תמונות בעמוד

And meeting him, will tell him, that my lady
Was fairer than his grandame, and as chaste
As may be in the world ; His youth in flood,
I'll prove this truth with my three drops of blood.

Æne. Now heavens forbid such scarcity of youth !
Ulyss. Amen.

Agam. Fair lord Æneas, let me touch your hand;
To our pavilion shall I lead you, sir.
Achilles shall have word of this intent;
So shall each lord of Greece, from tent to tent:
Yourself shall feast with us before you go,
And find the welcome of a noble foe.

[Exeunt all but ULYSSES and NESTOR. Ulyss. Nestor,Nest. What says Ulysses ?

Ulyss. I have a young conception in my brain, Be you my time to bring it to some shape *.

Nest. What is't ?

Ulyss. This 'tis:
Blunt wedges rive hard knots: The seeded pride
That hath to this maturity blown up
In rank Achilles, must or now be cropp'd,
Or, shedding, breed a nursery of like evil,
To overbulk us all.

Well, and how?
Ulyss. This challenge that the gallant Hector sends,
However it is spread in general name,
Relates in purpose only to Achilles.

Nest. The purpose is perspicuous even as substance, Whose grossness little characters sum up: And, in the publication, make no strain, But that Achilles, were his brain as barren As banks of Libya,—though, Apollo knows,

* Be you my time, &c.] i. e. be you to my present purpose what time is in respect of all other schemes, viz. a ripener and bringer of them to maturity.

6 And, in the publication, make no strain,] i.e. make no difficulty no doubt.

'Tis dry enough,—will, with great speed of judgment,
Ay, with celerity, find Hector's purpose
Pointing on him.

Ulyss. And wake him to the answer, think you?

It is most meet; Whom may you else oppose,
That can from Hector bring those honours off,
If not Achilles ? Though't be a sportful combat,
Yet in the trial much opinion dwells ;
For here the Trojans taste our dear'st repute
With their fin’st palate: And trust to me, Ulysses,
Our imputation shall be oddly pois'd
In this wild 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 mass
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 distillid
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.

Ulyss. 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,

6 — scantling -] That is, a measure, proportion. The carpenter cuts his wood to a certain scantling.

7 - small pricks - ) Small points compared with the volumes, or perhaps indexes, which were, in Shakspeare's time, often prefixed to books.

The lustre of the better shall exceed,
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.

Nest. I see them not with my old eyes : what are they?

Ulyss. What glory our Achilles shares from Hector, Were he not proud, we all should share with him: But he already is too insolent; And we were better parch in Africk sun, Than in the pride and salt scorn of his eyes, · Should he 'scape Hector fair: If he were foil'd, Why, then we did our main opinion crush In taint of our best man. No, make a lottery; 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 physick 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 inen. But, hit or miss, Our project's life this shape of sense assumes Ajax, employ'd, plucks down Achilles' plumes.

Nest. Ulysses, Now I begin to relish thy advice; And I will give a taste of it 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. [Exeunt.

our main opinion –] Is, our general estimation or character.

9 The sort - i. e. the lot. 1- under our opinion -] Here again opinion means character.

? Must tarre the mastiffs on,] Tarre, an old English word, siguifying to provoke or urge on.


SCENE I.- Another Part of the Grecian Camp.


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 ?

Ajar. 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 unsalted leaven, speak: 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. Toads-stool, learn me the proclamation.

Ther. Dost thou think, I have no sense, thou strikest me thus ?

Ajax. The proclamation,-
Ther. Thou art proclaimed a fool, I think.
Ajax. Do not, porcupine, 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 in Greece. When thou art forth in the incursions, thou strikest as slow as another.

3 Act II.] This play is not divided into Acts in any of the original editions.

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 shouldest 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 put 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 ! * Cobloaf!] A crusty, uneven, gibbous loaf, is in some counties called by this name.

5- pun thee into shivers —] Pun is in the midland counties the vulgar and colloquial word for-pound.

6 Thou stool for a witch !] In one way of trying a witch they used to place her on a chair or stool, with her legs tied across, that all the weight of her body might rest upon her seat; and by that means, after some time, the circulation of the blood would be much stopped, and her sitting would be as painful as the wooden horse. Grey.

i an assinego -] A he-ass.

8 thou art bought and sold —] This was a proverbial expression.

9 If thou use to beat me,] i. e. if thou continue to beat me, or make a practice of beating me.

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