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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, 8 I will begin at thy heel, and tell what thou art by inches, thou thing of no bowels, thou!

Ajax. You dog!
Ther. You scurvy lord!
Ajax. You cur!

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

Enter ACHILLES and PATROCLUS. 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, who-
soever 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 bobb'd 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


this would be forsworn, and I again an asinego, as your sister left me.” Steevens.

Asinego is Portuguese for a little ass. Musgrave.

And Dr. Musgrave might have added, that, in bis native county, it is the vulgar name for an ass at present. Henley.

The same term, as I am informed, is also current among the lower rank of people in Norfolk. Steevens.

thou art bought and sold - ] This was a proverbial expreş-: sion. Malone. So, in King Richard III:

“ For Dickon thy master is bought and sold." Again, in King Henry VI, Part I:

“ From bought and sold lord Talbot.” Steevens. 8 If thou use to beat me,] i. e. if thou continue to beat me, or make a practice of beating me. Steevens.

- his pia mater &c.] So, in Twelfth Night: - here VOL. XII.


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
Achil. Nay, good Ajax.

[AJAX offers to strike him, Achil. interposes. 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!

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.
Achi. 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. 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 3 on their


comes one of thy kin has a most weak pia mater.” The pia mater is a membrane that protects the substance of the brain. Steevens.

-is beaten voluntary:] i. e. voluntarily. Shakspeare often uses adjectives adverbially. See Vol. VIII, p. 302, n. 6. Malone.

2 Hector shall have a great catch, if he knock out either of your brains ; &c.] The same thought occurs in Cymbeline :

not Hercules
« Could have knock'd out his brains, for he had none."


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 hoid my peace when Achilles' brach bids me,4 shall I?



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Nestor,—whose wit was mouldy ere your grandsires had nails —) (Old copiestheir grandsires) This is one of these edi. tors' wise riddles. What! was Nestor's wit mouldy before his grandsire's toes bad any nails ? Preposterous nonsense! and yet so easy a change as one poor pronoun for another, sets all right and clear. Theobald.

when Achilles' brach bids me,] The folio and quarto read - Achilles brooch. Brooch is an appendant ornament. The meaning may be, equivalent to one of Achilles' hangers-on. Johnson.

Brach I believe to be the true reading. He calls Patroclus, in contempt, Achilles's dog. So, in Timon of Athens :

“When thou art Timon's dog' &c. A brooch was a cluster of gems affixed to a pin, and anciently worn in the hats of people of distinction. See the portrait of Sir Christopher Hatton Steevens

I believe brache to be the true reading. It certainly means a bitch, and not a dog, which renders the expression more abusive and offensive. Thersites calls Patroclus Achilles' brache, for the same reason that he afterwards calls him his male harlot, and his masculine whore.' M Mason.

I have little doubt of broch being the true reading, as a term of contempt.

The meaning of broche is well ascertained-a spit-a bodkin; which being formerly used in the ladies' dress, was adorned with jewels, and gold and silver ornaments. -Hence in old lists of jewels are found brotchets.

I have a very magnificent one, which is figured and described by Pennant, in the second volume of his Tour to Scotland, in 1772, p. 14, in which the spit or bodkin forms but a very small part of the whole. Lort.

Broch was, properly, a trinket with a pin affixed to it, and is consequently used by Shakspeare for an ornament in general. So, in Hamlet :

he is the brooch indeed And gem of all the nation." So, in Antony and Cleopatra:

not the imperious show
“Of the full fortun'd Cæsar, ever shall
6. Be brooch'd with me.”

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 proclaimed through all our

That Hector, by the first 5 hour of the sun,
Will, with a trumpet, 'twixt our tents and Troy,
To-morrow morning call some knight to arms,
That hath a stomach; and such a one, that dare
Maintain-I know not what; 'tis trash; Farewel.

Ajax. Farewel. 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.



Troy. A Room in Priam's Palace.


Pri. After so many hours, lives, speeches spent,
Thus once again says Nestor from the Greeks;
Deliver Helen, and all damage else-
As honour, loss of time, travel, expence,
Wounds, friends, and what else dear that is consum'd
In hot digestion of this cormorant war,

But Thersites could not mean to compliment Patroclus, and therefore this cannot, I think, be the true reading. Brach, which was introduced by Mr. Rowe, might serve well enough, but that it certainly meant a bitch. (See Vol. VI, p. 14, n. 9.] It is possible, however, that Shakspeare might have used the word as synonymous to follower, without any regard to sex.

I have sometimes thought that the word intended might have been Achilles's brock, i.e. that over-weening conceited coxcomb, who attends upon Achilles. Our author has used this term of contempt in Twelfth Night: “Marry, hang thee, brock !So, in The Fests of George Peele, quarto, 1657: “ This self-conceited brock, had George invited,” &c. Malone. A brock, literally, means--a badger. Steevens.

the first ] So the quarto. Folio-the fifth - Malone.


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 spungyo to suck in the sense of fear, More ready to cry out - Who knows what follows ?? Than Hector is : The wound of



Surety secure; but modest doubt is call'd
The beacon of the wise, the tent that searches
To the bottom of the worst. Let Helen go:
Since the first sword was drawn about this question,
Every tithe soul, 'mongst many thousand dismes,8
Hath been as dear as Helen; I mean, of ours :
If we have lost so many tenths of ours,
To guard a thing not ours; not worth to us,
Had it our name, the value of one ten;
What merit's in that reason, which denies
The yielding of her up?

Fy, fy, 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 9
And buckle-in a waist most fathomless,
With spans and inches so diminutive
As fears and reasons? fy, for godly shame!

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




spungy - ] So, in Macbeth:

his spungy officers.” Steevens.

Who knows what follows?] Who knows what ill consequences may follow from pursuing this or that course? Malone:

many thousand dismes,] Disme, Fr. is the tithe, thetenth. So, in the Prologue to Gower's Confessio Amantis, 1554:

“ The disme goeth to the battaile.” Again, in Holinsbed's Reign of King Richard II:, so that there was levied, what of the disme, and by the devotion of the peo. ple,” &c. Steevens.

9 The past.proportion of his infinite?] Thus read both the copies. The meaning is, that greatness to which no measure bears any proportion. The modern editors silently give:

The vast proportion Johnson.
though you bite so sharp at reasons, &c.] Here is di


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