« PreviousContinue »
In such a rein, in full as proud a place
As broad Achilles: keeps his tent like him;
Makes factious feasts; rails on our state of war,
Bold as an oracle: and sets Thersites
(A slave whose gall coins slanders like a mint,)
To match us in comparisons with dirt;
To weaken and discredit our exposure,
How rank soever rounded in with danger.
Ulyss. They tax our policy, and call it cowardice;
Count wisdom as no member of the war;
Forestall prescience, and esteem no act
But that of hand: the still and mental parts,-
That do contrive how many hands shall strike,
When fitness calls them on; and know, by measure
Of their observant toil, the enemies' weight,-
Why, this hath not a finger's dignity:
They call this-bed-work, mappery, closet-war :
So that the ram, that batters down the wall,
For the great swing and rudeness of his poize,
They place before his hand, that made the engine;
Or those, that with the fineness of their souls
By reason guide his execution.
Nest. Let this be granted, and Achilles' horse Makes many Thetis' sons. (Trumpet sounds.) Agam. What trumpet? look, Menelaus.
Great Agamemnon's tent, I pray? Agam.
Ene. May one, that is a herald, and a prince, Do a fair message to his kingly ears?
Agam. With surety stronger than Achilles' arm 'Fore all the Greekish heads, which with one voice Call Agamemnon head and general.
Ene. Fair leave, and large security.
A stranger to those most imperial looks
Know them from eyes of other mortals?
I ask, that I might waken reverence,
And bid the cheek be ready with a blush,
Modest as morning when she coldly eyes
The youthful Phoebus:
Which is that god in office, guiding men?
Which is the high and mighty Agamemnon?
Agam. This Trojan scorns us; or the men of Troy
Are ceremonious courtiers.
Ene. Courtiers as free, as debonair, unarm'd, As bending angels; that's their fame in peace: But when they would seem soldiers, they have galls, Good arms, strong joints, true swords; and Jove's
Nothing so full of heart. But peace, Æneas,
Peace, Trojan; lay thy finger on thy lips!
The worthiness of praise distains his worth,
If that the prais'd himself bring the praise forth:
But what the repining enemy commends,
That breath fame follows; that praise, sole pure,
Agam. Sir, you of Troy, call you yourself
Ene. Ay, Greek, that is my name.
's your affair, I pray you?
Ene. Sir, pardon; 'tis for Agamemnon's ears.
Agam. He hears nought privately, that comes
Ene. Nor I from Troy come not to whisper him:
I bring a trumpet to awake his ear;
To set his sense on the attentive bent,
And then to speak.
Speak frankly as the wind; It is not Agamemnon's sleeping hour: That thou shalt know, Trojan, he is awake,
He tells thee so himself.
Send thy brass voice through all these lazy tents ;And every Greek of mettle let him know,
What Troy means fairly, shall be spoke aloud.
We have, great Agamemnon, here in Troy
A prince call'd Hector, (Priam is his father,)
Who in this dull and long-continued truce
Is rusty grown; he bade me take a trumpet,
And to this purpose speak. Kings, princes, lords!
If there be one, among the fair'st of Greece,
That holds his honour higher than his ease;
That seeks his praise more than he fears his peril;
That knows his valour, and knows not his fear;
That loves his mistress more than in confession,
(With truant vows to her own lips he loves,)
And dare avow her beauty and her worth,
In other arms than hers,-to him this challenge.
Hector, in view of Trojans and of Greeks,
Shall make it good, or do his best to do it,
He hath a lady, wiser, fairer, truer,
Than ever Greek did compass in his arms;
And will to-morrow with his trumpet call,
Mid-way between your tents and walls of Troy,
To rouse a Grecian that is true in love:
If any come, Hector shall honour him;
If none, he'll say in Troy, when he retires,
The Grecian dames are sun-burn'd, and not worth
The splinter of a lance. Even so much.
Agam. This shall be told our lovers, lord Æneas;
If none of them have soul in such a kind,
We left them all at home: But we are soldiers;
And may that soldier a mere recreant prove,
That means not, hath not, or is not in love!
If then one is, or hath, or means to be,
That one meets Hector; if none else, am he,
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 his love, Tell him from me,I'll hide my silver beard in a gold beaver, And in my vantbrace 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. Ene. Now heavens forbid such scarcity of youth! Ulyss. Amen.
