would it were otherwise: that I could
beate him, whil'st he rail'd at me: Sfoote, Ile learne to
coniure and raise Diuels, but Ile see some issue of my
spitefull execrations. Then ther's Achilles, a rare
Enginer. If Troy be not taken till these two vndermine
it, the wals will stand till they fall of themselues. O
thou great thunder-darter of Olympus, forget that
thou art Ioue the King of gods: and Mercury, loose all
the Serpentine craft of thy Caduceus, if thou take not
that little little lesse then little wit from them that they
haue, which short-arm'd ignorance it selfe knowes, is so
abundant scarse, it will not in circumuention deliuer a
Flye from a Spider, without drawing the massie Irons and
cutting the web: after this, the vengeance on the whole
Camp, or rather the bone-ach, for that
me thinkes is the curse dependant on those that warre for
a placket. I haue said my prayers and diuell, enuie, say
Amen: What ho? my Lord Achilles?
Enter Patroclus.

Patr.
Who's there? Thersites. Good Thersites
come in and raile.

Ther.
If I could haue remembred a guilt counterfeit,
thou would'st not haue slipt out of my contemplation,
but it is no matter, thy selfe vpon thy selfe. The
common curse of mankinde, follie and ignorance be
thine in great reuenew; heauen blesse thee from a Tutor,
and Discipline come not neere thee. Let thy bloud be thy
direction till thy death, then if she that laies thee out
sayes thou art a faire coarse, Ile be sworne and sworne
vpon't she neuer shrowded any but Lazars, Amen.
Wher's Achilles?

Patr.
What art thou deuout? wast thou in a
prayer?

Ther.
I, the heauens heare me.
Enter Achilles.

Achil.
Who's there?

Patr.
Thersites, my Lord.

Achil.
Where, where, art thou come? why my
cheese, my digestion, why hast thou not seru'd thy selfe
into my Table, so many meales? 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 thy selfe?

Ther.
Thy knower Patroclus: then tell me Patroclus,
what art thou?

Patr.
Thou maist tell that know'st.

Achil.
O tell, tell.

Ther.
Ile declin the whole question:
Agamemnon commands Achilles, Achilles is my Lord,
I am Patroclus knower, and Patroclus is a foole.

Patro.
You rascall.

Ther.
Peace foole, I haue not done.

Achil.
He is a priuiledg'd man, proceede Thersites.

Ther.
Agamemnon is a foole, Achilles is a foole,
Thersites is a foole, and as aforesaid, Patroclus is a
foole.

Achil.
Deriue this? come?

Ther.
Agamemnon is a foole to offer to command
Achilles, Achilles is a foole to be commanded of
Agamemon, Thersites is a foole to serue such a foole:
and Patroclus is a foole positiue.

Patr.
Why am I a foole?

Ther.
Make that demand to the Creator, it suffises
me thou art. Looke you, who comes here?

Achil.
Patroclus, Ile speake with no body: come in
with me Thersites.
Exit.

Ther.
Here is such patcherie, such iugling, and
such knauerie: all the argument is a Cuckold and a
Whore, a good quarrel to draw emulations, factions, and
bleede to death vpon: Now the dry Suppeago on the
Subiect, and Warre and Lecherie confound all.


Enter Agamemnon, Vlisses, Nestor, Diomedes, Aiax,
and Chalcas.

Agam.
Where is Achilles?

Patr.
Within his Tent, but ill dispos'd my Lord.

Agam.
Let it be knowne to him that we are here:
He sent our Messengers, and we lay by
Our appertainments, visiting of him:
Let him be told of, so perchance he thinke
We dare not moue the question of our place,
Or know not what we are.

Pat.
I shall so say to him.

Ulis.
We saw him at the opening of his Tent,
He is not sicke.

Aia.
Yes, Lyon sicke, sicke of proud heart; you may call it
Melancholly if will fauour the man, but by my
head, it is pride; but why, why, let him show vs the
cause? A word my Lord.

Nes.
What moues Aiax thus to bay at him?

Vlis.
Achillis hath inueigled his Foole from him.

Nes.
Who, Thersites?

Vlis.
He.

Nes.
Then will Aiax lacke matter, if he haue lost his
Argument.

