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Act II

Scene I

A part of the Grecian camp

Enter Ajax and Thersites

Ajax

Thersites!

Thersites

Agamemnon, how if he had boils? full, all over, include("$IP_TMPL_DIR/pretitle.php");?>William Shakespeare: Troilus and Cressida, Act II | Infoplease.com

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Act II

Scene I

A part of the Grecian camp

Enter Ajax and Thersites

Ajax

Thersites!

Thersites

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

Ajax

Thersites!

Thersites

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

Ajax

Dog!

Thersites

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

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!

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!

Ajax

Toadstool, learn me the proclamation.

Thersites

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

Ajax

The proclamation!

Thersites

Thou art proclaimed a fool, I think.

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.

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.

Ajax

Mistress Thersites!

Thersites

Thou shouldest strike him.

Ajax

Cobloaf!

Thersites

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

Ajax

Beating him

You whoreson cur!

Thersites

Do, do.

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!

Ajax

You dog!

Thersites

You scurvy lord!

Ajax

Beating him

You cur!

Thersites

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

Enter Achilles and Patroclus

Achilles

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

Thersites

You see him there, do you?

Achilles

Ay; what's the matter?

Thersites

Nay, look upon him.

Achilles

So I do: what's the matter?

Thersites

Nay, but regard him well.

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.

Achilles

I know that, fool.

Thersites

Ay, but that fool knows not himself.

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.

Achilles

What?

Thersites

I say, this Ajax—

Ajax offers to beat him

Achilles

Nay, good Ajax.

Thersites

Has not so much wit—

Achilles

Nay, I must hold you.

Thersites

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

Achilles

Peace, fool!

Thersites

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

Ajax

O thou damned cur! I shall—

Achilles

Will you set your wit to a fool's?

Thersites

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

Patroclus

Good words, Thersites.

Achilles

What's the quarrel?

Ajax

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

Thersites

I serve thee not.

Ajax

Well, go to, go to.

Thersites

I serve here voluntarily.

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.

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.

Achilles

What, what?

Thersites

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

Ajax

I shall cut out your tongue.

Thersites

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

Patroclus

No more words, Thersites; peace!

Thersites

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

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.

Exit

Patroclus

A good riddance.

Achilles

Marry, this, sir, is proclaim'd through all our host:
That Hector, by the fifth hour of the sun,
Will with a trumpet 'twixt our tents and Troy
To-morrow morning call some knight to arms
That hath a stomach; and such a one that dare
Maintain—I know not what: 'tis trash. Farewell.

Ajax

Farewell. Who shall answer him?

Achilles

I know not: 'tis put to lottery; otherwise
He knew his man.

Ajax

O, meaning you. I will go learn more of it.

Exeunt

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