[Enter AJAX and THERSITES]
- Thersites. Agamemnon, how if he had boils? full, all over,
- Thersites. And those boils did run? say so: did not the
general run then? were not that a botchy core?
- Thersites. Then would come some matter from him; I see none now.
- Ajax. Thou bitch-wolf's son, canst thou not hear?
- Thersites. The plague of Greece upon thee, thou mongrel
- Ajax. Speak then, thou vinewedst leaven, speak: I will
beat thee into handsomeness.
- Thersites. 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 o' thy jade's tricks!
- Ajax. Toadstool, learn me the proclamation.
- Thersites. Dost thou think I have no sense, thou strikest me thus?
- Thersites. Thou art proclaimed a fool, I think.
- Ajax. Do not, porpentine, do not: my fingers itch.
- Thersites. 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!
- Thersites. Thou grumblest and railest every hour on Achilles,
and thou art as full of envy at his greatness as
Cerberus is at Proserpine's beauty, ay, that thou
barkest at him.
- Ajax. Mistress Thersites!
- Thersites. Thou shouldest strike him.
- Thersites. He would pun thee into shivers with his fist, as a
sailor breaks a biscuit.
- Ajax. [Beating him] You whoreson cur!
- Ajax. Thou stool for a witch!
- Thersites. 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 but 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
- Thersites. You scurvy lord!
- Ajax. [Beating him] You cur!
- Thersites. Mars his idiot! do, rudeness; do, camel; do, do.
[Enter ACHILLES and PATROCLUS]
- Achilles. Why, how now, Ajax! wherefore do you thus? How now,
Thersites! what's the matter, man?
- Thersites. You see him there, do you?
- Achilles. Ay; what's the matter?
- Thersites. Nay, look upon him.
- Achilles. So I do: what's the matter?
- Thersites. Nay, but regard him well.
- Achilles. 'Well!' why, I do so.
- Thersites. But yet you look not well upon him; for whosoever you
take him to be, he is Ajax.
- Achilles. I know that, fool.
- Thersites. Ay, but that fool knows not himself.
- Ajax. Therefore I beat thee.
- Thersites. Lo, lo, lo, lo, what modicums of wit he utters! his
evasions have ears thus long. I have bobbed 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 nineth 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
- Thersites. I say, this Ajax—
[Ajax offers to beat him]
- Achilles. Nay, good Ajax.
- Thersites. Has not so much wit—
- Achilles. Nay, I must hold you.
- Thersites. As will stop the eye of Helen's needle, for whom he
comes to fight.
- Thersites. I would have peace and quietness, but the fool will
not: he there: that he: look you there.
- Ajax. O thou damned cur! I shall—
- Achilles. Will you set your wit to a fool's?
- Thersites. No, I warrant you; for a fools will shame it.
- Patroclus. Good words, Thersites.
- Achilles. What's the quarrel?
- Ajax. I bade the vile owl go learn me the tenor of the
proclamation, and he rails upon me.
- Thersites. I serve thee not.
- Ajax. Well, go to, go to.
- Thersites. I serve here voluntarily.
- Achilles. Your last service was sufferance, 'twas not
voluntary: no man is beaten voluntary: Ajax was
here the voluntary, and you as under an impress.
- Thersites. E'en so; a great deal of your wit, too, lies in your
sinews, or else there be liars. Hector have a great
catch, if he knock out either of your brains: a'
were as good crack a fusty nut with no kernel.
- Achilles. What, with me too, Thersites?
- Thersites. 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.
- Achilles. What, what?
- Thersites. Yes, good sooth: to, Achilles! to, Ajax! to!
- Ajax. I shall cut out your tongue.
- Thersites. 'Tis no matter! I shall speak as much as thou
- Patroclus. No more words, Thersites; peace!
- Thersites. I will hold my peace when Achilles' brach bids me, shall I?
- Achilles. There's for you, Patroclus.
- Thersites. 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.
- Patroclus. A good riddance.
- Achilles. Marry, this, sir, is proclaim'd through all our host:
That Hector, by the fifth 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?
- Achilles. I know not: 'tis put to lottery; otherwise
He knew his man.
- Ajax. O, meaning you. I will go learn more of it.