Vlis.
No, you see he is his argument that has his
argument Achilles.

Nes.
All the better, their fraction is more our wish
then their faction; but it was a strong counsell that a Foole
could disunite.

Vlis.
The amitie that wisedome knits, not folly may
easily vntie. Here comes Patroclus.
Enter Patroclus.

Nes.
No Achilles with him?

Vlis.
The Elephant hath ioynts, but none for curtesie:
His legge are legs for necessitie, not for flight.

Patro.
Achilles bids me say he is much sorry:
If any thing more then your sport and pleasure,
Did moue your greatnesse, and this noble State,
To call vpon him; he hopes it is no other,
But for your health, and your digestion sake;
An after Dinners breath.

Aga.
Heare you Patroclus:
We are too well acquainted with these answers:
But his euasion winged thus swift with scorne,
Cannot outflye our apprehensions.
Much attribute he hath, and much the reason,
Why we ascribe it to him, yet all his vertues,
Not vertuously of his owne part beheld,
Doe in our eyes, begin to loose their glosse;
Yea, and like faire Fruit in an vnholdsome dish,
Are like to rot vntasted: goe and tell him,
We came to speake with him; and you shall not sinne,
If you doe say, we thinke him ouer proud,
And vnder honest; in selfe-assumption greater
Then in the note of iudgement: & worthier then himselfe
Here tends the sauage strangenesse he puts on,
Disguise the holy strength of their command:
And vnder write in an obseruing kinde
His humorous predominance, yea watch
His pettish lines, his ebs, his flowes, as if
The passage and whole carriage of this action
Rode on his tyde. Goe tell him this, and adde,
That if he ouerhold his price so much,
Weele none of him; but let him, like an Engin
Not portable, lye vnder this report.
Bring action hither, this cannot goe to warre:
A stirring Dwarfe, we doe allowance giue,
Before a sleeping Gyant: tell him so.

Pat.
I shall, and bring his answere presently.

Aga.
In second voyce weele not be satisfied,
We come to speake with him, Ulisses enter you.
Exit Vlisses.

Aiax.
What is he more then another?

Aga.
No more then what he thinkes he is.

Aia.
Is he so much, doe you not thinke, he thinkes himselfe
a better man then I am?

Ag.
No question.

Aiax.
Will you subscribe his thought, and say he is?

Ag.
No, Noble Aiax, you are as strong, as
valiant, as wise, no lesse noble, much more gentle, and
altogether more tractable.

Aiax.
Why should a man be proud? How doth pride
grow? I know not what it is.

Aga.
Your minde is the cleerer Aiax, and your
vertues the fairer; he that is proud, eates vp himselfe;
Pride is his owne Glasse, his owne trumpet, his owne
Chronicle, and what euer praises it selfe but in the deede,
deuoures the deede in the praise.
Enter Ulysses.

Aiax.
I do hate a proud man, as I hate the ingendring of
Toades.

Nest.
Yet he loues himselfe: is't not strange?

Vlis.
Achilles will not to the field to morrow.

Ag.
What's his excuse?

Vlis.
He doth relye on none,
But carries on the streame of his dispose,
Without obseruance or respect of any,
In will peculiar, and in selfe admission.

Aga.
Why, will he not vpon our faire request,
Vntent his person, and share the ayre with vs?

Vlis.
Things small as nothing, for requests sake onely
He makes important; possest he is with greatnesse,
And speakes not to himselfe, but with a pride
That quarrels at selfe-breath. Imagin'd wroth
Holds in his bloud such swolne and hot discourse,
That twixt his mentall and his actiue parts,
Kingdom'd Achilles in commotion rages,
And batters gainst it selfe; what should I say?
He is so plaguy proud, that the death tokens of it,
Cry no recouery.

Ag.
Let Aiax goe to him.
Deare Lord, goe you and greete him in his Tent;
'Tis said he holds you well, and will be led
At your request a little from himselfe.

