Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: W. L. Godshalk
Peer Reviewed

Troilus and Cressida (Folio 1, 1623)


Enter Aiax, and Thersites.
860Aia. Thersites?
Ther. Agamemnon, how if he had Biles (ful) all ouer
generally.
Aia. Thersites?
Ther. And those Byles did runne, say so; did not the
865General run, were not that a botchy core?
Aia. Dogge.
Ther. Then there would come some matter from him:
I see none now.
Aia. Thou Bitch-Wolfes-Sonne, canst yu not heare?
870Feele then.
Strikes him.
Ther. The plague of Greece vpon thee thou Mungrel
beefe-witted Lord.
Aia. Speake then you whinid'st leauen speake, I will
beate thee into handsomnesse.
875Ther. I shal sooner rayle thee into wit and holinesse:
but I thinke thy Horse wil sooner con an Oration, then yu
learn a prayer without booke: Thou canst strike, canst
thou? A red Murren o'th thy Iades trickes.
Aia. Toads stoole, learne me the Proclamation.
880Ther. Doest thou thinke I haue no sence thou strik'st
Aia. The Proclamation.
Ther. Thou art proclaim'd a foole, I thinke.
Aia. Do not Porpentine, do not; my fingers itch.
Ther. I would thou didst itch from head to foot, and
885I had the scratching of thee, I would make thee the loth-
som'st scab in Greece.
Aia. I say the Proclamation.
Ther. Thou grumblest & railest euery houre on A-
chilles, and thou art as ful of enuy at his greatnes, as Cer-
890berus is at Proserpina's beauty. I, that thou barkst at him.
Aia. Mistresse Thersites.
Ther. Thou should'st strike him.
Aia. Coblofe.
Ther. He would pun thee into shiuers with his fist, as
895a Sailor breakes a bisket.
Aia. You horson Curre. Ther. Do, do.
Aia. Thou stoole for a Witch.
Ther. I, do, do, thou sodden-witted Lord: thou hast
no more braine then I haue in mine elbows: An Asinico
900may tutor thee. Thou scuruy valiant Asse, thou art heere
but to thresh Troyans, and thou art bought and solde a-
mong those of any wit, like a Barbarian slaue. If thou vse
to beat me, I wil begin at thy heele, and tel what thou art
by inches, thou thing of no bowels thou.
905Aia. You dogge.
Ther. You scuruy Lord.
Aia. You Curre.
Ther. Mars his Ideot: do rudenes, do Camell, do, do.
Enter Achilles, and Patroclus.
910Achil. Why how now Aiax? wherefore do you this?
How now Thersites? what's the matter man?
Ther. You see him there, do you?
Achil. I, what's the matter.
Ther. Nay looke vpon him.
915Achil. So I do: what's the matter?
Ther. Nay but regard him well.
Achil. Well, why I do so.
Ther. But yet you looke not well vpon him: for who
some euer you take him to be, he is Aiax.
920Achil. I know that foole.
Ther. I, but that foole knowes not himselfe.
Aiax. Therefore I beate thee.
Ther. Lo, lo, lo, lo, what modicums of wit he vtters: his
euasions haue eares thus long. I haue bobb'd his Braine
925more then he has beate my bones: I will buy nine Spar-
rowes for a peny, and his Piamater is not worth the ninth
part of a Sparrow. This Lord (Achilles) Aiax who wears
his wit in his belly, and his guttes in his head, Ile tell you
what I say of him.
930Achil. What?
Ther. I say this Aiax---
Achil. Nay good Aiax.
Ther. Has not so much wit.
Achil: Nay, I must hold you.
935Ther. As will stop the eye of Helens Needle, for whom
he comes to fight.
Achil. Peace foole.
Ther. I would haue peace and quietnes, but the foole
will not: he there, that he, looke you there.
940Aiax. O thou damn'd Curre, I shall---
Achil. Will you set your wit to a Fooles.
Ther. No I warrant you, for a fooles will shame it.
Pat. Good words Thersites.
Achil. What's the quarrell?
945Aiax. I bad thee vile Owle, goe learne me the tenure
of the Proclamation, and he rayles vpon me.
Ther. I serue thee not.
Aiax. Well, go too, go too.
Ther. I serue heere voluntary.
950Achil. Your last seruice was sufferance, 'twas not vo-
luntary, no man is beaten voluntary: Aiax was heere the
voluntary, and you as vnder an Impresse.
Ther. E'neso, a great deale of your wit too lies in your
sinnewes, or else there be Liars. Hector shall haue a great
955catch, if he knocke out either of your braines, he were as
good cracke a fustie nut with no kernell.
Achil. What with me to Thersites?
Ther. There's Vlysses, and old Nestor, whose Wit was
mouldy ere their Grandsires had nails on their toes, yoke
960you like draft-Oxen, and make you plough vp the warre.
Achil. What? what?
Ther. Yes good sooth, to Achilles, to Aiax, to---
Aiax. I shall cut out your tongue.
Ther. 'Tis no matter, I shall speake as much as thou
965afterwards.
Pat. No more words Thersites.
Ther. I will hold my peace when Achilles Brooch bids
me, shall I?
Achil. There's for you Patroclus.
970Ther. I will see you hang'd like Clotpoles ere I come
any more to your Tents; I will keepe where there is wit
stirring, and leaue the faction of fooles.
Exit.
Pat. A good riddance.
Achil. Marry this Sir is proclaim'd through al our host,
975That Hector by the fift houre of the Sunne,
Will with a Trumpet, 'twixt our Tents and Troy
To morrow morning call some Knight to Armes,
That hath a stomacke, and such a one that dare
Maintaine I know not what: 'tis trash. Farewell.
980Aiax. Farewell? who shall answer him?
Achil. I know not, 'tis put to Lottry: otherwise
He knew his man.
Aiax. O meaning you, I wil go learne more of it.
Exit.