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Achil. 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; 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. Agamemnon commands Achilles; Achilles is my lord; I am Patroclus' knower; and Patroclus is a fool.6

Patr. You rascal!
Ther. Peace, fool; I have not done.
Achil. He is a previleged 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 Aga. memnon; 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?



decline the whole question.] Deduce the question from the first case to the last. Johnson.

Patroclus is a fool.] The four next speeches are not in the quarto. Johnson.

- a fool positive.] The poet is still thinking of his gramthe first degree of comparison being here in his thoughts.

Malone. - of the prover. ] So the quarto. Fohnson. The folio profanely reads—to thy creator. Steevens.

There seems to be a profane allusion in the last speech but one spoken by Thersites. Malone.


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and AJAX.
Achil. Patroclus, I'll speak with nobody :

-Come in with me, Thersites.

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 !

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;2 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.

Ajax. Yes, lion-sick, sick of proud heart: you may call it melancholy, if you will favour the man; but, by




to draw emulous factions,] i. e. envious, contending factions. See p. 73, n. 6. Malone.

Why not rival factions, factions jealous of each other? Steevens,
Now the dry serpigo &c.] This

is added in the folio. Johnson. The serpigo is a kind of tetter. The term has already occurred in Measure for Measure. Steevens.

2 He shent our messengers;] i. e. rebuked, rated. Warburton.

This word is used in common by all our ancient writers. So, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, Book IV, ch. vi:

" Yet for no bidding, not for being shent,

« Would he restrained be from his attendement."
Again, in the ancient metrical romance of The Sowdon of Baby-
koyne, p.

hastowe no mynde
" How the cursed Sowdan Laban

“ All messengeris he doth shende." Steevens.
The quarto reads-sate; the folio-sent. The correction was
made by Mr. Theobald. Sir T. Hanmer reads-He sent us mes-
sengers. I have great doubts concerning the emendation now
adopted, though I have nothing satisfactory to proposė. Though
sent might easily have been misprinted for shent, how could sate
(the reading of the original copy) and shent have been confounded!




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my head, 'tis pride: But why, why? let him show us a

- A word, my lord. [Takes Agam, aside. Nest. What moves Ajax thus to bay at him? Uly88. 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,3 a fool could disunite.

Ulyss. The amity, that wisdom knits not, folly may easily untie. Here comes Patroclus.

Re-enter 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, 5


composure,] So reads the quarto very properly; but the folio, which the moderns have followed, has, it was a strong counsel. Fohnson. 4 The elephant hath joints, &c.] So, in All’s Lost by Lust, 1633:

is she pliant? “Stubborn as an elephant's leg, no bending in her.” Again, in All Fools, 1605:

“ I hope you are no elephant, you have joints." In The Dialogues of Creatures Moralysed, &c. bl. 1. is mention of “the olefawnte that bowyth not the kneys;" a curious specimen of our early Natural History. Steevens.

-noble state,] Person of high dignity; spoken of Aga. memnon. Johnson.

Noble state rather means the stately train of attending nobles whom you bring with you. Patroclus had already addressed Agamemnon by the title of “ your greatness.” Steevens.

State was formerly applied to a single person. So, in Wits, Fits, and Fancies, 1614: “The archbishop of Grenada saying to the archbishop of Toledo, that he much marvelled, he being so great a state, would visit hospitals —.” Again, in Harrington's translation of Ariosto, 1591 :

- The Greek demands her, whither she was going,
“ And which of these two great estates her keeps."


To call upon him; he hopes, it is no other,
But, for your health and your digestion sake,
An after-dinner's breath.


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 himself
Here tend the savage strangeness: he puts on;
Disguise the holy strength of their command,
And underwriteo in an observing kind1
His humorous predominance; yea, watch
His pettish lunes, his ebbs, his flows, as if



Yet Mr. Steevens's interpretation appears to me to agree better with the context here. Malone.

breath.] Breath, in the present instance, stands for breathing, i. e. exercise. So, in Hamlet: “- it is the breathing time of day with me.” Steevens.

7 Than in the note &c.] Surely the two unnecessary words--in the, which spoil the metre, should be omitted. Steevens.

tend the savage strangeness – ] i. e. shyness distant behaviour. So, in Venus and Adonis:

• Measure my strangeness with my unripe years." Again, in Romeo and Fuliet:

I'll prove more true, 66 Than those that have more cunning to be strange." To tend is to attend upon. Malone. underwrite - ] To subscribe, in Shakspeare, is to obey.

Johnson So, in King Lear: “ You owe me no subscription." Steevens.

in an observing kind - ] i. e. in a mode religiously attentive. So, in A Midsummer Night's Dream:

“ To do observance to a morn of May." Steevens. 2 His pettish lunes,] This is Sir T. Hanmer's emendation of his pettish lines. The old quarto reads:

His course and time.


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 give3
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, We come to speak with him.-Ulysses, enter.*

[Erit ULYSS. 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's 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.s

This speech is unfaithfully printed in modern editions. Johnson.
The quarto reads:

His course and time, his ebbs and flows and if
The passage and whole stream of his commencement

Rode on his tide.. His [his commencement] was probably misprinted for this, as it is in a subsequent passage in this scene in the quarto copy:

“ And how his silence drinks up his applause.” Malone.

allowance give - ] Allowance is approbation. So, in King Lear :

If your sweet sway
" Allow obedience.” Steevens.
enter.] Old copies, regardless of metre, -enter you.

Stecoens. whatever praises itself but in the deed, devours the deed in the praise.] So, in Coriolanus:


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