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Troilus and Cressida

Troilus and Cressida Translation Act 1, Scene 3

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Sennet. Enter AGAMEMNON, NESTOR, ULYSSES, MENELAUS, and others

AGAMEMNON

Princes, What grief hath set the jaundice on your cheeks? The ample proposition that hope makes In all designs begun on earth below Fails in the promised largeness: cheques and disasters Grow in the veins of actions highest rear'd, As knots, by the conflux of meeting sap, Infect the sound pine and divert his grain Tortive and errant from his course of growth. Nor, princes, is it matter new to us That we come short of our suppose so far That after seven years' siege yet Troy walls stand; Sith every action that hath gone before, Whereof we have record, trial did draw Bias and thwart, not answering the aim, And that unbodied figure of the thought That gave't surmised shape. Why then, you princes, Do you with cheeks abash'd behold our works, And call them shames? which are indeed nought else But the protractive trials of great Jove To find persistive constancy in men: The fineness of which metal is not found In fortune's love; for then the bold and coward, The wise and fool, the artist and unread, The hard and soft seem all affined and kin: But, in the wind and tempest of her frown, Distinction, with a broad and powerful fan, Puffing at all, winnows the light away; And what hath mass or matter, by itself Lies rich in virtue and unmingled.

AGAMEMNON

Princes, what sadness has made you look so pale? All human projects fall short of what they promise to achieve. You should always expect obstacles even in the greatest undertakings. Nor should it come as a surprise that after seven years Troy's walls still stand, since we have been testing many ways of breaking the siege and each has met firm resistance. Why, then, do you great men feel so ashamed of our attempts, and look down like you are failures? Our attempts aren't failures, we are just being tested by Jove, who does not give great men an easy time or else everyone would appear to be a great man. Rather Jove throws great men into a storm and tosses them, so that they can prove their greatness!

NESTOR

With due observance of thy godlike seat, Great Agamemnon, Nestor shall apply Thy latest words. In the reproof of chance Lies the true proof of men: the sea being smooth, How many shallow bauble boats dare sail Upon her patient breast, making their way With those of nobler bulk! But let the ruffian Boreas once enrage The gentle Thetis, and anon behold The strong-ribb'd bark through liquid mountains cut, Bounding between the two moist elements, Like Perseus' horse: where's then the saucy boat Whose weak untimber'd sides but even now Co-rivall'd greatness? Either to harbour fled, Or made a toast for Neptune. Even so Doth valour's show and valour's worth divide In storms of fortune; for in her ray and brightness The herd hath more annoyance by the breeze Than by the tiger; but when the splitting wind Makes flexible the knees of knotted oaks, And flies fled under shade, why, then the thing of courage As roused with rage with rage doth sympathize, And with an accent tuned in selfsame key Retorts to chiding fortune.

NESTOR

With due respect to your office, great Agamemnon, I Nestor shall continue your words. Only dire circumstances prove the greatness of a soldier. After all, anyone is willing to go to sea on a calm day. But if the Gods stir up a great storm, only mighty vessels will sail between the earth and the sky and appear godlike by doing so. The smaller boats are not out in weather like this, are they? No, they flee to their harbors and beg Neptune to show them mercy. Great men aren't encouraged by timid quests, but excel when they are tested by misfortune, their ferocity mirroring the storms they face.

ULYSSES

Agamemnon, Thou great commander, nerve and bone of Greece, Heart of our numbers, soul and only spirit. In whom the tempers and the minds of all Should be shut up , hear what Ulysses speaks. Besides the applause and approbation To which,

ULYSSES

Great Agamemnon, mighty commander and example of Greek strength. We all must give you our opinions. It is proper that we all find strength in your words, although please hear me. As well as praising you both for...

To AGAMEMNON

ULYSSES

most mighty for thy place and sway,

ULYSSES

being a mighty and respected king...

To NESTOR

ULYSSES

And thou most reverend for thy stretch'd-out life I give to both your speeches, which were such As Agamemnon and the hand of Greece Should hold up high in brass, and such again As venerable Nestor, hatch'd in silver, Should with a bond of air, strong as the axle-tree On which heaven rides, knit all the Greekish ears To his experienced tongue, yet let it please both, Thou great, and wise, to hear Ulysses speak.

