Troilus and Cressida
Act II, Scene 3
The Grecian camp. Before Achilles’ tent.
- Enter Thersites solus.
Thersites1 - 19
- How now, Thersites? What, lost in the labyrinth of thy fury?
- Shall the elephant Ajax carry it thus? He beats me, and I
- rail at him. O worthy satisfaction! Would it were otherwise:
- that I could beat him, whilst he rail’d at me. ’Sfoot, I’ll
- learn to conjure and raise devils, but I’ll see some issue
- of my spiteful execrations. Then there’s Achilles, a rare
- enginer! If Troy be not taken till these two undermine it,
- the walls will stand till they fall of themselves. O thou
- great thunder-darter of Olympus, forget that thou art Jove,
- the king of gods, and, Mercury, lose all the serpentine
- craft of thy caduceus, if ye take not that little little
- less than little wit from them that they have, which
- short-arm’d ignorance itself knows is so abundant scarce, it
- will not in circumvention deliver a fly from a spider,
- without drawing their massy irons and cutting the web! After
- this, the vengeance on the whole camp! Or rather, the
- Neapolitan bone-ache! For that methinks is the curse
- depending on those that war for a placket. I have said my
- prayers, and devil Envy say amen. What ho! My Lord Achilles!
- Who’s there? Thersites? Good Thersites, come in and rail.
Thersites21 - 29
- If I could ’a’ rememb’red a gilt counterfeit, thou wouldst
- not have slipp’d out of my contemplation. But it is no
- matter, thyself upon thyself! The common curse of mankind,
- folly and ignorance, be thine in great revenue! Heaven bless
- thee from a tutor, and discipline come not near thee! Lee
- thy blood be thy direction till thy death; then if she that
- lays thee out says thou art a fair corse, I’ll be sworn and
- sworn upon’t she never shrouded any but lazars. Amen.
- Enter Patroclus.
- Where’s Achilles?
- What, art thou devout? Wast thou in prayer?
- Ay, the heavens hear me!
- Enter Achilles.
- Who’s there?
- Thersites, my lord.
Achilles35 - 37
- Where? Where? O, where? Art thou come? Why, my cheese, my
- digestion, why hast thou not serv’d thyself in to my table
- so many meals? Come, what’s Agamemnon?
Thersites38 - 39
- Thy commander, Achilles. Then tell me, Patroclus, what’s
Patroclus40 - 41
- Thy lord, Thersites. Then tell me, I pray thee, what’s
Thersites42 - 43
- Thy knower, Patroclus. Then tell me, Patroclus, what art
- Thou must tell that knowest.
- O, tell, tell.
Thersites46 - 48
- I’ll decline the whole question: Agamemnon commands
- Achilles, Achilles is my lord, I am Patroclus’ knower, and
- Patroclus is a fool.
- You rascal!
- Peace, fool, I have not done.
- He is a privileg’d man. Proceed, Thersites.
Thersites52 - 53
- Agamemnon is a fool, Achilles is a fool, Thersites is a
- fool, and, as aforesaid, Patroclus is a fool.
- Derive this; come.
Thersites55 - 57
- Agamemnon is a fool to offer to command Achilles, Achilles
- is a fool to be commanded of Agamemnon, Thersites is a fool
- to serve such a fool, and this Patroclus is a fool positive.
- Why am I a fool?
Thersites59 - 60
- Make that demand of the prover, it suffices me thou art.
- Look you, who comes here?
- Enter Agamemnon, Ulysses, Nestor, Diomedes, Ajax, and
Achilles61 - 62
- Come, Patroclus, I’ll speak with nobody. Come in with me,
Thersites63 - 66
- Here is such patchery, such juggling, and such knavery! All
- the argument is a whore and a cuckold, a good quarrel to
- draw emulous factions and bleed to death upon. Now the dry
- suppeago on the subject, and war and lechery confound all!
- Where is Achilles?
- Within his tent, but ill dispos’d, my lord.
Agamemnon69 - 74
- Let it be known to him that we are here.
- He shent our messengers, and we lay by
- Our appertainings, visiting of him.
- Let him be told so, lest perchance he think
- We dare not move the question of our place,
- Or know not what we are.
