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ACHIL. What, with me too, Thersites?
THER. 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 war.
ACHIL. What, what?
THER. Yes, good sooth. To Achilles! to Ajax ! to!
AJAX. I shall cut out your tongue.
THER. 'T is no matter; I shall speak as much as thou, afterwards.
PATR. No more words, Thersites; peace.
THER. I will hold my peace when Achilles' brach bids me, shall I?
ACHIL. There 's for you, Patroclus.
THER. 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. PATR. A good riddance.
ACHIL. 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; 't is trash: Farewell.
AJAX. Farewell. Who shall answer him?
ACHIL. I know not, it is put to lottery; otherwise, He knew his man.
AJAX. O, meaning you:—I 'll go learn more of it. [Exeunt.
SCENE II.—Troy. A Room in Priam's Palace.
Enter PRIAM, HECTOR, TROILUS, PARIS, and HELENUS.
PRI. After so many hours, lives, speeches spent,
Thus once again says Nestor from the Greeks:
“ Deliver Helen, and all damage else-
As honour, loss of time, travel, expense,
Wounds, friends, and what else dear that is consum'd
In hot digestion of this cormorant war,-
Shall be struck off:"—Hector, what say you to ’t ?
Hect. Though no man lesser fears the Greeks than I,
As far as toucheth my particular, yet, dread Priam,
There is no lady of more softer bowels,
More spongy to suck in the sense of fear,
More ready to cry out—“Who knows what follows ?”
Than Hector is: The wound of peace is surety,
Surety secure; but modest doubt is call'd
The beacon of the wise, the tent that searches
To the bottom of the worst. Let Helen go:
Since the first sword was drawn about this question,
Every tithe soul, 'mongst many thousand dismes,
Hath been as dear as Helen; I mean of ours:
If we have lost so many tenths of ours,
To guard a thing not ours; nor worth to us,
Had it our name, the value of one ten;
What merit's in that reason which denies
The yielding of her up?
Fie, fie, my brother!
Weigh you the worth and honour of a king
So great as our dread father, in a scale
Of common ounces? will you with counters sum
The past-proportion of his infinite?
And buckle-in a waist most fathomless
With spans and inches so diminutive
As fears and reasons? fie, for godly, shame!
HEL. No marvel, though you bite so sharp at reasons,
You are so empty of them. Should not our father
Bear the great sway of his affairs with reasons,
Because your speech hath none, that tells him so ?
Tro. You are for dreams and slumbers, brother priest, You fur your gloves with reason. Here are your reasons: You know an enemy intends you harm; You know a sword employ'd is perilous, And reason flies the object of all harm: Who marvels then, when Helenus beholds A Grecian and his sword, if he do set The very wings of reason to his heels; And fly like chidden Mercury from Jove, Or like a star dis-orbid ?-Nay, if we talk of reason, Let 's shut our gates, and sleep: Manhood and honour Should have hare hearts, would they but fat their thoughts With this cramm'd reason; reason and respect
Make livers pale, and lustihood deject.
HECT. Brother, she is not worth what she doth cost The holding
TRO. What’s aught but as 't is valued ?
HECT. But value dwells not in particular will;
It holds his estimate and dignity
As well wherein 't is precious of itself
As in the prizer; 't is mad idolatry
To make the service greater than the god;
And the will dotes that is inclinable
To what infectiously itself affects,
Without some image of the affected merit.
Tro. I take to-day a wife, and my
Is led on in the conduct of my will;
My will enkindled by mine eyes and ears,
Two traded pilots 'twixt the dangerous shores
Of will and judgment: How may I avoid,
Although my will distaste what it elected,
The wife I chose ? there can be no evasion
To blench from this, and to stand firm by honour:
We turn not back the silks upon the merchant
When we have spoild them: nor the remainder viands
We do not throw in unrespective same,
Because we now are full. It was thought meet,
Paris should do some vengeance on the Greeks:
Your breath of full consent bellied his sails;
The seas and winds (old wranglers) took a truce,
And did him service: he touch'd the ports desir'd;
And, for an old aunt, whom the Greeks held captive,
He brought a Grecian queen, whose youth and freshness
Wrinkles Apollo's, and makes stale the morning.
