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Troilus and Cressida

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Act V, Scene 1

The Grecian camp. Before Achilles’ tent.



  • Achilles. I'll heat his blood with Greekish wine to-night, 2930
    Which with my scimitar I'll cool to-morrow.
    Patroclus, let us feast him to the height.


  • Achilles. How now, thou core of envy! 2935
    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.
  • Thersites. Why, thou full dish of fool, from Troy. 2940
  • 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. 2945
  • 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 2950
    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 2955
    thou to curse thus?
  • Patroclus. Why no, you ruinous butt, you whoreson
    indistinguishable cur, no.
  • Thersites. No! why art thou then exasperate, thou idle 2960
    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!
  • 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, 2970
    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: 2975
    This night in banqueting must all be spent.
    Away, Patroclus!


  • Thersites. With too much blood and too little brain, these two
    may run mad; but, if with too much brain and too 2980
    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, 2985
    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 2990
    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 2995
    were not Thersites; for I care not to be the louse
    of a lazar, so I were not Menelaus! Hey-day!
    spirits and fires!
    NESTOR, MENELAUS, and DIOMEDES, with lights] 3000
  • Ajax. No, yonder 'tis;
    There, where we see the lights.
  • Ajax. No, not a whit. 3005
  • Ulysses. Here comes himself to guide you.

[Re-enter ACHILLES]

  • 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. 3010
  • Hector. Thanks and good night to the Greeks' general.
  • Hector. Good night, sweet lord Menelaus.
  • Thersites. Sweet draught: 'sweet' quoth 'a! sweet sink,
    sweet sewer. 3015
  • Achilles. Good night and welcome, both at once, to those
    That go or tarry.


  • Achilles. Old Nestor tarries; and you too, Diomed, 3020
    Keep Hector company an hour or two.
  • Diomedes. I cannot, lord; I have important business,
    The tide whereof is now. Good night, great Hector.
  • Ulysses. [Aside to TROILUS] Follow his torch; he goes to 3025
    Calchas' tent:
    I'll keep you company.
  • Troilus. Sweet sir, you honour me.

[Exit DIOMEDES; ULYSSES and TROILUS following]


  • 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 3035
    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 3040
    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!