AENEAS. Trumpet, blow loud, Send thy brass voice through all these lazy tents; And every Greek of mettle, let him know What Troy means fairly shall be spoke aloud. [Sound trumpet] We have, great Agamemnon, here in Troy A prince called Hector-Priam is his father- Who in this dull and long-continued truce Is resty grown; he bade me take a trumpet And to this purpose speak: Kings, princes, lords! If there be one among the fair'st of Greece That holds his honour higher than his ease, That seeks his praise more than he fears his peril, That knows his valour and knows not his fear, That loves his mistress more than in confession With truant vows to her own lips he loves, And dare avow her beauty and her worth In other arms than hers-to him this challenge. Hector, in view of Troyans and of Greeks, Shall make it good or do his best to do it: He hath a lady wiser, fairer, truer, Than ever Greek did couple in his arms; And will to-morrow with his trumpet call Mid-way between your tents and walls of Troy To rouse a Grecian that is true in love. If any come, Hector shall honour him; If none, he'll say in Troy, when he retires, The Grecian dames are sunburnt and not worth The splinter of a lance. Even so much.

AGAMEMNON. This shall be told our lovers, Lord

AENEAS. If none of them have soul in such a kind, We left them all at home. But we are soldiers; And may that soldier a mere recreant prove That means not, hath not, or is not in love. If then one is, or hath, or means to be, That one meets Hector; if none else, I am he.

NESTOR. Tell him of Nestor, one that was a man When Hector's grandsire suck'd. He is old now; But if there be not in our Grecian mould One noble man that hath one spark of fire To answer for his love, tell him from me I'll hide my silver beard in a gold beaver, And in my vantbrace put this wither'd brawn, And, meeting him, will tell him that my lady Was fairer than his grandame, and as chaste As may be in the world. His youth in flood, I'll prove this truth with my three drops of blood.

AENEAS. Now heavens forfend such scarcity of youth!


AGAMEMNON. Fair Lord Aeneas, let me touch your hand; To our pavilion shall I lead you, first. Achilles shall have word of this intent; So shall each lord of Greece, from tent to tent. Yourself shall feast with us before you go, And find the welcome of a noble foe.

Exeunt all but ULYSSES and NESTOR

ULYSSES. Nestor!

NESTOR. What says Ulysses?

ULYSSES. I have a young conception in my brain; Be you my time to bring it to some shape.

NESTOR. What is't?

ULYSSES. This 'tis: Blunt wedges rive hard knots. The seeded pride That hath to this maturity blown up In rank Achilles must or now be cropp'd Or, shedding, breed a nursery of like evil To overbulk us all.

NESTOR. Well, and how?

ULYSSES. This challenge that the gallant Hector sends, However it is spread in general name, Relates in purpose only to


NESTOR. True. The purpose is perspicuous even as substance Whose grossness little characters sum up; And, in the publication, make no strain But that Achilles, were his brain as barren As banks of Libya-though, Apollo knows, 'Tis dry enough-will with great speed of judgment, Ay, with celerity, find Hector's purpose Pointing on him.

ULYSSES. And wake him to the answer, think you?

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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