Troilus and Cressida Act V
by William Shakespeare

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Act V, Scene 1

ACT V.

SCENE 1. The Grecian camp. Before the tent of ACHILLES

[Enter ACHILLES and PATROCLUS.]

ACHILLES.
I'll heat his blood with Greekish wine to-night,
Which with my scimitar I'll cool to-morrow.
Patroclus, let us feast him to the height.

PATROCLUS.
Here comes Thersites.

[Enter THERSITES.]

ACHILLES.
How now, thou core of envy!
Thou crusty batch of nature, what's the news?

THERSITES.
Why, thou picture of what thou seemest, and idol of
idiot worshippers, here's a letter for thee.

ACHILLES.
From whence, fragment?

THERSITES.
Why, thou full dish of fool, from Troy.

PATROCLUS.
Who keeps the tent now?

THERSITES.
The surgeon's box or the patient's wound.

PATROCLUS.
Well said, Adversity! and what needs these tricks?

THERSITES.
Prithee, be silent, boy; I profit not by thy talk; thou
art said to be Achilles' male varlet.

PATROCLUS.
Male varlet, you rogue! What's that?

THERSITES.
Why, his masculine whore. Now, the rotten diseases of
the south, the guts-griping ruptures, catarrhs, loads o' gravel
in the back, lethargies, cold palsies, raw eyes, dirt-rotten
livers, wheezing lungs, bladders full of imposthume, sciaticas,
limekilns i' th' palm, incurable bone-ache, and the rivelled fee-
simple of the tetter, take and take again such preposterous
discoveries!

PATROCLUS.
Why, thou damnable box of envy, thou, what meanest thou
to curse thus?

THERSITES.
Do I curse thee?

PATROCLUS.
Why, no, you ruinous butt; you whoreson indistinguishable cur,
no.

THERSITES.
No! Why art thou, then, exasperate, thou idle immaterial
skein of sleave silk, thou green sarcenet flap for a sore eye,
thou tassel of a prodigal's purse, thou? Ah, how the poor world
is pestered with such water-flies, diminutives of nature!

PATROCLUS.
Out, gall!

THERSITES.
Finch egg!

ACHILLES.
My sweet Patroclus, I am thwarted quite
From my great purpose in to-morrow's battle.
Here is a letter from Queen Hecuba,
A token from her daughter, my fair love,
Both taxing me and gaging me to keep
An oath that I have sworn. I will not break it.
Fall Greeks; fail fame; honour or go or stay;
My major vow lies here, this I'll obey.
Come, come, Thersites, help to trim my tent;
This night in banqueting must all be spent.
Away, Patroclus!

[Exit with PATROCLUS.]

THERSITES.
With too much blood and too little brain these two may
run mad; but, if with too much brain and to little blood they do,
I'll be a curer of madmen. Here's Agamemnon, an honest fellow
enough, and one that loves quails, but he has not so much brain
as ear-wax; and the goodly transformation of Jupiter there, his
brother, the bull, the primitive statue and oblique memorial of
cuckolds, a thrifty shoeing-horn in a chain, hanging at his
brother's leg, to what form but that he is, should wit larded
with malice, and malice forced with wit, turn him to? To an ass,
were nothing: he is both ass and ox. To an ox, were nothing: he
is both ox and ass. To be a dog, a mule, a cat, a fitchew, a
toad, a lizard, an owl, a put-tock, or a herring without a roe, I
would not care; but to be Menelaus, I would conspire against
destiny. Ask me not what I would be, if I were not Thersites; for
I care not to be the louse of a lazar, so I were not Menelaus.
Hey-day! sprites and fires!

[Enter HECTOR, TROILUS, AJAX, AGAMEMNON, ULYSSES, NESTOR,
MENELAUS, and DIOMEDES, with lights.]

AGAMEMNON.
We go wrong, we go wrong.

AJAX.
No, yonder 'tis;
There, where we see the lights.

HECTOR.
I trouble you.

AJAX.
No, not a whit.

ULYSSES.
Here comes himself to guide you.

[Re-enter ACHILLES.]

ACHILLES.
Welcome, brave Hector; welcome, Princes all.

AGAMEMNON.
So now, fair Prince of Troy, I bid good night;
Ajax commands the guard to tend on you.

HECTOR.
Thanks, and good night to the Greeks' general.

MENELAUS.
Good night, my lord.

HECTOR.
Good night, sweet Lord Menelaus.

THERSITES.
Sweet draught! 'Sweet' quoth a'!
Sweet sink, sweet sewer!

ACHILLES.
Good night and welcome, both at once, to those
That go or tarry.

AGAMEMNON.
Good night.

[Exeunt AGAMEMNON and MENELAUS.]

ACHILLES.
Old Nestor tarries; and you too, Diomed,
Keep Hector company an hour or two.

DIOMEDES.
I cannot, lord; I have important business,
The...

(The entire section is 5,404 words.)