Vlis.
O Agamemnon, let it not be so.
Weele consecrate the steps that Aiax makes,
When they goe from Achilles; shall the proud Lord,
That bastes his arrogance with his owne seame,
And neuer suffers matter of the world,
Enter his thoughts: saue such as doe reuolue
And ruminate himselfe. Shall he be worshipt,
Of that we hold an Idoll, more then hee?
No, this thrice worthy and right valiant Lord,
Must not so staule his Palme, nobly acquir'd,
Nor by my will assubiugate his merit,
As amply titled as Achilles is:
by going to Achilles,
That were to enlard his fat already, pride,
And adde more Coles to Cancer, when he burnes
With entertaining great Hiperion.
This L. goe to him? Iupiter forbid,
And say in thunder, Achilles goe to him.

Nest.

O this is well, he rubs the veine of him.

Dio.
And how his silence drinkes vp this applause.

Aia.
If I goe to him, with my armed fist,
Ile pash him ore the face.

Ag.
O no, you shall not goe.

Aia.
And a be proud with me, ile phese his pride:
let me goe to him.

Ulis.
Not for the worth that hangs vpon our quarrel.

Aia.
A paultry insolent fellow.

Nest.
How he describes himselfe.

Aia.
Can he not be sociable?

Vlis.

The Rauen chides blacknesse.

Aia.
Ile let his humours bloud.

Ag.
He will be the Physitian that
should be the patient.

Aia.
And all men were a my minde.

Vlis.

Wit would be out of fashion.

Aia.
A should not beare it so, a should eate Swords first:
shall pride carry it?

Nest.

And 'twould, you'ld carry halfe.

Ulis.
A would haue ten shares.

Aia.
I will knede him, Ile make him supple,

Nest.

hee's not yet through warme. / Force him
with praises, poure in, poure in: his ambition is dry.

Vlis.

My L. you feede too much on this dislike.

Nest.
Our noble Generall, doe not doe so.

Diom.
You must prepare to fight without Achilles.

Vlis.
Why, 'tis this naming of him doth him harme.
Here is a man, but 'tis before his face,
I will be silent.

Nest.
Wherefore should you so?
He is not emulous, as Achilles is.

Vlis.
'Know the whole world, he is as valiant.

Aia.
A horson dog, that shal palter thus with vs,
would he were a Troian.

Nest.
What a vice were it in Aiax now---

Ulis.
If he were proud.

Dio.
Or couetous of praise.

Vlis.
I, or surley borne.

Dio.
Or strange, or selfe affected.

Vl.
Thank the heauens L. thou art of sweet composure;
Praise him that got thee, she that gaue thee sucke:
Fame be thy Tutor, and thy parts of nature
Thrice fam'd beyond, beyond all erudition;
But he that disciplin'd thy armes to fight,
Let Mars deuide Eternity in twaine,
And giue him halfe, and for thy vigour,
Bull-bearing Milo: his addition yeelde
To sinnowie Aiax: I will not praise thy wisdome,
Which like a bourne, a pale, a shore confines
Thy spacious and dilated parts; here's Nestor
Instructed by the Antiquary times:
He must, he is, he cannot but be wise.
But pardon Father Nestor, were your dayes
As greene as Aiax, and your braine so temper'd,
You should not haue the eminence of him,
But be as Aiax.

Aia.
Shall I call you Father?

Ulis.
I my good Sonne.

Dio.
Be rul'd by him Lord Aiax.

Vlis.
There is no tarrying here, the Hart Achilles
Keepes thicket: please it our Generall,
To call together all his state of warre,
Fresh Kings are come to Troy; to morrow
We must with all our maine of power stand fast:
And here's a Lord, come Knights from East to West,
And cull their flowre, Aiax shall cope the best.

Ag.
Goe we to Counsaile, let Achilles sleepe;
Light Botes may saile swift, though greater bulkes draw deepe.
Exeunt.
Modern text
Act II, Scene I
Enter Ajax and Thersites

AJAX
Thersites –

THERSITES
Agamemnon – how if he had boils, full, all
over, generally?

AJAX
Thersites –

THERSITES
And those boils did run? – say so – did not
the general run then? Were not that a botchy core?

AJAX
Dog!

THERSITES
Then there would come some matter from
him; I see none now.

AJAX
Thou bitch-wolf's son, canst thou not hear? Feel,
then.
He strikes him

THERSITES
The plague of Greece upon thee, thou
mongrel beef-witted lord!

AJAX
Speak, then, thou vinewed'st leaven, speak; I will
beat thee into handsomeness!

