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And last, eat up himself. Great Agamemnon, All our abilities, gifts, natures, shapes,
Severals and generals of grace exact,
Achievements, plots, orders, preventions, And this neglection of degree it is
Excitements to the field, or speech for truce, That by a pace goes backward, with a purpose Success, or loss, what is, or is not, serves It hath to climb. The general's disdained As stuff for these two to make paradoxes. By him one step below; he, by the next;
Nes. And in the imitation of these twain That next, by him beneath : so every step, (Whom, as Ulysses says, opinion crowns Exampled by the first pace that is sick
With an imperial voice) many are infect. Of his superior, grows to an envious fever
Ajax is grown self-willed; and bears his head Of pale and bloodless emulation :
In such a rein, in full as proud a place And 't is this fever that keeps Troy on foot, As broad Achilles ; keeps his tent like him ; Not her own sinews. To end a tale of length, Makes factious feasts; rails on our state of war, Troy in our weakness stands, not in her strength. Bold as an oracle : and sets Thersites
Nes. Most wisely hath Ulysses here discovered (A slave whose gall coins slanders like a mint) The fever whereof all our power is sick.
To match us in comparisons with dirt; Agam. The nature of the sickness found, Ulysses, To weaken and discredit our exposure, What is the remedy?
How rank soever rounded in with danger. Ulys. The great Achilles, whom opinion crowns Ulys. They tax our policy, and call it cowThe sinew and the forehand of our host,
ardice; Having his ear full of his airy fame,
Count wisdom as no member of the war; Grows dainty of his worth, and in his tent Forestal prescience, and esteem no act Lies mocking our designs: with him, Patroclus, But that of hand: the still and mental parts,Upon a lazy bed, the live-long day
That do contrive how many hands shall strike, Breaks scurril jests;
When fitness calls them on; and know, by meaAnd with ridiculous and awkward action
sure (Which, slanderer! he imitation calls)
Of their observant toil, the enemies' weight,He pageants us. Sometime, great Agamemnon, Why, this hath not a finger's dignity : Thy topless deputation he puts on;
They call this—bed-work, mappery, closet-war; And, like a strutting player,—whose conceit So that the ram that batters down the wall, Lies in his hamstring, and doth think it rich For the great swing and rudeness of his poize, To hear the wooden dialogue and sound
They place before his hand that made the engine; 'T wixt his stretched footing and the scaffoldage,- | Or those that, with the fineness of their souls, Such to-be-pitied and o'er-wrested seeming By reason guide his execution. He acts thy greatness in: and when he speaks, Nest. Let this be granted, and Achilles' horse 'Tis like a chime a-mending; with terms un Makes many Thetis' sons. [Trumpet sounds. squared,
Agam. What trumpet ? look, Menelaus. Which, from the tongue of roaring Typhon dropped,
Enter Æneas. Would seem hyperboles. At this fusty stuff, Men. From Troy. The large Achilles, on his pressed bed lolling, Agam. What would you 'fore our tent? From his deep chest laughs out a loud applause; Æne. Is this great Agamemnon's tent, I pray? Cries, “ Excellent! 't is Agamemnon just.
Agam. Even this. Now play me Nestor; hem, and stroke thy beard, Æne. May one, that is a herald and a prince, As he, being 'ddressed to some oration."
Do a fair message to his kingly ears? That's done--as near as the extremest ends
Agam. With surety stronger than Achilles' arm
A stranger to those most imperial looks
Æne. Ay: I ask, that I might waken reveShake in and out the rivet: and at this sport
Which is that god in office, guiding men? To rouse a Grecian that is true in love: Which is the high and mighty Agamemnon? If any come, Hector shall honour him; Agam. This Trojan scorns us; or the men of If none, he'll say in Troy, when he retires, Troy
The Grecian dames are sunburned, and not worth Are ceremonious courtiers.
The splinter of a lance. Even so much. Æne. Courtiers as free, as debonair, unarmed, Agam. This shall be told our lovers, lord As bending angels; that's their fame in peace:
Æneas; But when they would seem soldiers, they have If none of them have soul in such a kind, galls,
We left them all at home: but we are soldiers; Good arms, strong joints, true swords; and, Jove's And may that soldier a mere recreant prove, accord,
That means not, hath not, or is not in love! Nothing so full of heart. But peace, Æneas, If then one is, or hath, or means to be, Peace, Trojan ; lay thy finger on thy lips ! That one meets Hector: if none else, I am he. The worthiness of praise distains his worth,
Nes. Tell him of Nestor, one that was a man If that the praised himself bring the praise forth : When Hector's grandsire sucked: he is old now; But what the repining enemy commends,
But, if there be not in our Grecian host That breath fame follows; that praise, sole pure, One noble man, that hath one spark of fire transcends.
To answer for his love, tell him from me, Agam. Sir, you of Troy, call you yourself I'll hide my silver beard in a gold beaver, Æneas?
And in my vantbrace put this withered brawn; Æne. Ay, Greek, that is my name.
