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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!
[Beating him. Ther. Mars his idiot! do, rudeness; do, camel; do, do.
Enter Achilles and PatrocLUS.
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 bobb'd his brain, more than he has beat my bones: I will buy nine spar. rows for a penny, and his fia matero is not worth the
this would be forsworn, and I again an asinego, as your sister left me.” Steevens.
Asinego is Portuguese for a little ass. Musgrave.
And Dr. Musgrave might have added, that, in his native county, it is the vulgar name for an ass at present. Henley.
The same term, as I am informed, is also current among the lower rank of people in Norfolk. Steevens. 7 t hou art bought and sold - This was a proverbial expres. sion. Malone. So, in King Richard 111:
“ For Dickon thy master is bought and sold.” Again, in King Henry VI, Part I:
“ From bought and sold lord Talbot.” Steevens. 8 If thou use to beat me,] i. e. if thou continue to beat me, or make a practice of beating me. Steevens. 9_ his pia mater &c.] So, in Twelfth Night: “ here
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.
[AJAX offers to strike him, ACHIL. interposes. Ther. Has not so much witAchil. Nay, I must hold you.
Ther. As will stop the eye of Helen's needle, for whom he comes to fight.
Achil. Peace, fool!
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 vo. luntary; no man is beaten voluntary;1 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 nails3 on their
comes one of thy kin has a most weak pia mater.” The pia mater is a membrane that protects the substance of the brain. Steevens.
1 is beaten voluntary:] i. e. voluntarily. Sbakspeare ofter uses adjectives adverbially. See Vol. VIII, p. 302, n. 6. Malone.
2 Hector shall have a great catch, if he knock out either of your brains ; &c.] The same thought occurs in Cymbeline :
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 me, shall I ?
3_ Nestor,--whose wit was mouldy ere your grandsires had nails - ) [Old copies--their grandsires.] This is one of these edi. tors' wise riddles. What! was Nestor's wit mouidy before his grandsire's toes had any nails? Preposterous nonsense! and yet so easy a change as one poor pronoun for another, sets all right and clear. Theobald.
4- when Achilles' brach bids me,] The folio and quarto read -Achilles brooch. Brooch is an appendant ornament. The mean. ing may be, equivalent to one of Achilles' hangers-on. Fohnson.
Brach I believe to be the true reading. He calls Patroclus, in contempt, Achilles's dog. So, in Timon of Athens :
“When thou art Timon's dog” &c. A brooch was a cluster of gems affixed to a pin, and anciently worn in the hats of people of distinction. See the portrait of Sir Christopher Hatton Steevens.
I believe brache to be the true reading. It certainly means a bitch, and not a dog, which renders the expression more abusive and offensive. Thersites calls Patroclus Achilles' brache, for the same reason that he afterwards calls him his male harlot, and his masculine whore. M. Mason.
I have little doubt of broch being the true reading, as a term of contempt.
The meaning of broche is well ascertained--a spit-a bodkin; which being formerly used in the ladies' dress, was adorned with jewels, and gold and silver ornaments. Hence in old lists of jewels are found brotchets.
I have a very magnificent one, which is figured and described by Pennant, in the second volume of his Tour to Scotland, in 1772, p. 14, in which the spit or bodkin forms but a very small part of the whole. Lort.
Broch was, properly, a trinket with a pin affixed to it, and is consequently used by Shakspeare for an ornament in general. So, in Hamlet :
“ he is the brooch indeed
“ And gem of all the nation.” So, in Antony and Cleopatra:
- not the imperious show
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.
Ajax. Farewei. Who shall answer him?
Achil. I know not, it is put to lottery; otherwise,
But Thersites could not mean to compliment Patroclus, and therefore this cannot, I think, be the true reading. Brach, which was introduced by Mr. Rowe, might serve well enough, but that it certainly meant a bitch. (See Vol. VI, p. 14, n. 9.] It is possible, however, that Shakspeare might have used the word as synonymous to follower, without any regard to sex.
I have sometimes thought that the word intended might have been Achilles's brock, i.e. that over-weening conceited coxcomb, who attends upon Achilles. Our author has used this term of contempt in Twelfth Night: “Marry, hang thee, brock.!” So, in
The Fests of George Peele, quarto, 1657: “ This self-conceited brock, had George invited,” &c. Malone.
A brock, literally, means a badger. Steevens. 5. the first ] So the quarto. Folio-the fifth -. Malone.
Shall be struck off :-Hector, what say you to 't?
Hect. Though no man lesser fears the Greeks than I,
Fy, fy, my brother!
Hel. No marvel, though you bite so sharp at reasons,
spungy -] So, in Macbeth:
“ — his spungy officers.” Steevens. 7- Who knows what follows?] Who knows what ill consequences may follow from pursuing this or that course? Malone;
8 many thousand dismes,] Disme, Fr. is the tithe, the tenth. So, in the Prologue to Gower's Confessio Amantis, 1554:
“The disme goeth to the battaile." Again, in Holinsbed's Reign of King Richard 11:“ - so that there was levied, what of the disme, and by the devotion of the peo. ple,” &c. Steevens.
The past-proportion of his infinite?] Thus read both the copies. The meaning is, that greatness to which no measure bears any pro portion. The modern editors silently give:
The vast proportion --. Johnson. I though yor bite so sharp at reasons, &c.] Here is a