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Then, though my heart's content firm love doth | The herd hath more annoyance by the brize, bear, Nothing of that shall from mine eyes appear.

Exit.

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Grow in the veins of actions highest rear'd;
As knots, by the conflux of meeting sap,
Infect the sound pine, and divert his grain
Tortive and errant from his course of growth.
Nor, princes, is it matter new to us,
That we come short of our suppose so far,
That, after seven years' siege, yet Troy walls
stand;

Sith every action, that hath gone before,
Whereof we have record, trial did draw
Bias and thwart, not answering the aim,
And that unbodied figure of the thought,
That gave't surmised shape. Why then, you
princes,

Do you with cheeks abash'd behold our works; And think them shames, which are, indeed, nought else

But the protractive trials of great Jove,
To find persistive constancy in men?
The fineness of which metal is not found
In fortune's love: for then, the bold and coward,
The wise and fool, the artist and unread,
The hard and soft, seem all affin'd and kin :
But, in the wind and tempest of her frown,
Distinction, with a broad and powerful fan,
Puffing at all, winnows the light away;
And what hath mass, or matter, by itself
Lies, rich in virtue, and unmingled.

Nest. With due observance of thy godlike seat,
Great Agamemnon, Nestor shall apply
Thy latest words. In the reproof of chance
Lies the true proof of men: The sea being smooth,
How many shallow bauble boats dare sail
Upon her patient breast, making their way
With those of nobler bulk?

But let the ruffian Boreas once enrage
The gentle Thetis, and, anon, behold
The strong-ribb'd bark through liquid moun-
tains cut,

Bounding between the two moist elements,
Like Perseus' horse: Where's then the saucy boat,
Whose weak untimber'd sides but even now
Co-rival'd greatness? either to harbour fled,
Or made a toast for Neptune. Even so
Doth valour's show, and valour's worth, divide,
In storms of fortune: For, in her ray and bright-

ness,

Than by the tiger: but when the splitting wind
Makes flexible the knees of knotted oaks,
And flies fled under shade, Why, then, the thing
of courage,

As rous'd with rage, with rage doth sympathize,
And with an accent tun'd in self-same key,
Returns to chiding fortune.

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And thou most reverend for thy stretch'd-out
life,-
[To Nestor.

I give to both your speeches,-which were such,
As Agamemnon and the hand of Greece
Should hold up high in brass; and such again,
As venerable Nestor, hatch'd in silver,
Should with a bond of air (strong as the axle-tree
On which heaven rides,) knit all the Greekish

ears

To his experienc'd tongue,-yet let it please both,

Thou great, and wise,-to hear Ulysses speak. Agam. Speak, prince of Ithaca; and be't of less expect

That matter needless, of importless burden,
Divide thy lips; than we are confident,
When rank Thersites opes his mastiff jaws,
We shall hear music, wit, and oracle.

Ulyss. Troy, yet upon his basis, had been down, And the great Hector's sword had lack’d a master, But for these instances.

The specialty of rule hath been neglected:
And, look, how many Grecian tents do stand
Hollow upon this plain, so many hollow factions.
When that the general is not like the hive,
To whom the foragers shall all repair,
What honey is expected? Degree being vizarded,
The unworthiest shows as fairly in the mask.
The heavens themselves, the planets, and this
centre,

Observe degree, priority, and place,
Insisture, course, proportion, season, form,
Office, and custom, in all line of order:
And therefore is the glorious planet, Sol,
In noble eminence enthron'd and spher'd
Amidst the other; whose med'cinable eye
Corrects the ill aspects of planets evil,
And posts, like the commandment of a king,
Sans check, to good and bad: But, when the
planets,