- I shall say so to him.
Ulysses76 - 77
- We saw him at the opening of his tent,
- He is not sick.
Ajax78 - 81
- Yes, lion-sick, sick of proud heart. You may call it
- melancholy, if you will favor the man; but by my head, ’tis
- pride. But why, why? Let him show us a cause. A word, my
- Takes Agamemnon aside.
- What moves Ajax thus to bay at him?
- Achilles hath inveigled his fool from him.
- Who, Thersites?
- Then will Ajax lack matter, if he have lost his argument.
Ulysses87 - 88
- No, you see he is his argument that has his argument,
Nestor89 - 91
- All the better, their fraction is more our wish than their
- faction. But it was a strong composure a fool could
Ulysses92 - 93
- The amity that wisdom knits not, folly may easily untie.
- Enter Patroclus.
- Here comes Patroclus.
- No Achilles with him.
Ulysses95 - 96
- The elephant hath joints, but none for courtesy; his legs
- are legs for necessity, not for flexure.
Patroclus97 - 102
- Achilles bids me say he is much sorry,
- If any thing more than your sport and pleasure
- Did move your greatness and this noble state
- To call upon him. He hopes it is no other
- But for your health and your digestion sake,
- An after-dinner’s breath.
Agamemnon103 - 129
- Hear you, Patroclus:
- We are too well acquainted with these answers,
- But his evasion, wing’d thus swift with scorn,
- Cannot outfly our apprehensions.
- Much attribute he hath, and much the reason
- Why we ascribe it to him; yet all his virtues,
- Not virtuously on his own part beheld,
- Do in our eyes begin to lose their gloss,
- Yea, like fair fruit in an unwholesome dish,
- Are like to rot untasted. Go and tell him
- We come to speak with him, and you shall not sin
- If you do say we think him over-proud
- And under-honest, in self-assumption greater
- Than in the note of judgment; and worthier than himself
- Here tend the savage strangeness he puts on,
- Disguise the holy strength of their command,
- And underwrite in an observing kind
- His humorous predominance; yea, watch
- His pettish lines, his ebbs, his flows, as if
- The passage and whole carriage of this action
- Rode on his tide. Go tell him this, and add,
- That if he overhold his price so much,
- We’ll none of him; but let him, like an engine
- Not portable, lie under this report:
- “Bring action hither, this cannot go to war.”
- A stirring dwarf we do allowance give
- Before a sleeping giant. Tell him so.
- I shall, and bring his answer presently.
Agamemnon131 - 132
- In second voice we’ll not be satisfied,
- We come to speak with him. Ulysses, enter you.
- Exit Ulysses.
- What is he more than another?
- No more than what he thinks he is.
Ajax135 - 136
- Is he so much? Do you not think he thinks himself a better
- man than I am?
- No question.
- Will you subscribe his thought, and say he is?
Agamemnon139 - 140
- No, noble Ajax, you are as strong, as valiant, as wise, no
- less noble, much more gentle, and altogether more tractable.
Ajax141 - 142
- Why should a man be proud? How doth pride grow? I know not
- what pride is.
Agamemnon143 - 146
- Your mind is the clearer, Ajax, and your virtues the fairer.
- He that is proud eats up himself. Pride is his own glass,
- his own trumpet, his own chronicle, and whatever praises
- itself but in the deed, devours the deed in the praise.
- Enter Ulysses.
Ajax147 - 148
- I do hate a proud man, as I do hate the engend’ring of
- And yet he loves himself. Is’t not strange?
- Achilles will not to the field tomorrow.
- What’s his excuse?
Ulysses152 - 155
- He doth rely on none,
- But carries on the stream of his dispose
- Without observance or respect of any,
- In will peculiar and in self-admission.
Agamemnon156 - 157
- Why will he not upon our fair request
- Untent his person and share th’ air with us?
Ulysses158 - 167
- Things small as nothing, for request’s sake only,
- He makes important. Possess’d he is with greatness,
- And speaks not to himself but with a pride
- That quarrels at self-breath. Imagin’d worth
- Holds in his blood such swoll’n and hot discourse
- That ’twixt his mental and his active parts
- Kingdom’d Achilles in commotion rages,
- And batters down himself. What should I say?
