Page images
PDF

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.

Hect. 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 advertis'd, their great general slept,
Whilst emulation in the army crept:

This, I presume, will wake him. [Ereunt. SCENE III.-The Grecian Camp. Before ACHILLEs’ Tent.

Enter THERSITEs.

Ther. How now, Thersites what! lost in the labyrinth of thy fury” Shall the elephant Ajax carry it thus 2 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. [Kneels."] 0, 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 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 Nea

1 Not in f.e. 2 Dyce reads: short-aim'd.

politan" bone-ache: for that, methinks; is the curse dependant on those that war for a placket. [Rises.”] I have said my prayers, and devil, envy, say Amen. What, ho! my lord Achilles Enter PATRocLUs. Patr. Who’s there 2 Thersites? Good Thersites, come in and rail. Ther. If I could have remembered a gilt counterfeit, thou wouldest not have slipped out of my contempla– tion; 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 corse, 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! Enter AcHILLEs. Achil. Who's there? Patr. Thersites, my lord. Achil. Where, where?—Art thou come 2 Why, my cheese, my digestion, why hast thou not served thyself in to my table so many meals 2 Come ; what’s Agamemnon 2 Ther. Thy commander, Achilles. Then, tell me, Patroclus, what’s Achilles? Patr. 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 must 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. Derve this: come.

1 2 Not in f.e.

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 thy Creator."—It suffices me, thou art. Look you, who comes here? Enter AGAMEMNON, ULysses, NESTOR, DioMEDEs, and AJAX. 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. 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. We sent" 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. Patr. I shall say so to him. [Exit. Ulyss. We saw him at the opening of his tent: He is not sick. Ajaw. 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. [Taking AGAMEMNoN aside. Nest. What moves Ajax thus to bay at him 2 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

of the prover: in quartos. 2 Patching up to deceive ; roguery. * A kind of tetter. * He sent: in folio. Theobald reads: He shent. * of, so : in folio.

wish, than their faction: but it was a strong com-
posure, a fool could disunite.
Ulyss. The amity that wisdom knits not, folly may
easily untie. Here comes Patroclus.
Nest. No Achilles with him.
Re-enter PATRocI.Us.
Ulyss. The elephant hath joints, but none for cour-
tesy: his legs are legs for necessity, not for flexure.
Patr., 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.
Agam. Hear you, Patroclus.
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 sin,
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
Here tend the savage strangeness he puts on, [himself
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.
Patr. I shall; and bring his answer presently. [Exit.
Agam. In second voice we’ll not be satisfied,

1 Lunacies. lines: in folio.

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

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

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 down himself. What should I say ? He is so plaguy proud, that the death tokens of it Cry—"No recovery.""' Agam.

Let Ajax go to him.Dear lord, go you and greet him in his tent:

1 'gainst itself: in folio.

« PreviousContinue »