In evil mixture, to disorder wander,
What plagues, and what portents? what mutiny?
What raging of the sea? shaking of earth?
Commotion in the winds? frights, changes, hor-

rors,

Divert and crack, rend and deracinate The unity and married calm of states

Quite from their fixture? O, when degree is 'Tis like a chime a-mending; with terms un

shak'd,

Which is the ladder of all high designs,
The enterprize is sick! How could communities,
Degrees in schools, and brotherhoods in cities,
Peaceful commerce from dividable shores,
The primogenitive and due of birth,
Prerogative of age, crowns, sceptres, laurels,
But by degree, stand in authentic place?
Take but degree away, untune that string,
And, hark, what discord follows! each thing meets
In mere oppugnancy: The bounded waters
Should lift their bosoms higher than the shores,
And make a sop of all this solid globe:
Strength should be lord of imbecility,
And the rude son should strike his father dead:
Force should be right; or, rather, right and

wrong,

(Between whose endless jar justice resides,)
Should lose their names, and so should justice too.
Then every thing includes itself in power,
Power into will, will into appetite;
And appetite, an universal wolf,

So doubly seconded with will and power,
Must make perforce an universal prey,
And, last, eat up himself. Great Agamemnon,
This chaos, when degree is suffocate,
Follows the choking.

And this neglection of degree it is,
That by a pace goes backward, with a purpose
It hath to climb. The general's disdain'd
By him one step below; he, by the next;
That next, by him beneath; so every step,
Exampled by the first pace, that is sick
Of his superior, grows to an envious fever
Of pale and bloodless emulation:

And 'tis this fever that keeps Troy on foot,
Not her own sinews. To end a tale of length,
Troy in our weakness stands, not in her strength.
Nest. Most wisely hath Ulysses here discover'd
The fever, whereof all our power is sick.
Agam. The nature of the sickness found,
Ulysses,

What is the remedy?

Ulys. The great Achilles,-whom opinion

crowns

The sinew and the forehand of our host,-
Having his ear full of his airy fame,
Grows dainty of his worth, and in his tent
Lies mocking our designs: With him, Patroclus,
Upon a lazy bed, the live-long day
Breaks scurril jests;

And with ridiculous and aukward action
(Which, slanderer, he imitation calls,)
He pageants us. Sometime, great Agamemnon,
Thy topless deputation he puts on;
And, like a strutting player,-whose conceit
Lies in his hamstring, and doth think it rich
To hear the wooden dialogue and sound
Twixt his stretch'd footing and the scaffoldage,―
Such to-be-pitied and o'er-wrested seeming
He acts thy greatness in: and when he speaks,

squar'd,

Which, from the tongue of roaring Typhon dropp'd,

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Would seem hyperboles. At this fusty stuff,
The large Achilles, on his press'd bed folling,
From his deep chest laughs out a loud applause;
Cries-Excellent!-'tis Agamemnon just.—
Now play me Nestor;-hem, and stroke thy beard,
As he, being 'drest to some oration.
That's done ;-as near as the extremest ends
Of parallels; as like as Vulcan and his wife:
Yet good Achilles still cries, Excellent!
'Tis Nestor right! Now play him me, Patroclus,
Arming to answer in a night alarm.
And then, forsooth, the faint defects of age
Must be the scene of mirth; to cough, and spit,
And with a palsy-fumbling on his gorget,
Shake in and out the rivet :-and at this sport,
Sir Valour dies; cries, O! enough, Patroclus ;-
Or give me ribs of steel! I shall split all
In pleasure of my spleen. And in this fashion,
All our abilities, gifts, natures, shapes,
Severals and generals of grace exact,
Achievements, plots, orders, preventions,
Excitements to the field, or speech for truce,
Success, or loss, what is, or is not, serves
As stuff for these two to make paradoxes.

Nest. And in the imitation of these twain
(Whom, as Ulysses says, opinion crowns
With an imperial voice,) many are infect.
Ajax is grown self-will'd; and bears his head
In such a rein, in full as proud a place
As broad Achilles: keeps his tent like him;
Makes factious feasts; rails on our state of war,
Bold as an oracle: and sets Thersites
(A slave whose gall coins slanders like a mint,)
To match us in comparisons with dirt;
To weaken and discredit our exposure,
How rank soever rounded in with danger.

