ACT V. SCENE 1. The Grecian camp. Before the tent of ACHILLES


ACHILLES. I'll heat his blood with Greekish wine to-night, Which with my scimitar I'll cool to-morrow. Patroclus, let us feast him to the height.

PATROCLUS. Here comes



ACHILLES. How now, thou core of envy! Thou crusty batch of nature, what's the news?

THERSITES. Why, thou picture of what thou seemest, and idol of idiot worshippers, here's a letter for thee.

ACHILLES. From whence, fragment?

THERSITES. Why, thou full dish of fool, from Troy.

PATROCLUS. Who keeps the tent now?

THERSITES. The surgeon's box or the patient's wound.

PATROCLUS. Well said, Adversity! and what needs these tricks?

THERSITES. Prithee, be silent, boy; I profit not by thy talk; thou art said to be Achilles' male varlet.

PATROCLUS. Male varlet, you rogue! What's that?

THERSITES. Why, his masculine whore. Now, the rotten diseases of the south, the guts-griping ruptures, catarrhs, loads o' gravel in the back, lethargies, cold palsies, raw eyes, dirt-rotten livers, wheezing lungs, bladders full of imposthume, sciaticas, limekilns i' th' palm, incurable bone-ache, and the rivelled fee- simple of the tetter, take and take again such preposterous discoveries!

PATROCLUS. Why, thou damnable box of envy, thou, what meanest thou to curse thus?

THERSITES. Do I curse thee?

PATROCLUS. Why, no, you ruinous butt; you whoreson indistinguishable cur, no.

THERSITES. No! Why art thou, then, exasperate, thou idle immaterial skein of sleid silk, thou green sarcenet flap for a sore eye, thou tassel of a prodigal's purse, thou? Ah, how the poor world is pest'red with such water-flies-diminutives of nature!

PATROCLUS. Out, gall!

THERSITES. Finch egg!

ACHILLES. My sweet Patroclus, I am thwarted quite From my great purpose in to-morrow's battle. Here is a letter from Queen Hecuba, A token from her daughter, my fair love, Both taxing me and gaging me to keep An oath that I have sworn. I will not break it. Fall Greeks; fail fame; honour or go or stay; My major vow lies here, this I'll obey. Come, come, Thersites, help to trim my tent; This night in banqueting must all be spent. Away, Patroclus!


THERSITES. With too much blood and too little brain these two may run mad; but, if with too much brain and to little blood they do, I'll be a curer of madmen. Here's Agamemnon, an honest fellow enough, and one that loves quails, but he has not so much brain as ear-wax; and the goodly transformation of Jupiter there, his brother, the bull, the primitive statue and oblique memorial of cuckolds, a thrifty shoeing-horn in a chain, hanging at his brother's leg-to what form but that he is, should wit larded with malice, and malice forced with wit, turn him to? To an ass, were nothing: he is both ass and ox. To an ox, were nothing: he is both ox and ass. To be a dog, a mule, a cat, a fitchew, a toad, a lizard, an owl, a put-tock, or a herring without a roe, I would not care; but to be Menelaus, I would conspire against destiny. Ask me not what I would be, if I were not Thersites; for I care not to be the louse of a lazar, so I were not

MENELAUS. Hey-day! sprites and fires!


AGAMEMNON. We go wrong, we go wrong.

AJAX. No, yonder 'tis; There, where we see the lights.

HECTOR. I trouble you.

AJAX. No, not a whit.


ULYSSES. Here comes himself to guide you.

ACHILLES. Welcome, brave Hector; welcome, Princes all.

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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