Act II, Scene 1

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Act II, Scene 1 A part of the Grecian camp.


AJAX Thersites!
THERSITES Agamemnon, how if he had boils? full, all over,
AJAX Thersites!
THERSITES And those boils did run? say so: did not the
general run then? were not that a botchy core?
THERSITES Then would come some matter from him; I see none now.
AJAX Thou bitch-wolf's son, canst thou not hear?
  [Beating him]
  Feel, then.
THERSITES The plague of Greece upon thee, thou mongrel
beef-witted lord!
AJAX Speak then, thou vinewedst 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 proclaimed 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 Proserpine's beauty, ay, that thou
barkest at him.
AJAX Mistress Thersites!
THERSITES Thou shouldest strike him.
AJAX Cobloaf!
THERSITES He would pun thee into shivers with his fist, as a
sailor breaks a biscuit.
AJAX [Beating him] You whoreson cur!
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 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!
THERSITES You scurvy lord!
AJAX [Beating him] You cur!
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, I do so.
THERSITES But yet you look not well upon him; for whosoever you
take him to be, he is Ajax.
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 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 nineth 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
THERSITES I say, this Ajax--
  [Ajax offers to beat him]
ACHILLES Nay, good Ajax.
THERSITES Has not so much wit--
ACHILLES Nay, I must hold you.
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; for a fools will shame it.
PATROCLUS Good words, Thersites.
ACHILLES What's the quarrel?
AJAX I bade the vile owl go learn me the tenor of the
proclamation, and he rails upon me.
THERSITES I serve thee not.
AJAX Well, go to, go to.
THERSITES I serve here voluntarily.
ACHILLES Your last service was sufferance, '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 have a great
catch, if 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
PATROCLUS No more words, Thersites; peace!
THERSITES I will hold my peace when Achilles' brach bids me, shall I?
ACHILLES There's for you, Patroclus.
THERSITES 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.
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 lottery; otherwise
He knew his man.
AJAX O, meaning you. I will go learn more of it.


To see other scenes from the show:

Full Text Act IV, Scene 1 A street.
Act I, Scene 1 Troy. Before Priam's palace. Act IV, Scene 2 Court of Pandarus' house
Act I, Scene 2 The same. A street. Act IV, Scene 3 Street before Pandarus' house./Act IV, Scene 4 Pandarus' house.
Act I, Scene 3 The Grecian Camp. Before Agamemnon's tent. Act IV, Scene 5 The Grecian camp.
Act II, Scene 1 A part of the Grecian camp. Act V, Scene 1 Before Achilles' tent.
Act II, Scene 2 A room in Priam's palace. Act V, Scene 2 Before Calchas' tent.
Act II, Scene 3 Before Achilles' tent. Act V, Scene 3 Before Priam's tent.
Act III, Scene 1 Priam's palace Act V, Scene 4 Plains between Troy and the Grecian camp./Act V, Scene 5 Another part of the plains.
Act III, Scene 2 Pandarus' orchard. Act V, Scene 6 Another part of the plains./Act V, Scene 7 Another part of the plains./Act V, Scene 8 Another part of the plains.
Act III, Scene 3 Before Achilles' tent. Act V, Scene 9 Another part of the plains./Act V, Scene 10 Another part of the plains.


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