ULYSSES

You are respected for being so old, and I want to voice my agreement with your speeches. The words you spoke deserved to be held in high esteem by Agamemnon and the leadership of Greece. And similarly, your words should be seen as great wisdom by all Greeks, as you are so wise and knowledgeable, Nestor. But, even so, please listen great man and wise man, to my speech.

AGAMEMNON

Speak, prince of Ithaca; and be't of less expect That matter needless, of importless burden, Divide thy lips, than we are confident, When rank Thersites opes his mastic jaws, We shall hear music, wit and oracle .

AGAMEMNON

You may speak, Ithacan prince. You should know that I am confident you will not speak like Thersites, who is disgusting and harsh in his speech. From you we will hear beauty, intelligence and wisdom.

ULYSSES

Troy, yet upon his basis, had been down, And the great Hector's sword had lack'd a master, But for these instances. The specialty of rule hath been neglected: And, look, how many Grecian tents do stand Hollow upon this plain, so many hollow factions. When that the general is not like the hive To whom the foragers shall all repair, What honey is expected? Degree being vizarded, The unworthiest shows as fairly in the mask. The heavens themselves, the planets and this centre Observe degree, priority and place, Insisture, course, proportion, season, form, Office and custom, in all line of order; And therefore is the glorious planet Sol In noble eminence enthroned and sphered Amidst the other; whose medicinable eye Corrects the ill aspects of planets evil, And posts, like the commandment of a king, Sans cheque to good and bad: but when the planets In evil mixture to disorder wander, What plagues and what portents! what mutiny! What raging of the sea! shaking of earth! Commotion in the winds! frights, changes, horrors, Divert and crack, rend and deracinate The unity and married calm of states Quite from their fixure! O, when degree is shaked, Which is the ladder to all high designs, Then enterprise is sick! How could communities, Degrees in schools and brotherhoods in cities, Peaceful commerce from dividable shores, The primogenitive and due of birth, Prerogative of age, crowns, sceptres, laurels, But by degree, stand in authentic place? Take but degree away, untune that string, And, hark, what discord follows! each thing meets In mere oppugnancy: the bounded waters Should lift their bosoms higher than the shores And make a sop of all this solid globe: Strength should be lord of imbecility, And the rude son should strike his father dead: Force should be right; or rather, right and wrong, Between whose endless jar justice resides, Should lose their names, and so should justice too. Then every thing includes itself in power, Power into will, will into appetite; And appetite, an universal wolf, So doubly seconded with will and power, Must make perforce an universal prey, And last eat up himself. Great Agamemnon, This chaos, when degree is suffocate, Follows the choking. And this neglection of degree it is That by a pace goes backward, with a purpose It hath to climb. The general's disdain'd By him one step below, he by the next, That next by him beneath; so every step, Exampled by the first pace that is sick Of his superior, grows to an envious fever Of pale and bloodless emulation: And 'tis this fever that keeps Troy on foot, Not her own sinews. To end a tale of length, Troy in our weakness stands, not in her strength.

ULYSSES

Troy would have been razed and Hector would be dead if it were not for the following reasons. Military rank has not been respected enough. However many Greeks we send from our camp, we gain no advantage. There are too many empty tents in the camp and too many different factions. Would you expect to get honey from a hive in which the bees are not all working to one common purpose? If the rank has been hidden, the lowest seems not worse than the best. Even the planets show a respect for order, standing in a line before the glorious sun that sits in the best place in the sky. The sun is like a king whose gaze corrects the bad potential of the planets, which would otherwise become disordered. When the planets wander they bring with them plagues, mutinies, tempests, earthquakes, raging storms and other terrifying events. When rank, which is key to all great plans, is not respected, there can be no success. How could any community, from schools or guilds in cities, or ports by the sea, or siblings dividing an inheritance, or any monarchy survive without proper respect for rank? If you ignore rank, it is like you take the instrument of society out of tune, and you are guaranteed a disharmony. Everything will fall out of place, and we will face an apocalypse. There would be lawlessness, where men rule by might alone and morality is ignored. Justice would be lost as the powerful do as they please, and chaos, like an all-consuming wolf, would turn all humanity into its prey. If proper respect for rank is ignored, great Agamemnon, then this chaos must follow. A lack of respect for rank can spread from the top to the bottom of an army. First the second-in-command loses respect for his general, then his men lose respect for him, and their men for them as they learn to disrespect duty from their masters. A lack of respect grows like a great sickness of envy, and it is this sickness that keeps Troy from falling to us, not Troy's own strength. Troy is still standing, not because of its strength, but because of our weakness.

