Troilus and Cressida


Text

Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Enter Ajax and Thersites


AJAX

Thersites –


THERSITES

Agamemnon – how if he had boils, full, all

over, generally?


AJAX

Thersites –


THERSITES

And those boils did run? – say so – did not

the general run then? Were not that a botchy core?
botchy (adj.) enveloped in sores [botches], tumour-covered


AJAX

Dog!


THERSITES

Then there would come some matter from
matter (n.) 7 pus, discharge, fluid [from a wound]

him; I see none now.


AJAX

Thou bitch-wolf's son, canst thou not hear? Feel,

then.

He strikes him


THERSITES

The plague of Greece upon thee, thou

mongrel beef-witted lord!
beef-witted (adj.) beef-brained, thick-headed, brainless


AJAX

Speak, then, thou vinewed'st leaven, speak; I will
leaven (n.) [baking] fermenting element, infusing mixture, adulteration
vinewed (adj.) mouldy, rotten, decaying

beat thee into handsomeness!
handsomeness (n.) graciousness, courtesy, decent behaviour


THERSITES

I shall sooner rail thee into wit and holiness;
rail (v.) rant, rave, be abusive [about] See Topics: Frequency count
wit (n.) 1 intelligence, wisdom, good sense, mental ability See Topics: Frequency count

but I think thy horse will sooner con an oration than
con (v.) 1 learn by heart, commit to memory

thou learn a prayer without book. Thou canst strike,
book, without off by heart, by rote

canst thou? – A red murrain o' thy jade's tricks!
jade (n.) 1 worn-out horse, hack, worthless nag
murrain (n.) plague, pestilence See Topics: Swearing


AJAX

Toadstool, learn me the proclamation.
learn (v.) 3 inform of, tell about


THERSITES

Dost thou think I have no sense, thou
sense (n.) 2 ability to respond to sensation, physical perception

strikest me thus?


AJAX

The proclamation!


THERSITES

Thou art proclaimed a fool, I think.


AJAX

Do not, porpentine, do not; my fingers itch.
porpentine (n.) porcupine


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.
scab (n.) scurvy fellow, scoundrel, villain


AJAX

I say, the proclamation!


THERSITES

Thou grumblest and railest every hour on
rail (v.) rant, rave, be abusive [about] See Topics: Frequency count

Achilles, and thou art as full of envy at his greatness as

Cerberus is at Proserpina's beauty, ay, that thou

bark'st at him.


AJAX

Mistress Thersites!


THERSITES

Thou shouldest strike him –


AJAX

Cobloaf!
cobloaf (n.) small round lumpish loaf


THERSITES

He would pun thee into shivers with his fist,
pun (v.) pound, hammer, batter
shiver (n.) fragment, splinter, piece

as a sailor breaks a biscuit.


AJAX

(beating him)
whoreson (adj.) [abusive intensifier, serious or jocular] bastard, wretched, vile See Topics: Swearing

You whoreson cur!


THERSITES

Do, do.
do (v.) 8 go on, carry on


AJAX

Thou stool for a witch!
stool (n.) chamber-pot, commode


THERSITES

Ay, do, do! Thou sodden-witted lord, thou
sodden-witted (adj.) stew-brained, limp-minded, alcohol-crazed

hast no more brain than I have in mine elbows; an

assinico may tutor thee. Thou scurvy-valiant ass, thou
assinico, asinico, assenego (n.) [pron: asi'neekoh] little ass, donkey, dolt
scurvy-valiant (adj.) supremely worthless, heartily contemptible

art here but to thrash Trojans, and thou art bought and
buy and sell, past form bought and sold betray, exploit, treat treacherously

sold among those of any wit, like a barbarian slave. If
wit (n.) 1 intelligence, wisdom, good sense, mental ability See Topics: Frequency count

thou use to beat me, I will begin at thy heel, and tell
tell (v.) 1 count out, number, itemize
use (v.) 1 be accustomed, make a habit [of]

what thou art by inches, thou thing of no bowels, thou!
bowels (n.) 2 feelings, sensitivity, heart
inches, by very gradually, bit by bit, by small degrees


AJAX

You dog!


THERSITES

You scurvy lord!


AJAX

(beating him)

You cur!


THERSITES

Mars his idiot! Do, rudeness, do, camel; do,
rudeness (n.) 1 rough manner, uncouth behaviour

do!

Enter Achilles and Patroclus


ACHILLES

Why, how now, Ajax! Wherefore do you this?

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,

whomsoever 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
modicum (n.) limited quantity, tiny amount
wit (n.) 1 intelligence, wisdom, good sense, mental ability See Topics: Frequency count

utters! His evasions have ears thus long. I have bobbed
bob (v.) 3 punch, strike, buffet

his brain more than he has beat my bones. I will buy

nine sparrows for a penny, and his pia mater is not
pia mater (n.) membrane covering the brain; brain

worth the ninth 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 him.


ACHILLES

What?


THERSITES

I say, this Ajax –

Ajax threatens to beat him; Achilles intervenes


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 fool's will shame
warrant (v.) 1 assure, promise, guarantee, confirm See Topics: Frequency count

it.


PATROCLUS

Good words, Thersites.


ACHILLES

What's the quarrel?


AJAX

I bade the vile owl go learn me the tenor of the
learn (v.) 3 inform of, tell about
rail (v.) rant, rave, be abusive [about] See Topics: Frequency count
tenor, tenour (n.) 1 substance, content, matter, drift

proclamation, and he rails upon me.


THERSITES

I serve thee not.


AJAX

Well, go to, go to.


THERSITES

I serve here voluntary.


ACHILLES

Your last service was sufferance, 'twas not
sufferance (n.) 1 distress, suffering, hardship

voluntary; no man is beaten voluntary. Ajax was here

the voluntary, and you as under an impress.
impress (n.) 1 conscription, enforced service
voluntary (n.) volunteer


THERSITES

E'en so; a great deal of your wit, too, lies in
even, e'en (adv.) 1 just, exactly See Topics: Discourse markers

your sinews, or else there be liars. Hector shall have a
sinew (n.) 1 muscle

great catch if he knock out either of your brains: he

were as good crack a fusty nut with no kernel.
fusty (adj.) musty, mouldy, stale-smelling


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

afterwards.


PATROCLUS

No more words, Thersites; peace!


THERSITES

I will hold my peace when Achilles' brooch
brach (n.) hound [which hunts by scent], bitch
brooch (n.) jewel, ornament

bids me, shall I?


ACHILLES

There's for you, Patroclus.


THERSITES

I will see you hanged like clotpolls ere I
clotpoll, clotpole, clatpole (n.) 1 blockhead, dolt, numskull

come any more to your tents; I will keep where there is
keep (v.) 1 lodge, live, dwell

wit stirring, and leave the faction of fools.
faction (n.) 1 party, group, set [of people]

Exit


PATROCLUS

A good riddance.


ACHILLES

Marry, this, sir, is proclaimed through all our host:

That Hector, by the fifth hour of the sun,

Will with a trumpet 'twixt our tents and Troy

Tomorrow morning call some knight to arms

That hath a stomach, and such a one that dare
stomach (n.) 2 wish, inclination, desire

Maintain – I know not what: 'tis trash. Farewell.


AJAX

Farewell. Who shall answer him?
answer (v.) 6 engage with, encounter, meet [in fight]


ACHILLES

I know not – 'tis put to lottery. Otherwise

He knew his man.


AJAX

O, meaning you? I will go learn more of it.

Exeunt

 
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