Ulys. They tax our policy, and call it cowardice; Count wisdom as no member of the war; Forestall prescience, and esteem no act But that of hand: the still and mental parts,That do contrive how many hands shall strike, When fitness calls them on; and know, by

measure

Of their observant toil, the enemies' weight,-
Why, this hath not a finger's dignity:
They call this-bed-work, mappery, closet-war :
So that the ram, that batters down the wall,
For the great swing and rudeness of his poize,
They place before his hand, that made the en-
gine;

Or those, that with the fineness of their souls
By reason guide his execution.

Nest. Let this be granted, and Achilles' horse Makes many Thetis' sons. [Trumpet sounds. Agam. What trumpet? look, Menelaus. Enter ENEAS.

Men. From Troy.

Agam. What would you 'fore our tent?
Ene. Is this

Great Agamemnon's tent, I pray?
Agam. Even this.

Ene. May one, that is a herald, and a prince,
Do a fair message to his kingly ears?
Agam. With surety stronger than Achilles'

arm

'Fore all the Greekish heads, which with one voice

Call Agamemnon head and general.

Ene. Fair leave, and large security.

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I ask, that I might waken reverence,
And bid the cheek be ready with a blush,
Modest as morning, when she coldly eyes
The youthful Phoebus:

Who in this dull and long-continued truce
Is rusty grown; he bade me take a trumpet,
And to this purpose speak. Kings, princes, lords!
If there be one, among the fair'st of Greece,
That holds his honour higher than his ease;
That seeks his praise more than he fears his peril;
That knows his valour, and knows not his fear;
That loves his mistress more than in confession,
(With truant vows to her own lips he loves,)
And dare avow her beauty and her worth,
In other arms than hers,—to him this challenge.
How Hector, in view of Trojans and of Greeks,
Shall make it good, or do his best to do it,
He hath a lady, wiser, fairer, truer,
Than ever Greek did compass in his arms;
And will to-morrow with his trumpet call,
Mid-way between your tents and walls of Troy,
To rouse a Grecian that is true in love:
If any come, Hector shall honour him ;
If none, he'll say in Troy, when he retires,
The Grecian dames are sun-burn'd, and not
worth

Which is that god in office, guiding men?
Which is the high and mighty Agamemnon?
Agam. This Trojan scorns us; or the men of
Troy

Are ceremonious courtiers.

Ene. Courtiers as free, as debonair, unarm'd,
As bending angels; that's their fame in peace:
But when they would seem soldiers, they have
galls,

Good arms, strong joints, true swords; and,
Jove's accord,

Nothing so full of heart. But peace, Æneas,
Peace, Trojan; lay thy finger on thy lips!
The worthiness of praise distains his worth,
If that the prais'd himself bring the praise forth:
But what the repining enemy commends,
That breath fame follows; that praise, sole pure,
transcends.

Agam. Sir, you of Troy, call you yourself
Eneas?

Ene. Ay, Greek, that is my name.
Agam. What's your affair, I pray you?
Ene. Sir, pardon; 'tis for Agamemnon's ears.
Agam. He hears nought privately, that comes
from Troy.

Ene. Nor I from Troy come not to whisper

him:

I bring a trumpet to awake his ear;
To set his sense on the attentive bent,
And then to speak.

Agam. Speak frankly as the wind;

It is not Agamemnon's sleeping hour:
That thou shalt know, Trojan, he is awake,
He teils thee so himself.

Ene. Trumpet, blow loud,

Send thy brass voice through all these lazy

tents;

And every Greek of mettle let him know,
What Troy means fairly, shall be spoke aloud.
[Trumpet sounds.

We have, great Agamemnon, here in Troy
A prince call'd Hector, (Priam is his father,)

The splinter of a lance. Even so much.

Agam. This shall be told our lovers, lord
Eneas;

If none of them have soul in such a kind,
We left them all at home: But we are soldiers;
And may that soldier a mere recreant prove,
That means not, hath not, or is not in love!
If then one is, or hath, or means to be,
That one meets Hector; if none else, I am he.