THERSITES
I shall sooner rail thee into wit and holiness;
but I think thy horse will sooner con an oration than
thou learn a prayer without book. Thou canst strike,
canst thou? – A red murrain o' thy jade's tricks!

AJAX
Toadstool, learn me the proclamation.

THERSITES
Dost thou think I have no sense, thou
strikest me thus?

AJAX
The proclamation!

THERSITES
Thou art proclaimed a fool, I think.

AJAX
Do not, porpentine, do not; my fingers itch.

THERSITES
I would thou didst itch from head to foot,
and I had the scratching of thee; I would make thee the
loathsomest scab in Greece.

AJAX
I say, the proclamation!

THERSITES
Thou grumblest and railest every hour on
Achilles, and thou art as full of envy at his greatness as
Cerberus is at Proserpina's beauty, ay, that thou
bark'st at him.

AJAX
Mistress Thersites!

THERSITES
Thou shouldest strike him –

AJAX
Cobloaf!

THERSITES
He would pun thee into shivers with his fist,
as a sailor breaks a biscuit.

AJAX
(beating him)
You whoreson cur!

THERSITES
Do, do.

AJAX
Thou stool for a witch!

THERSITES
Ay, do, do! Thou sodden-witted lord, thou
hast no more brain than I have in mine elbows; an
assinico may tutor thee. Thou scurvy-valiant ass, thou
art here but to thrash Trojans, and thou art bought and
sold among those of any wit, like a barbarian slave. If
thou use to beat me, I will begin at thy heel, and tell
what thou art by inches, thou thing of no bowels, thou!

AJAX
You dog!

THERSITES
You scurvy lord!

AJAX
(beating him)
You cur!

THERSITES
Mars his idiot! Do, rudeness, do, camel; do,
do!
Enter Achilles and Patroclus

ACHILLES
Why, how now, Ajax! Wherefore do you this?
How now, Thersites, what's the matter, man?

THERSITES
You see him there, do you?

ACHILLES
Ay, what's the matter?

THERSITES
Nay, look upon him.

ACHILLES
So I do; what's the matter?

THERSITES
Nay, but regard him well.

ACHILLES
Well, why, I do so.

THERSITES
But yet you look not well upon him; for,
whomsoever you take him to be, he is Ajax.

ACHILLES
I know that, fool.

THERSITES
Ay, but that fool knows not himself.

AJAX
Therefore I beat thee.

THERSITES
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.

ACHILLES
What?

THERSITES
I say, this Ajax –
Ajax threatens to beat him; Achilles intervenes

ACHILLES
Nay, good Ajax.

THERSITES
Has not so much wit –

ACHILLES
Nay, I must hold you.

THERSITES
As will stop the eye of Helen's needle, for
whom he comes to fight.

ACHILLES
Peace, fool!

THERSITES
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 –

ACHILLES
Will you set your wit to a fool's?

THERSITES
No, I warrant you, for a fool's will shame
it.

PATROCLUS
Good words, Thersites.

ACHILLES
What's the quarrel?

AJAX
I bade the vile owl go learn me the tenor of the
proclamation, and he rails upon me.

THERSITES
I serve thee not.

AJAX
Well, go to, go to.

THERSITES
I serve here voluntary.

ACHILLES
Your last service was sufferance, 'twas not
voluntary; no man is beaten voluntary. Ajax was here
the voluntary, and you as under an impress.

THERSITES
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: he
were as good crack a fusty nut with no kernel.

ACHILLES
What, with me too, Thersites?

THERSITES
There's Ulysses and old Nestor – whose wit
was mouldy ere your grandsires had nails on their toes
– yoke you like draught-oxen, and make you plough up
the wars.

ACHILLES
What? What?

THERSITES
Yes, good sooth; to, Achilles! To, Ajax, to!

AJAX
I shall cut out your tongue.

THERSITES
'Tis no matter; I shall speak as much as thou
afterwards.

PATROCLUS
No more words, Thersites; peace!

THERSITES
I will hold my peace when Achilles' brooch
bids me, shall I?

ACHILLES
There's for you, Patroclus.

THERSITES
I will see you hanged like clotpolls ere I
come any more to your tents; I will keep where there is
wit stirring, and leave the faction of fools.
Exit

PATROCLUS
A good riddance.

