[Enter ACHILLES and PATROCLUS]
- Achilles. I'll heat his blood with Greekish wine to-night,
Which with my scimitar I'll cool to-morrow.
Patroclus, let us feast him to the height.
- Patroclus. Here comes Thersites.
- 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.
- Achilles. From whence, fragment?
- Thersites. Why, thou full dish of fool, from Troy.
- Patroclus. Who keeps the tent now?
- Thersites. The surgeon's box, or the patient's wound.
- 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.
- 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!
- Patroclus. Why thou damnable box of envy, thou, what meanest
thou to curse thus?
- Thersites. Do I curse thee?
- 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!
- Patroclus. Out, gall!
- Achilles. My sweet Patroclus, I am thwarted quite
From my great purpose in to-morrow's battle.
Here is a letter from Queen Hecuba,
A token from her daughter, my fair love,
Both taxing me and gaging me to keep
An oath that I have sworn. I will not break it:
Fall Greeks; fail fame; honour or go or stay;
My major vow lies here, this I'll obey.
Come, come, Thersites, help to trim my tent:
This night in banqueting must all be spent.
[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]
- Agamemnon. We go wrong, we go wrong.
- Ajax. No, yonder 'tis;
There, where we see the lights.
- Ajax. No, not a whit.
- Ulysses. Here comes himself to guide you.
- Achilles. Welcome, brave Hector; welcome, princes all.
- Agamemnon. So now, fair prince of Troy, I bid good night.
Ajax commands the guard to tend on you.
- Hector. Thanks and good night to the Greeks' general.
- Menelaus. Good night, my lord.
- Hector. Good night, sweet lord Menelaus.
- Thersites. Sweet draught: 'sweet' quoth 'a! sweet sink,
- Achilles. Good night and welcome, both at once, to those
That go or tarry.
[Exeunt AGAMEMNON and MENELAUS]
- Achilles. Old Nestor tarries; and you too, Diomed,
Keep Hector company an hour or two.
- Diomedes. I cannot, lord; I have important business,
The tide whereof is now. Good night, great Hector.
- Hector. Give me your hand.
- Ulysses. [Aside to TROILUS] Follow his torch; he goes to
I'll keep you company.
- Troilus. Sweet sir, you honour me.
- Hector. And so, good night.
[Exit DIOMEDES; ULYSSES and TROILUS following]
- Achilles. Come, come, enter my tent.
[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!