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Achil. Why, how now, Ajax! wherefore do
you thus? How now, Thersites! what's the
matter, man?

Ther. You see him there, do you?
Achil. Ay; what's the matter?

Ther. Nay, look upon him.

Achil. So I do what's the matter?
Ther. Nay, but regard him well.
Achil. Well!' why, so I do.

Ther. But yet you look not well upon him; for, whosoever you take him to be, he is Ajax. Achil. I know that, fool.

Ther. Ay, but that fool knows not himself.
Ajax. Therefore I beat thee.


Ther. Lo, lo, lo, lo, what modicums of wit he utters! his evasions have ears thus long. I have bobbed his brain more than he has beat my bones: I-will buy nine sparrows for a penny, and his pia mater is not worth the ninth part of a sparrow. This lord, Achilles, Ajax, who wears his wit in his belly and his guts in his head, I'll tell you what I say of him.

Achil. What?

Ther. I say, this Ajax


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SCENE II.-Troy. A Room in Priam's Palace.

Pri. After so many hours, lives, speeches spent, AJAX offers to strike him. Thus once again says Nestor from the Greeks: 'Deliver Helen, and all damage else,

Achil. Nay, good Ajax.
Ther. Has not so much wit-
Achil. Nay, I must hold you.

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

Achil. Peace, fool!

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Ajax. O thou damned cur! I shall-
Achil. Will you set your wit to a fool's?
Ther. No, I warrant you; for a fool's will
shame it.

Patr. Good words, Thersites.
Achil. What's the quarrel?


Ajax. I bade the vile owl go learn me the tenour of the proclamation, and he rails upon me. Ther. I serve thee not. Ajax. Well, go to, go to. Ther. I serve here voluntary. Achil. Your last service was sufferance, 'twas not voluntary; no man is beaten voluntary: Ajax was here the voluntary, and you as under an impress.

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


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Ther. Yes, good sooth: to, Achilles! to, Ajax! to!

Ajax. I shall cut out your tongue.


As honour, loss of time, travail, expense,
Wounds, friends, and what else dear that is con-

In hot digestion of this cormorant war,
Shall be struck off.' Hector, what say you to't?
Hect. Though no man lesser fears the Greeks
than I,

As far as toucheth my particular,
Yet, dread Priam,


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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!
Hel. No marvel, though you bite so sharp at


You are so empty of them. Should not our father
Bear the great sway of his affairs with reasons,

Ther. "Tis no matter; I shall speak as much Because your speech hath none that tells him so? as thou afterwards.

Patr. No more words, Thersites; peace!

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

Tro. You are for dreams and slumbers, brother priest;

You fur your gloves with reason. Here are your


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We do not throw in unrespective sink
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 touch'd the ports desir'd,
And for an old aunt whom the Greeks held

He brought a Grecian queen, whose youth and freshness

Wrinkles Apollo's, and makes stale the morning. Why keep we her? the Grecians keep our aunt: Is she worth keeping? why, she is a pearl, Whose price hath launch'd above a thousand ships,



And turn'd crown'd kings to merchants.
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 clapp'd 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 priz'd
Richer than sea and land? O! theft most base,
That we have stol'n what we do fear to keep;
But thieves unworthy of a thing so stol'n,
That in their country did them that disgrace
We fear to warrant in our native place.
Cas. Within. Cry, Trojans, cry!

What noise? what shriek? Tro. 'Tis our mad sister, I do know her voice.

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And I will fill them with prophetic tears.
Hect. Peace, sister, peace!

Cas. Virgins and boys, mid-age and wrinkled eld,

Soft infancy, that nothing canst but cry,
Add to my clamours! 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 Ilion 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.



Hect. 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?

Why, brother Hector,
We may not think the justness of each act
Such and no other than event doth form it, 120
Nor once deject the courage of our minds,
Because Cassandra's mad: her brain-sick rap-

Cannot distaste the goodness of a quarrel
Which hath our several honours all engag'd
To make it gracious. For my private part,
I am no more touch'd 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.


Par. Else might the world convince of levity As well my undertakings as your counsels; But I attest the gods, your full consent Gave wings to my propension and cut off All fears attending on so dire a project: For what, alas! can these my single arms? What propugnation is in one man's valour, To stand the push and enmity of those This quarrel would excite? Yet, I protest, Were I alone to pass the difficulties, And had as ample power as I have will, Paris should ne'er retract what he hath done, Nor faint in the pursuit.