Agam. Fair lord Æneas, let me touch your hand;
To our pavilion shall I lead you, 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 and Nestor, Ulyss. Nestor,
Nest. What says Ulysses?
Ulyss. I have a young conception in my brain,
Be you my time to bring it to some shape.
Nest. What is't;
It is most meet; whom may you else oppose,
That can from Hector bring those honours off,
If not Achilles? Though't be a sportful combat,
Yet in the trial much opinion dwells;
For here the Trojans taste our dear'st repute
With their fin'st palate: And trust to me, Ulysses,
Our imputation shall be oddly pois'd
In this wild action: for the success,
Although particular, shall give a scantling
Of good or bad unto the general;
And in such indexes, although small pricks
To their subséquent volumes, there is seen
The baby figure of the giant mass
Of things to come at large. It is suppos'd,
He, that meets Hector, issues from our choice,
And choice, being mutual act of all our souls,
Makes merit her election; and doth boil,
As 'twere from forth us all, a man distill'd
Out of our virtues; Who miscarrying,
What heart receives from hence a conquering part,
To steel a strong opinion to themselves?
Which entertain'd, limbs are his instruments,
In no less working, than are swords and bows
Directive by the limbs.
Ulyss. Give pardon to my speech ;-
Therefore, 'tis 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,
By shewing the worse 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. [they?
Nest. I see them not with my old eyes; what are
Ulyss. 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 Afric sun,
Than in the pride and salt scorn of his eyes,
Should he 'scape Hector fair: If he were foil'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 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, employ'd, plucks down Achilles' plumes.,
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 'twere their bone.
Ajax. Speak then, thou unsalted leaven, speak: I'll beat thee into handsomeness.
Ther. I shall sooner rail thee into wit and holiness: but, I think, thy horse will sooner con an oration, than thou learn a prayer without book. Thou canst strike, canst thou? a red murrain o'thy jade's tricks!
Ajax. Toads-stool, learn me the proclamation. Ther. Dost thou think, I have no sense, thou strik'st me thus?
Ajax. The proclamation,
Ther. Thou art proclaimed a fool, I think. Ajax. Do not, porcupine, do not; my fingers itch. Ther. I would thou didst itch from head to foot, and I had the scratching of thee; I would make thee the loathsomest scab in Greece. When thou art forth in the incursions, thou strikest as slow as another. Ajax. I say, the proclamation,—
Ther. Thou grumblest and railest every hour on Achilles; and thou art as full of envy at his greatness, as Cerberus is at Proserpina's beauty, ay, that thou barkest at him.
Ajax. Mistress Thersites!
Ther. Thou should'st strike him.
Ther. He would pun thee into shivers with his fist, as a sailor breaks a biscuit. Ajax. You whoreson cur!
Ajax. Thou stool for a witch!
Ther. Ay, do, do; thou sodden-witted lord! thou hast no more brain than I have in mine elbows; an assinego 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, 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;
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, whosoever 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 bobbed 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 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.
Ther. I say, this AjaxAchil. Nay, good Ajax.
(Ajax offers to strike him, Achilles 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.
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. So great as our dread father, in a scale
Patr. Good words, Thersites.
Achil. 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 on their toes,-yoke you like draught oxen, and make you plough up the wars.
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 hold my peace, when Achilles' brach bids me, shall I ?
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.
Achil. Marry, this, sir, is proclaimed through all
That Hector, by the first 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: Farewell.
Ajax. Farewell. 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
SCENE II.-Troy. A Room in Priam's Palace.
Enter PRIAM, HECTOR, TROILUS, PARIS, and
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, expense,
Wounds, friends, and what else dear that is consum'd
In hot digestion of this cormorant war,—
Shall be struck off:-Hector, what say you to't?
Hect. Though no man lesser fears the Greeks
As far as toucheth my particular, yet,
There is no lady of more softer bowels,
More spongy to suck in the sense of fear,
More ready to cry out-Who knows what follows?
Than Hector is: The wound of peace is surety,
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,
Hath been as dear as Helen; I mean, of ours:
If we have lost so many tents 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,
Of common ounces? will you with counters sum
The past-proportion of his infinite?
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
You are so empty of them. Should not our father
Bear the great sway of his affairs with reasons,
Because your speech hath none, that tells him so?
Tro. You are for dreams and slumbers, brother
Here are your
You fur your gloves with reason.
