William Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida in the complete original text.
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Troilus and Cressida

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Act II. Scene I.

Act II. Scene I.—A Part of the Grecian Camp.

Enter AJAX and THERSITES.

Ajax. Thersites!
Ther. Agamemnon, how if he had boils? full,
all over, generally?
Ajax. Thersites!
Ther. And those boils did run? Say so, did
not the general run then? were not that a botchy
core?
Ajax. Dog!
Ther. Then would come some matter from
him: I see none now.
Ajax. Thou bitch-wolf's son, canst thou not
hear?
Feel, then. [Strikes him.
Ther. The plague of Greece upon thee, thou
mongrel beef-witted lord!
Ajax. Speak then, thou vinewedst leaven,
speaks I will beat thee into handsomeness.
Ther. 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.
Ther. Dost thou think I have no sense, thou
strikes! me thus?
Ajax. The proclamation!
Ther. Thou art proclaimed a fool, I think.
Ajax. Do not, porpentine, do not: my fingers
itch.
Ther. I would thou didst itch from head to
foot, and I had the scratching of thee; I would
make thee the loathsomest scab of Greece. When
thou art forth in the incursions, thou strikes!
as slow as another.
Ajax. I say, the proclamation!
Ther. 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 barkest at him.
Ajax. Mistress Thersites!
Ther. Thou shouldst strike him.
Ajax. Cobloaf!
Ther. He would pun thee into shivers with
his fist, as a sailor breaks a biscuit.
Ajax. You whoreson cur. [Beating him.
Ther. Do, do.
Ajax. Thou stool for a witch!
Ther. Ay, do, do; thou sodden-witted lord!
thou hast no more brain than I have in mine
elbows; an assinego may tutor thee: thou scurvy-
valiant ass! thou art here but to thrash Trojans;
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!
Ther. You scurvy lord!
Ajax. You cur! [Beating him.
Ther. Mars his idiot! do, rudeness; do,
camel; do, do.

Enter ACHILLES and PATROCLUS.
Achil. Why, how now, Ajax! wherefore do
you this?
How now, Thersites! what's the matter, man?
Ther. You see him there, do you?
Achil. Ay; what's the matter?
Ther. Nay, look upon him.
Achil. So I do: what's the matter?
Ther. Nay, but regard him well.
Achil. 'Well!' why, so I do.
Ther. But yet you look not well upon him;
for, whosoever you take him to be, he is Ajax.
Achil. I know that, fool.
Ther. Ay, but that fool knows not himself.
Ajax. Therefore I beat thee.
Ther. Lo, lo, lo, lo, what modicums of wit he
utters! his evasions have ears thus long. I have
bobbed 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.
Achil. What?
Ther. I say, this Ajax,—
[AJAX offers to strike him.
Achil. Nay, good Ajax.
Ther. Has not so much wit—
Achil. Nay, I must hold you.
Ther. As will stop the eye of Helen's needle,
for whom he comes to fight.
Achil. Peace, fool!
Ther. 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—
Achil. Will you set your wit to a fool's?
Ther. No, I warrant you; for a fool's will
shame it.
Patr. Good words, Thersites.
Achil. What's the quarrel?
Ajax. I bade the vile owl go learn me the
tenour of the proclamation, and he rails upon
me.
Ther. I serve thee not.
Ajax. Well, go to, go to.
Ther. I serve here voluntary.
Achil. Your last service was sufferance, 'twas
not voluntary; no man is beaten voluntary:
Ajax was here the voluntary, and you as under
an impress.
Ther. Even so; a great deal of your wit too
lies in your sinews, or else there be liars. Hector
shall have a great catch if he knock out either of
your brains: a' were as good crack a fusty nut
with no kernel.
Achil. What, with me too, Thersites?
Ther. 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.
Achil. What, what?
Ther. Yes, good sooth: to, Achilles! to, Ajax!
to!
Ajax. I shall cut out your tongue.
Ther. 'Tis no matter; I shall speak as much
as thou afterwards.
Patr. No more words, Thersites; peace!
Ther. I will hold my peace when Achilles'
brach bids me, shall I?
Achil. There's for you, Patroclus.
Ther. I will see you hanged, like clotpoles, ere
I come any more to your tents: I will keep where
there is wit stirring and leave the faction of
fools. [Exit.
Patr. A good riddance.
Achil. Marry, this, sir, is proclaim'd throngh
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. Fare-
well.
Ajax. Farewell. Who shall answer him?
Achil. I know not: it is put to lottery; other-
wise,
He knew his man.
Ajax. O, meaning you. I will go learn more
of it. [Exeunt.
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