Nest. Tell him of Nestor, one that was a man
When Hector's grandsire suck'd: he is old now;
But, if there be not in our Grecian host
One noble man, that hath one spark of fire
To answer for his love, Tell him from me,—
I'll hide my silver beard in a gold beaver,
And in my vantbrace put this wither'd brawn;
And, meeting him, will tell him, that my lady
Was fairer than his grandame, and as chaste
As may be in the world: His youth in flood,
I'll prove this truth with my three drops of blood.
ne. Now heavens forbid such scarcity of
youth!

Ulyss. Amen.

Agam. Fair lord Eneas, let me touch your
hand;

To our pavilion shall I lead you, sir.
Achilles shall have word of this intent;
So shall each lord of Greece, from tent to tent:
Yourself shall feast with us before you go,
And find the welcome of a noble foe.

[Exeunt all but Ulysses and Nestor.

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ment,

Ay, with celerity, find Hector's purpose
Pointing on him.

Ulyss. And wake him to the answer, think you?
Nest. Yes,

It is most meet; whom may you else oppose,
That can from Hector bring those honours off,
If not Achilles? Though't be a sportful combat,
Yet in the trial much opinion dwells;
For here the Trojans taste our dear'st repute
With their fin'st palate: And trust to me,
Ulysses,

Our imputation shall be oddly pois'd
In this wild action: for the success,
Although particular, shall give a scantling
Of good or bad unto the general;
And in such indexes, although small pricks
To their subséquent volumes, there is seen
The baby figure of the giant mass

Of things to come at large. It is suppos'd,
He, that meets Hector, issues from our choice,
And choice, being mutual act of all our souls,
Makes merit her election; and doth boil,
As 'twere from forth us all, a man distill'd
Out of our virtues; Who miscarrying,
What heart receives from hence a conquering
part,

To steel a strong opinion to themselves?

Which entertain'd, limbs are his instruments, In no less working, than are swords and bows Directive by the limbs.

Ulyss. Give pardon to my speech ;— Therefore, 'tis meet, Achilles meet not Hector. Let us, like merchants, show our foulest wares, And think, perchance, they'll sell; if not, The lustre of the better shall exceed, By showing the worse first. Do not consent, That ever Hector and Achilles meet; For both our honour and our shame, in this, Are dogg'd with two strange followers.

Nest. I see them not with my old eyes; what are they?

Ulyss. What glory our Achilles shares from Hector,

Were he not proud, we all should share with him:
But he already is too insolent;

And we were better parch in Afric sun,
Than in the pride and salt scorn of his eyes,
Should he 'scape Hector fair: If he were foil'd,
Why, then we did our main opinion crush
In taint of our best man. No, make a lottery;
And, by device, let blockish Ajax draw
The sort to find with Hector: Among ourselves,
Give him allowance for the better man,
For that will physic the great Myrmidon,
Who broils in loud applause; and make him fall
His crest, that prouder than blue Iris bends.
If the dull brainless Ajax come safe off,
We'll dress him up in voices: If he fail,
Yet go we under our opinion still,

That we have better men. But, hit or miss,
Our project's life this shape of sense assumes,-
Ajax, employ'd, plucks down Achilles' plumes.
Nest. Ulysses,

Now I begin to relish thy advice;
And I will give a taste of it forthwith
To Agamemnon: go we to him straight.
Two curs shall tame each other: Pride alone
Must tarre the mastiffs on, as 'twere their bone.
[Exeunt.

ACT II.

SCENE I-Another part of the Grecian camp.

Enter AJAX and THERSITES.

Ajar. Thersites,

Ajax. Thou bitch-wolf's son, canst thou not hear? Feel then. [Strikes him. Ther. The plague of Greece upon thee, thou mongrel beef-witted lord!

Ajar. Speak then, thou unsalted leaven,

Ther. Agamemnon-how if he had boils? speak: I'll beat thee into handsomeness.

full, all over, generally?

Ajar. Thersites,—

Ther. And those boils did run?-Say so, did not the general run then? were not that a botchy core?

Ajax. Dog,

Ther. Then would come some matter from him; I see none now.

Ther. 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 a'thy jade's tricks!

