Imatges de pàgina
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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.
Troj. Turn, slave, and fight.
Thers. (turning:] What art thou?
Troj. A bastard son of Priam's.

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.

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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

Hector?
Art thou of blood and honour?

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

he

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?
Hect. When the gods please; if not, we once

must part.

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:
These are enow for me, in faith enow.
Their bodies shall not flag while I can lead ;
Nor wearied limbs confess mortality,
Before those ants, that blacken all yon

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 ;
You may discern them by their smoking track
A wavering body working with bent hams

Against the rising, spent with painful march,
And by loose footing cast on heaps together.
Achil. O thou art gone, thou sweetest, best of

friends!
Why did I let thee tempt the shock of war,
Ere yet the tender nerves had strung thy limbs,
And knotted into strength! Yet, though too late,
I will, I will revenge thee, my Patroclus !
Nor shall thy ghost thy murderer's long attend,
But thou shalt hear him calling Charon back,
Ere thou art wafted to the farther shore.-
Make haste, my soldiers; give me this day's pains
For my dead friend : strike every hand with mine,
Till Hector breathless on the ground we lay !
Revenge is honour, the securest way.

[Exit with Myrm.
Enter THERSITES, Troilus, Trojans.
Thers. That's Calchas's tent.
Troil. Then, that one spot of earth contains more

falsehood,
Than all the sun sees in his race beside.
That I should trust the daughter of a priest !
Priesthood, that makes a merchandise of heaven!
Priesthood, that sells even to their prayers and bles-

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

1

I life, as I hope, and thou art knocked on the head, as I hope too, I shall be the first that ever escaped

I

the revenge

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

work;
Has much to do, and little time to spare.
She starts within me, like a traveller,
Who sluggishly outslept his morning hour,
And mends his pace to reach his inn betimes.

[Noise within, Follow, follow !
A noise of arms ! the traitor may be there ;
Or else, perhaps, that conscious scene of love,
The tent, may hold him; yet I dare not search,
For oh, I fear to find him in that place.

[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.
He must be gone to search for Diomede;
For Diomede told me, here they were to fight.

Cres. Alas!
Calch. You must prevent, and not complain.
Cres. If Troilus die, I have no share in life.
Calch. If Diomede sink beneath the sword of Troi.

lus,
We lose not only a protector here,
But are debarred all future means of flight.

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.

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