Troilus and Cressida (unsourced)
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- PRIAM, King of Troy
- MARGARELON, a bastard son of Priam
- CALCHAS, a Trojan priest, taking part with the Greeks
- PANDARUS, uncle to Cressida
- AGAMEMNON, the Greek general
- MENELAUS, his brother
- THERSITES, a deformed and scurrilous Greek
- ALEXANDER, servant to Cressida
- SERVANT to Troilus
- SERVANT to Paris
- SERVANT to Diomedes
- HELEN, wife to Menelaus
- ANDROMACHE, wife to Hector
- CASSANDRA, daughter to Priam, a prophetess
- CRESSIDA, daughter to Calchas
- Trojan and Greek Soldiers, and Attendants
SCENE: Troy and the Greek camp before it
TROILUS AND CRESSIDA
- In Troy, there lies the scene. From isles of Greece
- The princes orgulous, their high blood chaf'd,
- Have to the port of Athens sent their ships
- Fraught with the ministers and instruments
- Of cruel war. Sixty and nine that wore
- Their crownets regal from the Athenian bay
- Put forth toward Phrygia; and their vow is made
- To ransack Troy, within whose strong immures
- The ravish'd Helen, Menelaus' queen,
- With wanton Paris sleeps—and that's the quarrel.
- To Tenedos they come,
- And the deep-drawing barks do there disgorge
- Their war-like fraughtage. Now on Dardan plains
- The fresh and yet unbruised Greeks do pitch
- Their brave pavilions: Priam's six-gated city,
- Dardan, and Tymbria, Ilias, Chetas, Troien,
- And Antenorides, with massy staples
- And corresponsive and fulfilling bolts,
- Sperr up the sons of Troy.
- Now expectation, tickling skittish spirits
- On one and other side, Troyan and Greek,
- Sets all on hazard. And hither am I come
- A prologue arm'd, but not in confidence
- Of author's pen or actor's voice, but suited
- In like conditions as our argument,
- To tell you, fair beholders, that our play
- Leaps o'er the vaunt and firstlings of those broils,
- Beginning in the middle; starting thence away,
- To what may be digested in a play.
- Like or find fault; do as your pleasures are;
- Now good or bad, 'tis but the chance of war.
SCENE 1. Troy. Before PRIAM'S palace
[Enter TROILUS armed, and PANDARUS.]
- Call here my varlet; I'll unarm again.
- Why should I war without the walls of Troy
- That find such cruel battle here within?
- Each Trojan that is master of his heart,
- Let him to field; Troilus, alas! hath none.
- Will this gear ne'er be mended?
- The Greeks are strong, and skilful to their strength,
- Fierce to their skill, and to their fierceness valiant;
- But I am weaker than a woman's tear,
- Tamer than sleep, fonder than ignorance,
- Less valiant than the virgin in the night,
- And skilless as unpractis'd infancy.
- Well, I have told you enough of this; for my part, I'll not
- meddle nor make no further. He that will have a cake out of the
- wheat must tarry the grinding.
- Have I not tarried?
- Ay, the grinding; but you must tarry the bolting.
- Have I not tarried?
- Ay, the bolting; but you must tarry the leavening.
- Still have I tarried.
- Ay, to the leavening; but here's yet in the word 'hereafter' the
- kneading, the making of the cake, the heating of the oven, and
- the baking; nay, you must stay the cooling too, or you may chance
- to burn your lips.
- Patience herself, what goddess e'er she be,
- Doth lesser blench at suff'rance than I do.
- At Priam's royal table do I sit;
- And when fair Cressid comes into my thoughts,
- So, traitor! 'when she comes'! when she is thence?
- Well, she look'd yesternight fairer than ever I saw her
- look, or any woman else.
- I was about to tell thee: when my heart,
- As wedged with a sigh, would rive in twain,
- Lest Hector or my father should perceive me,
- I have, as when the sun doth light a storm,
- Buried this sigh in wrinkle of a smile.
- But sorrow that is couch'd in seeming gladness
- Is like that mirth fate turns to sudden sadness.
- An her hair were not somewhat darker than Helen's, well,
- go to, there were no more comparison between the women. But, for
- my part, she is my kinswoman; I would not, as they term it,
- praise her, but I would somebody had heard her talk yesterday, as
- I did. I will not dispraise your sister Cassandra's wit; but—
- O Pandarus! I tell thee, Pandarus,
- When I do tell thee there my hopes lie drown'd,
- Reply not in how many fathoms deep
- They lie indrench'd. I tell thee I am mad
- In Cressid's love. Thou answer'st 'She is fair';
- Pour'st in the open ulcer of my heart
- Her eyes, her hair, her cheek, her gait, her voice,
- Handlest in thy discourse. O! that her hand,
- In whose comparison all whites are ink
- Writing their own reproach; to whose soft seizure
- The cygnet's down is harsh, and spirit of sense
- Hard as the palm of ploughman! This thou tell'st me,
- As true thou tell'st me, when I say I love her;
- But, saying thus, instead of oil and balm,
- Thou lay'st in every gash that love hath given me
- The knife that made it.
- I speak no more than truth.
- Thou dost not speak so much.
- Faith, I'll not meddle in't. Let her be as she is: if
- she be fair, 'tis the better for her; an she be not, she has the
- mends in her own hands.
- Good Pandarus! How now, Pandarus!
- I have had my labour for my travail, ill thought on of
- her and ill thought on of you; gone between and between, but
- small thanks for my labour.
- What! art thou angry, Pandarus? What! with me?
- Because she's kin to me, therefore she's not so fair as
- Helen. An she were not kin to me, she would be as fair on Friday
- as Helen is on Sunday. But what care I? I care not an she were a
- blackamoor; 'tis all one to me.
- Say I she is not fair?
- I do not care whether you do or no. She's a fool to stay
- behind her father. Let her to the Greeks; and so I'll tell her
- the next time I see her. For my part, I'll meddle nor make no
- more i' the matter.
- Not I.
- Sweet Pandarus—
- Pray you, speak no more to me: I will leave all
- as I found it, and there an end.
[Exit PANDARUS. An alarum.]
- Peace, you ungracious clamours! Peace, rude sounds!
- Fools on both sides! Helen must needs be fair,
- When with your blood you daily paint her thus.
- I cannot fight upon this argument;
- It is too starv'd a subject for my sword.
- But Pandarus, O gods! how do you plague me!