NESTOR

Most wisely hath Ulysses here discover'dThe fever whereof all our power is sick.

NESTOR

Ulysses has very wisely revealed the cause of our weakness.

AGAMEMNON

The nature of the sickness found, Ulysses,What is the remedy?

AGAMEMNON

If this is our sickness, Ulysses, what is our cure?

ULYSSES

The great Achilles, whom opinion crowns The sinew and the forehand of our host, Having his ear full of his airy fame, Grows dainty of his worth, and in his tent Lies mocking our designs: with him Patroclus Upon a lazy bed the livelong day Breaks scurril jests; And with ridiculous and awkward action, Which, slanderer, he imitation calls, He pageants us. Sometime, great Agamemnon, Thy topless deputation he puts on, And, like a strutting player, whose conceit Lies in his hamstring, and doth think it rich To hear the wooden dialogue and sound 'Twixt his stretch'd footing and the scaffoldage,— Such to-be-pitied and o'er-wrested seeming He acts thy greatness in: and when he speaks, 'Tis like a chime a-mending; with terms unsquared, Which, from the tongue of roaring Typhon dropp'd Would seem hyperboles. At this fusty stuff The large Achilles, on his press'd bed lolling, From his deep chest laughs out a loud applause; Cries 'Excellent! 'tis Agamemnon just. Now play me Nestor; hem, and stroke thy beard, As he being drest to some oration.' That's done, as near as the extremest ends Of parallels, as like as Vulcan and his wife: Yet god Achilles still cries 'Excellent! 'Tis Nestor right. Now play him me, Patroclus, Arming to answer in a night alarm.' And then, forsooth, the faint defects of age Must be the scene of mirth; to cough and spit, And, with a palsy-fumbling on his gorget, Shake in and out the rivet: and at this sport Sir Valour dies; cries 'O, enough, Patroclus; Or give me ribs of steel! I shall split all In pleasure of my spleen.' And in this fashion, All our abilities, gifts, natures, shapes, Severals and generals of grace exact, Achievements, plots, orders, preventions, Excitements to the field, or speech for truce, Success or loss, what is or is not, serves As stuff for these two to make paradoxes.

ULYSSES

Achilles, who is considered our best soldier, has been made complacent by his fame, and sits in his tent refusing to aid our plans. He lies there all day with Patroclus laughing disobediently, and Patroclus impersonates us in the most rude way. Sometimes, great Agamemnon, he pretends to be you. Like a prancing actor, who loves nothing more than the sound of his own voice, and with none of your genius, he mimics your greatness pitiably and poorly. He speaks ridiculously, like a bad actor on the stage. Lying on his bed, the great Achilles laughs heartily at this ridiculous impersonation, and says: "Excellent, this is just like Agamemnon. Now pretend to be Nestor, say ahem and stroke your beard, and dress like you were going to speak to the king." When Patroclus does this, even though he gets the part totally wrong, the god-like Achilles shouts out "Excellent, this is just like Nestor. Now, Patroclus, pretend to be Nestor if he thinks we are being ambushed at night." With this instruction, your old age is made fun of, and Patroclus pretends to cough, spit, fumble like an old man, and shake with fear. At this depiction Sir Valor cannot control his laughter, saying: "Oh, that is enough, Patroclus. My ribs ache from laughing, and if I laugh anymore I will split in two from it." And in this way all of our abilities, strengths, appearances, general and specific parts of our character, our achievements, plans, orders, commandments, eagerness for battle or discussion of peace is mocked by those two.

