Taken from the Complete Works of William Shakespeare
Troilus and Cressida
ACT II, SCENE III. The Grecian camp. Before Achilles’ tent.
Enter AGAMEMNON, ULYSSES, NESTOR, DIOMEDES, and AJAX
Where is Achilles?
Within his tent; but ill disposed, my lord.
Let it be known to him that we are here.
He shent our messengers; and we lay by
Our appertainments, visiting of him:
Let him be told so; lest perchance he think
We dare not move the question of our place,
Or know not what we are.
I shall say so to him.
We saw him at the opening of his tent:
He is not sick.
Yes, lion-sick, sick of proud heart: you may call it
melancholy, if you will favour the man; but, by my
head, ’tis pride: but why, why? let him show us the
cause. A word, my lord.
Takes AGAMEMNON aside
What moves Ajax thus to bay at him?
Achilles hath inveigled his fool from him.
Then will Ajax lack matter, if he have lost his argument.
No, you see, he is his argument that has his
All the better; their fraction is more our wish than
their faction: but it was a strong composure a fool
The amity that wisdom knits not, folly may easily
untie. Here comes Patroclus.
No Achilles with him.
The elephant hath joints, but none for courtesy:
his legs are legs for necessity, not for flexure.
Achilles bids me say, he is much sorry,
If any thing more than your sport and pleasure
Did move your greatness and this noble state
To call upon him; he hopes it is no other
But for your health and your digestion sake,
And after-dinner’s breath.
Hear you, Patroclus:
We are too well acquainted with these answers:
But his evasion, wing’d thus swift with scorn,
Cannot outfly our apprehensions.
Much attribute he hath, and much the reason
Why we ascribe it to him; yet all his virtues,
Not virtuously on his own part beheld,
Do in our eyes begin to lose their gloss,
Yea, like fair fruit in an unwholesome dish,
Are like to rot untasted. Go and tell him,
We come to speak with him; and you shall not sin,
If you do say we think him over-proud
And under-honest, in self-assumption greater
Than in the note of judgment; and worthier
Here tend the savage strangeness he puts on,
Disguise the holy strength of their command,
And underwrite in an observing kind
His humorous predominance; yea, watch
His pettish lunes, his ebbs, his flows, as if
The passage and whole carriage of this action
Rode on his tide. Go tell him this, and add,
That if he overhold his price so much,
We’ll none of him; but let him, like an engine
Not portable, lie under this report:
‘Bring action hither, this cannot go to war:
A stirring dwarf we do allowance give
Before a sleeping giant.’ Tell him so.
I shall; and bring his answer presently.
In second voice we’ll not be satisfied;
We come to speak with him. Ulysses, enter you.
What is he more than another?
No more than what he thinks he is.
Is he so much? Do you not think he thinks himself a
better man than I am?
Will you subscribe his thought, and say he is?
No, noble Ajax; you are as strong, as valiant, as
wise, no less noble, much more gentle, and altogether
Why should a man be proud? How doth pride grow? I
know not what pride is.
Your mind is the clearer, Ajax, and your virtues the
fairer. He that is proud eats up himself: pride is
his own glass, his own trumpet, his own chronicle;
and whatever praises itself but in the deed, devours
the deed in the praise.
I do hate a proud man, as I hate the engendering of toads.
Yet he loves himself: is’t not strange?
On 7/01/15 – Join me in the continuation of
Shakespeare’s “Troilus and Cressida“