- I cannot come to Cressid but by Pandar;
- And he's as tetchy to be woo'd to woo
- As she is stubborn-chaste against all suit.
- Tell me, Apollo, for thy Daphne's love,
- What Cressid is, what Pandar, and what we?
- Her bed is India; there she lies, a pearl;
- Between our Ilium and where she resides
- Let it be call'd the wild and wandering flood;
- Ourself the merchant, and this sailing Pandar
- Our doubtful hope, our convoy, and our bark.
[Alarum. Enter AENEAS.]
- How now, Prince Troilus! Wherefore not afield?
- Because not there. This woman's answer sorts,
- For womanish it is to be from thence.
- What news, Aeneas, from the field to-day?
- That Paris is returned home, and hurt.
- By whom, Aeneas?
- Troilus, by Menelaus.
- Let Paris bleed: 'tis but a scar to scorn;
- Paris is gor'd with Menelaus' horn.
- Hark what good sport is out of town to-day!
- Better at home, if 'would I might' were 'may.'
- But to the sport abroad. Are you bound thither?
- In all swift haste.
- Come, go we then together. [Exeunt.]
SCENE 2. Troy. A street
[Enter CRESSIDA and her man ALEXANDER.]
- Who were those went by?
- Queen Hecuba and Helen.
- And whither go they?
- Up to the eastern tower,
- Whose height commands as subject all the vale,
- To see the battle. Hector, whose patience
- Is as a virtue fix'd, to-day was mov'd.
- He chid Andromache, and struck his armourer;
- And, like as there were husbandry in war,
- Before the sun rose he was harness'd light,
- And to the field goes he; where every flower
- Did as a prophet weep what it foresaw
- In Hector's wrath.
- What was his cause of anger?
- The noise goes, this: there is among the Greeks
- A lord of Troyan blood, nephew to Hector;
- They call him Ajax.
- Good; and what of him?
- They say he is a very man per se,
- And stands alone.
- So do all men, unless they are drunk, sick, or have no legs.
- This man, lady, hath robb'd many beasts of their particular
- additions: he is as valiant as a lion, churlish as the bear, slow
- as the elephant—a man into whom nature hath so crowded
- humours that his valour is crush'd into folly, his folly sauced
- with discretion. There is no man hath a virtue that he hath not a
- glimpse of, nor any man an attaint but he carries some stain of
- it; he is melancholy without cause and merry against the hair; he
- hath the joints of every thing; but everything so out of joint
- that he is a gouty Briareus, many hands and no use, or purblind
- Argus, all eyes and no sight.
- But how should this man, that makes me smile, make Hector
- They say he yesterday cop'd Hector in the battle and
- struck him down, the disdain and shame whereof hath ever since
- kept Hector fasting and waking.
- Who comes here?
- Madam, your uncle Pandarus.
- Hector's a gallant man.
- As may be in the world, lady.
- What's that? What's that?
- Good morrow, uncle Pandarus.
- Good morrow, cousin Cressid. What do you talk of?—Good
- morrow, Alexander.—How do you, cousin? When were you at Ilium?
- This morning, uncle.
- What were you talking of when I came? Was Hector arm'd
- and gone ere you came to Ilium? Helen was not up, was she?
- Hector was gone; but Helen was not up.
- E'en so. Hector was stirring early.
- That were we talking of, and of his anger.
- Was he angry?
- So he says here.
- True, he was so; I know the cause too; he'll lay about
- him today, I can tell them that. And there's Troilus will not
- come far behind him; let them take heed of Troilus, I can tell
- them that too.
- What, is he angry too?
- Who, Troilus? Troilus is the better man of the two.
- O Jupiter! there's no comparison.
- What, not between Troilus and Hector? Do you know a man
- if you see him?
- Ay, if I ever saw him before and knew him.
- Well, I say Troilus is Troilus.
- Then you say as I say, for I am sure he is not Hector.
- No, nor Hector is not Troilus in some degrees.
- 'Tis just to each of them: he is himself.
- Himself! Alas, poor Troilus! I would he were!
- So he is.
- Condition I had gone barefoot to India.
- He is not Hector.
- Himself! no, he's not himself. Would 'a were himself!
- Well, the gods are above; time must friend or end. Well, Troilus,
- well! I would my heart were in her body! No, Hector is not a
- better man than Troilus.
- Excuse me.
- He is elder.
- Pardon me, pardon me.
- Th' other's not come to't; you shall tell me another tale
- when th' other's come to't. Hector shall not have his wit this
- He shall not need it if he have his own.
- Nor his qualities.
- No matter.
- Nor his beauty.
- 'Twould not become him: his own's better.
- You have no judgment, niece. Helen herself swore th'
- other day that Troilus, for a brown favour, for so 'tis, I must
- confess—not brown neither—
- No, but brown.
- Faith, to say truth, brown and not brown.
- To say the truth, true and not true.
- She prais'd his complexion above Paris.
- Why, Paris hath colour enough.
- So he has.
- Then Troilus should have too much. If she prais'd him
- above, his complexion is higher than his; he having colour
- enough, and the other higher, is too flaming praise for a good
- complexion. I had as lief Helen's golden tongue had commended
- Troilus for a copper nose.
- I swear to you I think Helen loves him better than Paris.
- Then she's a merry Greek indeed.
- Nay, I am sure she does. She came to him th' other day
- into the compass'd window—and you know he has not past three or
- four hairs on his chin—
- Indeed a tapster's arithmetic may soon bring his
- particulars therein to a total.
- Why, he is very young, and yet will he within three pound
- lift as much as his brother Hector.
- Is he so young a man and so old a lifter?
- But to prove to you that Helen loves him: she came and
- puts me her white hand to his cloven chin—
- Juno have mercy! How came it cloven?
- Why, you know, 'tis dimpled. I think his smiling becomes
- him better than any man in all Phrygia.
- O, he smiles valiantly!
- Does he not?
- O yes, an 'twere a cloud in autumn!
- Why, go to, then! But to prove to you that Helen loves
- Troilus will stand to the proof, if you'll prove it so.
- Troilus! Why, he esteems her no more than I esteem an
- addle egg.
- If you love an addle egg as well as you love an idle
- head, you would eat chickens i' th' shell.
- I cannot choose but laugh to think how she tickled his
- chin. Indeed, she has a marvell's white hand, I must needs
- Without the rack.
- And she takes upon her to spy a white hair on his chin.
- Alas, poor chin! Many a wart is richer.