You know, an enemy intends you harm;
You know, a sword, employ'd, is perilous,
And reason flies the object of all harm:
Who marvels then, when Helenus beholds
A Grecian and his sword, if he do set
The very wings of reason to his heels;
And fly like chidden Mercury from Jove,
Or like a star dis-orb'd?-Nay, if we talk of reason,"
Let's shut our gates, and sleep: Manhood and honour
Should have hare hearts, would they but fat their
With this cramm'd reason: reason and respect
Make livers pale, and lustihood deject.
Hect. Brother, she is not worth what she doth cost
What is aught, but as 'tis valued?
Hect. But value dwells not in particular will;
It holds its estimate and dignity
As well wherein 'tis precious of itself
As in the prizer: 'tís mad idolatry,
To make the service greater than the god;
And the will dotes, that is attributive
To what infectiously itself affects,
Without some image of the affected merit.
Tro. I take to-day a wife, and my election
Is led on in the conduct of my will;
My will enkindled by mine eyes and ears,
Two traded pilots 'twixt the dangerous shores
Of will and judgment: How may I avoid,
Although my will distaste what it elected,
The wife I chose? there can be no evasion
To blench from this, and to stand firm by honour:
We turn not back the silks upon the merchant,
When we have soil'd them; nor the remainder viands
We do not throw in unrespective sieve,
Because we now are full. It was thought meet,
Paris should do some vengeance on the Greeks:
Your breath with full consent bellied his sails;
The seas and winds (old wranglers) took a truce,
And did him service: he touch'd the ports desir'd;
And, for an old aunt, whom the Greeks held captive,
He brought a Grecian queen, whose youth and
Wrinkles Apollo's, and makes pale the morning.
Why keep we her? the Grecians keep our aunt:
Is she worth keeping? why, she is a pearl,
Whose price hath launch'd above a thousand ships,
And turn'd crown'd kings to merchants.
If you'll avouch, 'twas wisdom Paris went,
(As you must needs, for you all cry'd-Go, go,)
If you'll confess, he brought home noble prize,
(As you must needs, for you all clapp'd your hands
And cry'd-Inestimable!) why do you now
The issue of your proper wisdoms rate;
And do a deed, that fortune never did,
Beggar the estimation which you priz'd
Richer than sea and land? O theft most base
That we have stolen what we do fear to keep!
But, thieves, unworthy of a thing so stolen,
That in their country did them that disgrace,
We fear to warrant in our native place!
Cas. (Within.) Cry, Trojans, cry!
What noise? what shriek is this?
Tro. 'Tis our mad sister, I do know her voice.
Enter CASSANDRA, raving.
Cas.Cry, Trojans, cry! lend me ten thousand eyes, And I will fill them with prophetic tears.
Hect. Peace, sister, peace.
Cas. Virgins and boys, mid-age and wrinkled elders,
Soft infancy, that nothing canst but cry,
Add to my clamours! let us pay betimes
A moiety of that mass of moan to come.
Cry, Trojans, cry! practise your eyes with tears!
Troy must not be, nor goodly Ilion stand;
Our fire-brand brother, Paris, burns us all.
Cry, Trojans, cry! a Helen, and a woe:
Cry, cry! Troy burns, or else let Helen go. [Exit.
Hect. Now, youthful Troilus, do not these high
Of divination in our sister work
Some touches of remorse? or is your blood
So madly hot, that no discourse of reason,
Nor fear of bad success in a bad cause,
Can qualify the same?
Why, brother Hector,
We may not think the justness of each act
Such and no other than event doth form it;
Nor once deject the courage of our minds,
Because Cassandra's mad: her brain-sick raptures
Cannot distaste the goodness of a quarrel,
Which hath our several honours all engag'd
To make it gracious. For my private part,
I am no more touch'd than all Priam's sons:
And Jove forbid, there should be done amongst us
Such things, as might offend the weakest spleen
To fight for and maintain!
Par. Else might the world convince of levity
As well my undertakings, as your counsels :
But I attest the gods, your full consent
Gave wings to my propension, and cut off
All fears attending on so dire a project.
For what, alas, can these my single arms?
What propugnation is in one man's valour,
To stand the push and enmity of those
This quarrel would excite? Yet, I protest,
Were I alone to pass the difficulties,
And had as ample power as I have will,
Paris should ne'er retract what he hath done,
Nor faint in the pursuit.
Paris, you speak
Like one besotted on your sweet delights:
You have the honey still, but these the gall;
So to be valiant is no praise at all.
