ACT II. SCENE 1. The Grecian camp

Enter Ajax and THERSITES

AJAX. Thersites!

THERSITES. Agamemnon-how if he had boils full, an 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 there would come some matter from him; I see none now.

AJAX. Thou bitch-wolf's son, canst thou not hear? Feel, then. [Strikes him.]

THERSITES. The plague of Greece upon thee, thou mongrel beef-witted lord!

AJAX. Speak, then, thou whinid'st 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 proclaim'd, 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 Proserpina's beauty-ay, that thou bark'st at him.

AJAX. Mistress Thersites!

THERSITES. Thou shouldst strike him.

AJAX. Cobloaf!

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

AJAX. You whoreson cur! [Strikes him]


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 assinico may tutor thee. You scurvy valiant ass! Thou art here but to thrash Troyans, 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. You cur! [Strikes him]

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


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, so I do.

THERSITES. But yet you look not well upon him; for who some ever you take him to be, he is


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 bobb'd 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 ninth 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.


THERSITES. I say this Ajax- [AJAX offers to strike him]

ACHILLES. Nay, good


THERSITES. Has not so much wit-

ACHILLES. Nay, I must hold you.

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

All Pages of This Book