- But there was such laughing! Queen Hecuba laugh'd that
- her eyes ran o'er.
- With millstones.
- And Cassandra laugh'd.
- But there was a more temperate fire under the pot of her
- eyes. Did her eyes run o'er too?
- And Hector laugh'd.
- At what was all this laughing?
- Marry, at the white hair that Helen spied on Troilus'
- An't had been a green hair I should have laugh'd too.
- They laugh'd not so much at the hair as at his pretty
- What was his answer?
- Quoth she 'Here's but two and fifty hairs on your chin,
- and one of them is white.'
- This is her question.
- That's true; make no question of that. 'Two and fifty
- hairs,' quoth he 'and one white. That white hair is my father,
- and all the rest are his sons.' 'Jupiter!' quoth she 'which of
- these hairs is Paris my husband?' 'The forked one,' quoth he,
- 'pluck't out and give it him.' But there was such laughing! and
- Helen so blush'd, and Paris so chaf'd; and all the rest so
- laugh'd that it pass'd.
- So let it now; for it has been a great while going by.
- Well, cousin, I told you a thing yesterday; think on't.
- So I do.
- I'll be sworn 'tis true; he will weep you, and 'twere a
- man born in April.
- And I'll spring up in his tears, an 'twere a nettle
- against May.
[Sound a retreat.]
- Hark! they are coming from the field. Shall we stand up
- here and see them as they pass toward Ilium? Good niece, do,
- sweet niece Cressida.
- At your pleasure.
- Here, here, here's an excellent place; here we may see
- most bravely. I'll tell you them all by their names as they pass
- by; but mark Troilus above the rest.
- Speak not so loud.
- That's Aeneas. Is not that a brave man? He's one of the
- flowers of Troy, I can tell you. But mark Troilus; you shall see
- Who's that?
- That's Antenor. He has a shrewd wit, I can tell you; and
- he's a man good enough; he's one o' th' soundest judgments in
- Troy, whosoever, and a proper man of person. When comes Troilus?
- I'll show you Troilus anon. If he see me, you shall see him nod
- at me.
- Will he give you the nod?
- You shall see.
- If he do, the rich shall have more.
- That's Hector, that, that, look you, that; there's a
- fellow! Go thy way, Hector! There's a brave man, niece. O brave
- Hector! Look how he looks. There's a countenance! Is't not a
- brave man?
- O, a brave man!
- Is 'a not? It does a man's heart good. Look you what
- hacks are on his helmet! Look you yonder, do you see? Look you
- there. There's no jesting; there's laying on; take't off who
- will, as they say. There be hacks.
- Be those with swords?
- Swords! anything, he cares not; an the devil come to him,
- it's all one. By God's lid, it does one's heart good. Yonder
- comes Paris, yonder comes Paris.
- Look ye yonder, niece; is't not a gallant man too, is't not? Why,
- this is brave now. Who said he came hurt home to-day? He's not
- hurt. Why, this will do Helen's heart good now, ha! Would I could
- see Troilus now! You shall see Troilus anon.
- Who's that?
- That's Helenus. I marvel where Troilus is. That's
- Helenus. I think he went not forth to-day. That's Helenus.
- Can Helenus fight, uncle?
- Helenus! no. Yes, he'll fight indifferent well. I marvel
- where Troilus is. Hark! do you not hear the people cry 'Troilus'?
- Helenus is a priest.
- What sneaking fellow comes yonder?
- Where? yonder? That's Deiphobus. 'Tis Troilus. There's a
- man, niece. Hem! Brave Troilus, the prince of chivalry!
- Peace, for shame, peace!
- Mark him; note him. O brave Troilus! Look well upon him,
- niece; look you how his sword is bloodied, and his helm more
- hack'd than Hector's; and how he looks, and how he goes! O
- admirable youth! he never saw three and twenty. Go thy way,
- Troilus, go thy way. Had I a sister were a grace or a daughter a
- goddess, he should take his choice. O admirable man! Paris? Paris
- is dirt to him; and, I warrant, Helen, to change, would give an
- eye to boot.
- Here comes more.
[Common soldiers pass.]
- Asses, fools, dolts! chaff and bran, chaff and bran!
- porridge after meat! I could live and die in the eyes of Troilus.
- Ne'er look, ne'er look; the eagles are gone. Crows and daws,
- crows and daws! I had rather be such a man as Troilus than
- Agamemnon and all Greece.
- There is amongst the Greeks Achilles, a better man than
- Achilles? A drayman, a porter, a very camel!
- Well, well.
- Well, well! Why, have you any discretion? Have you any
- eyes? Do you know what a man is? Is not birth, beauty, good
- shape, discourse, manhood, learning, gentleness, virtue, youth,
- liberality, and such like, the spice and salt that season a man?
- Ay, a minc'd man; and then to be bak'd with no date in
- the pie, for then the man's date is out.
- You are such a woman! A man knows not at what ward you
- Upon my back, to defend my belly; upon my wit, to defend
- my wiles; upon my secrecy, to defend mine honesty; my mask, to
- defend my beauty; and you, to defend all these; and at all these
- wards I lie at, at a thousand watches.
- Say one of your watches.
- Nay, I'll watch you for that; and that's one of the
- chiefest of them too. If I cannot ward what I would not have hit,
- I can watch you for telling how I took the blow; unless it swell
- past hiding, and then it's past watching
- You are such another!
[Enter TROILUS' BOY.]
- Sir, my lord would instantly speak with you.
- At your own house; there he unarms him.
- Good boy, tell him I come.Exit Boy
- I doubt he be hurt. Fare ye well, good niece.
- Adieu, uncle.
- I will be with you, niece, by and by.
- To bring, uncle.
- Ay, a token from Troilus.
- By the same token, you are a bawd.
- Words, vows, gifts, tears, and love's full sacrifice,
- He offers in another's enterprise;
- But more in Troilus thousand-fold I see
- Than in the glass of Pandar's praise may be,
- Yet hold I off. Women are angels, wooing:
- Things won are done; joy's soul lies in the doing.
- That she belov'd knows nought that knows not this:
- Men prize the thing ungain'd more than it is.
- That she was never yet that ever knew
- Love got so sweet as when desire did sue;
- Therefore this maxim out of love I teach:
- Achievement is command; ungain'd, beseech.
- Then though my heart's content firm love doth bear,
- Nothing of that shall from mine eyes appear.