And, meeting him, will tell him that my lady Agam. What's your affair, I pray you? Was fairer than his grandame, and as chaste Æne. Sir, pardon; 't is for Agamemnon's ears. As may be in the world. His youth in flood, Agam. He hears nought privately, that comes I'll prove this truth with my three drops of blood. from Troy.
Æne. Now heavens forbid such scarcity of Æne. Nor I from Troy come not to whisper him:
youth! I bring a trumpet to awake his ear;
Ulys. Amen. To set his sense on the attentive bent,
Agam. Fair lord Æneas, let me touch your And then to speak.
hand; Agam. Speak frankly as the wind; To our pavilion shall I lead you, sir. It is not Agamemnon's sleeping hour:
Achilles shall have word of this intent; That thou shalt know, Trojan, he is awake,
So shall each lord of Greece, from tent to tent: He tells thee so himself.
Yourself shall feast with us before you go, Æne. Trumpet, blow loud,
And find the welcome of a noble foe. Send thy brass voice through all these lazy tents ;
[Exeunt all but Ulysses and Nestor. And every Greek of mettle let him know,
[Trumpet sounds. Ulys. I have a young conception in my brain,
Ulys. This 'tis :
Nes. The purpose is perspicuous even as subShall make it good, or do his best to do it,
stance, He hath a lady, wiser, fairer, truer,
Whose grossness little characters sum up: Than ever Greek did compass in his arms; And, in the publication, make no strain And will to-morrow with his trumpet call, But that Achilles, were his brain as barren Midway between your tents and walls of Troy, I As banks of Lybia,—though, Apollo knows,
’T is dry enough, — will, with great speed of
Ulys. And wake him to the answer, think you?
Ulys. Give pardon to my speech :Therefore, it is meet Achilles meet not Hector. Let us, like merchants, shew our foulest wares, And think, perchance, they 'll sell; if not,
The lustre of the better shall exceed,
Hector, Were he not proud, we all should share with him: 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 foiled, 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 sort to fight with Hector: among ourselves, Give him allowance for the better man, For that will physic the great Myrmidon, Who broils in loud applause; and make him fall 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, employed, plucks down Achilles' plumes.
Nes. 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 't were their bone.
Scene 1,-Another part of the Grecian Camp. Ther. Thou shouldst strike him.
Ther. He would pun thee into shivers with Ajax. Thersites,
his fist, as a sailor breaks a biscuit. Ther. Agamemnon-how if he had boils? full, Ajax. You whoreson cur! [Beating him. all over, generally?
Ther. Do, do. Ajax. Thersites,
Ajax. Thou stool for a witch! Ther. And those boils did run? Say so,—did Ther. Ay, do, do; thou sodden-witted lord ! not the general run then? were not that a botchy thou hast no more brain than I have in mine core?
elbows; an assinego may tutor thee. Thou Ajax. Dog!
scurvy-valiant ass! thou art here put to thrash Ther. Then would come some matter from Trojans; and thou art bought and sold among him; I see none now.
those of any wit, like a Barbarian slave. If Ajax. Thou bitch-wolf's son! canst thou not thou use to beat me, I will begin at thy heel, hear? Feel, then.
[Strikes him. and tell what thou art by inches, thou thing of Ther. The plague of Greece upon thee, thou no bowels, thou! mongrel beef-witted lord!
Ajax. You dog! Ajax. Speak, then, thou unsalted leaven! | Ther. You scurvy lord ! speak: I 'll beat thee into handsomeness.
Ajax. You cur !
[Beating him. Ther. I shall sooner rail thee into wit and Ther. Mars his idiot! Do, rudeness ! do, holiness: but I think thy horse will sooner con camel! do, do. an oration, than thou learn a prayer without book. Thou canst strike, canst thou ? a red
Enter Achilles and PatroclUS. murrain o'thy jade's tricks !
Achil. Why, how now, Ajax, wherefore do Ajax. Toadstool! learn me the proclamation.
Ther. Dost thou think I have no sense, thou How now, Thersites? what's the matter, man? strikest me thus?
Ther. You see him there, do you? Ajax. The proclamation,
Achil. Ay; what's the matter? Ther. Thou art proclaimed a fool, I think. Ther. Nay, look upon him.
Ajax. Do not, porcupine! do not; my fingers Achil. So I do; what's the matter? itch.
Ther. Nay, but regard him well. Ther. I would thou didst itch from head to Achil. Well, why I do so. foot, and I had the scratching of thee; I would Ther. But yet you look not well upon him : make thee the loathsomest scab in Greece. When for, whosoever you take him to be, he is Ajax. thou art forth in the incursions, thou strikest as Achil. I know that, fool. slow as another.
Ther. Ay, but that fool knows not himself. Ajax. I say, the proclamation,
Ajar. Therefore I beat thee. Ther. Thou grumblest and railest every hour Ther. Lo, lo, lo, lo, what modicums of wit he on Achilles ; and thou art as full of envy at his utters! His evasions have ears thus long. I greatness, as Cerberus is at Proserpina's beauty; have bobbed his brain more than he has beat ay, that thou bark'st at him.
my bones: I will buy nine sparrows for a penny, Ajax. Mistress Thersites!
and his pia mater is not worth the ninth part of