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

Total: 90

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

1

II,1,859

Ajax. Thersites!

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


2

II,1,862

Ajax. Thersites!

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


3

II,1,865

Ajax. Dog!

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


4

II,1,869

Ajax. Thou bitch-wolf's son, canst thou not hear?
[Beating him]
Feel, then.

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


5

II,1,873

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!


6

II,1,878

Ajax. Toadstool, learn me the proclamation.

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


7

II,1,880

Ajax. The proclamation!

Thersites. Thou art proclaimed a fool, I think.


8

II,1,882

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.


9

II,1,887

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.


10

II,1,892

Ajax. Mistress Thersites!

Thersites. Thou shouldest strike him.


11

II,1,894

Ajax. Cobloaf!

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


12

II,1,897

Ajax. [Beating him] You whoreson cur!

Thersites. Do, do.


13

II,1,899

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
bowels, thou!


14

II,1,908

Ajax. You dog!

Thersites. You scurvy lord!


15

II,1,910

Ajax. [Beating him] You cur!

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


16

II,1,914

Achilles. Why, how now, Ajax! wherefore do you thus? How now,
Thersites! what's the matter, man?

Thersites. You see him there, do you?


17

II,1,916

Achilles. Ay; what's the matter?

Thersites. Nay, look upon him.


18

II,1,918

Achilles. So I do: what's the matter?

Thersites. Nay, but regard him well.


19

II,1,920

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.


20

II,1,923

Achilles. I know that, fool.

Thersites. Ay, but that fool knows not himself.


21

II,1,925

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
him.


22

II,1,934

Achilles. What?

Thersites. I say, this Ajax—


23

II,1,937

Achilles. Nay, good Ajax.

Thersites. Has not so much wit—


24

II,1,939

Achilles. Nay, I must hold you.

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


25

II,1,942

Achilles. Peace, fool!

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


26

II,1,946

Achilles. Will you set your wit to a fool's?

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


27

II,1,951

Ajax. I bade the vile owl go learn me the tenor of the
proclamation, and he rails upon me.

Thersites. I serve thee not.


28

II,1,953

Ajax. Well, go to, go to.

Thersites. I serve here voluntarily.


29

II,1,957

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.


30

II,1,962

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.


31

II,1,966

Achilles. What, what?

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


32

II,1,968

Ajax. I shall cut out your tongue.

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


33

II,1,971

Patroclus. No more words, Thersites; peace!

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


34

II,1,973

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.


35

II,3,1215

(stage directions). [Enter THERSITES, solus]

Thersites. 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

Patroclus. Who's there? Thersites! Good Thersites, come in and rail.

Thersites. 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

Patroclus. What, art thou devout? wast thou in prayer?

Thersites. Ay: the heavens hear me!


38

II,3,1257

Achilles. 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?

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


39

II,3,1261

Patroclus. Thy lord, Thersites: then tell me, I pray thee,
what's thyself?

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


40

II,3,1265

Achilles. O, tell, tell.

Thersites. 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

Patroclus. You rascal!

Thersites. Peace, fool! I have not done.


42

II,3,1271

Achilles. He is a privileged man. Proceed, Thersites.

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


43

II,3,1274

Achilles. Derive this; come.

Thersites. 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

Patroclus. Why am I a fool?

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


45

II,3,1284

(stage directions). [Exit]

Thersites. 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

Achilles. Go call Thersites hither, sweet Patroclus:
I'll send the fool to Ajax and desire him
To invite the Trojan lords after the combat
To see us here unarm'd: I have a woman's longing,
An appetite that I am sick withal,
To see great Hector in his weeds of peace,
To talk with him and to behold his visage,
Even to my full of view.
[Enter THERSITES]
A labour saved!

Thersites. A wonder!


47

III,3,2129

Achilles. What?

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


48

III,3,2131

Achilles. How so?

Thersites. 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

Achilles. How can that be?

Thersites. 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

Achilles. Thou must be my ambassador to him, Thersites.

Thersites. 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

Patroclus. Jove bless great Ajax!

Thersites. Hum!


52

III,3,2166

Patroclus. I come from the worthy Achilles,—

Thersites. Ha!


53

III,3,2168

Patroclus. Who most humbly desires you to invite Hector to his tent,—

Thersites. Hum!


54

III,3,2170

Patroclus. And to procure safe-conduct from Agamemnon.

Thersites. Agamemnon!


55

III,3,2172

Patroclus. Ay, my lord.

