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The lustre of the better shall exceed,
what are they?
[Exeunt. our main opinion — ] Is, our general estimation or character.
9 The sort-] i. e. the lot.
. Must tarre the mastiffs on,] Tarre, an old English word, signifying to provoke or urge on,
SCENE I. - Another Part of the Grecian Camp.
Enter Ajax and THERSITES.
Ther. Agamemnon - how if he had boils ? full, all over, generally?
Ther. And those boils did run? - Say so, - did not the general run, then? were not that a botchy core ?
Ther. Then would come some matter from him ; I see none now.
Ajax. Thou bitch-wolf's son, canst thou not hear? Feel then.
[Strikes him. Ther. The plague of Greece upon thee, thou mongrel beef-witted lord !
Ajax. Speak then, thou unsalted leaven, speak: I will beat thee into handsomeness.
Ther. 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. Toads-stool, learn me the proclamation.
Ther. Dost thou think, I have no sense, thou strikest me thus ?
Ajax The proclamation, -
Ther. I would, thou didst itch from head to foot, and I had the scratching of thee; I would make thee the
3 Act II.] This play is not divided into Acts in any of the original editions.
loathsomest scab in Greece. When thou art forth in the incursions, thou strikest as slow as another.
Ajax. I say, the proclamation,
Ther. Thou grumblest and railest every hour on Achilles; and thou art as full of envy at his greatness, as Cerberus is at Proserpina's beauty, ay, that thou barkest at him.
Ajax. Mistress Thersites !
Ther. He would pun thee into shivers with his fist, as a sailor breaks a biscuit. Ajax. You whoreson cur !
[Beating him. Ther. Do, do. Ajax. Thou stool for a witch !
Ther. 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 put 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!
Cobloaf!) A crusty, uneven, gibbous loaf, is in some counties called by this name.
- pun thee into shivers - ] Pun is in the midland counties the vulgar and colloquial word for — pound.
6 Thou stool for a witch!] In one way of trying a witch they used to place her on a chair or stool, with her legs tied across, that all the weight of her body might rest upon her seat; and by that means, after some time, the circulation of the blood would be much stopped, and her sitting would be as painful as the wooden horse. GREY.
an assinego —] A he-ass.
thou art bought and sold — ) This was a proverbial expression. 9 If thou use to beat me,] i. e. if thou continue to beat me, or make a practice of beating me.
Ther. Mars his idiot! do, rudeness ; do, camel; do, do.
Enter ACHILLES and PATROCLUS.
Achil. Why, how now, Ajax ? wherefore do you thus ? How now, Thersites? what's the matter, man?
Ther. You see him there, do you?
Ther. But yet you look not well upon him : for, whosoever you take him to be, he is Ajax.
Achil. I know that, fool.
Ther. 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 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.
Achil. What ?
[Ajax offers to strike him, ACHILLES
interposes. Ther. Has not so much wit Achil. Nay, I must hold you.
Ther. As will stop the eye of Helen's needle, for whom he comes to fight.
Achil. Peace, fool!
- his pia mater, &c.] The pia mater is a membrane that protects the substance of the brain.
Ther. 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
Ajax. I bade the vile owl, go learn me the tenour of the proclamation, and he rails upon me.
Ther. I serve thee not.
Achil. Your last service was sufferance, 'twas not voluntary; no man is beaten voluntary ?; Ajax was here the voluntary, and you as under an impress.
Ther. Even so ? — a great deal of your wit too lies in your sinews, or else there be liars. Hector shall have a great catch, if he knock out either of your brains ; 'a were as good crack a fusty nut with no kernel.
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 wars.
Achil. What, what?
Ther. 'Tis 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 me3, shall I ?
is beaten voluntary :] i.e. voluntarily. Shakspeare often uses adjectives adverbially.
when Achilles' brach bids me,] The commentators are not agreed on the meaning of this word, some referring it to a species of dog, and some to an ornament called a broche, or broach.