Ajar. Toads-stool, learn me the proclamation. Ther. Dost thou think, I have no sense, thou strik'st me thus?

Ajax. The proclamation,—

Ther. Thou art proclaim'd a fool, I think. Ajax. Do not, porcupine, do not; my fingers itch.

Ther. I would thou didst itch from head to foot, and I had the scratching of thee; I would make thee the loathsomest scab in Greece. When thou art forth in the incursions, thou strikest as slow as another.

Ajax. I say, the proclamation,

Ther. Thou grumblest and railest every hour on Achilles; and thou art as full of envy at his greatness, as Cerberus is at Proserpina's beauty, ay, that thou barkest at him.

Ajax. Mistress Thersites!

Ther. Thou should'st strike him.
Ajax. Cobloaf!

Ther. He would pun thee into shivers with his fist, as a sailor breaks a biscuit. Ajax. You whoreson cur!

Ther. Do, do.

[Beating him.

Ajax. Thou stool for a witch! Ther. Ay, do, do; thou sodden-witted lord! thou hast no more brain than I have in mine elbows; an assinego may tutor thee: Thou scurvy valiant ass! thou art here put to thrash 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!

Ajax. You dog!

Ther. You scurvy lord!
Ajar. You cur!

[Beating him. Ther. Mars his idiot! do, rudeness; do, camel; do, do.

Enter ACHILLES and PATROCLUS. Achil. Why, how now, Ajax? wherefore do you thus?

How now, Thersites ? what's the matter, man? Ther. You see him there, do you?

Achil. Ay; what's the matter?

Ther. Nay, look upon him,

Achil. So I do; What's the matter?
Ther. Nay, but regard him well.
Achil. Well, why I do so.

Ther. But yet you look not well upon him: or, whosoever you take him to be, he is Ajax. Achil. I know that, fool.

Ther. Ay, but that fool knows not himself. Ajax. Therefore I beat thee,

Ther. Lo, lo, lo, lo, what modicums of wit he utters! his evasions have ears thus long. I have bobb'd his brain, more 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, Achil. What?

Ther, I say, this Ajax

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Ajax. O thou damned cur! I shall— Achil. Will you set your wit to a fool's? Ther. No, I warrant you; for a fool's will shame it.

Patr. Good words, Thersites.

Achil. What's the quarrel?

Ajax. I bade the vile owl, go learn me the tenour of the proclamation, and he rails upon me.

Ther. I serve thee not.

Ajax. Well, go to, go to,

Ther. I serve here voluntary.

Achil. Your last service was sufferance, 'twas not voluntary; no man is beaten voluntary : Ajax was here the voluntary, and you as under an impress.

Ther. Even so?-a great deal of your wit too lies in your sinews, or else there be liars. Hector shall have a great catch, if he knock out either of your brains; 'a were as good crack a fusty nut with no kernel.

Achil. What, with me too, Thersites ?

Ther. There's Ulysses, and old Nestor,whose wit was mouldy, ere your grandsires had nails on their toes,-yoke you like draught oxen, and make you plough up the wars.

Achil. What, what?

Ther. Yes, good sooth; To, Achilles! to, Ajax! to!

Ajax. I shall cut out your tongue.

Ther. "Tis no matter; I shall speak as much as thou, afterwards.

Patr. No more words, Thersites; peace. Ther. I will hold my peace, when Achilles' brach bids me, shall I ?

Achil. There's for you, Patroclus.

Ther. I will see you hanged, like clotpoles, ere I come any more to your tents; I will keep where there is wit stirring, and leave the faction of fools. [Exit.

Patr. A good riddance.

Achil. Marry, this, sir, is proclaim'd through all our host,

That Hector, by the first hour of the sun,
Will, with a trumpet, 'twixt our tents and Troy,
To-morrow morning call some knight to arms,
That hath a stomach; and such a one, that dare
Maintain-I know not what; 'tis trash: Farewell.
Ajax. Farewell. Who shall answer him?
Achil. I know not, it is put to lottery; otherwise,
He knew his man.

Ajar. O, meaning you :-I'll go learn more of [Exeunt.

it.

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