ACHILLES
Marry, this, sir, is proclaimed through all our host:
That Hector, by the fifth hour of the sun,
Will with a trumpet 'twixt our tents and Troy
Tomorrow morning call some knight to arms
That hath a stomach, and such a one that dare
Maintain – I know not what: 'tis trash. Farewell.

AJAX
Farewell. Who shall answer him?

ACHILLES
I know not – 'tis put to lottery. Otherwise
He knew his man.

AJAX
O, meaning you? I will go learn more of it.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act II, Scene II
Enter Priam, Hector, Troilus, Paris, and Helenus

PRIAM
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, travail, expense,
Wounds, friends, and what else dear that is consumed
In hot digestion of this cormorant war –
Shall be struck off.’ Hector, what say you to't?

HECTOR
Though no man lesser fears the Greeks than I
As far as toucheth my particular,
Yet, dread Priam,
There is no lady of more softer bowels,
More spongy to suck in the sense of fear,
More ready to cry out ‘ Who knows what follows?’
Than Hector is. The wound of peace is surety,
Surety secure; but modest doubt is called
The beacon of the wise, the tent that searches
To th' bottom of the worst. Let Helen go:
Since the first sword was drawn about this question,
Every tithe soul 'mongst many thousand dismes
Hath been as dear as Helen – I mean, of ours.
If we have lost so many tenths of ours,
To guard a thing not ours nor worth to us –
Had it our name – the value of one ten,
What merit's in that reason which denies
The yielding of her up?

TROILUS
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!

HELENUS
No marvel though you bite so sharp at reasons,
You are so empty of them. Should not our father
Bear the great sway of his affairs with reasons,
Because your speech hath none that tells him so?

TROILUS
You are for dreams and slumbers, brother priest;
You fur your gloves with reason. Here are your reasons:
You know an enemy intends you harm;
You know a sword employed is perilous,
And reason flies the object of all harm.
Who marvels, then, when Helenus beholds
A Grecian and his sword, if he do set
The very wings of reason to his heels,
And fly like chidden Mercury from Jove,
Or like a star disorbed? Nay, if we talk of reason,
Let's shut our gates and sleep. Manhood and honour
Should have hare-hearts, would they but fat their thoughts
With this crammed reason; reason and respect
Make livers pale and lustihood deject.

HECTOR
Brother,
She is not worth what she doth cost the holding.

TROILUS
What's aught but as 'tis valued?

HECTOR
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 inclinable
To what infectiously itself affects,
Without some image of th' affected merit.

TROILUS
I take today 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 judgement: how may I avoid,
Although my will distaste what it elected,
The wife I chose? There can be no evasion
To blench from this, and to stand firm by honour.
We turn not back the silks upon the merchant
When we have soiled them; nor the remainder viands
We do not throw in unrespective sieve
Because we now are full. It was thought meet
Paris should do some vengeance on the Greeks:
Your breath of full consent bellied his sails;
The seas and winds, old wranglers, took a truce,
And did him service; he touched the ports desired;
And for an old aunt whom the Greeks held captive
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 launched above a thousand ships,
And turned crowned kings to merchants.
If you'll avouch 'twas wisdom Paris went –
As you must needs, for you all cried ‘ Go, go!’;
If you'll confess he brought home noble prize –
As you must needs, for you all clapped your hands
And cried ‘ Inestimable!’ – why do you now
The issue of your proper wisdoms rate,
And do a deed that fortune never did –
Beggar the estimation which you prized
Richer than sea and land? O, theft most base,
That we have stolen what we do fear to keep!
But thieves unworthy of a thing so stolen,
That in their country did them that disgrace
We fear to warrant in our native place!

CASSANDRA
(within)
Cry, Trojans, cry!

PRIAM
What noise? What shriek is this?

TROILUS
'Tis our mad sister. I do know her voice.

CASSANDRA
(within)
Cry, Trojans!

HECTOR
It is Cassandra.
Enter Cassandra, raving, with her hair about her
ears

CASSANDRA
Cry, Trojans, cry! Lend me ten thousand eyes,
And I will fill them with prophetic tears.

HECTOR
Peace, sister, peace!