NESTOR

And in the imitation of these twain— Who, as Ulysses says, opinion crowns With an imperial voice—many are infect. Ajax is grown self-will'd, and bears his head In such a rein, in full as proud a place As broad Achilles; keeps his tent like him; Makes factious feasts; rails on our state of war, Bold as an oracle, and sets Thersites, A slave whose gall coins slanders like a mint, To match us in comparisons with dirt, To weaken and discredit our exposure, How rank soever rounded in with danger.

NESTOR

By these two men's mockery, two men who you rightly say are perceived to be our best soldiers, are many other soldiers infected. Ajax refuses to follow orders, and, having grown as proud as Achilles, also refuses to leave his tent. He makes the same slanders as Achilles, speaks poorly of our chances as if he was an oracle. And he has Thersites, a slave who produces slanders like a mint makes coins, mimic us with cheap comparisons, and leaves us undefended.

ULYSSES

They tax our policy, and call it cowardice, Count wisdom as no member of the war, Forestall prescience, and esteem no act But that of hand: the still and mental parts, That do contrive how many hands shall strike, When fitness calls them on, and know by measure Of their observant toil the enemies' weight,— Why, this hath not a finger's dignity: They call this bed-work, mappery, closet-war; So that the ram that batters down the wall, For the great swing and rudeness of his poise, They place before his hand that made the engine, Or those that with the fineness of their souls By reason guide his execution.

ULYSSES

They say our careful planning is only done to avoid fighting, they say we do not show any wisdom in how we fight this war, ignore our plans, and say that nothing but swordsmanship is worthy of men. Whilst we consider our army's numbers, tactics, timing, and enemies, they say that this has no dignity at all. They call us armchair generals. It is like saying that the battering ram, because it hits hard, deserves all the credit, and refusing to acknowledge the engineer who created it or the commander who deployed it.

NESTOR

Let this be granted, and Achilles' horseMakes many Thetis' sons.

NESTOR

If this is how they behave Achilles's horse is worth much more than him.

A tucket

AGAMEMNON

What trumpet? look, Menelaus.

AGAMEMNON

What? A trumpet? Look Menelaus.

MENELAUS

From Troy.

MENELAUS

Men are coming from Troy.

Enter AENEAS

AGAMEMNON

What would you 'fore our tent?

AGAMEMNON

Why are you stood before our tent?

AENEAS

Is this great Agamemnon's tent, I pray you?

AENEAS

Please tell me, is this mighty Agamemnon's tent?

AGAMEMNON

Even this.

AGAMEMNON

It is.

AENEAS

May one, that is a herald and a prince,Do a fair message to his kingly ears?

AENEAS

May I, as a messenger and as a prince, deliver a message to the king?

AGAMEMNON

With surety stronger than Achilles' arm'Fore all the Greekish heads, which with one voiceCall Agamemnon head and general.

AGAMEMNON

You certainly may. Announce your message before the Greek commanders loyal to Agamemnon.

AENEAS

Fair leave and large security. How mayA stranger to those most imperial looksKnow them from eyes of other mortals?

AENEAS

You are kind and generous. How should I know which of these men are the princes?

AGAMEMNON

How!

AGAMEMNON

What?

AENEAS

Ay; I ask, that I might waken reverence, And bid the cheek be ready with a blush Modest as morning when she coldly eyes The youthful Phoebus: Which is that god in office, guiding men? Which is the high and mighty Agamemnon?

AENEAS

Yes, I ask so that I may show them proper respect and work out in advance who to treat with blushing respect: who is the divine king? Who is the high and mighty Agamemnon?

AGAMEMNON

This Trojan scorns us; or the men of TroyAre ceremonious courtiers.

AGAMEMNON

This Trojan either mocks us, or the Trojans are very polite courtiers.

