Internet Shakespeare Editions

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

Troilus and Cressida (Quarto 1, 1609)


1205
Enter Thersites solus.
How now Thersites? what lost in the Labyrinth of thy
furie? shall the Elephant Aiax carry it thus? he beates me,
and I raile at him: O worthy satisfaction, would it were
otherwise: that I could beate him, whilst hee raild at mee:
1210Sfoote, Ile learne to coniure and raise Diuels, but Ile see
some issue of my spitefull execrations. Then ther's Achilles, a
rare inginer. If Troy bee not taken till these two vnder-
mine it, the walls will stand till they fall of them-selues.
O thou great thunder-darter of Olympus, forget that thou
1215art Ioue the king of gods: and Mercury, loose all the Ser-
pentine craft of thy Caduceus, if yee take not that little
little lesse then little witte from them that they haue:
which short-armd Ignorance it selfe knowes is so aboun-
dant scarce, it will not in circumuention deliuer a flie from
1220a spider, without drawing their massie Irons, and cutting
the web. After this the vengeance on the whole campe,
or rather the Neopolitan bone-ache: for that me thinkes is
the curse depending on those that warre for a placket. I
haue said my prayers, and diuell Enuie say Amen. What ho
1225my Lord Achilles?
Patrocl. Whose there? Thersites? good Thersites come
in and raile.
Thersi. If I could a remembred a guilt counterfeit, thou
1230couldst not haue slipt out of my contemplation: but it is no
matter, thy selfe vpon thy selfe. The common curse of man-
kinde, Folly and Ignorance, be thine in great reuenew: Hea-
uen blesse thee from a tutor, and discipline come not neere
thee. Let thy bloud be thy direction till thy death: then if
1235she that layes thee out sayes thou art not a faire course, Ile
be sworne and sworne vpon't, shee neuer shrowded any but
lazars. Amen. Where's Achilles?
Patro. What art thou deuout? wast thou in prayer?
Thers. I the heauens heare me.
1240Patro. Amen. Enter Achilles.
Achil. Who's there?
Patro. Thersites, my Lord.
Achil. Where? where? O where? art thou come why my
cheese, my digestion, why hast thou not serued thy selfe into
1245my table, so many meales, come what's Agamemnon?
Ther. Thy commander Achilles, then tell me Patroclus,
whats Achilles?
Patro. Thy Lord Thersites. Then tell mee I pray thee,
what's Thersites?
1250Ther. Thy knower, Patroclus: then tell mee Patroclus,
what art thou?
Patro. Thou must tell that knowest.
Achil. O tell, tell.
Ther. Ile decline the whole question. Agamemnon com-
1255mands Achilles, Achilles is my Lord, I am Patroclus know-
er, and Patroclus is a foole.
Achil. Deriue this? come?
Ther. Agamemnon is a foole to offer to command Achil-
les, Achilles is a foole to be commanded. Thersites is a foole
1265to serue such a foole, and this Patroclus is a foole positiue.
Patr. Why am I a foole?
1270Ther. Make that demand of the Prouer, it suffices mee
thou art: looke you, who comes heere?
Enter Agam: Vliss: Nestor, Diomed, Aiax & Calcas.
Achil. Come Patroclus, Ile speake with nobody: come
in with me Thersites.
Ther. Here is such patcherie, such iugling, and such kna-
1275uery: all the argument is a whore, and a Cuckold, a good
quarrell to draw emulous factions, & bleed to death vpon.
Agam. Where is Achilles?
1280Patro. Within his tent, but ill disposd my Lord.
Aga. Let it be knowne to him, that we are heere,
He sate our messengers and we lay by,
Our appertainings, visiting of him
Let him be told so, least perchance he thinke,
1285We dare not moue the question of our place,
Or know not what we are.
Patro. I shall say so to him.
Vliss. We saw him at the opening of his tent,
Hee is not sick.
1290Aiax. Yes Lion sick, sick of proud heart, you may call it
melancholy if you will fauour the man. But by my head 'tis
pride: but why, why, let him shew vs a cause?