CASSANDRA
Virgins and boys, mid-age and wrinkled old,
Soft infancy, that nothing can but cry,
Add to my clamour! Let us pay betimes
A moiety of that mass of moan to come.
Cry, Trojans, cry! Practise your eyes with tears!
Troy must not be, nor goodly Ilium stand;
Our firebrand brother Paris burns us all.
Cry, Trojans, cry! A Helen and a woe!
Cry, cry! Troy burns, or else let Helen go.
Exit

HECTOR
Now, youthful Troilus, do not these high strains
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?

TROILUS
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 distaste the goodness of a quarrel
Which hath our several honours all engaged
To make it gracious. For my private part,
I am no more touched 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.

PARIS
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.

PRIAM
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.

PARIS
Sir, I propose not merely to myself
The pleasures such a beauty brings with it;
But I would have the soil of her fair rape
Wiped off in honourable keeping her.
What treason were it to the ransacked queen,
Disgrace to your great worths, and shame to me,
Now to deliver her possession up
On terms of base compulsion! Can it be
That so degenerate a strain as this
Should once set footing in your generous bosoms?
There's not the meanest spirit on our party
Without a heart to dare, or sword to draw,
When Helen is defended; nor none so noble
Whose life were ill bestowed, or death unfamed,
Where Helen is the subject. Then, I say,
Well may we fight for her whom, we know well,
The world's large spaces cannot parallel.

HECTOR
Paris and Troilus, you have both said well,
And on the cause and question now in hand
Have glozed, but superficially – not much
Unlike young men whom Aristotle thought
Unfit to hear moral philosophy.
The reasons you allege do more conduce
To the hot passion of distempered blood
Than to make up a free determination
'Twixt right and wrong; for pleasure and revenge
Have ears more deaf than adders to the voice
Of any true decision. Nature craves
All dues be rendered to their owners: now,
What nearer debt in all humanity
Than wife is to the husband? If this law
Of nature be corrupted through affection,
And that great minds, of partial indulgence
To their benumbed wills, resist the same,
There is a law in each well-ordered nation
To curb those raging appetites that are
Most disobedient and refractory.
If Helen then be wife to Sparta's king,
As it is known she is, these moral laws
Of nature and of nations speak aloud
To have her back returned; thus to persist
In doing wrong extenuates not wrong,
But makes it much more heavy. Hector's opinion
Is this in way of truth; yet ne'ertheless,
My spritely brethren, I propend to you
In resolution to keep Helen still;
For 'tis a cause that hath no mean dependence
Upon our joint and several dignities.

TROILUS
Why, there you touched the life of our design:
Were it not glory that we more affected
Than the performance of our heaving spleens,
I would not wish a drop of Trojan blood
Spent more in her defence. But, worthy Hector,
She is a theme of honour and renown,
A spur to valiant and magnanimous deeds,
Whose present courage may beat down our foes,
And fame in time to come canonize us.
For I presume brave Hector would not lose
So rich advantage of a promised glory
As smiles upon the forehead of this action
For the wide world's revenue.

HECTOR
I am yours,
You valiant offspring of great Priamus.
I have a roisting challenge sent amongst
The dull and factious nobles of the Greeks
Will strike amazement to their drowsy spirits.
I was advertised their great general slept,
Whilst emulation in the army crept;
This, I presume, will wake him.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act II, Scene III
Enter Thersites

THERSITES
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 thunder-darter of Olympus, forget that
thou art Jove, the king of gods; and Mercury, lose all
the serpentine craft of thy caduceus, if thou 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 Neapolitan bone-ache – 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!
Enter Patroclus

PATROCLUS
Who's there? Thersites! Good Thersites,
come in and rail.

THERSITES
If I could have remembered a gilt counterfeit,
thou wouldst 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?

PATROCLUS
What, art thou devout? Wast thou in a
prayer?

THERSITES
Ay, the heavens hear me!
Enter Achilles

ACHILLES
Who's there?

PATROCLUS
Thersites, my lord.

ACHILLES
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?

THERSITES
Thy commander, Achilles. Then tell me,
Patroclus, what's Achilles?

PATROCLUS
Thy lord, Thersites. Then tell me, I pray
thee, what's thyself?