AENEAS

Courtiers as free, as debonair, unarm'd, As bending angels; that's their fame in peace: But when they would seem soldiers, they have galls, Good arms, strong joints, true swords; and, Jove's accord, Nothing so full of heart. But peace, AEneas, Peace, Trojan; lay thy finger on thy lips! The worthiness of praise distains his worth, If that the praised himself bring the praise forth: But what the repining enemy commends, That breath fame blows; that praise, sole sure, transcends.

AENEAS

As ambassadors we are polite, courteous, and as friendly as bowing angels, this is how we are known in peace-times. However, as soldiers, Trojans are strong willed, able-bodied, capable, and skilled with swords, and, by Jove, show no love or mercy. But I should not talk like this, it is immodest to praise yourself. The only worthy praise comes reluctantly from our enemies.

AGAMEMNON

Sir, you of Troy, call you yourself AEneas?

AGAMEMNON

Sir, Trojan, are you Aeneas?

AENEAS

Ay, Greek, that is my name.

AENEAS

Yes, Greek, that is my name.

AGAMEMNON

What's your affair I pray you?

AGAMEMNON

Why are you here?

AENEAS

Sir, pardon; 'tis for Agamemnon's ears.

AENEAS

Sir, I may not say, I must speak only to Agamemnon.

AGAMEMNON

He hears naught privately that comes from Troy.

AGAMEMNON

No news arrives from Troy that he does not hear.

AENEAS

Nor I from Troy come not to whisper him:I bring a trumpet to awake his ear,To set his sense on the attentive bent,And then to speak.

AENEAS

I do not come to whisper privately with him, rather I will wake him with my trumpet, and then I will speak to him.

AGAMEMNON

Speak frankly as the wind; It is not Agamemnon's sleeping hour: That thou shalt know. Trojan, he is awake, He tells thee so himself.

AGAMEMNON

Speak then. Agamemnon isn't asleep, in fact he is telling you this himself.

AENEAS

Trumpet, blow loud, Send thy brass voice through all these lazy tents; And every Greek of mettle, let him know, What Troy means fairly shall be spoke aloud.

AENEAS

Be loud trumpet. Wake the Greek tents, so that any worthy Greek might know what the Trojan king would say.

Trumpet sounds

AENEAS

We have, great Agamemnon, here in Troy A prince call'd Hector,—Priam is his father,— Who in this dull and long-continued truce Is rusty grown: he bade me take a trumpet, And to this purpose speak. Kings, princes, lords! If there be one among the fair'st of Greece That holds his honour higher than his ease, That seeks his praise more than he fears his peril, That knows his valour, and knows not his fear, That loves his mistress more than in confession, With truant vows to her own lips he loves, And dare avow her beauty and her worth In other arms than hers,—to him this challenge. Hector, in view of Trojans and of Greeks, Shall make it good, or do his best to do it, He hath a lady, wiser, fairer, truer, Than ever Greek did compass in his arms, And will to-morrow with his trumpet call Midway between your tents and walls of Troy, To rouse a Grecian that is true in love: If any come, Hector shall honour him; If none, he'll say in Troy when he retires, The Grecian dames are sunburnt and not worth The splinter of a lance. Even so much.

AENEAS

In Troy, great Agamemnon, there is a prince called Hector, the son of Priam, who is growing rusty in this long truce. He told me to take this trumpet and to say this: "Kings, princes, lords! If there is anyone among the best of the Greeks who values his honor more than an easy life, who seeks glory more than he fears death, that is is brave and unafraid, who is willing to actually defend his mistress's honor rather than merely promise to do so, and will fight for her, I have this challenge for such a man. Hector, in front of both Trojans and Greeks, shall prove that he has a wiser, more beautiful, and more truer lady than any Greek has ever had. Tomorrow he will sound this trumpet as he stands halfway between your tents and our walls, hoping to wake a chivalrous Greek. If any Greek like this comes, Hector shall fight him honorably. If no such many comes, when he returns to Troy he shall say that Grecian women are sunburned and worthless." This is his message.

