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Patr. Why am I a fool?
Ther. Make that demand of the prover. It suffices me, thou art. Look you, who comes here.
Enter AGAMEMNON, ULYSSES, NESTOR, DIOMEDES, and АЈАХ.
Achil. Patroclus, I'll speak with nobody: - Come in with me, Thersites.
Ther. Here is such patchery, such juggling, and such knavery! all the argument is, a cuckold, and a whore: A good quarrel, to draw emulous factions, and bleed to death upon. Now the dry serpigo on the subject! and war, and lechery, confound all!
Agam. Where is Achilles?
Patr. Within his tent; but ill-dispos'd, my lord.
Let him be told so; lest, perchance, he think
Ajax. Yes, lion-sick, sick of proud heart: you may call it melancholy, if you will favour the man; but, by my head, 'tis pride: But, why, why? let him show us a cause. A word, my lord.
[Takes AGAMEMNON aside. Nest. What moves Ajax thus to bay at him? Ulyss. Achilles hath inveigled his fool from him. Nest. Who? Thersites?
Nest. Then will Ajax lack matter, if he have lost his argument.
2 He shent our messengers:] i. e. rebuked, rated.
Ulyss. No; you see, he is his argument, that has his argument; Achilles.
Nest. All the better; their fraction is more our wish, than their faction: But it was a strong composure, a fool could disunite.
Ulyss. The amity, that wisdom knits not, folly may easily untie. Here comes Patroclus.
Nest. No Achilles with him.
Ulyss. The elephant hath joints, but none for courtesy his legs are legs for necessity, not for flexure. Patr. Achilles bids me say he is much sorry, If any thing more than your sport and pleasure Did move your greatness, and this noble state, To call upon him; he hopes, it is no other, But, for your health and your digestion sake, An after-dinner's breath.
Hear you, Patroclus ; —
Much attribute he hath; and much the reason
We come to speak with him: And you shall not sin,
And under-honest; in self-assumption greater,
Than in the note of judgment; and worthier than himself
noble state,] i. e. the stately train of attending nobles whom you bring with you.
4.— breath,] Breath, in the present instance, stands for breathing, i. e. exercise.
Here tend the savage strangeness he puts on;
We'll none of him; but let him, like an engine
Before a sleeping giant :- Tell him so.
Patr. I shall; and bring his answer presently. [Exit. Agam. In second voice we'll not be satisfied,
We come to speak with him.— Ulysses, enter.
Ajax. What is he more than another?
Agam. No more than what he thinks he is.
Ajax. Is he so much? Do you not think, he thinks himself a better man than I am?
Agam. No question.
Ajax. Will you subscribe his thought, and say he
Agam. No, noble Ajax ; you are as strong, as valiant, as wise, no less noble, much more gentle, and altogether more tractable.
Ajax. Why should a man be proud? How doth pride ? I know not what pride is.
Agam. Your mind's the clearer, Ajax, and your virtues the fairer. He that is proud, eats up himself: pride is his own glass, his own trumpet, his own chro
tend the savage strangeness-] i. e. shyness, distant behaviour. To tend, is to attend upon.
underwrite] To subscribe, in Shakspeare, is to obey.
allowance give] Allowance is approbation.
nicle; and whatever praises itself but in the deed, devours the deed in the praise.
Ajax. I do hate a proud man, as I hate the engendering of toads.
Nest. And yet he loves himself: Is it not strange?
He doth rely on none;
Ulyss. Achilles will not to the field to-morrow.
In will peculiar and in self-admission,
Agam. Why will he not, upon our fair request, Untent his person, and share the air with us?
Ulyss. Things small as nothing, for request's sake only, He makes important: Possess'd he is with greatness; And speaks not to himself, but with a pride That quarrels at self-breath: imagin'd worth Holds in his blood such swoln and hot discourse, That 'twixt his mental and his active parts, Kingdom'd Achilles in commotion rages, And batters down himself: What should I say? He is so plaguy proud, that the death tokens of it Cry-No recovery.
Let Ajax go to him.— Dear lord, go you and greet him in his tent: 'Tis said, he holds you well; and will be led, At
your request, a little from himself.
Ulyss. O Agamemnon, let it not be so !
We'll consecrate the steps that Ajax makes
When they go from Achilles: Shall the proud lord,
9 the death-tokens of it -] Alluding to the decisive spots appearing on those infected by the plague.
with his own seam ;] Swine-seam, in the North, is hog's
Of that we hold an idol more than he?
No, this thrice worthy and right valiant lord
By going to Achilles :
That were to enlard his fat-already pride;2
And add more coals to Cancer, when he burns
This lord go to him! Jupiter forbid;
And say in thunder- Achilles, go to him.
Nest. O, this is well; he rubs the vein of him.
Dio. And how his silence drinks up this applause!
Ajax. If I go to him, with my arm'd fist I'll pash him 3
Over the face.
O, no, you shall not go.
Ajax. An he be proud with me, I'll pheeze his pride: 4 Let me go to him.
Ulyss. Not for the worth 5 that hangs upon our quarrel. Ajax. A paltry, insolent fellow,
Ajax. Can he not be sociable?
How he describes
I will let his humours blood.
That were to enlard, &c.] This is only the well-known proverb
- Grease a fat sow, &c. in a more stately dress.
I'll pash him-] i. e. strike him with violence.
4 pheeze his pride:] To pheeze is to comb or curry.
5 Not for the worth-] Not for the value of all for which we are fighting.