Par. Sir, I propose not merely to myself
The pleasures such a beauty brings with it;
But I would have the soil of her fair rape
Wip'd off, in honourable keeping her.
What treason were it to the ransack'd queen,
Disgrace to your great worths, and shame to me,
Now to deliver her possession up
On terms of base compulsion? Can it be,
That so degenerate a strain as this
Should once set footing in your generous bosoms?
There's not the meanest spirit on our party,
Without a heart to dare, or sword to draw,
When Helen is defended; nor none so noble,
Whose life were ill bestow'd, or death unfam'd,
Where Helen is the subject: then, I say,
Well may we fight for her, whom, we know well,
The world's large spaces cannot parallel.
Hect. Paris, and Troilus, you have both said well;
And on the cause and question now in hand
Have gloz'd, but superficially; not much
Unlike young men, whom Aristotle thought
Unfit to hear moral philosophy:
The reasons, you allege, do more conduce
To the hot passion of distemper'd blood,
Than to make up a free determination
"Twixt right and wrong; for pleasure and revenge Have ears more deaf than adders to the voice
Of any true decision. Nature craves,
All dues be render'd to their owners; Now,
What nearer debt in all humanity,
Than wife is to the husband? if this law
Of nature be corrupted through affection;
And that great minds, of partial indulgence
To their benumbed wills, resist the same;
There is a law in each well-order'd nation,
To curb those raging appetites that are
Most disobedient and refractory.
If Helen then be wife to Sparta's king,-
As it is known she is, these moral laws
Of nature, and of nations, speak aloud
To have her back return'd: Thus to persist
In doing wrong, extenuates not wrong,
But makes it much more heavy. Hector's opinion
Is this, in way of truth: yet, ne'ertheless,
My spritely brethren, I propend to you
In resolution to keep Helen still;
For 'tis a cause that hath no mean dependance
Upon our joint and several dignities.
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.
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 advértis'd, their great general slept,
Whilst emulation in the army crept;
This, I presume, will wake him.
Ther. How now, Thersites? what, lost in the labyrinth of thy fury? Shall the elephant Ajax carry it thus? he beats me, and I rail at him : Ö 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. O 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 lessthan-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 bone-ache! for that, methinks, is the curse dependant on those that war for a placket. I have said my prayers; and devil, envy, say amen. What, ho! my lord Achilles! Enter PATROCLUS.
Patr. Who's there? Thersites? Good Thersites, come in and rail.
Ther. If I could have remembered a gilt counterfeit, thou wouldest not have slipped out of my contemplation: 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.
Patr. What, art thou devout! Wast thou in
Ther. Ay; the heavens hear me !
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 into 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. Agamem-
non 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 a privileged man.-Proceed, Ther-
Ther. Agamemnon is a fool; Achilles is a fool;
Thersites is a fool; and, as aforesaid, Patroclus is a
Achil. Derive this; come.
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.
Ther. Make that demand of the prover.-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 [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 to 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.
He shent 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.
[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 my head, 'tis pride: But why, why? let him shew us a cause.-A word, my lord.
(Takes Agamemnon aside.)
Nest. What moves Ajax thus to bay at him?
Ulyss. Achilles hath inveigled his fool from him.
Nest. Who? Thersites?
[his argument. Nest. Then will Ajax lack matter, if he have lost 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, 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
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,
To call upon him; he hopes, it is no other,
But, for your health and your digestion sake,
An after-dinner's breath.
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-prond,
And under-honest; in self-assumption greater,
Than in the note of judgment; and worthier than
Here tend the savage strangeness he puts on;
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-
A stirring dwarf we do allowance give
Bring action hither, this cannot go to war:
Before a sleeping giant :-Tell him so.
Patr. I shall; and bring his answer presently.
Agam. In second voice we'll not be satisfied,
We come to speak with him.-Ulysses, enter.
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 subsbribe his thought, and say—
Agam. No, noble Ajax; you are as strong, as
and altogether more tractable.
valiant, as wise, no less noble, much more gentle,
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 himvirtue's the fairer. He, that is proud, eats self: 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. And yet he loves himself: Is it not strange? (Aside.)
Ulyss. Achilles will not to the field to-morrow.
Agam. What's his excuse?
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 be not, upon our fair request,
Untent his person, and share the air with us?
Ulyss. Things small as nothing, for request's sake
He makes important: Possess'd he is with great-
That quarrels at self-breath: imagin'd worth
And speaks not to himself, but with a pride
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?