SCENE 3. The Grecian camp. Before AGAMEMNON'S tent
[Sennet. Enter AGAMEMNON, NESTOR, ULYSSES, DIOMEDES, MENELAUS, and others.]
- What grief hath set these jaundies o'er your cheeks?
- The ample proposition that hope makes
- In all designs begun on earth below
- Fails in the promis'd largeness; checks and disasters
- Grow in the veins of actions highest rear'd,
- As knots, by the conflux of meeting sap,
- Infects the sound pine, and diverts 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 affin'd 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.
- 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 rous'd with rage, with rage doth sympathise,
- And with an accent tun'd in self-same key
- Retorts to chiding fortune.
- 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
- The which,
- most mighty, for thy place and sway,
- 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 experienc'd tongue—yet let it please both,
- Thou great, and wise, to hear Ulysses speak.
- 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.
- 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,
- Th' 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 enthron'd and spher'd
- Amidst the other, whose med'cinable eye
- Corrects the ill aspects of planets evil,
- And posts, like the commandment of a king,
- Sans 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! O, 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 in cities,
- Peaceful commerce from dividable shores,
- The primogenity 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 melts
- 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 everything 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 ever step,
- Exampl'd 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.
- Most wisely hath Ulysses here discover'd
- The fever whereof all our power is sick.
- The nature of the sickness found, Ulysses,
- What is the remedy?
- 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 unsquar'd,
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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, mapp'ry, closet-war;
- So that the ram that batters down the wall,
- For the great swinge 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.
- Let this be granted, and Achilles' horse
- Makes many Thetis' sons.
- What trumpet? Look, Menelaus.
- From Troy.
- What would you fore our tent?
- Is this great Agamemnon's tent, I pray you?
- Even this.
- May one that is a herald and a prince
- Do a fair message to his kingly eyes?
- With surety stronger than Achilles' an
- Fore all the Greekish heads, which with one voice
- Call Agamemnon head and general.
- Fair leave and large security. How may
- A stranger to those most imperial looks
- Know them from eyes of other mortals?
- 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?
- This Troyan scorns us, or the men of Troy
- Are ceremonious courtiers.
- 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, Troyan; lay thy finger on thy lips.
- The worthiness of praise distains his worth,
- If that the prais'd himself bring the praise forth;
- But what the repining enemy commends,
- That breath fame blows; that praise, sole pure, transcends.
- Sir, you of Troy, call you yourself Aeneas?
- Ay, Greek, that is my name.
- What's your affair, I pray you?
- Sir, pardon; 'tis for Agamemnon's ears.
- He hears nought privately that comes from Troy.
- Nor I from Troy come not to whisper with him;
- I bring a trumpet to awake his ear,
- To set his sense on the attentive bent,
- And then to speak.
- Speak frankly as the wind;
- It is not Agamemnon's sleeping hour.
- That thou shalt know, Troyan, he is awake,
- He tells thee so himself.
- 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.
- We have, great Agamemnon, here in Troy
- A prince called Hector-Priam is his father—
- Who in this dull and long-continued truce
- Is resty 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 Troyans 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 couple in his arms;
- And will to-morrow with his trumpet call
- Mid-way 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.
- 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.
- 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 mould
- 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 grandame, and as chaste
- As may be in the world. His youth in flood,
- I'll prove this truth with my three drops of blood.
- Now heavens forfend such scarcity of youth!
- Fair Lord Aeneas, let me touch your hand;
- To our pavilion shall I lead you, first.
- 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.
[Exeunt all but ULYSSES and NESTOR.]
- What says Ulysses?
- I have a young conception in my brain;
- Be you my time to bring it to some shape.
- What is't?
- 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.
- Well, and how?
- This challenge that the gallant Hector sends,
- However it is spread in general name,
- Relates in purpose only to Achilles.
- True. 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.
- And wake him to the answer, think you?
- Why, 'tis most meet. Who may you else oppose
- That can from Hector bring those honours off,
- If not Achilles? Though 't be a sportful combat,
- Yet in this trial much opinion dwells
- For here the Troyans taste our dear'st repute
- With their fin'st palate; and trust to me, Ulysses,
- Our imputation shall be oddly pois'd
- In this vile 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 mas
- Of things to come at large. It is suppos'd
- 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 forth us all, a man distill'd
- Out of our virtues; who miscarrying,
- What heart receives from hence a 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.
- 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,
- By showing the worst first. 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.
- I see them not with my old eyes. What are they?
- What glory our Achilles shares from Hector,
- Were he not proud, we all should wear with him;
- But he already is too insolent;
- And it 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 do our main opinion crush
- In taint of our best man. No, make a lott'ry;
- 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.
- Now, Ulysses, I begin to relish thy advice;
- And I will give a taste thereof 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.
SCENE 1. The Grecian camp
[Enter Ajax and THERSITES.]
- Agamemnon—how if he had boils full, an over, generally?
- And those boils did run—say so. Did not the general run
- then? Were not that a botchy core?
- Then there would come some matter from him;
- I see none now.
- Thou bitch-wolf's son, canst thou not hear? Feel, then.
- The plague of Greece upon thee, thou mongrel beef-witted
- Speak, then, thou whinid'st leaven, speak. I will beat thee
- into handsomeness.
- I shall sooner rail thee into wit and holiness; but I
- think thy horse will sooner con an oration than thou learn a
- prayer without book. Thou canst strike, canst thou? A red murrain
- o' thy jade's tricks!
- Toadstool, learn me the proclamation.
- Dost thou think I have no sense, thou strikest me thus?
- The proclamation!
- Thou art proclaim'd, a fool, I think.
- Do not, porpentine, do not; my fingers itch.
- I would thou didst itch from head to foot and I had the
- scratching of thee; I would make thee the loathsomest scab in
- Greece. When thou art forth in the incursions, thou strikest as
- slow as another.
- I say, the proclamation.
- Thou grumblest and railest every hour on Achilles; and
- thou art as full of envy at his greatness as Cerberus is at
- Proserpina's beauty—ay, that thou bark'st at him.
- Mistress Thersites!
- Thou shouldst strike him.
- He would pun thee into shivers with his fist, as a
- sailor breaks a biscuit.
- You whoreson cur!
- Do, do.
- Thou stool for a witch!
- Ay, do, do; thou sodden-witted lord! Thou hast no more
- brain than I have in mine elbows; an assinico may tutor thee. You
- scurvy valiant ass! Thou art here but to thrash Troyans, and thou
- art bought and sold among those of any wit like a barbarian
- slave. If thou use to beat me, I will begin at thy heel and tell
- what thou art by inches, thou thing of no bowels, thou!
