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ne. Ay;

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?
Which is the high and mighty Agamemnon?
Agum. This Trojan scorns us; or the men of
Are ceremonious courtiers.
Ene. Courtiers as free, as debonair, unarm'd,
As bending angels; that's their fame in peace:
But when they would seem soldiers, they have

Good arms, strong joints, true swords; and,
Jove's accord,

Nothing so full of heart. But peace, Eneas,
Peace, Trojan; lay thy finger on thy lips!
The worthiness of praise distains his worth,
If that the prais'd himself bring the praise

But what the repining enemy commends,
That breath fame follows; that praise, sole
pure, transcends.

Agam. Sir, you of Troy, call you yourself

Ene. Ay, Greek, that is my name.
Agam. What's your affair, I pray you?
Ene. Sir, pardon; 'tis for Agamemnon's

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Ene. Trumpet, blow loud, Send thy brass voice through all these lazy And every Greek of mettle, let him know, What Troy means fairly shall be spoke aloud. [Trumpet sounds. We have, great Agamemnon, here in Troy A prince call'd Hector, (Priam is his father,) Who in this dull and long-continued truce Is rusty grown; he bade me take a trumpet, And to this purpose speak. Kings, princes, lords!

If there be one among 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 to fear;
That loves his mistress more than in confession,
(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 chal-

Hector, in view of Trojans and of Greeks,
Shall make it good, or do his best to do it,

* Freely.

He hath a lady, wiser, fairer, truer,
Than ever Greek did compass in his arms;
And will to-morrow with his trumpet call,
Mid-way 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 sun-burn'd, and not
Even so much.
told our lovers, lord

The splinter of a lance.
Agam. This shall be


If none of them have soul in such a kind,
We left them all at home: But we are soldiers;
And may that soldier a mere recreant prove,
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 am he.
Nest. Tell him of Nestor, one that was a
When Hector's grandsire suck'd: he is old
But if there be not in our Grecian host
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,
And in my vantbrace put this wither'd brawn;
And meeting him, will tell him, That my lady
Was fairer than his grandame, and as chaste
As may be in the world: His youth in flood,
I'll prove this truth with my three drops of

Eue. Now heavens forbid such scarcity of

Ulyss. Amen!

Agam. Fair lord Æneas, let me touch your To our pavilion shall I lead you, Sir. [hand; Achilles shall have word of this intent:" 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. Ulyss. Nestor,

Nest. What says Ulysses?

Ulyss. I have a young conception in my brain,

Be you my time to bring it to some shape.
Nest. What is't?

Ulyss. This 'tis:


Blunt wedges rive hard knots: The seeded
That hath to this maturity blown up

In rank Achilles, must or now be cropp'd,
Or, shedding, breed a nursery of like evil,
To overbulk us all.

Nest. Well, and how?

Ulyss. This challenge that the gallant Hec. tor sends,

However it is spread in general name,
Relates in purpose only to Achilles.

Nest. The purpose is perspicuous even as substance,

Whose grossness little characters sum up:
And, in the publication, make no strain,t
But that Achilles, were his brain as barren
As banks of Libya,-though, Apollo knows,
'Tis dry enough,-will, with what great speed
of judgement,

Ay, with celerity, find Hector's purpose
Pointing on him.

Ulyss. And wake him to the answer, think." you?

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For here the Trojans taste our dear'st repute
With their fin'st palate: And trust to me,

Our imputation shall be oddly pois'd
In this wild action: for the success,
Although particular, shall give a scantling
Of good or bad unto the general;
And in such indexes, although small prickst
To their subsequent volumes, there is seen
The baby figure of the giant mass

Of things to come at large. It is suppos'd,
He, that meets Hector, issues from our choice:
And choice, being mutual, act of all our souls,
Makes merit her election; and doth boil,
As 'twere from forth us all, a man distill'd
Out of our virtues; Who miscarrying,
What heart receives from hence a conquering

To steel a strong opinion to themselves?
Which entertain'd, limbs are his instruments,
In no less working, than are swords and bows
Directive by the limbs.

Ulyss. Give pardon to my speech;-
Therefore 'tis meet, Achilles meet not Hector.
Let us, like merchants, show our foulest wares,
And think, perchance, they'll sell; if not,
The lustre of the better shall exceed,
By showing the worse first. Do not consent,
That ever Hector and Achilles meet;
For both our honour and our shame, in this,
Are dogg'd with two strange followers.
Nest. I see them not with my old eyes; what
are they?