Thersites. Ha!


56

III,3,2174

Patroclus. What say you to't?

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


57

III,3,2176

Patroclus. Your answer, sir.

Thersites. 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

Patroclus. Your answer, sir.

Thersites. Fare you well, with all my heart.


59

III,3,2182

Achilles. Why, but he is not in this tune, is he?

Thersites. 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

Achilles. Come, thou shalt bear a letter to him straight.

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


61

III,3,2192

(stage directions). [Exeunt ACHILLES and PATROCLUS]

Thersites. 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

Achilles. How now, thou core of envy!
Thou crusty batch of nature, what's the news?

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


63

V,1,2940

Achilles. From whence, fragment?

Thersites. Why, thou full dish of fool, from Troy.


64

V,1,2942

Patroclus. Who keeps the tent now?

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


65

V,1,2944

Patroclus. Well said, adversity! and what need these tricks?

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


66

V,1,2947

Patroclus. Male varlet, you rogue! what's that?

Thersites. 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

Patroclus. Why thou damnable box of envy, thou, what meanest
thou to curse thus?

Thersites. Do I curse thee?


68

V,1,2960

Patroclus. Why no, you ruinous butt, you whoreson
indistinguishable cur, no.

Thersites. 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

Patroclus. Out, gall!

Thersites. Finch-egg!


70

V,1,2979

(stage directions). [Exeunt ACHILLES and PATROCLUS]

Thersites. 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

Hector. Good night, sweet lord Menelaus.

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


72

V,1,3033

(stage directions). [Exeunt ACHILLES, HECTOR, AJAX, and NESTOR]

Thersites. 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

Ulysses. She will sing any man at first sight.

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


74

V,2,3069

Cressida. Sweet honey Greek, tempt me no more to folly.

Thersites. Roguery!


75

V,2,3074

Cressida. In faith, I cannot: what would you have me do?

Thersites. A juggling trick,—to be secretly open.


76

V,2,3114

Troilus. Nay, stay; by Jove, I will not speak a word:
There is between my will and all offences
A guard of patience: stay a little while.

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


77

V,2,3126

(stage directions). [Re-enter CRESSIDA]

Thersites. Now the pledge; now, now, now!


78

V,2,3137

Cressida. It is no matter, now I have't again.
I will not meet with you to-morrow night:
I prithee, Diomed, visit me no more.

Thersites. Now she sharpens: well said, whetstone!


79

V,2,3170

Diomedes. I do not like this fooling.

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


80

V,2,3183

(stage directions). [Exit]

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


81

V,2,3210

Troilus. Nothing at all, unless that this were she.

Thersites. Will he swagger himself out on's own eyes?


82

V,2,3251

Troilus. Ay, Greek; and that shall be divulged well
In characters as red as Mars his heart
Inflamed with Venus: never did young man fancy
With so eternal and so fix'd a soul.
Hark, Greek: as much as I do Cressid love,
So much by weight hate I her Diomed:
That sleeve is mine that he'll bear on his helm;
Were it a casque composed by Vulcan's skill,
My sword should bite it: not the dreadful spout
Which shipmen do the hurricano call,
Constringed in mass by the almighty sun,
Shall dizzy with more clamour Neptune's ear
In his descent than shall my prompted sword
Falling on Diomed.

Thersites. He'll tickle it for his concupy.


83

V,2,3267

(stage directions). [Exeunt TROILUS, AENEAS, and ULYSSES]

Thersites. 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

(stage directions). [Alarums: excursions. Enter THERSITES]

Thersites. 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

Diomedes. Thou dost miscall retire:
I do not fly, but advantageous care
Withdrew me from the odds of multitude:
Have at thee!

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


86

V,4,3441

Hector. What art thou, Greek? art thou for Hector's match?
Art thou of blood and honour?

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


87

V,4,3445

(stage directions). [Exit]

Thersites. 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

Achilles. Come here about me, you my Myrmidons;
Mark what I say. Attend me where I wheel:
Strike not a stroke, but keep yourselves in breath:
And when I have the bloody Hector found,
Empale him with your weapons round about;
In fellest manner execute your aims.
Follow me, sirs, and my proceedings eye:
It is decreed Hector the great must die.
[Exeunt]
[Enter MENELAUS and PARIS, fighting:]
then THERSITES]

Thersites. 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

Margarelon. Turn, slave, and fight.

Thersites. What art thou?


90

V,7,3577

Margarelon. A bastard son of Priam's.

Thersites. 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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