THERSITES
Thy knower, Patroclus. Then tell me, Patroclus,
what art thou?

PATROCLUS
Thou mayst tell that knowest.

ACHILLES
O, tell, tell.

THERSITES
I'll decline the whole question.
Agamemnon commands Achilles, Achilles is my lord,
I am Patroclus' knower, and Patroclus is a fool.

PATROCLUS
You rascal!

THERSITES
Peace, fool, I have not done.

ACHILLES
He is a privileged man. – Proceed, Thersites.

THERSITES
Agamemnon is a fool, Achilles is a fool,
Thersites is a fool, and, as aforesaid, Patroclus is a
fool.

ACHILLES
Derive this; come.

THERSITES
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.

PATROCLUS
Why am I a fool?

THERSITES
Make that demand to the Creator; it suffices
me thou art. Look you, who comes here?

ACHILLES
Patroclus, I'll speak with nobody. – Come in
with me, Thersites.
Exit

THERSITES
Here is such patchery, such juggling, and
such knavery! All the argument is a whore and a
cuckold; 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
Enter Agamemnon, Ulysses, Nestor, Diomedes, Ajax,
and Calchas

AGAMEMNON
Where is Achilles?

PATROCLUS
Within his tent, but ill-disposed, my lord.

AGAMEMNON
Let it be known to him that we are here.
He shent our messengers, and we lay by
Our appertainments, visiting of him.
Let him be told so, lest perchance he think
We dare not move the question of our place,
Or know not what we are.

PATROCLUS
I shall say so to him.
Exit

ULYSSES
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 the
cause – a word, my lord.
He takes Agamemnon aside

NESTOR
What moves Ajax thus to bay at him?

ULYSSES
Achilles hath inveigled his fool from him.

NESTOR
Who, Thersites?

ULYSSES
He.

NESTOR
Then will Ajax lack matter, if he have lost his
argument.

ULYSSES
No. You see, he is his argument that has his
argument – Achilles.

NESTOR
All the better: their fraction is more our wish
than their faction; but it was a strong composure a fool
could disunite.

ULYSSES
The amity that wisdom knits not, folly may
easily untie – here comes Patroclus.
Enter Patroclus

NESTOR
No Achilles with him.

ULYSSES
The elephant hath joints, but none for courtesy;
his legs are legs for necessity, not for flexure.

PATROCLUS
Achilles bids me say he is much sorry
If anything 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.

AGAMEMNON
Hear you, Patroclus:
We are too well acquainted with these answers;
But his evasion, winged thus swift with scorn,
Cannot outfly our apprehensions.
Much attribute he hath, and much the reason
Why we ascribe it to him; yet all his virtues,
Not virtuously of his own part beheld,
Do in our eyes begin to lose their gloss,
Yea, like fair fruit in an unwholesome dish,
Are like to rot untasted. Go and tell him
We came to speak with him, and you shall not sin
If you do say we think him over-proud
And under-honest, in self-assumption greater
Than in the note of judgement; and worthier than himself
Here tend the savage strangeness he puts on,
Disguise the holy strength of their command,
And underwrite in an observing kind
His humorous predominance – yea, watch
His pettish lunes, his ebbs, his flows, as if
The passage and whole carriage of this action
Rode on his tide. Go tell him this; and add
That if he overhold his price so much,
We'll none of him; but let him, like an engine
Not portable, lie under this report:
‘ Bring action hither; this cannot go to war.
A stirring dwarf we do allowance give
Before a sleeping giant.’ Tell him so.

PATROCLUS
I shall, and bring his answer presently.
Exit

AGAMEMNON
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?

AGAMEMNON
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?

AGAMEMNON
No question.

AJAX
Will you subscribe his thought, and say he is?

AGAMEMNON
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 it is.

AGAMEMNON
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.
Enter Ulysses

AJAX
I do hate a proud man as I hate the engendering of
toads.

NESTOR
(aside)
And yet he loves himself; is't not strange?

ULYSSES
Achilles will not to the field tomorrow.

AGAMEMNON
What's his excuse?

ULYSSES
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.

AGAMEMNON
Why will he not, upon our fair request,
Untent his person, and share the air with us?

