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The alarm sounds near, and shouts are driven upon
us, As of a crowd confused in their retreat. Ulys. Open your ranks, and make these madmen
way, Then close again to charge upon their backs, And quite consume the relics of the war.
[Exeunt all but THERSITES. Thers. What shoals of fools one battle sweeps away! How it purges families of younger brothers, highways of robbers, and cities of cuckold-makers ! There is nothing like a pitched battle for these brisk addle-heads! Your physician is a pretty fellow, but his fees make him tedious, he rides not fast enough; the fools grow upon him, and their horse bodies are poison proof
. Your pestilence is a quicker remedy, but it has not the grace to make distinction; it huddles up honest men and rogues together. But
your battle has discretion; it picks out all the forward fools, and sowses them together into immortality. [Shouts and alarms within.] Plague upon these drums and trumpets! these sharp sauces of the war, to get fools an appetite to fighting! What do I among them? I shall be mistaken for some valiant ass, and die a martyr in a wrong religion.
[Here Grecians fly over the stage pursued by
Trojans ; one Trojan turns back upon, THER
SITES, who is flying too.
Thers. I am a bastard too, I love bastards. I am bastard in body, bastard in mind, bastard in valour, in every thing illegitimate. A bear will not fasten upon a bear; why should one bastard offend another! Let us part fair, like true sons of whores, and have the fear of our mothers before our eyes.
Troj. The devil take thee, coward. [Exit Troj.
Thers. Now, would I were either invisible or invulnerable! These gods have a fine time on it; they can see and make mischief, and never feel it.
[Clattering of swords at both doors; he runs each
way, and meets the noise. A pox clatter you! I am compassed in. Now would I were that blockhead Ajax for a minute. Some sturdy Trojan will poach me up with a long pole ! and then the rogues may kill one another at free cost, and have nobody left to laugh at them. Now destruction ! now destruction! Enter Hector and TROILUS driving in the Greeks. Hect. to Thers. Speak what part thou fightest on! Thers. I fight not at all; I am for neither side. Hect. Thou art a Greek; art thou' a match for
Thers. No, I am a rascal, a scurvy railing knave, a very filthy rogue.
Hect. I do believe thee; live.
Thers. God-a-mercy, that thou wilt believe me; but the devil break thy neck for frighting me.
[Aside. Troil . (returning.) What prisoner have you there?
? Hect. A gleaning of the war; a rogue, says. Troil. Dispatch him, and away. [Going to kill him.
Thers. Hold, hold !--what, is it no more but dispatch a man and away! I am in no such haste: I will not die for Greece ; I hate Greece, and by my good will would never have been born there; I was mistaken into that country, and betrayed by my parents to be born there. And besides, I have a mortal enemy among the Grecians, one Diomede, a
damned villain, and cannot die with a safe conscience till I have first murdered him.
Troil. Shew me that Diomede, and thou shalt live.
Thers. Come along with me, and I will conduct thee to Calchas's tent, where I believe he is now, making war with the priest's daughter.
Hect. Here we must part, our destinies divide us; Brother and friend, farewell.
Troil. When shall we meet?
Look; on yon hill their squandered troops unite.
Troil. If I mistake not, 'tis their last reserve: The storm's blown o'er, and those but after-drops.
Hect. I wish our men be not too far engaged ; For few we are and spent, as having born The burthen of the day: But, hap what can, They shall be charged ; Achilles must be there, And him I seek, or death. Divide our troops, and take the fresher half.
Troil. O brother !
Hect. No dispute of ceremony:
hill, Are crept into the earth. Farewell. [Exit HECT.
Troil. Farewell.-Come, Greek.
Thers. Now these rival rogues will clapperclaw one another, and I shall have the sport of it.
[Exit Troil, with THERS. Enter Achilles and Myrmidons. Achil. Which way went Hector ?
Myrmid. Up yon sandy hill ;
Against the rising, spent with painful march,
[Exit with Myrm.
sings, And forces us to pay for our own cozenage ! Thers. Nay, cheats heaven too with entrails and
with offals; Gives it the garbage of a sacrifice, And keeps the best for private luxury.
Troil. Thou hast deserved thy life for cursing priests. Let me embrace thee; thou art beautiful : That back, that nose, those eyes are beautiful: Live; thou art honest, for thou hat'st a priest. Thers. [Aside.] Farewell, Trojan ; if I escape with
I life, as I hope, and thou art knocked on the head, as I hope too, I shall be the first that ever escaped
of a priest after cursing him; and thou wilt not be the last, I prophesy, that a priest will bring to ruin.
[Exit THER. Troil. Methinks, my soul is roused to her last
[Noise within, Follow, follow !
[Exit TROILUS. Enter Calchas and CRESSIDA. Cres. Where is he? I'll be justified, or die.
Calch. So quickly vanished! he was here but now.
Cres. What then remains ?
Calch. To interpose betimes Betwixt their swords; or, if that cannot be, To intercede for him, who shall be vanquished. Fate leaves no middle course. [Exit CALCHAS,
Clashing within. Cres. Ah me! I hear them, And fear ’tis, past prevention.