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Troilus and Cressida

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Act V, Scene 4

Plains between Troy and the Grecian camp.


[Alarums: excursions. Enter THERSITES]

  • Thersites. Now they are clapper-clawing one another; I'll go 3410
    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 3415
    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 3420
    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 3425
    barbarism, and policy grows into an ill opinion.
    Soft! here comes sleeve, and t'other.

[Enter DIOMEDES, TROILUS following]

  • Troilus. Fly not; for shouldst thou take the river Styx,
    I would swim after. 3430
  • 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, 3435
    Trojan!—now the sleeve, now the sleeve!

[Exeunt TROILUS and DIOMEDES, fighting]

[Enter HECTOR]

  • Hector. What art thou, Greek? art thou for Hector's match?
    Art thou of blood and honour? 3440
  • Thersites. No, no, I am a rascal; a scurvy railing knave:
    a very filthy rogue.
  • Hector. I do believe thee: live.


  • Thersites. God-a-mercy, that thou wilt believe me; but a 3445
    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. 3450