- You dog!
- You scurvy lord!
- You cur!
- Mars his idiot! Do, rudeness; do, camel; do, do.
[Enter ACHILLES and PATROCLUS.]
- Why, how now, Ajax! Wherefore do you thus?
- How now, Thersites! What's the matter, man?
- You see him there, do you?
- Ay; what's the matter?
- Nay, look upon him.
- So I do. What's the matter?
- Nay, but regard him well.
- Well! why, so I do.
- But yet you look not well upon him; for who some ever
- you take him to be, he is Ajax.
- I know that, fool.
- Ay, but that fool knows not himself.
- Therefore I beat thee.
- Lo, lo, lo, lo, what modicums of wit he utters! His
- evasions have ears thus long. I have bobb'd his brain more than
- he has beat my bones. I will buy nine sparrows for a penny, and
- his pia mater is not worth the ninth part of a sparrow. This
- lord, Achilles, Ajax—who wears his wit in his belly and his guts
- in his head—I'll tell you what I say of him.
- I say this Ajax—
[AJAX offers to strike him.]
- Nay, good Ajax.
- Has not so much wit—
- Nay, I must hold you.
- As will stop the eye of Helen's needle, for whom he
- comes to fight.
- Peace, fool.
- I would have peace and quietness, but the fool will not—
- he there; that he; look you there.
- O thou damned cur! I shall—
- Will you set your wit to a fool's?
- No, I warrant you, the fool's will shame it.
- Good words, Thersites.
- What's the quarrel?
- I bade the vile owl go learn me the tenour of the
- proclamation, and he rails upon me.
- I serve thee not.
- Well, go to, go to.
- I serve here voluntary.
- Your last service was suff'rance; 'twas not voluntary. No
- man is beaten voluntary. Ajax was here the voluntary, and you as
- under an impress.
- E'en so; a great deal of your wit too lies in your
- sinews, or else there be liars. Hector shall have a great catch
- an he knock out either of your brains: 'a were as good crack a
- fusty nut with no kernel.
- What, with me too, Thersites?
- There's Ulysses and old Nestor—whose wit was mouldy ere
- your grandsires had nails on their toes—yoke you like draught
- oxen, and make you plough up the wars.
- What, what?
- Yes, good sooth. To Achilles, to Ajax, to—
- I shall cut out your tongue.
- 'Tis no matter; I shall speak as much as thou
- No more words, Thersites; peace!
- I will hold my peace when Achilles' brach bids me, shall I?
- There's for you, Patroclus.
- I will see you hang'd like clotpoles ere I come any more
- to your tents. I will keep where there is wit stirring, and leave
- the faction of fools.
- A good riddance.
- Marry, this, sir, is proclaim'd through all our host,
- That Hector, by the fifth hour of the sun,
- Will with a trumpet 'twixt our tents and Troy,
- To-morrow morning, call some knight to arms
- That hath a stomach; and such a one that dare
- Maintain I know not what; 'tis trash. Farewell.
- Farewell. Who shall answer him?
- I know not; 'tis put to lott'ry. Otherwise. He knew his man.
- O, meaning you! I will go learn more of it.
SCENE 2. Troy. PRIAM'S palace
[Enter PRIAM, HECTOR, TROILUS, PARIS, and HELENUS.]
- After so many hours, lives, speeches, spent,
- Thus once again says Nestor from the Greeks:
- 'Deliver Helen, and all damage else—
- As honour, loss of time, travail, expense,
- Wounds, friends, and what else dear that is consum'd
- In hot digestion of this cormorant war—
- Shall be struck off.' Hector, what say you to't?
- Though no man lesser fears the Greeks than I,
- As far as toucheth my particular,
- Yet, dread Priam,
- There is no lady of more softer bowels,
- More spongy to suck in the sense of fear,
- More ready to cry out 'Who knows what follows?'
- Than Hector is. The wound of peace is surety,
- Surety secure; but modest doubt is call'd
- The beacon of the wise, the tent that searches
- To th' bottom of the worst. Let Helen go.
- Since the first sword was drawn about this question,
- Every tithe soul 'mongst many thousand dismes
- Hath been as dear as Helen—I mean, of ours.
- If we have lost so many tenths of ours
- To guard a thing not ours, nor worth to us,
- Had it our name, the value of one ten,
- What merit's in that reason which denies
- The yielding of her up?
- Fie, fie, my brother!
- Weigh you the worth and honour of a king,
- So great as our dread father's, in a scale
- Of common ounces? Will you with counters sum
- The past-proportion of his infinite,
- And buckle in a waist most fathomless
- With spans and inches so diminutive
- As fears and reasons? Fie, for godly shame!
- No marvel though you bite so sharp at reasons,
- You are so empty of them. Should not our father
- Bear the great sway of his affairs with reasons,
- Because your speech hath none that tells him so?
- You are for dreams and slumbers, brother priest;
- You fur your gloves with reason. Here are your reasons:
- You know an enemy intends you harm;
- You know a sword employ'd is perilous,
- And reason flies the object of all harm.
- Who marvels, then, when Helenus beholds
- A Grecian and his sword, if he do set
- The very wings of reason to his heels
- And fly like chidden Mercury from Jove,
- Or like a star disorb'd? Nay, if we talk of reason,
- Let's shut our gates and sleep. Manhood and honour
- Should have hare hearts, would they but fat their thoughts
- With this cramm'd reason. Reason and respect
- Make livers pale and lustihood deject.
- Brother, she is not worth what she doth, cost
- The keeping.
- What's aught but as 'tis valued?
- But value dwells not in particular will:
- It holds his estimate and dignity
- As well wherein 'tis precious of itself
- As in the prizer. 'Tis mad idolatry
- To make the service greater than the god—I
- And the will dotes that is attributive
- To what infectiously itself affects,
- Without some image of th' affected merit.
- I take to-day a wife, and my election
- Is led on in the conduct of my will;
- My will enkindled by mine eyes and ears,
- Two traded pilots 'twixt the dangerous shores
- Of will and judgment: how may I avoid,
- Although my will distaste what it elected,
- The wife I chose? There can be no evasion
- To blench from this and to stand firm by honour.