Pri. Paris, you speak Like one besotted on your sweet delights: You have the honey still, but these the gall; So to be valiant is no praise at all.


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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.

Hect. 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. Nature craves
All dues be render'd 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-order'd 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 nation speak aloud



To have her back return'd: 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 dependance
Upon our joint and several dignities.


Tro. Why, there you touch'd 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 promis'd glory
As smiles upon the forehead of this action
For the wide world's revenue.

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be not taken till these two undermine it, the walls will stand till they fall of themselves. O! thou great thunder-darter of Olympus; forget that thou art Jove the king of gods, and, Mercury, lose all the serpentine craft of thy caduceus, if ye take not that little, little, less than little wit from them that they have; which shortarmed ignorance itself knows is so abundant scarce, it will not in circumvention deliver a fly from a spider, without drawing their massy irons and cutting the web. After this, the vengeance on the whole camp! or rather, the Neapolitan bone-ache! for that, methinks, is the curse dependant on those that war for a placket. I have said my prayers, and, devil Envy, say Amen. What ho! my Lord Achilles !



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

Ther. If I could have remembered a gilt counterfeit, thou would'st not have slipped out of my contemplation: but it is no matter; thyself upon thyself! The common curse of mankind, folly and ignorance, be thine in great revenue ! heaven bless thee from a tutor, and discipline come not near thee! Let thy blood be thy direction till thy death! then if she that lays thee out says thou art a fair corpse, I'll be sworn and sworn upon't she never shrouded any but lazars. Amen. Where's Achilles?

Patr. What! art thou devout? wast thou in prayer?

Ther. Ay; the heavens hear me!

A chil. Who's there?

Patr. Thersites, my lord.


Achil. Where, where? Art thou come? Why, my cheese, my digestion, why hast thou not served thyself in to my table so many meals? Come, what's Agamemnon?

Ther. Thy commander, Achilles. Then tell me, Patroclus, what's Achilles? Patr. Thy lord, Thersites. pray thee, what's thyself?

Then tell me, I


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

Patr. Thou may'st tell that knowest.
Achil. O tell, tell.

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

Patr. You rascal!


Ther. Peace, fool! I have not done. Achil. He is a privileged man. Proceed, Thersites.

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

Achil. Derive this, come.

Ther. Agamemnon is a fool to offer to command Achilles; Achilles is a fool to be commanded of Agamemnon; Thersites is a fool to serve such a fool; and Patroclus is a fool positive.

Patr. Why am I a fool?


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Achil. Patroclus, I'll speak with nobody. Come in with me, Thersites. Exit. Ther. Here is such patchery, such juggling, and such knavery! all the argument is a cuckold and a whore; a good quarrel to draw emulous factions and bleed to death upon. Now, the dry serpigo on the subject! and war and lechery confound all! Exit. 82


Agam. Where is Achilles?

Patr. Within his tent; but ill dispos'd, my lord.
Agam. 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.

I shall say so to him. Exit. 99
Ulyss. 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 a cause. A word, my lord. Takes AGAMEMNON aside. Nest. What moves Ajax thus to bay at him? Ulyss. Achilles hath inveigled his fool from him.

Nest. Who, Thersites ? Ulyss. He.


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

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

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

Ulyss. The amity that wisdom knits not folly may easily untie. Here comes Patroclus. Nest. No Achilles with him?



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

Patr. Achilles bids me say, he is much sorry, If any thing more than your sport and pleasure Did move your greatness and this noble state To call upon him; he hopes it is no other But for your health and your digestion sake, An after-dinner's breath.

Hear you, Patroclus; 120
We are too well acquainted with these answers :
But his evasion, wing'd 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 on 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 come to speak with him; and you shall not

If you do say we think him over-proud


And under-honest, in self-assumption greater Than in the note of judgment; 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.
Pair. I shall; and bring his answer presently.


Exit. Agam. In second voice we 'll not be satisfied; We come to speak with him. Ulysses, enter you. Exit ULYSSES.


Ajax. What is he more than another? Agam. No more than what he thinks he is. Ajax. Is he so much? Do you not think he thinks himself a better man than I am ? Agam. No question.

