Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: William Godshalk
Peer Reviewed

Troilus and Cressida (Folio 1, 1623)

Troylus and Cressida.
Is this in way of truth: yet nere the lesse,
1180My spritely brethren, I propend to you
In resolution to keepe Helen still;
For 'tis a cause that hath no meane dependance,
Vpon our ioynt and seuerall dignities.
Tro. Why? there you toucht the life of our designe:
1185Were it not glory that we more affected,
Then the performance of our heauing spleenes,
I would not wish a drop of Troian blood,
Spent more in her defence. But worthy Hector,
She is a theame of honour and renowne,
1190A spurre to valiant and magnanimous deeds,
Whose present courage may beate downe our foes,
And fame in time to come canonize vs.
For I presume braue Hector would not loose
So rich aduantage of a promis'd glory,
1195As smiles vpon the fore-head of this action,
For the wide worlds reuenew.
Hect. I am yours,
You valiant off-spring of great Priamus,
I haue a roisting challenge sent among'st
1200The dull and factious nobles of the Greekes,
Will strike amazement to their drowsie spirits,
I was aduertiz'd, their Great generall slept,
Whil'st emulation in the armie crept:
This I presume will wake him. Exeunt.

1205Enter 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, whil'st he rail'd
1210at me: Sfoote, Ile learne to coniure and raise Diuels, but
Ile see some issue of my spitefull execrations. Then ther's
Achilles, a rare Enginer. If Troy be not taken till these two
vndermine it, the wals will stand till they fall of them-
selues. O thou great thunder-darter of Olympus, forget
1215that thou art Ioue the King of gods: and Mercury, loose
all the Serpentine craft of thy Caduceus, if thou take not
that little little lesse then little wit from them that they
haue, which short-arm'd ignorance it selfe knowes, is so
abundant scarse, it will not in circumuention deliuer a
1220Flye from a Spider, without drawing the massie Irons and
cutting the web: after this, the vengeance on the whole
Camp, or rather the bone-ach, for that me thinkes is the
curse dependant on those that warre for a placket. I haue
said my prayers and diuell, enuie, say Amen: What ho?
1225my Lord Achilles?

Enter Patroclus.
Patr. Who's there? Thersites. Good Thersites come
in and raile.
Ther. If I could haue remembred a guilt counterfeit,
1230thou would'st not haue slipt out of my contemplation,
but it is no matter, thy selfe vpon thy selfe. The common
curse of mankinde, follie and ignorance be thine in great
reuenew; heauen blesse thee from a Tutor, and Discipline
come not neere thee. Let thy bloud be thy direction till
1235thy death, then if she that laies thee out sayes thou art a
faire coarse, Ile be sworne and sworne vpon't she neuer
shrowded any but Lazars, Amen. Wher's Achilles?
Patr. What art thou deuout? wast thou in a prayer?
Ther. I, the heauens heare me.
1240Enter Achilles.
Achil. Who's there?
Patr. Thersites, my Lord.
Achil. Where, where, art thou come? why my cheese,
my digestion, why hast thou not seru'd thy selfe into my
1245Table, so many meales? Come, what's Agamemnon?
Ther. Thy Commander Achilles, then tell me Patro-
clus, what's Achilles?
Patr. Thy Lord Thersites: then tell me I pray thee,
what's thy selfe?
1250Ther. Thy knower Patroclus: then tell me Patroclus,
what art thou?
Patr. Thou maist tell that know'st.
Achil. O tell, tell.
Ther. Ile declin the whole question: Agamemnon com-
1255mands Achilles, Achilles is my Lord, I am Patroclus know-
er, and Patroclus is a foole.
Patro. You rascall.
Ther. Peace foole, I haue not done.
Achil. He is a priuiledg'd man, proceede Thersites.
1260Ther. Agamemnon is a foole, Achilles is a foole, Ther-
sites is a foole, and as aforesaid, Patroclus is a foole.
Achil. Deriue this? come?
Ther. Agamemnon is a foole to offer to command A-
chilles, Achilles is a foole to be commanded of Agamemon,
1265Thersites is a foole to serue such a foole: and Patroclus is a
foole positiue.
Patr. Why am I a foole?

Enter Agamemnon, Vlisses, Nestor, Diomedes,
Aiax, and Chalcas.

1270Ther. Make that demand to the Creator, it suffises me
thou art. Looke you, who comes here?
Achil. Patroclus, Ile speake with no body: come in
with me Thersites. Exit.
Ther. Here is such patcherie, such iugling, and such
1275knauerie: all the argument is a Cuckold and a Whore, a
good quarrel to draw emulations, factions, and bleede to
death vpon: Now the dry Suppeago on the Subiect, and
Warre and Lecherie confound all.
Agam. Where is Achilles?
1280Patr. Within his Tent, but ill dispos'd my Lord.
Agam. Let it be knowne to him that we are here:
He sent our Messengers, and we lay by
Our appertainments, visiting of him:
Let him be told of, so perchance he thinke
1285We dare not moue the question of our place,
Or know not what we are.
Pat. I shall so say to him.
Ulis. We saw him at the opening of his Tent,
He is not sicke.
1290Aia. Yes, Lyon sicke, sicke of proud heart; you may
call it Melancholly if will fauour the man, but by my
head, it is pride; but why, why, let him show vs the cause?
A word my Lord.
Nes. What moues Aiax thus to bay at him?
1295Vlis. Achillis hath inueigled his Foole from him.
Nes. Who, Thersites?
Vlis. He.
Nes. Then will Aiax lacke matter, if he haue lost his
1300Vlis. No, you see he is his argument that has his argu-
ment Achilles.
Nes. All the better, their fraction is more our wish
then their faction; but it was a strong counsell that a
Foole could disunite.
1305Vlis. The amitie that wisedome knits, not folly may
easily vntie. Enter Patroclus.