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upon this plain, so many hollow factions. When that the general is not like the hive, To whom the foragers shall all repair, What honey is expected? Degree being vizarded, The unworthiest shows as fairly in the mask. The heavens themselves, the planets, and this center Observe degree, priority, and place, Insisture, course, proportion, season, form, Office, and custom, in all line of order; And therefore is the glorious planet, Sol, In noble eminence enthron’d and spher'd Amidst the other; whose med'cinable eye Corrects the ill aspects of planets evil, And posts, like the commandment of a king, Sans? check, to good and bad : But when the planets, In evil mixture, to disorder wander, What plagues, and what portents? what mutiny? What raging of the sea?, shaking of earth? Commotion in the winds? frights, changes, horrors, Divert and crack, rend and deracinate: The unity and married calm of states Quite from their fixture? O, when degree is shak’d, Which is the ladder of all high designs, The enterprize is sick? How could communities, Degrees in schools, and brotherhoods in cities, Peaceful commerce from dividable* shores, The primogenitive and due of birth, Prerogative of age, crowns, scepters, laurels, But by degree, stand in authentick place? Take but degree away, untune that string, And, hark, what discord follows! each thing meets In meres oppugnancy: The bounded waters Should lift their bosoms higher than the shores, And make a sop of all this solid globe: Strength should be lord of imbecility, And the rude son shall strike his father dead : Force should be right; or, rather, right and wrong,
1 Constancy. 3 Force up by the roots.
(Between whose endless jar justice resides,)
Should lose their names, and so should justice too.
Then every thing includes itself in power,
Power into will, will into appetite;
And appetite, an universal wolf,
So doubly seconded with will and power
Must make perforce an universal prey,
And, last, eat up himself. Great Agamemnon,
This chaos, when degree is suffocate,
Follows the choking.
And this neglection of degree it is,
That by a pace goes backward, with a purpose
It hath to climb. The general's disdain'd
By him one step below; he, by the next;
That next by him beneath: so every step,
Example by the first pace that is sick
Of his superior, grows to an envious fever
Of pale and bloodless emulation :
And 'tis this fever that keeps Troy on foot,
Not her own sinews. To end a tale of length,
Troy in our weakness stands, not in her strength.
Nestor. Most wisely hath Ulysses here discover'd
The fever whereof all our power is sick.
Agamemnon. The nature of thesickness found, Ulysses, What is the remedy?
Ulysses. The great Achilles,—whom opinion crowns The sinew and the forehand of our host, Having his ear full of his airy fame, Grows dainty of his worth, and in his tent Lies mocking our designs: With him, Patroclus, Upon a lazy bed the live-long day Breaks scurril jests, And with ridiculous and awkward action (Which, slanderer, he imitation calls,) He pageants® us. Sometime, great Agamemnon, Thy topless' deputation he puts on; And, like a strutting player,—whose conceit Lies in his hamstring, and doth think it rich 6 In modern language, takes us off.
To hear the wooden dialogue and sound
'Twixt his stretch'd footing and the scaffoldage, 8
Such to-be-pitied and o'er-wrested seeming
He acts thy greatness in: and when he speaks,
'Tis like a chime a mending; with terms unsquar'd,
Which, from the tongue of roaring Typhon dropp'd,
Would seem hyperboles. At this fusty stuff,
The large Achilles, on his press'd bed lolling,
From his deep chest laughs out a loud applause;
Cries-Excellent! 'tis Agamemnon just.-
Now play me Nestor;-hem, and stroke thy beard,
As, he being drest to some oration.
-as near as the extremest ends
Of parallels; as like as Vulcan and his wife:
Yet good Achilles still cries, Excellent !
'Tis Nestor right! Now play him me, Patroclus,
Arming to answer in a night alarm.
And then, forsooth, the faint defects of age
Must be the scene of mirth; to cough and spit,
And with a palsy-fumbling on his gorget,
Shake in and out the rivet:-and at this sport,
Sir Valour dies; cries, 01-enough, Patroclus;-
Or give me ribs of steel! I shall split all
In pleasure of my spleen. And in this fashion,
All our abilities, gifts, natures, shapes,
Severals and generals of grace exact,
Achievements, plots, orders, preventions,
Excitements to the field, or speech for truce,
Success, or loss, what is, or is not, serves
As stuff for these two to make paradoxes.
Nestor. And in the imitation of these twain
(Whom, as Ulysses says, opinion crowns
With an imperial voice,) many are infect,
Ajax is grown self-will’d; and bears his head
In such a rein, in full as proud a place
As broad Achilles: keeps his tent like him;
Makes factious feasts; rails on our state of war,
Bold as an oracle: and sets Thersites
9 Beyond the truth.
(A slave, whose gall coins slanders like a mint,)
To match us in comparisons with dirt;
To weaken and discredit our exposure,
How rank soever rounded in with danger.
Ulysses. They tax our policy, and call it cowardice;
Count wisdom as no inember of the war;
Forestall prescíence, and esteem no act
But that of hand: the still and mental parts,—
That do contrive how many hands shall strike,
When fitness calls them on; and know, by measure
Of their observant toil, the enemies' weight,-
Why, this hath not a finger's dignity:
They call this—bed-work, mappery, closet-war:
So that the ram, that batters down the wall,
For the great swing and rudeness of his poize,
They place before his hand that made the engine;
Or those, that with the fineness of their souls
By reason guide his execution.
Nestor. Let this be granted, and Achilles' horse Makes many Thetis sons.
[Trumpets sounded. Agamemnon. What trumpet ? look, Menelaus.
Enter ÆNEAS. Menelaus. From Troy. Agamemnon. What would you 'fore our tent? Æneas.
Is this Great Agamemnon's tent, I pray? Agamemnon.
Even this. Æneas. May one that is a herald, and a prince, Do a fair message to his kingly ears?
Agamemnon. With surety stronger than Achilles' arm 'Fore all the Greekish heads, which with one voice Call Agamemnon head and general.
Æneas. Fair leave and large security. How may
A stranger to those most imperial looks
Know them from eyes of other mortals?
I ask, that I might waken reverence,
And bid the cheek be ready with a blush
Modest as morning when she coldly eyes
The youthful Phæbus :
Which is that god in office, guiding men?
Which is the high and mighty Agamemnon?
Agamemnon. This Trojan scorns us; or the men of
Are ceremonious courtiers.
Æneas. Courtiers as free, as debonair, unarm’d,
As bending angels; that's their fame in peace:
But when they would seem soldiers, they have galls,
Good arms, strong joints, true swords; and, Jove's accord,
Nothing so full of heart. But peace, Æneas,
Peace, Trojan; lay thy finger on thy lips !
The worthiness of praise disdains his worth,
If that the prais'd himself bring the praise forth:
But what the repining enemy commends,
That breath fame follows; that praise, sole pure, tran-
scends. Agamemnon. Sir, you of Troy, call you yourself
Æneas. Ay, Greek, that is
Agamemnon. What's your affair, I pray you?
Æneas. Sir, pardon; 'tis for Agamemnon's ears.
Agamemnon. He hears nought privately, that comes
Æneas. Nor I from Troy come not to whisper him:
I bring a trumpet to awake his ear:
To set his sense on the attentive bent,
And then to speak:
Agamemnon. Speak frankly, as the wind;
It is not Agamemnon's sleeping hour:
That thou shalt know, Trojan, he is awake,
He tells thee so himself.
Trumpet, blow loud,
Send thy brass voice through all these lazy tents;
And every Greek of mettle, let him know,
What Troy means fairly, shall be spoke aloud.