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

Agam. No, noble Ajax; you are as strong, as valiant, as wise, no less noble, much more gentle, and altogether more tractable.


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

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

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

Nest. Aside. Yet he loves himself is 't not strange?

Re-enter ULYSSES.


Ulyss. Achilles will not to the field to-morrow. Agam. What's his excuse?


He doth rely on none, But carries on the stream of his dispose Without observance or respect of any, In will peculiar and in self-admission.

Agam. Why will he not upon our fair request Untent his person and share the air with us! Ulyss. Things small as nothing, for request's sake only,

He makes important: possess'd he is with greatness,


And speaks not to himself but with a pride
That quarrels at self-breath: imagin'd worth
Holds in his blood such swoln and hot discourse,
That 'twixt his mental and his active parts
Kingdom'd Achilles in commotion rages
And batters 'gainst itself: what should I say?
He is so plaguy proud that the death-tokens of it
Cry No recovery.'
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 190
At your request a little from himself.

Ulyss. 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

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And here's a lord,-come knights from east to west,

And cull their flower, Ajax shall cope the best. Agam. Go we to council. Let Achilles sleep:

Ulyss. Not for the worth that hangs upon our Light boats sail swift, though greater hulks draw quarrel.

Ajax. A paltry, insolent fellow !

Nest. Aside. How he describes himself! Ajax. Can he not be sociable?


Ulyss. A side. The raven chides blackness. Ajax. I'll let his humours blood.



PRIAM's Palace.


Agam. Aside. He will be the physician that should be the patient.

Ajax. An all men were o' my mind,Ulyss. Aside. Wit would be out of fashion. Ajax. A' should not bear it so, a' should eat swords first: shall pride carry it?


Nest. Aside. An 'twould, you'd carry half. Ulyss. Aside. A' would have ten shares. Ajax. I will knead him; I'll make him supple. Nest. Aside. He's not yet through warm: force him with praises: pour in, pour in; his ambition is dry.

Ulyss. To AGAMEMNON. My lord, you feed too much on this dislike.

Nest. Our noble general, do not do so.
Dio. You must prepare to fight without Achilles.
Ulyss. Why, 'tis this naming of him does him

Here is a man-but 'tis before his face;
I will be silent.

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Would he were a Trojan !

Nest. What a vice were it in Ajax now,-
Ulyss. If he were proud,-

Or covetous of praise,-
Ulyss. Ay, or surly borne,--
Or strange, or self-affected!
Ulyss. Thank the heavens, lord, thou art of
sweet composure;

Praise him that got thee. she that gave thee suck:
Fam'd be thy tutor, and thy parts of nature
Thrice-fam'd, beyond all erudition :

But he that disciplin'd thine arms to fight,
Let Mars divide eternity in twain,
And give him half: and, for thy vigour,
Bull-bearing Milo his addition yield


SCENE I.-Troy.

Enter PANDARUS and a Servant.

Pan. Friend! you! pray you, a word: do not

you follow the young Lord Paris?

Serv. Ay, sir, when he goes before me
Pan. You depend upon him? I mean.

Serv. Sir, I do depend upon the Lord.

Pan. You depend upon a noble gentleman; I must needs praise him.

Serv. The Lord be praised!

Pan. You know me, do you not?
Serv. Faith, sir, superficially.


Pan. Friend, know me better. I am the Lord Pandarus.

Serv. I hope I shall know your honour better. Pan. I do desire it.

Serv. You are in the state of grace.

Pan. Grace! not so, friend; honour and lordship are my titles. Music within. What music is this?

Serv. I do but partly know, sir: it is music in parts.

Pan. Know you the musicians?

Serv. Wholly, sir.

Pan. Who play they to?

Serv. To the hearers, sir.

Pan. At whose pleasure, friend?


Serv. At mine, sir, and theirs that love music.
Pan. Command, I mean, friend.
Serv. Who shall I command, sir?

Pan. Friend, we understand not one another I am too courtly, and thou art too cunning. At whose request do these men play?


Serv. That's to 't, indeed, sir. Marry, sir, at the request of Paris my lord, who's there in person; with him the mortal Venus, the heartblood of beauty, love's invisible soul.

Pan. Who, my cousin Cressida ?

Serv. No, sir, Helen: could you not find out that by her attributes?

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