Why keep we her? the Grecians keep our aunt:
Is she worth keeping? why, she is a pearl,
Whose price hath launch'd above a thousand ships,
And turn'd crown'd kings to merchants.
If you 'll avouch 't was wisdom Paris went,
(As you must needs, for you all cried—“Go, go,")
If you Öll confess he brought home noble prize,
(As you must needs, for you all clapp'd your hands,
And cried—“Inestimable!") why do you now
The issue of your proper wisdoms rate;
And do a deed that fortune never did,
Beggar the estimation which you priz'd
Richer than sea and land? O theft most base;
That we have stolen what we do fear to keep!
But thieves, unworthy of a thing so stolen,
That in their country did them that disgrace,
We fear to warrant in our native place!
CAS. [Within.] Cry, Trojans, cry!
What noise ? what shriek is this?
Tro. T is our mad sister, I do know her voice.
CAS. [Within.] Cry, Trojans !
HECT. It is Cassandra.
Enter CASSANDRA, raving.
CAS. Cry, Trojans, cry! lend me ten thousand eyes,
And I will fill them with prophetic tears.
HECT. Peace, sister, peace.
CAS. Virgins and boys, mid-age, and wrinkled old,
Soft infancy, that nothing canst but cry,
Add to my clamours! let us pay betimes
A moiety of that mass of moan to come.
Cry, Trojans, cry! practise your eyes with tears!
Troy must not be, nor goodly Ilion stand;
Our firebrand brother, Paris, burns us all.
Cry, Trojans, cry! a Helen, and a woe:
Cry, cry! Troy burns, or else let Helen go.
HECT. Now, youthful Troilus, do not these high strains
Of divination in our sister work
Some touches of remorse? or is your blood
So madly hot, that no discourse of reason,
Nor fear of bad success in a bad cause,
Can qualify the same?
Why, brother Hector,
may not think the justness of each act
Such and no other than event doth form it;
Nor once deject the courage of our minds
Because Cassandra 's mad; her brain-sick raptures
Cannot distaste the goodness of a quarrel
Which hath our several honours all engag'd
To make it gracious. For my private part,
I am no more touch'd than all Priam's sons :
And Jove forbid, there should be done amongst us
Such things as might offend the weakest spleen
To fight for and maintain!
Par. Else might the world convince of levity
As well my undertakings as your counsels:
But I attest the gods, your full consent
Gave wings to my propension, and cut off
All fears attending on so dire a project.
For what, alas, can these my single arms ?
What propugnation is in one man’s valour,
To stand the push and enmity of those
This quarrel would excite? Yet, I protest,
Were I alone to pass the difficulties,
And had as ample power as I have will,
Paris should ne'er retract what he hath done,
Nor faint in the pursuit.
Paris, you speak
Like one besotted on your sweet delights:
You have the honey still, but these the gall;
So to be valiant is no praise at all.
PAR. Sir, I propose not merely to myself
The pleasures such a beauty brings with it;
But I would have the soil of her fair rape
Wip'd off, in honourable keeping her.
What treason were it to the ransack'd queen,
Disgrace to your great worths, and shame to me,
Now to deliver her possession up,
On terms of base compulsion! Can it be
That so degenerate a strain as this
Should once set footing in your generous bosoms?
There 's not the meanest spirit on our party,
Without a heart to dare, or sword to draw,
When Helen is defended; nor none so noble,
Whose life were ill bestow'd, or death unfam'd,
Where Helen is the subject: then, I say,
Well may we fight for her, whom, we know well,
The world's large spaces cannot parallel.
HECT. Paris, and Troilus, you have both said well;