Nest. What mooues Aiax thus to bay at him?
1295Vliss. Achillis hath inuegled his foole from him,
Nest. Who Thersites? Vlis. He.
Nest. Thē wil Aiax lack matter, if he haue lost his argumẽt.
1300Vli. No, you see he is his argument, that has his argument
Achilles.
Nes. All the better, their fractiō is more our wish then theit
faction, but it was a strōg composure a foole could disunite.
1305Vli. The amity that wisdom knits not, folly may easily vnty,
Heere comes Patroclus.
Nest. No Achilles with him.
Vlis. The Elephant hath ioynts, but none for courtesie,
1310His legs are legs for necessity, not for flexure.
Patro. Achilles bids me say he is much sorry,
If any thing more then your sport and pleasure
Did mooue your greatnesse, and this noble state,
To call vpon him. He hopes it is no other
1315But for your health, and your disgestion sake,
An after dinners breath.
Agam. Heere you Patroclus:
We are too well acquainted with these answers,
But his euasion winged thus swift with scorne,
1320Cannot out-flie our apprehensions,
Much attribute he hath, and much the reason
Why we ascribe it to him. Yet all his vertues,
Not vertuously on his owne part beheld,
Doe in our eyes begin to lose their glosse,
1325Yea like faire fruite in an vnholsome dish,
Are like to rott vntasted. Go and tell him,
We come to speake with him, and you shall not sinne,
If you do say, we thinke him ouer-proud
And vnder-honest: in selfe assumption greater
1330Then in the note of iudgement. And worthier then himselfe
Heere tend the sauage strangenesse he puts on
Disguise, the holy strength of their commaund,
And vnder-write in an obseruing kinde,
His humorous predominance: yea watch
1335His course, and time, his ebbs and flowes, and if
The passage, and whole streame of his commencement,
Rode on his tide. Goe tell him this, and adde,
That if he ouer-hold his price so much,
Weele none of him. But let him like an engine,
1340Not portable, lye vnder this report.
Bring action hither, this cannot go to warre,
A stirring dwarfe we doe allowance giue,
Before a sleeping gyant. Tell him so.
Patr. I shall, and bring his answer presently.
1345Agam. In second voyce weele not be satisfied,
We come to speake with him: Vlisses entertaine.
Aiax. What is he more then another.
Agam, No more then what he thinkes he is.
1350Aiax. Is he so much: doe you not thinke he thinkes him-
selfe a better man then I am?
Agam. No question.
Aiax. Will you subscribe his thought, and say he is.
Agam. No noble Aiax, you are as strong, as valiant, as
1355wise, no lesse noble, much more gentle, and altogether
more tractable.
Aia. Why should a man be proud? how doth pride grow?
I know not what pride is.
Agam. Your minde is the cleerer, and your vertues the
1360fairer, hee that is proud eates vp him-selfe: Pride is his
owne glasse, his owne trumpet, his owne chronicle, and
what euer praises it selfe but in the deed, deuoures the
deed in the praise.
Enter Vlisses.
1365Aiax. I do hate a proud man, as I do hate the ingendring
of Toades.
Nest. And yet he loues himselfe, ist not strange?
Vlis. Achilles will not to the field to morrow.
Agam. Whats his excuse?
1370Vlis. He doth relye on none.
But carries on the streame of his dispose,
Without obseruance, or respect of any,
In will peculiar, and in selfe admission.
Agam. Why will he not vpon our faire request,
1375Vntent his person, and share th'ayre with vs.
Vlis. Things small as nothing, for requests sake onely,
He makes important, possest he is with greatnesse,
And speakes not to himselfe but with a pride,
That quarrels at selfe breath. Imagind worth,
1380Holds in his bloud such swolne and hott discourse,
That twixt his mentall and his actiue parts,
Kingdomd Achilles in commotion rages,
And batters downe himselfe. What should I say,
He is so plaguie proud, that the death tokens of it,
1385Crie no recouerie.
