NESTOR. Why, 'tis most meet. Who may you else oppose That can from Hector bring those honours off, If not Achilles? Though 't be a sportful combat, Yet in this trial much opinion dwells; For here the Troyans taste our dear'st repute With their fin'st palate; and trust to me, Ulysses, Our imputation shall be oddly pois'd In this vile action; for the success, Although particular, shall give a scantling Of good or bad unto the general; And in such indexes, although small pricks To their subsequent volumes, there is seen The baby figure of the giant mas Of things to come at large. It is suppos'd He that meets Hector issues from our choice; And choice, being mutual act of all our souls, Makes merit her election, and doth boil, As 'twere from forth us all, a man distill'd Out of our virtues; who miscarrying, What heart receives from hence a conquering part, To steel a strong opinion to themselves? Which entertain'd, limbs are his instruments, In no less working than are swords and bows Directive by the limbs.

ULYSSES. Give pardon to my speech. Therefore 'tis meet Achilles meet not

HECTOR. Let us, like merchants, show our foulest wares And think perchance they'll sell; if not, the lustre Of the better yet to show shall show the better, By showing the worst first. Do not consent That ever Hector and Achilles meet; For both our honour and our shame in this Are dogg'd with two strange followers.

NESTOR. I see them not with my old eyes. What are they?

ULYSSES. What glory our Achilles shares from Hector, Were he not proud, we all should wear with him; But he already is too insolent; And it were better parch in Afric sun Than in the pride and salt scorn of his eyes, Should he scape Hector fair. If he were foil'd, Why, then we do our main opinion crush In taint of our best man. No, make a lott'ry; And, by device, let blockish Ajax draw The sort to fight with

HECTOR. Among ourselves Give him allowance for the better man; For that will physic the great Myrmidon, Who broils in loud applause, and make him fall His crest, that prouder than blue Iris bends. If the dull brainless Ajax come safe off, We'll dress him up in voices; if he fail, Yet go we under our opinion still That we have better men. But, hit or miss, Our project's life this shape of sense assumes- Ajax employ'd plucks down Achilles' plumes.

NESTOR. Now, Ulysses, I begin to relish thy advice; And I will give a taste thereof forthwith To

AGAMEMNON. Go we to him straight. Two curs shall tame each other: pride alone Must tarre the mastiffs on, as 'twere their bone.


William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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