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  • Title: Troilus and Cressida (Modern)
  • Editor: William Godshalk
  • ISBN: 1-55058-301-8

    Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: William Godshalk
    Peer Reviewed

    Troilus and Cressida (Modern)

    858.1[2.1]
    Enter Ajax and Thersites.
    860Ajax
    Thersites?
    Thersites
    Agamemnon, how if he had boils, full, all over, generally?
    Ajax
    Thersites?
    Thersites
    And those boils did run (say so), did not the 865general run? Were not that a botchy core?
    Ajax
    Dog.
    Thersites
    Then there would come some matter from him; I see none now.
    Ajax
    Thou bitch wolf's son, canst thou not hear? 870Feel then.
    Strikes him.
    Thersites
    The plague of Greece upon thee, thou mongrel beef-witted lord.
    Ajax
    Speak then, you whinid'st leaven, speak. I will beat thee into handsomeness.
    875Thersites
    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
    Toad's stool, learn me the proclamation.
    880Thersites
    Dost thou think I have no sense, thou strik'st me thus?
    Ajax
    The proclamation.
    Thersites
    Thou art proclaimed a fool, I think.
    Ajax
    Do not, porcupine; do not; my fingers itch.
    Thersites
    I would thou didst itch from head to foot, and 885I had the scratching of thee. I would make thee the loathsomest scab in Greece.
    Ajax
    I say, the proclamation.
    Thersites
    Thou grumblest and railest every hour on Achilles, and thou art as full of envy at his greatness as 890Cerberus is at Proserpina's beauty, ay, that thou bark'st at him.
    Ajax
    Mistress Thersites.
    Thersites
    Thou shouldst strike him.
    Ajax
    Cobloaf.
    Thersites
    He would pun thee into shivers with his fist, as 895a sailor breaks a biscuit.
    Ajax
    You whoreson cur.
    Thersites
    Do, do.
    Ajax
    Thou stool for a witch.
    Thersites
    Ay, do, do, thou sodden-witted lord; thou hast no more brain than I have in mine elbows; an asinico 900may tutor thee. Thou scurvy valiant ass, thou art here but to thresh 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.
    905Ajax
    You dog.
    Thersites
    You scurvy lord.
    Ajax
    You cur.
    Thersites
    Mars his idiot, do; rudeness, do; camel, do, do.
    Enter Achilles and Patroclus.
    910Achilles
    Why, how now, Ajax? Wherefore do you this?
    How now, Thersites? What's the matter, man?
    Thersites
    You see him there, do you?
    Achilles
    Ay, what's the matter?
    Thersites
    Nay, look upon him.
    915Achilles
    So I do. What's the matter?
    Thersites
    Nay, but regard him well.
    Achilles
    "Well?" Why, I do so.
    Thersites
    But yet you look not well upon him, for whosomever you take him to be, he is Ajax.
    920Achilles
    I know that, fool.
    Thersites
    Ay, but that fool knows not himself.
    Ajax
    Therefore, I beat thee.
    Thersites
    Lo, lo, lo, lo, what modicums of wit he utters; his evasions have ears thus long. I have bobbed his brain 925more 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.
    930Achilles
    What?
    Thersites
    I say this Ajax --
    Achilles
    Nay, good Ajax.
    Thersites
    -- has not so much wit --
    Achilles
    Nay, I must hold you.
    935Thersites.
    -- as will stop the eye of Helen's needle, for whom he comes to fight.
    Achilles
    Peace, fool.
    Thersites
    I would have peace and quietness, but the fool will not -- he there, that he, look you there.
    940Ajax
    O thou damned cur, I shall --
    Achilles
    Will you set your wit to a fool's?
    Thersites
    No, I warrant you, for a fool's will shame it.
    Patroclus
    Good words, Thersites.
    Achilles
    What's the quarrel?
    945Ajax
    I bade the vile owl go learn me the tenor of the proclamation, and he rails upon me.
    Thersites
    I serve thee not.
    Ajax
    Well, go to, go to.
    Thersites
    I serve here voluntary.
    950Achilles
    Your last service was sufferance; 'twas not voluntary; no man is beaten voluntary. Ajax was here the voluntary, and you as under an impress.
    Thersites
    E'en so, a great deal of your wit, too, lies in your sinews, or else there be liars. Hector shall have a great 955catch, if he knock out either of your brains; he were as good crack a fusty nut with no kernel.
    Achilles
    What, with me too, Thersites?
    Thersites
    There's Ulysses and old Nestor, whose wit was moldy ere their grandsires had nails on their toes, yoke 960you like draft-oxen, and make you plough up the war.
    Achilles
    What? What?
    Thersites
    Yes, good sooth. To, Achilles, to, Ajax, to --
    Ajax
    I shall cut out your tongue.
    Thersites
    'Tis no matter; I shall speak as much as thou 965afterwards.
    Patroclus
    No more words, Thersites. Peace.
    Thersites
    I will hold my peace when Achilles' brooch bids me, shall I?
    Achilles
    There's for you, Patroclus.
    970Thersites
    I will see you hanged like clotpolls ere I come any more to your tents; I will keep where there is wit stirring, and leave the faction of fools.
    Exit.
    Patroclus
    A good riddance.
    Achilles
    [To Ajax] Marry, this, sir, is proclaimed through all our host:
    975That Hector by the fifth hour of the sun,
    Will, with a trumpet, 'twixt our tents and Troy,
    Tomorrow morning call some knight to arms
    That hath a stomach, and such a one that dare
    Maintain -- I know not what. 'Tis trash. Farewell.
    980Ajax.
    Farewell? Who shall answer him?
    Achilles
    I know not; 'tis put to lott'ry; otherwise he knew his man.
    Ajax.
    Oh, meaning you. I will go learn more of it.
    Exit.