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And think them shames, which are, indeed, nought
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 affin'd' and kin:
But, in the wind and tempest of her frown),
Distinction, with a broad and powerful fan,
Puffing at all, wionows the light away;
And what hath mass, or matter, by itself
Lies, rich in virtue, and unmingled.
Nest. With due observance of thy godlike seatt.
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 Thetist, 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 boal,
Whose weak untimber'd sides but even now
Co-rival'd greatness? either to harbour fied,
Or made a toast for Neptune. Even so
Doth valour's show, and valour's worth, divide,
Instorms of fortune: For, in her ray and brightness,
The herd hath more annoyance by the brize ,
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 rous'd with rage, with rage doth sympathize,
And with an accent tun'd in self-same key,
Returns to chiding fortune.
Thou great commander, nerve and bone of Greece,
Heart of our numbers, soul and only spirit,
lo whom the tempers and the minds of all
Should be shut up,-hear what Ulysses speaks.
Besides the applause and approbation
The which,--most miglity for thy place and sway,
[To Agamemnon. 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 axletree .
On which heaven rides), knit all the Greekish ears
To his experienc'd tongue,-yet let it please both,
Thou great, and wise, to hear Ulysses speak.
Agam. Speak, prince of Ithaca ; and be't of less
That matter needless, of importless burden,
Divide thy lips; than we are confident,
When rauk Thersites opes his mastiff jaws,
We shall hear musick, wit, and oracle,
Ulyss. Troy, yet upon his basis, had been down,
And the great Hector's sword had lask'd a master
But for these instances.
The specialty of rulet 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 bive,
To whom the foragers shall all repair,
What honey is expected ? Degree being vizarded I,
The unworthiest shows as fairly in the mask.
The heavens themselves, the planets, and this centre,
Observe degree, priority, and place,
Insisture, coarse, proportion, season, form,
Office, and custom, in all line of order :
And therefore is the glorious planet, Sol,
In noble eminence enthron'd and spherd
Amidst the other ; whose med'cinable eye
Corrects the ill aspects of planets evil,
And posts, like the commandment of a king,
Sanst check, 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 fixture; 0, when degree is shak'd,
Which is the ladder of all high designs,
The enterprise is sick! How could communities,
Degrees in schools, and brotherhoods g in cities,
Peaceful commerce from dividabie shores,
The primogenitive and due of birth,
Prerogative of age, crowns, sceptres, laurels.
But by degree, stand in authentick 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 ton.
Then every thing includes itself in power,
Power into will, will into appetite;
· Constancy. Without.
1 Force up by the roots.
Divided. ** Absolute.
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.
Nest. Most wisely hath Ulysses here discover'd The fever whereof all our power* is sick
Agam. The nature of the sickness found, Ulysses, What is the remedy?
Uluss. 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 aukward action (Which, slanderer, he imitation calls), He pageantst 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 scaffold age ,
* Army, force.
+ In modern language, takes us off.
* Supreme. The galleries of the theatre.
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 unsquar'dt,
Which, from the tongue of roaring Typhon dropp'd,
Would seem byperboles. 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 thu 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 good 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, 01-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.
Nest. And in the imitation of these twain
(Whom, 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 reign, 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).
• Beyond the truth.