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SCENE III.— The Grecian Camp. Before Achilles'
Enter TherSites. Ther. 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: 0 worthy satisfaction ! 'would, it were otherwise; that I could beat him, whilst he railed 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 engineer. 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-armed 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 bone-ache! for that, methinks, is the curse dependant on those that war for a placket. I have said my prayers; and devil, envy, say Amen. What, ho! my lord Achilles !
Enter PATROCLUS. Patr. Who's there? Thersites? Good Thersites, come in and rail.
Ther. If I could have remembered a gilt counterfeit,
thou wouldest not have slipped 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! Let 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. Where's Achilles ?
Patr. What, art thou devout? wast thou in prayer ? Ther. Ay; The heavens hear me!
Achil. Where, where ?-Art thou come? Why, my cheese, my digestion, why hast thou not served thyself in to my table so many meals ? Come; what's Agamemnon ?
Ther. Thy commander, Achilles ;-Then tell me, Patroclus, what's Achilles ?
Patr. Thy lord, Thersites; Then tell me, I pray thee, what's thyself?
Ther. Thy knower, Patroclus; Then tell me, Patroclus, what art thou?
Patr. Thou mayest tell, that knowest.
Ther. I'll decline the whole question. Agamemnon commands Achilles; Achilles is my lord; I am Patroclus' knower; and Patroclus is a fool.
Patr. You rascal !
Achil. He is a privileged man.-Proceed, Thersites.
Ther. Agamemnon is a fool ; Achilles is a fool; Thersites is a fool; and, as aforesaid, Patroclus is a fool.
Achil. Derive this; come.
Ther. 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 Patroclus is a fool positive.
Patr. Why am I a fool?
Ther. Make that demand of the prover.-It suffices me, thou art. Look you, who comes here?
Enter AGAMEMNON, Ulysses, Nestor, DIOMEDES,
and AJAX. Achil. Patroclus, I'll speak with nobody :-Come in with me, Thersites.
[Erit. Ther. Here is such patchery, such juggling, and such knavery! all the argument is, a cuckold, and a whore; A good quarrel, to draw emulous factions, and bleed to death upon. Now the dry serpigo on the subject! and war, and lechery, confound all! [Exit.
Agam. Where is Achilles ?
Agam. Let it be kuown to him, that we are here.
Ulyss. We saw him at the opening of his tent; He is not sick.
Ajar. Yes, lion-sick, sick of proud heart : you may call it melancholy, if you will favour the man; but, by my head, 'tis pride : But why, why? let him show us a cause.—A word, my lord.
[Takes AGAMEMNON aside. Nest. What moves Ajax thus to bay at him? Ulyss. Achilles hath inveigled his fool from him. Nest. Who? Thersites? Ulyss. He.
Nest. Then will Ajax lack matter, if he have lost his argument.
Ulyss. No; you see, he is his argument, that has his argument; Achilles.
Nest. All the better; their fraction is more our wish, than their faction: But it was a strong composure, a fool could disunite.
Ulyss. The amity, that wisdom knits not, folly may easily untie. Here comes Patroclus.
Re-enter PatrocLUS. Nest. No Achilles with him.
Ulyss. The elephant hath joints, but none for courtesy : his legs are legs for necessity, not for flexure.
Patr. Achilles bids me say—he is much sorry,
Agam. Hear you, Patroclus ;
We are too well acquainted with these answers :
[Exit. Agam. In second voice we'll not be satisfied, We come to speak with him.-Ulysses, enter.