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, the fool's will shame it.

PATROCLUS. Good words,


ACHILLES. What's the quarrel?

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

THERSITES. I serve thee not.

AJAX. Well, go to, go to.

THERSITES. I serve here voluntary.

ACHILLES. Your last service was suff'rance; '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 shall have a great catch an 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,


THERSITES. I will see you hang'd like clotpoles ere I come any more to your tents. I will keep where there is wit stirring, and leave the faction of fools.


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 lott'ry. Otherwise. He knew his man.

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


William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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