Speeches (Lines) for Thersites
in "Troilus and Cressida"

Total: 90

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# Act, Scene, Line
(Click to see in context)
Speech text

1

II,1,859

Agamemnon, how if he had boils? full, all over,
generally?

2

II,1,862

And those boils did run? say so: did not the
general run then? were not that a botchy core?

3

II,1,865

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

4

II,1,869

The plague of Greece upon thee, thou mongrel
beef-witted lord!

5

II,1,873

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!

6

II,1,878

Dost thou think I have no sense, thou strikest me thus?

7

II,1,880

Thou art proclaimed a fool, I think.

8

II,1,882

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.

9

II,1,887

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.

10

II,1,892

Thou shouldest strike him.

11

II,1,894

He would pun thee into shivers with his fist, as a
sailor breaks a biscuit.

12

II,1,897

Do, do.

13

II,1,899

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
bowels, thou!

14

II,1,908

You scurvy lord!

15

II,1,910

Mars his idiot! do, rudeness; do, camel; do, do.

16

II,1,914

You see him there, do you?

17

II,1,916

Nay, look upon him.

18

II,1,918

Nay, but regard him well.

19

II,1,920

But yet you look not well upon him; for whosoever you
take him to be, he is Ajax.

20

II,1,923

Ay, but that fool knows not himself.

21

II,1,925

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
him.

22

II,1,934

I say, this Ajax—

23

II,1,937

Has not so much wit—

24

II,1,939

As will stop the eye of Helen's needle, for whom he
comes to fight.

25

II,1,942

I would have peace and quietness, but the fool will
not: he there: that he: look you there.

26

II,1,946

No, I warrant you; for a fools will shame it.

27

II,1,951

I serve thee not.

28

II,1,953

I serve here voluntarily.

29

II,1,957

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.

30

II,1,962

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.

31

II,1,966

Yes, good sooth: to, Achilles! to, Ajax! to!

32

II,1,968

'Tis no matter! I shall speak as much as thou
afterwards.

33

II,1,971

I will hold my peace when Achilles' brach bids me, shall I?

34

II,1,973

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.

35

II,3,1215

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 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 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-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 dependent on those that war
for a placket. I have said my prayers and devil Envy
say Amen. What ho! my Lord Achilles!

36

II,3,1239

If I could have remembered a gilt counterfeit, thou
wouldst 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?

37

II,3,1250

Ay: the heavens hear me!

38

II,3,1257

Thy commander, Achilles. Then tell me, Patroclus,
what's Achilles?

39

II,3,1261

Thy knower, Patroclus: then tell me, Patroclus,
what art thou?

40

II,3,1265

I'll decline the whole question. Agamemnon commands
Achilles; Achilles is my lord; I am Patroclus'
knower, and Patroclus is a fool.

41

II,3,1269

Peace, fool! I have not done.

42

II,3,1271

Agamemnon is a fool; Achilles is a fool; Thersites
is a fool, and, as aforesaid, Patroclus is a fool.

43

II,3,1274

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.

44

II,3,1279

Make that demand of the prover. It suffices me thou
art. Look you, who comes here?

45

II,3,1284

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!

46

III,3,2127

A wonder!

47

III,3,2129

Ajax goes up and down the field, asking for himself.

48

III,3,2131

He must fight singly to-morrow with Hector, and is so
prophetically proud of an heroical cudgelling that he
raves in saying nothing.

49

III,3,2135

Why, he stalks up and down like a peacock,—a stride
and a stand: ruminates like an hostess that hath no
arithmetic but her brain to set down her reckoning:
bites his lip with a politic regard, as who should
say 'There were wit in this head, an 'twould out;'
and so there is, but it lies as coldly in him as fire
in a flint, which will not show without knocking.
The man's undone forever; for if Hector break not his
neck i' the combat, he'll break 't himself in
vain-glory. He knows not me: I said 'Good morrow,
Ajax;' and he replies 'Thanks, Agamemnon.' What think
you of this man that takes me for the general? He's
grown a very land-fish, language-less, a monster.
A plague of opinion! a man may wear it on both
sides, like a leather jerkin.

50

III,3,2151

Who, I? why, he'll answer nobody; he professes not
answering: speaking is for beggars; he wears his
tongue in's arms. I will put on his presence: let
Patroclus make demands to me, you shall see the
pageant of Ajax.

51

III,3,2164

Hum!

52

III,3,2166

Ha!

53

III,3,2168

Hum!

54

III,3,2170

Agamemnon!

55

III,3,2172

Ha!

56

III,3,2174

God b' wi' you, with all my heart.

57

III,3,2176

If to-morrow be a fair day, by eleven o'clock it will
go one way or other: howsoever, he shall pay for me
ere he has me.

58

III,3,2180

Fare you well, with all my heart.

59

III,3,2182

No, but he's out o' tune thus. What music will be in
him when Hector has knocked out his brains, I know
not; but, I am sure, none, unless the fiddler Apollo
get his sinews to make catlings on.

60

III,3,2187

Let me bear another to his horse; for that's the more
capable creature.

61

III,3,2192

Would the fountain of your mind were clear again,
that I might water an ass at it! I had rather be a
tick in a sheep than such a valiant ignorance.

62

V,1,2937

Why, thou picture of what thou seemest, and idol
of idiot worshippers, here's a letter for thee.

63

V,1,2940

Why, thou full dish of fool, from Troy.

64

V,1,2942

The surgeon's box, or the patient's wound.

65

V,1,2944

Prithee, be silent, boy; I profit not by thy talk:
thou art thought to be Achilles' male varlet.

