Taken from the Complete Works of William Shakespeare
Troilus and Cressida
ACT II, SCENE III. The Grecian camp. Before Achilles’ tent.
Achilles will not to the field to-morrow.
What’s his excuse?
He doth rely on none,
But carries on the stream of his dispose
Without observance or respect of any,
In will peculiar and in self-admission.
Why will he not upon our fair request
Untent his person and share the air with us?
Things small as nothing, for request’s sake only,
He makes important: possess’d he is with greatness,
And speaks not to himself but with a pride
That quarrels at self-breath: imagined worth
Holds in his blood such swoln and hot discourse
That ‘twixt his mental and his active parts
Kingdom’d Achilles in commotion rages
And batters down himself: what should I say?
He is so plaguy proud that the death-tokens of it
Cry ‘No recovery.’
Let Ajax go to him.
Dear lord, go you and greet him in his tent:
‘Tis said he holds you well, and will be led
At your request a little from himself.
O Agamemnon, let it not be so!
We’ll consecrate the steps that Ajax makes
When they go from Achilles: shall the proud lord
That bastes his arrogance with his own seam
And never suffers matter of the world
Enter his thoughts, save such as do revolve
And ruminate himself, shall he be worshipp’d
Of that we hold an idol more than he?
No, this thrice worthy and right valiant lord
Must not so stale his palm, nobly acquired;
Nor, by my will, assubjugate his merit,
As amply titled as Achilles is,
By going to Achilles:
That were to enlard his fat already pride
And add more coals to Cancer when he burns
With entertaining great Hyperion.
This lord go to him! Jupiter forbid,
And say in thunder ‘Achilles go to him.’
[Aside to DIOMEDES] O, this is well; he rubs the
vein of him.
[Aside to NESTOR] And how his silence drinks up
If I go to him, with my armed fist I’ll pash him o’er the face.
O, no, you shall not go.
An a’ be proud with me, I’ll pheeze his pride:
Let me go to him.
Not for the worth that hangs upon our quarrel.
A paltry, insolent fellow!
How he describes himself!
Can he not be sociable?
The raven chides blackness.
I’ll let his humours blood.
He will be the physician that should be the patient.
An all men were o’ my mind,–
Wit would be out of fashion.
A’ should not bear it so, a’ should eat swords first:
shall pride carry it?
An ‘twould, you’ld carry half.
A’ would have ten shares.
I will knead him; I’ll make him supple.
He’s not yet through warm: force him with praises:
pour in, pour in; his ambition is dry.
[To AGAMEMNON] My lord, you feed too much on this dislike.
Our noble general, do not do so.
You must prepare to fight without Achilles.
Why, ’tis this naming of him does him harm.
Here is a man–but ’tis before his face;
I will be silent.
Wherefore should you so?
He is not emulous, as Achilles is.
Know the whole world, he is as valiant.
A whoreson dog, that shall pelter thus with us!
Would he were a Trojan!
What a vice were it in Ajax now,–
If he were proud,–
Or covetous of praise,–
Ay, or surly borne,–
Or strange, or self-affected!
Thank the heavens, lord, thou art of sweet composure;
Praise him that got thee, she that gave thee suck:
Famed be thy tutor, and thy parts of nature
Thrice famed, beyond all erudition:
But he that disciplined thy arms to fight,
Let Mars divide eternity in twain,
And give him half: and, for thy vigour,
Bull-bearing Milo his addition yield
To sinewy Ajax. I will not praise thy wisdom,
Which, like a bourn, a pale, a shore, confines
Thy spacious and dilated parts: here’s Nestor;
Instructed by the antiquary times,
He must, he is, he cannot but be wise:
Put pardon, father Nestor, were your days
As green as Ajax’ and your brain so temper’d,
You should not have the eminence of him,
But be as Ajax.
Shall I call you father?
Ay, my good son.
Be ruled by him, Lord Ajax.
There is no tarrying here; the hart Achilles
Keeps thicket. Please it our great general
To call together all his state of war;
Fresh kings are come to Troy: to-morrow
We must with all our main of power stand fast:
And here’s a lord,–come knights from east to west,
And cull their flower, Ajax shall cope the best.
Go we to council. Let Achilles sleep:
Light boats sail swift, though greater hulks draw deep.
On 7/02/15 – Join me in the continuation of
Shakespeare’s “Troilus and Cressida“