- We turn not back the silks upon the merchant
- When we have soil'd them; nor the remainder viands
- We do not throw in unrespective sieve,
- Because we now are full. It was thought meet
- Paris should do some vengeance on the Greeks;
- Your breath with full consent benied his sails;
- The seas and winds, old wranglers, took a truce,
- And did him service. He touch'd the ports desir'd;
- And for an old aunt whom the Greeks held captive
- He brought a Grecian queen, whose youth and freshness
- Wrinkles Apollo's, and makes stale the morning.
- Why keep we her? The Grecians keep our aunt.
- Is she worth keeping? Why, she is a pearl
- Whose price hath launch'd above a thousand ships,
- And turn'd crown'd kings to merchants.
- If you'll avouch 'twas wisdom Paris went—
- As you must needs, for you all cried 'Go, go'—
- If you'll confess he brought home worthy prize—
- As you must needs, for you all clapp'd your hands,
- And cried 'Inestimable!'—why do you now
- The issue of your proper wisdoms rate,
- And do a deed that never fortune did—
- Beggar the estimation which you priz'd
- Richer than sea and land? O theft most base,
- That we have stol'n what we do fear to keep!
- But thieves unworthy of a thing so stol'n
- That in their country did them that disgrace
- We fear to warrant in our native place!
- Cry, Troyans, cry.
- What noise, what shriek is this?
- 'Tis our mad sister; I do know her voice.
- Cry, Troyans.
- It is Cassandra.
[Enter CASSANDRA, raving.]
- Cry, Troyans, cry. Lend me ten thousand eyes,
- And I will fill them with prophetic tears.
- Peace, sister, peace.
- Virgins and boys, mid-age and wrinkled eld,
- Soft infancy, that nothing canst but cry,
- Add to my clamours. Let us pay betimes
- A moiety of that mass of moan to come.
- Cry, Troyans, cry. Practise your eyes with tears.
- Troy must not be, nor goodly Ilion stand;
- Our firebrand brother, Paris, burns us all.
- Cry, Troyans, cry, A Helen and a woe!
- Cry, cry. Troy burns, or else let Helen go.
- Now, youthful Troilus, do not these high strains
- Of divination in our sister work
- Some touches of remorse, or is your blood
- So madly hot that no discourse of reason,
- Nor fear of bad success in a bad cause,
- Can qualify the same?
- Why, brother Hector,
- We may not think the justness of each act
- Such and no other than event doth form it;
- Nor once deject the courage of our minds
- Because Cassandra's mad. Her brain-sick raptures
- Cannot distaste the goodness of a quarrel
- Which hath our several honours all engag'd
- To make it gracious. For my private part,
- I am no more touch'd than all Priam's sons;
- And Jove forbid there should be done amongst us
- Such things as might offend the weakest spleen
- To fight for and maintain.
- Else might the world convince of levity
- As well my undertakings as your counsels;
- But I attest the gods, your full consent
- Gave wings to my propension, and cut of
- All fears attending on so dire a project.
- For what, alas, can these my single arms?
- What propugnation is in one man's valour
- To stand the push and enmity of those
- This quarrel would excite? Yet, I protest,
- Were I alone to pass the difficulties,
- And had as ample power as I have will,
- Paris should ne'er retract what he hath done
- Nor faint in the pursuit.
- Paris, you speak
- Like one besotted on your sweet delights.
- You have the honey still, but these the gall;
- So to be valiant is no praise at all.
- Sir, I propose not merely to myself
- The pleasures such a beauty brings with it;
- But I would have the soil of her fair rape
- Wip'd off in honourable keeping her.
- What treason were it to the ransack'd queen,
- Disgrace to your great worths, and shame to me,
- Now to deliver her possession up
- On terms of base compulsion! Can it be
- That so degenerate a strain as this
- Should once set footing in your generous bosoms?
- There's not the meanest spirit on our party
- Without a heart to dare or sword to draw
- When Helen is defended; nor none so noble
- Whose life were ill bestow'd or death unfam'd
- Where Helen is the subject. Then, I say,
- Well may we fight for her whom we know well
- The world's large spaces cannot parallel.
- Paris and Troilus, you have both said well;
- And on the cause and question now in hand
- Have gloz'd, but superficially; not much
- Unlike young men, whom Aristode thought
- Unfit to hear moral philosophy.
- The reasons you allege do more conduce
- To the hot passion of distemp'red blood
- Than to make up a free determination
- 'Twixt right and wrong; for pleasure and revenge
- Have ears more deaf than adders to the voice
- Of any true decision. Nature craves
- All dues be rend'red to their owners. Now,
- What nearer debt in all humanity
- Than wife is to the husband? If this law
- Of nature be corrupted through affection;
- And that great minds, of partial indulgence
- To their benumbed wills, resist the same;
- There is a law in each well-order'd nation
- To curb those raging appetites that are
- Most disobedient and refractory.
- If Helen, then, be wife to Sparta's king—
- As it is known she is-these moral laws
- Of nature and of nations speak aloud
- To have her back return'd. Thus to persist
- In doing wrong extenuates not wrong,
- But makes it much more heavy. Hector's opinion
- Is this, in way of truth. Yet, ne'er the less,
- My spritely brethren, I propend to you
- In resolution to keep Helen still;
- For 'tis a cause that hath no mean dependence
- Upon our joint and several dignities.
- Why, there you touch'd the life of our design.
- Were it not glory that we more affected
- Than the performance of our heaving spleens,
- I would not wish a drop of Troyan blood
- Spent more in her defence. But, worthy Hector,
- She is a theme of honour and renown,
- A spur to valiant and magnanimous deeds,
- Whose present courage may beat down our foes,
- And fame in time to come canonize us;
- For I presume brave Hector would not lose
- So rich advantage of a promis'd glory
- As smiles upon the forehead of this action
- For the wide world's revenue.
- I am yours,
- You valiant offspring of great Priamus.
- I have a roisting challenge sent amongst
- The dull and factious nobles of the Greeks
- Will strike amazement to their drowsy spirits.
- I was advertis'd their great general slept,
- Whilst emulation in the army crept.
- This, I presume, will wake him.
SCENE 3. The Grecian camp. Before the tent of ACHILLES
[Enter THERSITES, solus.]