66

V,1,2947

Why, his masculine whore. Now, the rotten diseases
of the south, the guts-griping, ruptures, catarrhs,
loads o' gravel i' the back, lethargies, cold
palsies, raw eyes, dirt-rotten livers, wheezing
lungs, bladders full of imposthume, sciaticas,
limekilns i' the palm, incurable bone-ache, and the
rivelled fee-simple of the tetter, take and take
again such preposterous discoveries!

67

V,1,2957

Do I curse thee?

68

V,1,2960

No! why art thou then exasperate, thou idle
immaterial skein of sleave-silk, thou green sarcenet
flap for a sore eye, thou tassel of a prodigal's
purse, thou? Ah, how the poor world is pestered
with such waterflies, diminutives of nature!

69

V,1,2966

Finch-egg!

70

V,1,2979

With too much blood and too little brain, these two
may run mad; but, if with too much brain and too
little blood they do, I'll be a curer of madmen.
Here's Agamemnon, an honest fellow enough and one
that loves quails; but he has not so much brain as
earwax: and the goodly transformation of Jupiter
there, his brother, the bull,—the primitive statue,
and oblique memorial of cuckolds; a thrifty
shoeing-horn in a chain, hanging at his brother's
leg,—to what form but that he is, should wit larded
with malice and malice forced with wit turn him to?
To an ass, were nothing; he is both ass and ox: to
an ox, were nothing; he is both ox and ass. To be a
dog, a mule, a cat, a fitchew, a toad, a lizard, an
owl, a puttock, or a herring without a roe, I would
not care; but to be Menelaus, I would conspire
against destiny. Ask me not, what I would be, if I
were not Thersites; for I care not to be the louse
of a lazar, so I were not Menelaus! Hey-day!
spirits and fires!
[Enter HECTOR, TROILUS, AJAX, AGAMEMNON, ULYSSES,]
NESTOR, MENELAUS, and DIOMEDES, with lights]

71

V,1,3014

Sweet draught: 'sweet' quoth 'a! sweet sink,
sweet sewer.

72

V,1,3033

That same Diomed's a false-hearted rogue, a most
unjust knave; I will no more trust him when he leers
than I will a serpent when he hisses: he will spend
his mouth, and promise, like Brabbler the hound:
but when he performs, astronomers foretell it; it
is prodigious, there will come some change; the sun
borrows of the moon, when Diomed keeps his
word. I will rather leave to see Hector, than
not to dog him: they say he keeps a Trojan
drab, and uses the traitor Calchas' tent: I'll
after. Nothing but lechery! all incontinent varlets!

73

V,2,3060

And any man may sing her, if he can take her cliff;
she's noted.

74

V,2,3069

Roguery!

75

V,2,3074

A juggling trick,—to be secretly open.

76

V,2,3114

How the devil Luxury, with his fat rump and
potato-finger, tickles these together! Fry, lechery, fry!

77

V,2,3126

Now the pledge; now, now, now!

78

V,2,3137

Now she sharpens: well said, whetstone!

79

V,2,3170

Nor I, by Pluto: but that that likes not you pleases me best.

80

V,2,3183

A proof of strength she could not publish more,
Unless she said ' My mind is now turn'd whore.'

81

V,2,3210

Will he swagger himself out on's own eyes?

82

V,2,3251

He'll tickle it for his concupy.

83

V,2,3267

Would I could meet that rogue Diomed! I would
croak like a raven; I would bode, I would bode.
Patroclus will give me any thing for the
intelligence of this whore: the parrot will not
do more for an almond than he for a commodious drab.
Lechery, lechery; still, wars and lechery; nothing
else holds fashion: a burning devil take them!

84

V,4,3410

Now they are clapper-clawing one another; I'll go
look on. That dissembling abominable varlets Diomed,
has got that same scurvy doting foolish young knave's
sleeve of Troy there in his helm: I would fain see
them meet; that that same young Trojan ass, that
loves the whore there, might send that Greekish
whore-masterly villain, with the sleeve, back to the
dissembling luxurious drab, of a sleeveless errand.
O' the t'other side, the policy of those crafty
swearing rascals, that stale old mouse-eaten dry
cheese, Nestor, and that same dog-fox, Ulysses, is
not proved worthy a blackberry: they set me up, in
policy, that mongrel cur, Ajax, against that dog of
as bad a kind, Achilles: and now is the cur Ajax
prouder than the cur Achilles, and will not arm
to-day; whereupon the Grecians begin to proclaim
barbarism, and policy grows into an ill opinion.
Soft! here comes sleeve, and t'other.

85

V,4,3435

Hold thy whore, Grecian!—now for thy whore,
Trojan!—now the sleeve, now the sleeve!

86

V,4,3441

No, no, I am a rascal; a scurvy railing knave:
a very filthy rogue.

87

V,4,3445

God-a-mercy, that thou wilt believe me; but a
plague break thy neck for frightening me! What's
become of the wenching rogues? I think they have
swallowed one another: I would laugh at that
miracle: yet, in a sort, lechery eats itself.
I'll seek them.

88

V,7,3568

The cuckold and the cuckold-maker are at it. Now,
bull! now, dog! 'Loo, Paris, 'loo! now my double-
henned sparrow! 'loo, Paris, 'loo! The bull has the
game: ware horns, ho!

89

V,7,3575

What art thou?

90

V,7,3577

I am a bastard too; I love bastards: I am a bastard
begot, bastard instructed, bastard in mind, bastard
in valour, in every thing illegitimate. One bear will
not bite another, and wherefore should one bastard?
Take heed, the quarrel's most ominous to us: if the
son of a whore fight for a whore, he tempts judgment:
farewell, bastard.

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