Agam. Let Aiax go to him,
Deare Lord, go you, and greete him in his tent,
'Tis said he holds you well, and will be lead,
At your request a little from himselfe.
1390Ulis. O Agamemnon let it not be so,
Weele consecrate the steps that Aiax makes,
When they go from Achilles: shall the proud Lord
That basts his arrogance with his owne seame,
And neuer suffers matter of the world
1395Enter his thoughts, saue such as doth reuolue,
And ruminate him-selfe: shall he be worshipt,
Of that we hold an idoll more then hee,
No: this thrice worthy and right valiant Lord,
Shall not so staule his palme nobly acquird,
1400Nor by my will assubiugate his merit,
As amply liked as Achilles is, by going to Achilles,
That were to enlard his fat already pride,
And adde more coles to Cancer when he burnes,
With entertaining great Hiperion,
1405This Lord go to him. Iupiter forbid,
And say in thunder Achilles go to him.
Nest. O this is well, he rubs the vaine of him.
Diom. And how his silence drinkes vp his applause,
Aia. If I go to him: with my armed fist ile push him ore the
Agam O no, you shall not goe,
Aia. And he be proud with me, Ile phese his pride,
Let me goe to him.
Vliss. Not for the worth that hangs vpon our quarrell.
1415Aiax. A paltry insolent fellow.
Nest. How he describes him selfe.
Aiax. Can he not be sociable.
Uliss. The Rauen chides blacknesse.
Aiax. Ile tell his humorous bloud.
1420Agam. Hee wil be the phisition, that should bee the paci-
ent.
Aiax. And all men were of my minde.
Vliss. Wit would bee out of fashion.
Aiax: A should not beare it so, a should eate swords first?
1425shall pride carry it?
Nest. And two'od yow'd carry halfe.
Aiax. A would haue ten shares. I will kneade him, Ile
make him supple, he's not yet through warme?
1430Nest. Force him with praiers poure in, poure, his ambition
is drie.
Vliss. My Lord you feed to much on this dislike.
Nest. Our noble generall do not do so?
Diom. You must prepare to fight without Achilles.
1435Vliss: Why tis this naming of him do's him harme,
Here is a man but tis before his face, I wil be silent.
Nest. Wherefore should you so?
He is not emulous as Achilles is.
1440Vliss. Know the whole world hee is as valiant-------------
Aiax. A hoarson dog that shall palter with vs thus, would
he were a Troyan?
Nest. What a vice were it in Aiax now:
Vliss: If hee were proude.
1445Diom. Or couetous of praise.
Vliss. I or surly borne.
Diom. Or strange or selfe affected.
Vliss: Thank the heauens Lord, thou art of sweet composure
Praise him that gat thee, shee that gaue thee suck:
1450Fam'd be thy tutor, and thy parts of nature,
Thrice fam'd beyond all thy erudition:
But hee that disciplind thine armes to fight,
Let Mars diuide eternity in twaine,
And giue him halfe, and for thy vigour:
1455Bull-bearing Milo his addition yeeld,
To sinowy Aiax, I will not praise thy wisdome,
Which like a boord: a pale, a shore confines
This spacious and dilated parts, here's Nestor,
Instructed by the antiquary times:
1460He must, he is, he cannot but be wise,
But pardon father Nestor were your daies
As greene as Aiax, and your braine so temper'd,
You should not haue the emynence of him,
But be as Aiax.
Aiax. Shall I call you father?
Nest. I my good Sonne.
Diom. Be ruld by him Lord Aiax.
Vliss. There is no tarrying here the Hart Achilles,
Keepes thicket, please it our great generall,
1470To call together all his state of warre,
Fresh Kings are come to Troy. To morrow
We must with all our maine of power stand fast,
And here's a Lord come Knights from East to West
And call their flower, Aiax shall cope the best.
1475Aga. Go we to counsell, let Achilles sleepe,
Light boates saile swift, though greater hulkes draw deepe.
(Exeunt.