Ulyss. What glory our Achilles shares from

Were he not proud, we all should share with


But he already is too insolent;

And we were better parch in Afric sun,
Than in the pride and salt scorn of his eyes,
Should he 'scape Hector fair: If he were foil'd,
Why, then we did our main opinion; crush
In taint of our best man. No, make a lottery;
And, by device, let blockish Ajax draw
The sorts to fight with Hector: Among our-

Give him allowance for the better man,
For that will physic the great Myrmidon,
Who broils in loud applause; and make him

His crest, that prouder than blue Iris bends.
If the dull brainless Ajax come safe off,
We'll dress him up in voices: If he fail,
Yet go we under our opinion|| still
That we have better men. But, hit or miss,
Our project's life this shape of sense assumes-
Ajax, employ'd, plucks down Achilles' plumes.
Nest. Ulysses,

Now I begin to relish thy advice;
And I will give a taste of it forthwith
To Agamemnon: go we to him straight.
Two curs shall tame each other; Pride alone
Must tarre¶ the mastiffs on, as 'twere their




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did not the general run then? were not that a botchy core?

Ajax. Dog,

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

Ajax. Thou bitch-wolf's son, canst thou not hear? Feel then. [Strikes him. Ther. The plague of Greece upon thee, thou mongrel beef-witted lord!

Ajax. Speak then, thou unsalted leaven, speak: I will beat thee into handsomeness.

Ther. 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. Toads-stool, learn me the proclamation. Ther. Dost thou think, I have no sense, thou strikest me thus?

Ajax. The proclamation,—

Ther. Thou art proclaimed a fool, I think. Ajax. Do not, porcupine, 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 loathsomest scab in Greece. When thou art forth in the incursions, thou strikest as slow as another.

Ajax. I say, the proclamation,

Ther. 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 barkest at him. Ajax. Mistress Thersites!

Ther. Thou shouldest strike him.
Ajar. Cobloaf!

Ther. He would pun* thee into shivers with his fist, as a sailor breaks a biscuit. Ajax. You whoreson cur!

Ther. Do, do.

Ajax. Thou stool for a witch!

[Beating him.

Ther. Ay, do, do; thou sodden-witted lord! thou hast no more brain than I have in mine elbows; an assinego may tutor thee: Thou scurvy valiant ass; thou art here put 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!

Ajux. You dog!

Ther. You scurvy lord!
Ajax. You cur!

[Beating him. Ther. Mars his idiot! do, rudeness; do, camel; do, do.


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 I do so.

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

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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

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SCENE 11.-Troy.-A Room in PRIAM'S Palace.

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 Enter PRIAM, Hector, Troilus, Paris, and

his head, I'll tell you what I say of him.

Achil. What?

Ther. I say, this Ajax

Achil. Nay, good Ajax.


Pri. After so many hours, lives, speeches


[AJAX offers to strike him, ACHILLES Thus once again says Nestor from the Greeks;


Ther. Has not so much wit

Achil. Nay, I must hold you..

Deliver Helen, and all damage else―
As honour, loss of time, travel, expense,
Wounds, friends, and what else dear that is

Ther. As will stop the eye of Helen's needle, In hot digestion of this cormorant war,

for whom he comes to fight.

Achil. Peace, fool!

Ther. 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

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


Ther. I serve thee not.

Ajax. Well, go to, go to.

Ther. I serve here voluntary.t

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

Ther. 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.

Achil. What, with me too, Thersites ? Ther. 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. Achil. What, what?

Ther. Yes, good sooth; To, Achilles! to, Ajax! to!

Ajax. I shall cut out your tongue.

Ther. "Tis no matter; I shall speak as much as thou, afterwards.

Patr. No more words, Thersites; peace. Ther. I will hold my peace when Achilles' bracht bids me, shall I?

Achil. There's for you, Patroclus. Ther. I will see you hanged, 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.

Patr. A good riddance.
Achil. Marry, this, Sir, is proclaim'd through
all our host:

That Hector, by the first hour of the sun,
Will, with a trumpet, 'twixt our tents and


To-morrow morning call some knight to arms, That hath a stomach; and such a one, that [well. Maintain-I know not what; 'tis trash: FareAjax. Farewell. Who shall answer him? Achil. I know not, it is put to lottery; otherwise,

He knew his man.

Ajax. O, meaning you :-I'll go learn more of it. [Exeunt.

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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,

There is no lady of more softer bowels,
More spungy to suck in the sense of fear,
More ready to cry out-Who knows what fol-

Than Hector is: The wound of peace is surety,
Surety secure; but modest doubt is call'd
To the bottom of the worst. Let Helen go:
The beacon of the wise, the tent that searches
Since the first sword was drawn about this


Every tithe soul, 'mongst many thousand dismes,*

Hath been as dear as Helen; I mean, of ours:
To guard a thing not ours; not worth to us,
If we have lost so many tenths of ours,
Had it our name, the value of one ten;
What merits in that reason, which denies
The yielding of her up?