ULYSSES
Things small as nothing, for request's sake only,
He makes important. Possessed he is with greatness,
And speaks not to himself but with a pride
That quarrels at self-breath. Imagined worth
Holds in his blood such swollen and hot discourse
That 'twixt his mental and his active parts
Kingdomed Achilles in commotion rages,
And batters down himself. What should I say?
He is so plaguy proud that the death-tokens of it
Cry ‘ No recovery.’

AGAMEMNON
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.

ULYSSES
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,
And never suffers matter of the world
Enter his thoughts, save such as do revolve
And ruminate himself – shall he be worshipped
Of that we hold an idol more than he?
No; this thrice-worthy and right valiant lord
Must not so stale his palm, nobly acquired,
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,
And add more coals to Cancer when he burns
With entertaining great Hyperion.
This lord go to him? Jupiter forbid,
And say in thunder: ‘ Achilles go to him.’

NESTOR
(aside)
O, this is well; he rubs the vein of him.

DIOMEDES
(aside)
And how his silence drinks up this applause.

AJAX
If I go to him, with my armed fist
I'll pash him o'er the face.

AGAMEMNON
O, no, you shall not go.

AJAX
An 'a be proud with me, I'll pheeze his pride;
Let me go to him.

ULYSSES
Not for the worth that hangs upon our quarrel.

AJAX
A paltry, insolent fellow!

NESTOR
(aside)
How he describes himself!

AJAX
Can he not be sociable?

ULYSSES
(aside)
The raven chides blackness.

AJAX
I'll let his humours' blood.

AGAMEMNON
(aside)
He will be the physician that
should be the patient.

AJAX
An all men were o' my mind –

ULYSSES
(aside)
Wit would be out of fashion.

AJAX
– 'a should not bear it so, 'a should eat swords first;
shall pride carry it?

NESTOR
(aside)
An 'twould, you'd carry half.

ULYSSES
(aside)
'A would have ten shares.

AJAX
I will knead him; I'll make him supple.

NESTOR
(aside)
He's not yet through warm. Force him
with praises, pour in, pour in; his ambition is dry.

ULYSSES
(to Agamemnon)
My lord, you feed too much on this dislike.

NESTOR
Our noble general, do not do so.

DIOMEDES
You must prepare to fight without Achilles.

ULYSSES
Why, 'tis this naming of him does him harm.
Here is a man – but 'tis before his face;
I will be silent.

NESTOR
Wherefore should you so?
He is not emulous, as Achilles is.

ULYSSES
Know the whole world, he is as valiant.

AJAX
A whoreson dog, that shall palter thus with us!
Would he were a Trojan!

NESTOR
What a vice were it in Ajax now –

ULYSSES
If he were proud –

DIOMEDES
Or covetous of praise –

ULYSSES
Ay, or surly borne –

DIOMEDES
Or strange, or self-affected.

ULYSSES
Thank the heavens, lord, thou art of sweet composure;
Praise him that got thee, she that gave thee suck.
Famed be thy tutor, and thy parts of nature
Thrice-famed beyond, beyond all erudition;
But he that disciplined thine arms to fight,
Let Mars divide eternity in twain,
And give him half; and for thy vigour,
Bull-bearing Milo his addition yield
To sinewy Ajax. I will not praise thy wisdom,
Which, like a bourn, a pale, a shore, confines
Thy spacious and dilated parts. Here's Nestor,
Instructed by the antiquary times;
He must, he is, he cannot but be wise –
Put pardon, father Nestor, were your days
As green as Ajax', and your brain so tempered,
You should not have the eminence of him,
But be as Ajax.

AJAX
(to Nestor)
Shall I call you father?

NESTOR
Ay, my good son.

DIOMEDES
Be ruled by him, Lord Ajax.

ULYSSES
There is no tarrying here; the hart Achilles
Keeps thicket. Please it our great general
To call together all his state of war;
Fresh kings are come to Troy. Tomorrow
We must with all our main of power stand fast,
And here's a lord – come knights from east to west,
And cull their flower, Ajax shall cope the best.

AGAMEMNON
Go we to council. Let Achilles sleep;
Light boats sail swift, though greater hulks draw deep.
Exeunt
SHAKESPEARE'S WORDS © 2018 DAVID CRYSTAL & BEN CRYSTAL