AGAMEMNON

This shall be told our lovers, Lord AEneas; If none of them have soul in such a kind, We left them all at home: but we are soldiers; And may that soldier a mere recreant prove, That means not, hath not, or is not in love! If then one is, or hath, or means to be, That one meets Hector; if none else, I am he.

AGAMEMNON

Our soldiers in love shall be told this, lord Aeneas. If none of them are brave enough to come forward, we must have left the brave Greeks at home. But listen, we are soldiers, and a soldier is worthless if he is not in love! If one of them accepts your challenge he will meet Hector. If none will, I will volunteer myself.

NESTOR

Tell him of Nestor, one that was a man When Hector's grandsire suck'd: he is old now; But if there be not in our Grecian host One noble man that hath one spark of fire, To answer for his love, tell him from me I'll hide my silver beard in a gold beaver And in my vantbrace put this wither'd brawn, And meeting him will tell him that my lady Was fairer than his grandam and as chaste As may be in the world: his youth in flood, I'll prove this truth with my three drops of blood.

NESTOR

Deliver him a message from Nestor, who was a man when Hector's grandfather was being breast-fed. He is old now but if there is not one man in the Greek army whose heart is filled with the passion to fight for his love, tell Hector from me that I will hide my white beard in a golden helmet and in my armor hide these withered muscles, and when I meet him I will tell him that my lady was fairer than his grandmother and as chaste as anyone in the world. I'll challenge him in his prime with the little life that is left to me.

AENEAS

Now heavens forbid such scarcity of youth!

AENEAS

Heaven forbid such a lack of young, eager men.

ULYSSES

Amen.

ULYSSES

Amen.

AGAMEMNON

Fair Lord AEneas, let me touch your hand; To our pavilion shall I lead you, sir. Achilles shall have word of this intent; So shall each lord of Greece, from tent to tent: Yourself shall feast with us before you go And find the welcome of a noble foe.

AGAMEMNON

Fair lord Aeneas, give me your hand, that I may guide you to my tent. Achilles will hear about this challenge, as will every Greek lord. You must feast with us before you go, and be the guest of your worthy enemy.

Exeunt all but ULYSSES and NESTOR

ULYSSES

Nestor!

ULYSSES

Nestor!

NESTOR

What says Ulysses?

NESTOR

What are you thinking, Ulysses?

ULYSSES

I have a young conception in my brain;Be you my time to bring it to some shape.

ULYSSES

I've just had an idea, help me to develop it.

NESTOR

What is't?

NESTOR

What is it?

ULYSSES

This 'tis: Blunt wedges rive hard knots: the seeded pride That hath to this maturity blown up In rank Achilles must or now be cropp'd, Or, shedding, breed a nursery of like evil, To overbulk us all.

ULYSSES

It is this, the pride that has grown hugely in Achilles must be dealt with now. If we ignore it, it will cause lots of problems and ruin us all.

NESTOR

Well, and how?

NESTOR

I agree, but how?

ULYSSES

This challenge that the gallant Hector sends,However it is spread in general name,Relates in purpose only to Achilles.

ULYSSES

Although the brave, young Hector offered this challenge to everyone he intended it only for Achilles.

NESTOR

The purpose is perspicuous even as substance, Whose grossness little characters sum up: And, in the publication, make no strain, But that Achilles, were his brain as barren As banks of Libya,—though, Apollo knows, 'Tis dry enough,—will, with great speed of judgment, Ay, with celerity, find Hector's purpose Pointing on him.

NESTOR

That is so obvious it may as well have been said in the message. Even if Achilles was a moron - and lord knows he is not very clever - he will quickly figure out that Hector's purpose is to engage him.

ULYSSES

And wake him to the answer, think you?

ULYSSES

And do you think he will rise to the challenge?