Weigh you' the worth and honour of a king,
Tro. Fie, fie, my brother!
So great as our dread father, in a scale
of common ounces? will you with counters
The past-proportion of his infinite? [sum
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 shar

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your reasons:

You fur your gloves with reason. Here are
You know, an enemy intends you harm;
You know, a sword employ'd 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 disorb'd?-Nay, if we talk of

Let's shut our gates, and sleep: Manhood

and honour

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Hect. But value dwells not in particular | Cry, Trojans, cry! a Helen, and a woe:
It holds his estimate and dignity [will; Cry, cry! Troy burns, or else let Helen go.

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 attributive
To what infectiously itself affects,
Without some image of the affected merit.
Tro. 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 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 ho-


We turn not back the silks upon the merchant,
When we have soil'd them; nor the remainder

We do not throw in unrespective sieve,t
Because we now are full. It was thought meet,
Paris should do some vengeance on the Greeks:
Your breath with full consent bellied his sails;
The seas and winds (old wranglers) took a
And did him service: he touch'd the ports de-
And, for an old aunt,‡ whom the Greeks held

He brought a Grecian queen, whose youth
and freshness
Wrinkles Apollo's, and makes pale the morn-
Why keep we her? the Grecians keep our


Is she worth keeping? why, she is a pearl,
Whose price hath launch'd above a thousand

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,

If you'll confess, he brought home noble prize,
(As you must needs, for you all clapp'd your

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 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!
Cas. [Within.] Cry, Trojans, cry!
Pri. What noise? what shriek is this?


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?

Tro. 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 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


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 propugnations 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.

Par. 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
Wip'd off, in honourable keeping her.
What treason were it to the ransack'd queen,
Disgrace to your great worths, and shame to
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 bo-
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 bestow'd, or death unfam'd,

Tro. 'Tis our mad sister, I do know her Where Helen is the subject: then, I say,


Cas. [Within.] Cry, Trojans!
Hect. It is Cassandra.

Enter CASSANDRA, raving.
Cas. Cry, Trojans, cry! lend me ten thou-

sand eyes,
And I will fill them with prophetic tears.
Hect. Peace, sister, peace.
Cas. Virgins and boys, mid-age and wrink-

led elders,

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


Troy must not be, nor goodly Ilion stand; Our fire-brand brother, Paris, burns us all. + Basket.

Shrink, or fly off.

Priam's sister, Hesione.

Well may we fight for her, whom, we know


The world's large spaces cannot parallel.

Hect. Paris, and Troilus, you have both said


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

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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 nations, 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

Is this in way of truth: yet ne'ertheless,
My spritely brethren, I propendt to you
In resolution to keep Helen still;

For 'tis a cause that hath no mean dependence
Upon our joint and several dignities.

Tro. Why, there you touch'd the life of our

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

She is a theme of honour and renown;
A spur to valiant and magnanimous deeds;
Whose present courage may beat down our


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Enter PATROclus.

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

Ther. If I could have remembered a gilt counterfeit, thou wouldest 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 be sworn and sworn upon't, she never shroudlays thee out, says-thou art a fair corse, I'll ed any but lazars. Amen.-Where's Achilles? Putr. What, art thou devout? wast thou in prayer?

Ther. Ay; The heavens hear me!

Achil. Who's there?
Patr. Thersites, my lord.

Why, my cheese, my digestion, why hast thou
Achil. Where, where?-Art thou come?
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?

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

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

Patr. Thou mayest tell, that knowest.
Achil. O, tell, tell.

Ther. I'll decline the whole question. Aga memnon 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?

Ther. Make that demand of the prover.-It suffices me, thou art. Look you, who comes here!


Ther. 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 [Exit. of gods; and, Mercury, lose all the serpentine Ther. Here is such patchery, such juggling, craft of thy Caduceus; if ye take not that little and such knavery! all the argument is, a little less-than-little wit from them that they cuckold, and a whore; good quarrel, to have! which short-armed ignorance itself draw emulous factions, and bleed to death knows is so abundant scarce, it will not in cir-upon. Now the dry serpigos on the subject! cumvention deliver a fly from a spider, without and war, and lechery, confound all!

drawing their massy irons, and cutting the web. After this, the vengeance on the whole camp! or, rather, the 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!

* Through.
The wand of Mercury which is wreathed with servents.

+ Incline to, as a question of honour.

Achil. Patroclus, I'll speak with nobody:Come in with me, Thersites.

Agam. Where is Achilles?


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


Agam. Let it be known to him that we are

He shent our messengers; and we lay by
Our appertainments, visiting of him:

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