Page images

I serv'd my king, he would not in mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies.-Id.

TROILUS AND CRESSIDA. Pandarus. He that will have a cake out of the wheat, nust tarry the grinding.–Act 1, Sc. 1.

Alexander. There is among the Greeks
A lord of Trojan blood, nephew to Hector
They call him Ajax.

Good; and what of him ?
Alexander. They say he is a very man per se,
And stands alone.

Cressida. So do all men; unless they are drunk, sick, or have no legs.

Alexander. This man, lady, hath robb’d many beasts of their particular additions ; he is as valiant as the lion, churlish as the bear, slow as the elephant, a man into whom nature hath so crowded humours, that his valour is crushed into folly, his folly sauced with discretion : there is no man hath a virtue that he hath not a glimpse of; nor any man an attaint, but he carries some stain of it: he is melancholy without cause, and merry against the hair : he hath the joints of everything; but everything so out of joint, that he is a gouty Briareus, many hands and no use; or purblind Argus, all eyes and no sight. -Sc. 2.

Cressida. There is among the Greeks, Achilles ; a better man than Troilus.

Pandarus. Achilles ? a drayman, a porter, a very camel. Cressida, Well, well. Pandarus. Well, well ?—why, have you any discretion ? Have you any eyes ? Do you know what a man is ? Is not birth, beauty, good shape, discourse, manhood, learning, gentleness, virtue, youth, liberality, and such like, the spice and salt that season a man ?-Id.

Agamemnon. The ample proposition, that hope makes
In all designs begun on earth below,
Fails in the promis'd largeness ; checks and disasters
Grow in the veins of action highest rear'd :
As knots by the conflux of meeting sap,
Infect the sound pine, and divert his grain
Tortive and errant from his course of growth.–Sc. 3.

Agamemnon. persistive constancy in men ;
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,
The hard and soft, seem all affin'd and kin:
But, in the wind and tempest of her frown,
Distinction, with a broad and powerful fan,
Puffing at all, winnows the light away;
And what hath mass, or matter, by itself
Lies, rich in virtue, and unmingled.

Nestor. . The sea being smooth,
How many shallow bauble boats dare sail
( pon her patient breast, making their way
With those of nobler bulk ;
But let the ruffian Boreas once enrage
The gentle Thetis, and, anon, behold
The strong-ribb'd bark through liquid mountains cut,

between the two moist elements,
Like Perseus' horse : Where's then the saucy boat,
Whose weak untimbered sides but even now
Co-rivall’d greatness ? either to harbour fled,
Or made a toast for Neptune. Even so
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 brize,
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,
As rous'd with rage, with rage doth sympathise,
And, with an accent tun’d in self-same key,
Returns to chiding fortune.

O! when degree is shak'd,
Which is the ladder of all high designs,
The enterprise is sick! ...

They tax our policy and call it cowardice;
Count wisdom as no member of the war;
Forestall prescience, and esteem no act
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
of their observant toil, the enemies' weight,-
Why, this hath not a finger's dignity :
They call this-bed-work, mappery, closet-war:
So that the rain that batters down the wall,
For the great swing and rudeness of his poise,
They place before his hand that made the engine;

[ocr errors]

Or those that with the fineness of their souls
By reason guide his execution.—Sc. 3.

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

Ajax. Speak then, thou unsalted leaven, speak! I will beat thee into handsomeness.—Toad's-stool, learn me the proclamation.

(Strikes hier.) Thersites. Dost thou think I have no sense, thou strikest me thus ?

A jax. The proclamation -
Thersites. Thou art proclaimed a fool, I think.
A jax. Do not, porcupine, do not; my fingers itch.

Thersites. I would thou did’st itch from head to foot, and I had the scratching of thee; I would make thee the loathsomest scab in Greece.

A jax. Cobloaf!

Thersites. ... thou sodden-witten lord ! thou hast no more brain than I have in mine elbows : an assinico may tutor thee; thou scurvy valiant ass !-(Enter ACHILLES and PATROCLC S.)

Achilles. Why, how now, Ajax ? wherefore do you thus ? 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 whosoever you take him to be, he is Ajax.

Achilles. I know that, fool.
Thersites. Ay, but that fool knows not himself.
Ajar. 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 niuth 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-
Achilles. Nay, good Ajax. (AJAX offers to strike him.

ACHILLES interposes.)
Thersites. Has not so much wit-
Achilles. Nay, I must hold you.

upon me.

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. 0! thou 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 ?

Ajar. I bade the vile owl go learn me the tenour of the proelamation, and he rails

Thersites. I serve thee not.
Ajax. Well, go to, go to.
Thersites. I serve bere voluntary.

Achilles. Your last service was sufferance, 'twas not voluntary: Ajax was here the voluntary, and you as under an impress.

Thersites. Even so?—a great deal of your wit, too, lies in your sinews, or else there be liars. Hector shall have a great catch, if he knock out either of your brains ; a' were as good crack a fusty nut with no kernel.

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' brach bids me, shall I ?

Achilles. There's for you, Patroclus.

Thersites. I will see you banged, like clotpoles, ere I come any more to your tents; I will keep where there is wit stirring, and leave the faction of fools. (Exit.)-Act 2, Sc. 1.

Hector. . . modest doubt is called
The beacon of the wise.-Sc. 2.

Hector. Paris and Troilus, you have both said well:
And on the cause and question now in hand
Have gloz'd,—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 distemper'd 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.-Id.

Ulysses (of Achilles). We saw him at the opening of his tent; he is not sick.

Ajar. Yes, lion-sick, sick of proud heart; you may call it melancholy, if you will favour the man; but,

'tis pride.-Sc. 3.

Ulysses. The amity that wisdom knits not, folly may easily untie.--Id.

Ulysses (of Achilles). The elephant hath joints, but none for courtesy; his legs are legs for necessity, not for flexure. . .

Agamemnon. A stirring dwarf we do allowance
Before a sleeping giant.
Ajax (of Achilles). What is he more than another ?
Agamemnon. No more than what he thinks he is.

Ajar. Is he so much ? Do you not think he thinks himself a better man than I am ?

Agamemnon. No question.
Ajar. 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.

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

Agamemnon. Your mind's the clearer, Ajax, and your virtues the fairer. He that is proud, eats up himself: pride is bis own glass, his own trumpet, his own chronicle: and whatever praises itself, but in the deed, devours the deed in the praise.

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

Ulysses. Achilles will not to the field to-morrow.
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,

« PreviousContinue »