« PreviousContinue »
lEne. Ay, Greek, that is my name.
Agam. What's your affair, I pray you?
Mne. Sir, pardon; 'tis for Agamemnon's ears.
Agam. He hears nought privately, that comes from Troy.
JEne. Nor I from Troy come not to whisper him: I bring a trumpet to awake liis ear; To set his sense on the attentive bent, And then to speak.
Agam. Speak frankly as the wind;
It is not Agamemnon's sleeping hour:
JEne. Trumpet, blow loud,
Send thy brass voice through all these lazy tents;—
We have, great Agamemnon, here in Troy
In other arms than hers,—to him this challenge.
Agam. This shall be told our lovers, lord /Eneas;
Nest. Tell him of Nestor, one that was a man When Hector's grandsire suck'd: he is old now; But, if there be not in our Grecian host One noble man, that hath one spark of fire To answer for hU love, Tell him from me,— I'll hide my silver bcard in a gold beaver, And in my vantbrace11 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 blood.
JEne. Now heavens forbid such scarcity of youth!
Agam. Fair lord JEneas, let me touch your hand; To our pavilion shall I lead yon, sir. 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 <mrf Nestor.
Nest. What says Ulysses?
Ulyss. I have n 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 pride
Nest. Well, and how?
Ulyss. This challenge that the gallant Hector sands, 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 tip: And, in the publication, make no strain, But that Achilles, were his brain as barren As banks of Lybia,—though, Apollo knows, 'Tis dry enough,—will with great speed of judgement,
Ay, with celerity, find Hector's purpose
Ulyts. And wake him to the answer, think you .
It is most meet; Whom may you else oppose,
Ulytt. Give pardon to my speech;—
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 worst 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
Ulyst. What glory our Achilles shares from Hector, Were he not proud, we all should share with him: But he already is too insolent; And we were better parch in Africk sun, Than in the pride and salt scorn of his eyes, Should he 'scape Hector fair: If he were fuil'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 sort to fight with Hector: Among ourselves, Give him allowance for the better man, For that will physick 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 oft', 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 assuines,— Ajax, employ'd, plucks down Achilles' plumes, Nest. Ulysses,