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    Act 2, Scene I

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    Chapter 4
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    SCENE I. A part of the Grecian camp.

    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?

    AJAX
    Dog!

    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!

    THERSITES
    Do, do.

    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.

    Enter ACHILLES and PATROCLUS

    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
    him.

    ACHILLES
    What?

    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
    afterwards.

    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.

    Exit

    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.

    Exeunt
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