- He is so plaguy proud that the death-tokens of it
- Cry “No recovery.”
Agamemnon168 - 171
- Let Ajax go to him.
- Dear lord, go you and greet him in his tent.
- ’Tis said he holds you well, and will be led
- At your request a little from himself.
Ulysses172 - 189
- O Agamemnon, let it not be so!
- We’ll consecrate the steps that Ajax makes
- When they go from Achilles. Shall the proud lord
- That bastes his arrogance with his own seam,
- And never suffers matter of the world
- Enter his thoughts, save such as doth revolve
- And ruminate himself, shall he be worshipp’d
- Of that we hold an idol more than he?
- No! This thrice worthy and right valiant lord
- Shall not so stale his palm, nobly acquir’d,
- Nor, by my will, assubjugate his merit,
- As amply titled as Achilles’ is,
- By going to Achilles.
- That were to enlard his fat-already pride,
- And add more coals to Cancer when he burns
- With entertaining great Hyperion.
- This lord go to him! Jupiter forbid,
- And say in thunder, “Achilles go to him.”
- Aside to Diomedes
- O, this is well. He rubs the vein of him.
- Aside to Nestor
- And how his silence drinks up his applause!
Ajax192 - 193
- If I go to him, with my armed fist
- I’ll pash him o’er the face.
- O no, you shall not go.
Ajax195 - 196
- And he be proud with me, I’ll pheese his pride.
- Let me go to him.
- Not for the worth that hangs upon our quarrel.
- A paltry, insolent fellow!
- How he describes himself!
- Can he not be sociable?
- The raven chides blackness.
- I’ll let his humors blood.
- He will be the physician that should be the patient.
- And all men were of my mind—
- Wit would be out of fashion.
Ajax206 - 207
- ’A should not bear it so, ’a should eat swords first. Shall
- pride carry it?
- And ’twould, you’d carry half.
Ulysses209 - 210
- ’A would have ten shares. I will knead him, I’ll make him
- supple. He’s not yet through warm.
Nestor211 - 212
- Force him with praises—pour in, pour in, his ambition is
- To Agamemnon.
- My lord, you feed too much on this dislike.
- Our noble general, do not do so.
- You must prepare to fight without Achilles.
Ulysses216 - 218
- Why, ’tis this naming of him does him harm.
- Here is a man—but ’tis before his face,
- I will be silent.
Nestor219 - 220
- Wherefore should you so?
- He is not emulous, as Achilles is.
- Know the whole world, he is as valiant—
Ajax222 - 223
- A whoreson dog, that shall palter with us thus!
- Would he were a Troyan!
- What a vice were it in Ajax now—
- If he were proud—
- Or covetous of praise—
- Ay, or surly borne—
- Or strange, or self-affected!
Ulysses229 - 245
- Thank the heavens, lord, thou art of sweet composure.
- Praise him that gat thee, she that gave thee suck;
- Fam’d be thy tutor, and thy parts of nature
- Thrice fam’d beyond, beyond all erudition;
- But he that disciplin’d thine arms to fight,
- Let Mars divide eternity in twain,
- And give him half; and for thy vigor,
- Bull-bearing Milo his addition yield
- To sinowy Ajax. I will not praise thy wisdom,
- Which like a bourn, a pale, a shore, confines
- Thy spacious and dilated parts. Here’s Nestor,
- Instructed by the antiquary times;
- He must, he is, he cannot but be wise.
- But pardon, father Nestor, were your days
- As green as Ajax’, and your brain so temper’d,
- You should not have the eminence of him,
- But be as Ajax.
- Shall I call you father?
- Ay, my good son.
- Be rul’d by him, Lord Ajax.
Ulysses249 - 255
- There is no tarrying here, the hart Achilles
- Keeps thicket. Please it our great general
- To call together all his state of war.
- Fresh kings are come to Troy; tomorrow
- We must with all our main of power stand fast;
- And here’s a lord—come knights from east to west,
- And cull their flower, Ajax shall cope the best.
Agamemnon256 - 257
- Go we to council. Let Achilles sleep:
- Light boats sail swift, though greater hulks draw deep.