Internet Shakespeare Editions

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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)

    Enter Achilles and Patroclus.
    Achilles I'll heat his blood with Greekish wine tonight,
    Which with my scimitar I'll cool tomorrow.
    Patroclus, let us feast him to the height.
    Here comes Thersites.
    Enter Thersites.
    How now, thou core of envy?
    Thou crusty batch of nature, what's the news?
    Thersites Why, thou picture of what thou seem'st, and idol of idiot-worshippers, here's a letter for thee.
    Achilles From whence, fragment?
    2880Thersites. Why, thou full dish of fool, from Troy.
    [Thersites hands him the letter, Achilles reads.]
    Patroclus Who keeps the tent now?
    Thersites The surgeon's box or the patient's wound.
    Patroclus Well said, adversity, and what need these tricks?
    Thersites Prithee, be silent, boy. I profit not by thy talk. 2885Thou art thought to be Achilles' male varlet.
    Patroclus Male varlet, you rogue? What's that?
    Thersites Why, his masculine whore. Now the rotten diseases of the south, guts-griping ruptures, catarrhs, loads o'gravel i'th'back, lethargies, cold palsies, and 2890the like, take and take again such preposterous discoveries.
    Patroclus Why, thou damnable box of envy, thou, what meanest thou to curse thus?
    Thersites Do I curse thee?
    2895Patroclus Why, no, you ruinous butt, you whoreson indistinguishable cur.
    Thersites No? Why art thou then exasperate, thou idle, immaterial skein of sleaved-silk; thou green sarsenet flap for a sore eye; thou tassel of a prodigal's purse, thou? 2900Ah, how the poor world is pestered with such waterflies, diminutives of nature.
    Patroclus Out, gall.
    Thersites Finch-egg.
    Achilles My sweet Patroclus, I am thwarted quite
    2905From my great purpose in tomorrow's battle.
    Here is a item="letter" letter from queen Hecuba,
    A token from her daughter, my fair love,
    Both taxing me and gaging me to keep
    An oath that I have sworn. I will not break it.
    2910Fall Greeks, fail fame, honor or go or stay,
    My major vow lies here; this I'll obey. --
    Come, come, Thersites, help to trim my tent.
    This night in banqueting must all be spent. --
    Away, Patroclus.
    Exit [with Patroclus].
    2915Thersites With too much blood and too little brain, these two may run mad, but if with too much brain and too little blood they do, I'll be a curer of madmen. Here's Agamemnon, an honest fellow enough, and one that loves quails, but he has not so much brain as earwax, and 2920the goodly transformation of Jupiter there, his brother, the bull -- the primitive statue and oblique memorial of cuckolds, a thrifty shoeing-horn in a chain, hanging at his brother's leg -- to what form but that he is should wit larded with malice and malice forced with wit turn 2925him to? To an ass were nothing; he is both ass and ox. To an ox were nothing; he is both ox and ass. To be a dog, a mule, a cat, a fitchew, a toad, a lizard, an owl, a puttock, or a herring without a roe, I would not care, but to be Menelaus, I would conspire 2930against destiny. Ask me not what I would be if I were not Thersites, for I care not to be the louse of a lazar so I were not Menelaus. -- Hey-day, spirits and fires.
    Enter Hector, [Troilus], Ajax, Agamemnon, [Menelaus], Ulysses, Nestor, Diomed with lights.
    We go wrong; we go wrong.
    No, yonder 'tis --
    There, where we see the light.
    I trouble you.
    No, not a whit.
    Enter Achilles.
    Here comes himself to guide you.
    Achilles Welcome, brave Hector; welcome, princes all.
    Agamemnon So now, fair prince of Troy, I bid good night.
    Ajax commands the guard to tend on you.
    Hector Thanks, and good night to the Greeks' general.
    Good night, my lord.
    Good night, sweet lord Menelaus.
    Thersites Sweet draft. "Sweet" quotha? Sweet sink. Sweet? Sure.
    Achilles Good night and welcome, both at once, to those 2950that go or tarry.
    Agamemnon Good night.
    [Exeunt Agamemnon and Menelaus.]
    Achilles Old Nestor tarries, and you too, Diomed,
    Keep Hector company an hour or two.
    Diomed I cannot, lord. I have important business,
    2955The tide whereof is now. -- Good night, great Hector.
    Hector Give me your hand.
    Ulysses [To Troilus] Follow his torch; he goes to Calchas' tent.
    I'll keep you company.
    [To Ulysses] Sweet sir, you honor me.
    [Troilus and Ulysses follow Diomed.]
    [To Diomed] And so, good night.
    Come, come, enter my tent.
    Exeunt [all except Thersites].
    Thersites [Aside] That same Diomed's a false-hearted rogue, a most unjust knave; I will no more trust him when he leers, than I will a serpent when he hisses. He will spend 2965his mouth and promise like Brabbler the hound, but when he performs, astronomers foretell it, that it is prodigious; there will come some change; the sun borrows of the moon when Diomed keeps his word. I will rather leave to see Hector than not to dog him. They say 2970he keeps a Trojan drab, and uses the traitor Calchas his tent. I'll after.-- Nothing but lechery. All incontinent varlets.