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Hector. 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?
Troilus.

Why, brother Hector,
We 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 !

Paris. 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?

i
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.
Priam.

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.

Paris. Sir, I propose not merely to myself
The pleasures such a beauty brings with it;
* Corrupt, change to a worse state. 6 Convict.

Defence.
VOL. V.

D

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 he fight for her, whom, we know well,
The world's large spaces cannot parallel.

Hector. Paris, and Troilus, you have both said well:
And on the cause and question now in hand
Have gloz’d, 8—but superficially; not much
Unlike young men, whom Aristotle thought
Unfit to hear moral philosophy:
The reasons, you allege, do more conduce
To the hot passion of distemper'd blood,
Than to make up a free determination
'Twixt right and wrong; For pleasure, and revenge,
Have ears for ever deaf unto the voice
Of any true decision. Nature craves,
All dues be render'd to their owners; Now
What nearer debt in all humanity,
Than wife is to the husband? if this law
Of nature be corrupted through affection;
And that great minds, of partial indulgence
To their benumbed wills, resist the same;
There is a law in each well-order'd nation,
To curb those raging appetites that are
Most disobedient and refractory.
If Helen then be wife to Sparta's king -
As it is known she is,—these moral laws
Of nature, and of nations, speak aloud
8 Commented.

9 Through.

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To have her back return'd: Thus to persist
In doing wrong, extenuates not wrong,
But makes it much more heavy. Hector's opinion
Is this, in way of truth: yet ne'ertheless,
My spritely brethren, I propend to you
In resolution to keep Helen still;
For 'tis a cause that hath no mean dependance
Upon our joint and several dignities.

Troilus. Why, there you touch'd the life of our design:
W'ere it not glory that we more affected,
Than the performance of our heaving spleens,
I would not wish a drop of Trojan blood
Spent more in her defence. But, worthy Hector,
She is a theme of honour and renown;
A spur to valiant and magnanimous deeds;
Whose present courage may beat down our foes,
And fame, in time to come, canonize us:
For, I presume, brave Hector would not lose
So rich advantage of a promis'd glory,
As smiles upon the forehead of this action,
For the wide world's revenue.
Hector.

I am yours,
You valiant offspring of great Priamus.-
I have a roisting challenge sent ainongst
The dull and factious nobles of the Greeks,
Will strike amazement to their drowsy spirits:
I was advertis'd, their great general slept,
Whilst emulation in the army crept;
This, I presume, will wake him.

[Exeunt.

SCENE III. - The GRECIAN Camp. Before ACHILLES

Tent.

Enter THERSITES. Thersites. How now, Thersites? what, lost in the labyrinth of thy fury? Shall the elephant Ajax carry it thus? he beats me, and I rail at him: 0 worthy satisfaction! 'would, it were otherwise; that I could 1 Incline. 2 Blustering.

Envy.

3

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beat him, whilst he railed at me: I'll learn to conjure and raise devils, but I'll see some issue of my spiteful execrations. Then there's Achilles,—a rare engineer. If Troy be not taken, till these two undermine it, the walls will stand till they fall of themselves. Othou great thunder-darter of Olympus, forget that thou art Jove the king of gods; and, Mercury, lose all the serpentine craft of thy Caduceus ; 4 if ye take not that little little less-than-little wit from them that they have! which short-armed'ignorance itself knows is so abundant scarce, it will not in circumvention deliver a fly from a spider, without drawing their massy irons, and cutting the web. After this, the vengeance on the whole camp! What, ho! my lord Achilles !

Enter PATROCLUS. Patroclus. Who's there? Thersites? Good Thersites, come in and rail.

Thersites. If I could have remembered a gilt counterfeit, thou wouldest not have slipped out of my contemplation: but it is no matter; Thyself upon thyself! The common curse of mankind, folly and ignorance, be thine in great revenue! heaven bless thee from a tutor, and discipline come not near thee! Let thy blood be thy direction till thy death! then if she, that lays thee out, says—thou art a fair corse, I'll be sworn and sworn upon't, she never shrouded any but lazars. Amen. Where's Achilles ?

Patroclus. What, art thou devout? wast thou in prayer?

Thersites. Ay; The heavens hear me!

5

Enter ACHILLES.
Achilles. Who's there?
Patroclus. Thersites, my lord.

Achilles. Where, where?-Art thou come? Why, my cheese, my digestion, why hast thou not served thyself

4 The wand of Mercury, which is wreathed with serpents.
• Leprous persons.

in to my table so many meals? Come; what's Agamemnon?

Thersites. Thy commander, Achilles ;—Then tell me, Patroclus, what's Achilles ?

Patroclus. Thy lord, Thersites; Then tell me, I pray thee, what's thyself?

Thersites. Thy knower, Patroclus; Then tell me, Patroclus' what art thou?

Patroclus. Thou mayest tell, that knowest.
Achilles. O, tell, tell.

Thersites. I'll decline the whole question. Agamemnon commands Achilles ; Achilles is my lord; I am Patroclus' knower; and Patroclus is a fool.

Patroclus. You rascal!
Thersites. Peace, fool; I have not done.

Achilles. He is a privileged man. — Proceed, Thersites.

Thersites. Agamemnon is a fool; Achilles is a fool; Thersites is a fool; and, as aforesaid, Patroclus is a fool.

Achilles. Derive this; come.

Thersites. Agamemnon is a fool to offer to command Achilles; Achilles is a fool to be commanded of Agamemnon; Thersites is a fool to serve such a fool; and Patroclus is a fool positive.

Patroclus. Why am I a fool ?

Thersites. Make that demand of the prover.-It suffices me, thou art. Look you, who comes here?

Enter AGAMEMNON, ULYSSES, NESTOR, DIOMEDES, and

AJAX. Achilles. Patroclus, I'll speak with nobody :-Come in with me, Thersites.

[Exit. Thersites. Here is such patchery, such juggling, and such knavery!

Exit. Agamemnon. Where is Achilles ? Putroclus. Within his tent; but ill-dispos’d, my lord. Agamemnon, Let it be known to him, that we are

here.

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