- How now, Thersites! What, lost in the labyrinth of thy
- fury? Shall the elephant Ajax carry it thus? He beats me, and I
- rail at him. O worthy satisfaction! Would it were otherwise: that
- I could beat him, whilst he rail'd at me! 'Sfoot, I'll learn to
- conjure and raise devils, but I'll see some issue of my spiteful
- execrations. Then there's Achilles, a rare engineer! If Troy be
- not taken till these two undermine it, the walls will stand till
- they fall of themselves. O thou great thunder-darter of Olympus,
- forget that thou art Jove, the king of gods, and, Mercury, lose
- all the serpentine craft of thy caduceus, if ye take not that
- little little less-than-little wit from them that they have!
- which short-arm'd ignorance itself knows is so abundant scarce,
- it will not in circumvention deliver a fly from a spider without
- drawing their massy irons and cutting the web. After this, the
- vengeance on the whole camp! or, rather, the Neapolitan
- bone-ache! for that, methinks, is the curse depending on those
- that war for a placket. I have said my prayers; and devil Envy
- say 'Amen.' What ho! my Lord Achilles!
- Who's there? Thersites! Good Thersites, come in and rail.
- If I could 'a rememb'red a gilt counterfeit, thou
- wouldst not have slipp'd out of my contemplation; but it is no
- matter; thyself upon thyself! The common curse of mankind, folly
- and ignorance, be thine in great revenue! Heaven bless thee from
- a tutor, and discipline come not near thee! Let thy blood be thy
- direction till thy death. Then if she that lays thee out says
- thou art a fair corse, I'll be sworn and sworn upon't she never
- shrouded any but lazars. Amen. Where's Achilles?
- What, art thou devout? Wast thou in prayer?
- Ay, the heavens hear me!
- Who's there?
- Thersites, my lord.
- Where, where? O, where? Art thou come? Why, my cheese, my
- digestion, why hast thou not served thyself in to my table so
- many meals? Come, what's Agamemnon?
- Thy commander, Achilles. Then tell me, Patroclus, what's
- Thy lord, Thersites. Then tell me, I pray thee, what's
- Thy knower, Patroclus. Then tell me, Patroclus, what art
- Thou must tell that knowest.
- O, tell, tell,
- I'll decline the whole question. Agamemnon commands
- Achilles; Achilles is my lord; I am Patroclus' knower; and
- Patroclus is a fool.
- You rascal!
- Peace, fool! I have not done.
- He is a privileg'd man. Proceed, Thersites.
- Agamemnon is a fool; Achilles is a fool; Thersites is a
- fool; and, as aforesaid, Patroclus is a fool.
- Derive this; come.
- Agamemnon is a fool to offer to command Achilles; Achilles is a
- fool to be commanded of Agamemnon; Thersites is a fool to serve
- such a fool; and this Patroclus is a fool positive.
- Why am I a fool?
- Make that demand of the Creator. It suffices me thou
- art. Look you, who comes here?
- Come, Patroclus, I'll speak with nobody. Come in with me,
- Here is such patchery, such juggling, and such knavery.
- All the argument is a whore and a cuckold-a good quarrel to draw
- emulous factions and bleed to death upon. Now the dry serpigo on
- the subject, and war and lechery confound all! Exit
[Enter AGAMEMNON, ULYSSES, NESTOR, DIOMEDES, AJAX, and CALCHAS.]
- Where is Achilles?
- Within his tent; but ill-dispos'd, my lord.
- Let it be known to him that we are here.
- He shent our messengers; and we lay by
- Our appertainings, visiting of him.
- Let him be told so; lest, perchance, he think
- We dare not move the question of our place
- Or know not what we are.
- I shall say so to him.
- We saw him at the opening of his tent.
- He is not sick.
- Yes, lion-sick, sick of proud heart. You may call it
- melancholy, if you will favour the man; but, by my head, 'tis
- pride. But why, why? Let him show us a cause. A word, my lord.
[Takes AGAMEMNON aside.]
- What moves Ajax thus to bay at him?
- Achilles hath inveigled his fool from him.
- Who, Thersites?
- Then will Ajax lack matter, if he have lost his argument
- No; you see he is his argument that has his argument—
- All the better; their fraction is more our wish than their
- faction. But it was a strong composure a fool could disunite!
- The amity that wisdom knits not, folly may easily untie.
- Here comes Patroclus.
- No Achilles with him.
- The elephant hath joints, but none for courtesy; his legs
- are legs for necessity, not for flexure.
- Achilles bids me say he is much sorry
- If any thing more than your sport and pleasure
- Did move your greatness and this noble state
- To call upon him; he hopes it is no other
- But for your health and your digestion sake,
- An after-dinner's breath.
- Hear you, Patroclus.
- We are too well acquainted with these answers;
- But his evasion, wing'd thus swift with scorn,
- Cannot outfly our apprehensions.
- Much attribute he hath, and much the reason
- Why we ascribe it to him. Yet all his virtues,
- Not virtuously on his own part beheld,
- Do in our eyes begin to lose their gloss;
- Yea, like fair fruit in an unwholesome dish,
- Are like to rot untasted. Go and tell him
- We come to speak with him; and you shall not sin
- If you do say we think him over-proud
- And under-honest, in self-assumption greater
- Than in the note of judgment; and worthier than himself
- Here tend the savage strangeness he puts on,
- Disguise the holy strength of their command,
- And underwrite in an observing kind
- His humorous predominance; yea, watch
- His pettish lunes, his ebbs, his flows, as if
- The passage and whole carriage of this action
- Rode on his tide. Go tell him this, and ad
- That if he overhold his price so much
- We'll none of him, but let him, like an engine
- Not portable, lie under this report:
- Bring action hither; this cannot go to war.
- A stirring dwarf we do allowance give
- Before a sleeping giant. Tell him so.
- I shall, and bring his answer presently.
- In second voice we'll not be satisfied;
- We come to speak with him. Ulysses, enter you.
- What is he more than another?
- No more than what he thinks he is.
- Is he so much? Do you not think he thinks himself a better
- man than I am?
- No question.
- Will you subscribe his thought and say he is?
- No, noble Ajax; you are as strong, as valiant, as wise,
- no less noble, much more gentle, and altogether more tractable.
- Why should a man be proud? How doth pride grow? I know not
- what pride is.
- Your mind is the clearer, Ajax, and your virtues the
- fairer. He that is proud eats up himself. Pride is his own glass,
- his own trumpet, his own chronicle; and whatever praises itself
- but in the deed devours the deed in the praise.
- I do hate a proud man as I do hate the engend'ring of toads.
- And yet he loves himself: is't not strange?
