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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act V. Scene IV.

Troilus and Cressida

Between Troy and the Grecian Camp.

Alarums.Excursions.Enter THERSITES.

Ther.Now they are clapper-clawing one another; I’ll go look on. That dissembling abominable varlet, Diomed, has got that same scurvy doting foolish young knave’s sleeve of Troy there in his helm: I would fain see them meet; that that same young Trojan ass, that loves the whore there, might send that Greekish whoremasterly villain, with the sleeve, back to the dissembling luxurious drab, on a sleeveless errand. O’ the other side, the policy of those crafty swearing rascals,—that stale old mouse-eaten dry cheese, Nestor, and that same dog-fox, Ulysses, is not proved worth a blackberry: they set me up, in policy, that mongrel cur, Ajax, against that dog of as bad a kind, Achilles; and now is the cur Ajax prouder than the cur Achilles, and will not arm to-day; whereupon the Grecians begin to proclaim barbarism, and policy grows into an ill opinion. Soft! here comes sleeve, and t’ other.

Enter DIOMEDES, TROILUS following.

Tro.Fly not; for shouldst thou take the river Styx,

I would swim after.

Dio.Thou dost miscall retire:

I do not fly; but advantageous care

Withdrew me from the odds of multitude.

Have at thee!

Ther.Hold thy whore, Grecian! now for thy whore, Trojan! now the sleeve, now the sleeve![Exeunt TROILUS and DIOMEDES, fighting.


Hect.What art thou, Greek? art thou for Hector’s match?

Art thou of blood and honour?

Ther.No, no, I am a rascal; a scurvy railing knave; a very filthy rogue.

Hect.I do believe thee: live.[Exit.

Ther.God-a-mercy, that thou wilt believe me; but a plague break thy neck for frighting me! What’s become of the wenching rogues? I think they have swallowed one another: I would laugh at that miracle; yet, in a sort, lechery eats itself. I’ll seek them.[Exit.