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Achil. Nay, good Ajax.

[AJAX offers to strike him, ACHILLES

interposes. Ther. Has not so much witAchil. Nay, I must hold you. Ther. As will stop the eye of Helen's needle, for whom he comes to fight.

Achil. Peace, fool!

Ther. 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-
Achil. Will

Vill 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?

—is beaten voluntary :) i. e. voluntarily. Shakspeare often uses adjectives adverbially.

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


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 proclaimed 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?

Ächil. I know not, it is put to lottery; otherwise, He knew his man. Ajax. O, meaning you:—I'll go learn more of it.


s—when Achilles' brach bids me,] The commentators are not agreed on the meaning of this word, some referring it to a species of dog, and some to an ornament called a broche, or broach.


Troy. A Room in Priam's Palace.

Enter PRIAM, Hector, TROILUS, PARIS, and


Pri. After so many hours, lives, speeches spent, Thus once again says Nestor from the Greeks; Deliver Helen, and all damage elseAs honour, loss of time, travel, expence, Wounds, friends, and what else dear that is consum'd In hot digestion of this cormorant war,Shall be struck off:-Hector, what say you to't?

Hect. Though no man lesser fears the Greeks than 1, As far as toucheth my particular, yet, Dread Priam, There is no lady of more softer bowels, More spungy to suck in the sense of fear, More ready to cry out-Who knows what follows? Than Hector is: The wound of peace is surety, Surety secure; but modest doubt is callid The beacon of the wise, the tent that searches To the bottom of the worst. Let Helen go: Since the first sword was drawn about this question, Every tithe soul, 'mongst many thousand dismes, Hath been as dear as Helen; I mean, of ours: If we have lost so many tenths of ours, To guard a thing not ours; not worth to us, Had it our name, the value of one ten; What merit's in that reason, which denies The yielding of her up? Tro.

Fye, fye, my brother!

many thousand dismes,] Disme, Fr. is the tithe, the


[blocks in formation]

Weigh you the worth and honour of a king,
So great as our dread father, in a scale
Of common ounces? will you with counters sum
The past-proportion of his infinite?
And buckle-in a waist most fathomless,
With spans and inches so diminutive
As fears and reasons? fye, for godly shame!
Hel. No marvel, though you bite so sharp at

You are so empty of them. Should not our father
Bear the great sway of his affairs with reasons,
Because your speech hath none, that tells him so?
Tro. You are for dreams and slumbers, brother

priest, You fur your gloves with reason.

Here are your


You know, an enemy intends you harm;
You know, a sword employ'd is perilous,
And reason flies the object of all harm:
Who marvels then, when Helenus beholds
A Grecian and his sword, if he do set
The very wings of reason to his heels;
And fly like chidden Mercury from Jove,
Or like a star dis-orbid?-Nay, if we talk of reason,
Let's shutour gates, and sleep: Manhood and honour
Should have hare hearts, would they but fat their

With this cramm'd reason; reason and respecto
Make livers pale, and lustihood deject.

Hect. Brother, she is not worth what she doth cost The holding Tro.

What is aught, but as 'tis valued?

5 The past-proportion of his infinite ?] i. e. that greatness to which no measure bears any proportion.

reason and respect Makes livers pale, &c.] Respect is caution, a regard to consequences.

Hect. But value dwells not in particular will;
It holds his estimate and dignity
As well wherein 'tis precious of itself
As in the prizer: 'tis mad idolatry,
To make the service greater than the god;
And the will dotes, that is attributive?
To what infectiously itself affects,
Without some image of the affected merit.

Tro. I take to-day a wife, and my election
Is led on in the conduct of my will;
My will enkindled by mine eyes and ears,
Two traded pilots 'twixt the dangerous shores
Of will and judgment: How may I avoid,
Although my will distaste what it elected,
The wife I chose ? there can be no evasion
To blench from this, and to stand firm by honour :
We turn not back the silks upon the merchant,
When we have soil'd them ; nor the remainder viands
We do not throw in unrespective sieve,
Because we now are full. It was thought meet,
Paris should do some vengeance on the Greeks:
Your breath with full consent' bellied his sails;
The seas and winds (old wranglers) took a truce,
And did him service: he touch'd the ports desir'd;
And, for an old aunt,' whom the Greeks held captive,
He brought a Grecian queen, whose youth and

freshness Wrinkles Apollo's, and makes pale the morning. Why keep we here? the Grecians keep our aunt:


7 And the will dotes, that is attributive -] i. e. the will dotes that attributes or gives the qualities which it affects; that first causes excellence, and then admires it.

unrespective sieve,] That is, unto a common voider. 9 Your breath with full consent -] Your breaths all blowing together ; your unanimous approbation.

And, for an old aunt,] Priam's sister, Hesione, whom Hercules, being enraged at Priam's breach of faith, gave to Telamon, who by her had Ajax.

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