NESTOR

Yes, 'tis most meet: whom may you else oppose, That can from Hector bring his honour off, If not Achilles? Though't be a sportful combat, Yet in the trial much opinion dwells; For here the Trojans taste our dear'st repute With their finest palate: and trust to me, Ulysses, Our imputation shall be oddly poised In this wild action; for the success, Although particular, shall give a scantling Of good or bad unto the general; And in such indexes, although small pricks To their subsequent volumes, there is seen The baby figure of the giant mass Of things to come at large. It is supposed He that meets Hector issues from our choice And choice, being mutual act of all our souls, Makes merit her election, and doth boil, As 'twere from us all, a man distill'd Out of our virtues; who miscarrying, What heart receives from hence the conquering part, To steel a strong opinion to themselves? Which entertain'd, limbs are his instruments, In no less working than are swords and bows Directive by the limbs.

NESTOR

Yes, it is almost certain, who else could possibly defeat Hector apart from Achilles? Although it is not a major battle much honor hangs in the balance, as the Trojans will send their best against ours, our ability shall be greatly judged. Victory, although the fight is only between two men, shall reflect either for better or for worse upon the whole army. And this small demonstration shall be used to predict future battles and even the war as a whole. We must assume that the person who meets Hector is our choice, and they will only deserve selection if they are our very best, because the victorious side would gain such a boost to their morale. Bolstered by strong morale, soldiers fight better and harder, like their weapons are extensions of their arms.

ULYSSES

Give pardon to my speech: Therefore 'tis meet Achilles meet not Hector. Let us, like merchants, show our foulest wares, And think, perchance, they'll sell; if not, The lustre of the better yet to show, Shall show the better. Do not consent That ever Hector and Achilles meet; For both our honour and our shame in this Are dogg'd with two strange followers.

ULYSSES

Allow me to suggest something: it is because of what you have said that Achilles should not meet Hector. Let us, like merchants, show our worst merchandise in the hope that that it will sell. If it doesn't sell, our best will seem even better when it is compared to the first. Do not allow Hector and Achilles to fight. Both our victory and defeat will be determined by the two strange followers of this fight.

NESTOR

I see them not with my old eyes: what are they?

NESTOR

I do not know who these strange followers are, what are you talking about?

ULYSSES

What glory our Achilles shares from Hector, Were he not proud, we all should share with him: But he already is too insolent; And we were better parch in Afric sun Than in the pride and salt scorn of his eyes, Should he 'scape Hector fair: if he were foil'd, Why then, we did our main opinion crush In taint of our best man. No, make a lottery; And, by device, let blockish Ajax draw The sort to fight with Hector: among ourselves Give him allowance for the better man; For that will physic the great Myrmidon Who broils in loud applause, and make him fall His crest that prouder than blue Iris bends. If the dull brainless Ajax come safe off, We'll dress him up in voices: if he fail, Yet go we under our opinion still That we have better men. But, hit or miss, Our project's life this shape of sense assumes: Ajax employ'd plucks down Achilles' plumes.

ULYSSES

If Achilles were not so proud, the glory he would take from defeating Hector would be shared between us all. But he is too insolent already, and we would suffer his pride and scorn if he defeats Hector. If he were beaten, then our reputation would be crushed alongside our best soldier. No, I think we should hold a lottery and make sure that by some underhand method the brutish Ajax has the ticket to fight Hector. We and the other generals should all pretend that Ajax is the best soldier we have. This will cure our other champion of his pride, Achilles is too used to being praised and it is time for him to feel passed over. If the idiot Ajax wins, we'll praise him as our greatest hero, and if he doesn't succeed we will say we still have better soldiers. But either way our main victory will be having Ajax humble Achilles.

NESTOR

Ulysses, Now I begin to relish thy advice; And I will give a taste of it forthwith To Agamemnon: go we to him straight. Two curs shall tame each other: pride alone Must tarre the mastiffs on, as 'twere their bone.

NESTOR

Ulysses, I am starting to appreciate your plan. I'll go and tell Agamemnon about it. Let's go there together immediately. We'll have our two troublesome dogs solve each other, their pride will be the bone that the two dogs fight over.

Exeunt

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Tom hill
About the Translator: Tom Hill

Tom Hill lives in his native London where he has just finished studying for an MA in Shakespeare Studies at King's College London and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. He has worked in education both in the UK and in Asia. His favorite Shakespeare play is The Merchant of Venice.