Page images
PDF

I know, is such a wrest in their affairs,
That their negociations all must slack,
Wanting his manage; and they will almost .
Give us a prince of blood, a son of Priam,
In change of him: let him be sent, great princes,
And he shall buy my daughter; and her, presence
Shall quite strike off all service I have done,
In most accepted pain.
Agam.

Let Diomedes bear him,
And bring as Cressid hither; Calchas shall have
What he requests of us.-Good Diomed,
Farnish you fairly for this interchange:
Withal, bring word—if Hector will to-morrow
Be answer'd in his challenge: Ajax is ready.' .

Dio. This shall I undertake; and 'tis a burden
Which I am proud to bear.

[Exeunt Diomedes and Calchas.' Enter Achilles and PatrocLUS, before their Tent.

Ulyss. Achilles stands i'the entrance of his tent:-
Please it our general to pass strangely by him,
As if he were forgot; and, princes all,
lay negligent and loose regard upon him :-
I will come last : "Tis like, he'll question me,
Why such'unplausive eyes are bent, why turn'd on him :
If so, I have derision med'cinable,
To use between your strangeness and his pride,
Which his own will shall have desire to drink;
It may do good : pride hath no other glass
To show itself, but pride; for sapple knees
Feed arrogance, and are the proud man's fees.

Agam. We'll execute your purpose, and put on
A form of strangeness as we pass along;
So do each lord; and either greet him not,
Or else disdainfully, which shall shake him more
Than if not lookd on. I will lead the way.

Achil. What, comes the general to speak with me? You know my inind, I'll fight no more gainst Troy.

Agam. What says Achilles? would he aught with us?
Nest. Would you, my lord, aught with the general?

Good on and Nestor.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Achil.

Achil.

No.
Nest. Nothing, my lord.
Agam.

The better.
[Exeunt Agamemnon and Nestor.

Good day, good day. Men. How do you? how do you? [Exit Menelaus.

What, does the cuckold scorn me? Ajax. How now, Patroclus?

Good morrow, Ajax.
Ajar.

Ha?
Achil. Good morrow.
Ajar.

Ay, and good next day too.

[Exit Ajar. Achil. What mean these fellows? Know they not

Achilles Patr. They pass by strangely: they were us'd to bend, To send their smiles before them to Achilles ; To come as humbly, as they us’d to creep To holy altars.

Achil. What, am I poor of late? "Tis certain, greatness, once fallen out with fortune, Must fall out with men too: What the declin'd is, He shall as soon read in the eyes of others, As feel in his own fall: for men, like butterflies, Show not their mealy wings, but to the summer; And not a man, for being simply man, Hath any honour ; but honour for those honours That are without him, as place, riches, favoor, Prizes of accident as oft as merit: Which when they fall, as being slippery standers, The love that lean'd on them, as slippery too, Do one pluck down another, and together Die in the fall. But 'tis not so with me: Fortune and I are friends; I do enjoy Al ample point all that I did possess, Save these men's looks; who do, methinks, find out Something not worth in me such rich beholding As they have often given. Here is Ulysses; I'll interrupt his reading.-How now, Ulysses?

Ulyss.

Now, great Thetis' son ?
Achil. What are you reading?
Ulyss.

A strange fellow here
Writes me, That man-bow dearly ever parted,
How much in having, or without, or in,
Cannot make boast to have that which he hath,
Nor feels not what he owes, but by reflection;
As when his virtues shining upon others
Heat them, and they retort that heat again
To the first giver.
Achil.

This is not strange, Ulysses.
The beauty that is borne here in the face,
The bearer knows not, but commends itself
To other's eyes ; nor doth the eye itself
(That most pure spirit of sense) behold itself,
Not going from itself; but eye to eye oppos'd
Salutes each other with each other's form.
For speculation turns not to itself,
Till it bath travell’d, and is married there,
Where it may see itself: this is not strange at all.

Ulyss. I do not strain at the position,
It is familiar; but at the author's drift:
Who, in his circumstance, expressly proves
That no man is the lord of any thing
(Though in and of him there be much consisting),
Mill he communicate his parts to others :
Nor doth he of himself know them for aught
Till he behold them form'd in the applause
Where they are extended; which, like an arch, rever-

berates : The voice again; or, like a gate of steel Fronting the sun, receives and renders back His figure and his heat. I was much rapt in this: And apprehended here immediately The unknown Ajax. Heavens, what a man is there! a very horse; That has he knows not what. Nature, what things there

are, Most abject in regard, and dear in use! What things again most dear in the esteem,,

And poor in worth! Now shall we see to-morrow,
An act that very chance doth throw upon him,
Ajax renown'd. O heavens, what some men do,
While some men leave to do!'
How some men creep in skittish fortune's hall,
While other's play the idiot's in her eyes !
How one man eats into another's pride,
While pride is fasting in his wantonness!
To see these Grecian lords !-why, even already
They clap the lubber Ajax on the shoulder;
As if his foot were on brave Hector's breast, .
And great Troy shrinking.

Achil. I do believe it: for they pass'd by me,
As misers do by beggars: neither gave to me .
Good word, nor look: What, are my deeds forgot?

Ulyss. Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back, Wherein he puts alms for oblivion, A great-siz'd monster of ingratitudes : Those scraps are good deeds past : which are devour'd As fast as they are made, forgat as soon As done: Perseverance, dear, my lord, . Keeps honour bright: To have done, is to hang Quite out of fashion, like a rusty mail In monumental mockery. Take the instant way; For honour travels in a strait so narrow, Where one but goes abreast : keep then the path; For emulation bath a thousand sons, That one by one pursue: If you give way, Or hedge aside from the direct forthright, Like to an enter'd tide, they all rush by, And leave you hindmost; . Or, like a gallant horse fallen in first rank, Lie there for pavement to the abject rear, O’erran and trampled on: Then what they do in present, Though less than yours in past, must o'ertop yours: For time is like a fashionable host, That slightly shakes his parting guest by the hand; And with his arms out-stretch'd, as he would fly, Grasps-in the comer: Welcome ever smiles, And farewell goes out sighing. O, let not virtue seek

Remuneration for the thing it was ;
For beauty, wit,
High birth, vigour of bone, desert in service,
Love, friendship, charity, are subjects all
To envious and calumniating time.
One touch of nature makes the whole world kin,
That all, with one consent, praise new-born gawds,
Though they are made and moulded of things past;
And give to dust, that is a little gilt,
More laud than gilt o'er-dusted.
The present eye praises the present object:
Then marvel not, thou great and complete man,
That all the Greeks begin to worship Ajax;
Since things in motion sooner catch the eye,
Than what not stirs. The cry went once on thee,
And still it miglit; and yet it may again,
If thou wouldst not entomb thyself alive,
And case thy reputation in thy tent;
Whose glorious deeds, but in these fields of late,
Made emulous missions 'mongst the gods themselves,
And drave great Mars to faction.
Achil.

Of this my privacy
I have strong reasons."
Ulyss.

But 'gainst your privacy
The reasons are more potent and heroical :
'Tis known, Achilles, that you are in love
With one of Priam's daughters.
Achil.

Ha! known?
Ulyss. Is that a wonder?
The providence that's in a watchful state,
Knows almost every grain of Plutus' gold;
Finds bottom in the uncomprehensive deeps;
Keeps place with thought, and almost, like the gods,
Does thoughts unveil in their dumb cradles.
There is a inystery (with whom relation
Durst never meddle) in the soul of state;
Which hath an operation more divine,
Than breath, or pen, can give expression to:
All the commerce that you have had with Troy,
As perfectly is ours, as yours, my lord;

« PreviousContinue »