- 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. Imagin'd worth
- Holds in his blood such swol'n 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 doth 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
- Shall not so stale his palm, nobly acquir'd,
- 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.] O, this is well! He rubs the vein of him.
- [Aside.] And how his silence drinks up this applause!
- If I go to him, with my armed fist I'll pash him o'er the
- 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!
- [Aside.] How he describes himself!
- Can he not be sociable?
- [Aside.] The raven chides blackness.
- I'll let his humours blood.
- [Aside.] He will be the physician that should be the patient.
- An all men were a my mind—
- [Aside.] Wit would be out of fashion.
- 'A should not bear it so, 'a should eat's words first.
- Shall pride carry it?
- [Aside.] An 'twould, you'd carry half.
- [Aside.] 'A would have ten shares.
- I will knead him, I'll make him supple.
- [Aside.] 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 palter with us thus!
- Would he were a Troyan!
- 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 gat thee, she that gave thee suck;
- Fam'd be thy tutor, and thy parts of nature
- Thrice-fam'd beyond, beyond all erudition;
- But he that disciplin'd thine 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;
- But 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 rul'd 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.
SCENE 1. Troy. PRIAM'S palace
[Music sounds within. Enter PANDARUS and a SERVANT.]
- Friend, you—pray you, a word. Do you not follow the young
- Lord Paris?
- Ay, sir, when he goes before me.
- You depend upon him, I mean?
- Sir, I do depend upon the lord.
- You depend upon a notable gentleman; I must needs praise
- The lord be praised!
- You know me, do you not?
- Faith, sir, superficially.
- Friend, know me better: I am the Lord Pandarus.
- I hope I shall know your honour better.
- I do desire it.
- You are in the state of grace.
- Grace! Not so, friend; honour and lordship are my titles.
- What music is this?
- I do but partly know, sir; it is music in parts.
- Know you the musicians?
- Wholly, sir.
- Who play they to?
- To the hearers, sir.
- At whose pleasure, friend?
- At mine, sir, and theirs that love music.
- Command, I mean, friend.
- Who shall I command, sir?
- Friend, we understand not one another: I am too courtly,
- and thou art too cunning. At whose request do these men play?
- That's to't, indeed, sir. Marry, sir, at the request of
- Paris my lord, who is there in person; with him the mortal Venus,
- the heart-blood of beauty, love's invisible soul—
- Who, my cousin, Cressida?
- No, sir, Helen. Could not you find out that by her attributes?
- It should seem, fellow, that thou hast not seen the Lady
- Cressida. I come to speak with Paris from the Prince Troilus; I
- will make a complimental assault upon him, for my business
- Sodden business! There's a stew'd phrase indeed!
[Enter PARIS and HELEN, attended.]
- Fair be to you, my lord, and to all this fair company!
- Fair desires, in all fair measure, fairly guide them—especially
- to you, fair queen! Fair thoughts be your fair pillow.
- Dear lord, you are full of fair words.
- You speak your fair pleasure, sweet queen. Fair prince,
- here is good broken music.
- You have broke it, cousin; and by my life, you shall make it
- whole again; you shall piece it out with a piece of your
- He is full of harmony.
- Truly, lady, no.
- O, sir—
- Rude, in sooth; in good sooth, very rude.
- Well said, my lord. Well, you say so in fits.
- I have business to my lord, dear queen. My lord, will you
- vouchsafe me a word?
- Nay, this shall not hedge us out. We'll hear you sing,
- Well sweet queen, you are pleasant with me. But, marry,
- thus, my lord: my dear lord and most esteemed friend, your
- brother Troilus—
- My Lord Pandarus, honey-sweet lord—
- Go to, sweet queen, go to—commends himself most
- affectionately to you—
- You shall not bob us out of our melody. If you do, our
- melancholy upon your head!
- Sweet queen, sweet queen; that's a sweet queen, i' faith.
- And to make a sweet lady sad is a sour offence.
- Nay, that shall not serve your turn; that shall it not,
- in truth, la. Nay, I care not for such words; no, no.—And, my
- lord, he desires you that, if the King call for him at supper,
- you will make his excuse.
- My Lord Pandarus!
- What says my sweet queen, my very very sweet queen?
- What exploit's in hand? Where sups he to-night?
- Nay, but, my lord—
- What says my sweet queen?-My cousin will fall out with
- You must not know where he sups.
- I'll lay my life, with my disposer Cressida.
- No, no, no such matter; you are wide. Come, your disposer
- is sick.
- Well, I'll make's excuse.
- Ay, good my lord. Why should you say Cressida?
- No, your poor disposer's sick.
- I spy.
- You spy! What do you spy?—Come, give me an instrument.
- Now, sweet queen.
- Why, this is kindly done.
- My niece is horribly in love with a thing you have, sweet
- She shall have it, my lord, if it be not my Lord Paris.
- He! No, she'll none of him; they two are twain.
- Falling in, after falling out, may make them three.
- Come, come. I'll hear no more of this; I'll sing you a
- song now.
- Ay, ay, prithee now. By my troth, sweet lord, thou hast a
- fine forehead.
- Ay, you may, you may.
- Let thy song be love. This love will undo us all. O Cupid,
- Cupid, Cupid!
- Love! Ay, that it shall, i' faith.
- Ay, good now, love, love, nothing but love.
- In good troth, it begins so.
- Love, love, nothing but love, still love, still more!
- For, oh, love's bow
- Shoots buck and doe;
- The shaft confounds
- Not that it wounds,
- But tickles still the sore.
- These lovers cry, O ho, they die!
- Yet that which seems the wound to kill
- Doth turn O ho! to ha! ha! he!
- So dying love lives still.
- O ho! a while, but ha! ha! ha!
- O ho! groans out for ha! ha! ha!-hey ho!
- In love, i' faith, to the very tip of the nose.
- He eats nothing but doves, love; and that breeds hot blood,
- and hot blood begets hot thoughts, and hot thoughts beget hot
- deeds, and hot deeds is love.
- Is this the generation of love: hot blood, hot thoughts,
- and hot deeds? Why, they are vipers. Is love a generation of
- vipers? Sweet lord, who's a-field today?
- Hector, Deiphobus, Helenus, Antenor, and all the gallantry
- of Troy. I would fain have arm'd to-day, but my Nell would not
- have it so. How chance my brothe
- He hangs the lip at something. You know all, Lord Pandarus.
- Not I, honey-sweet queen. I long to hear how they spend
- to-day. You'll remember your brother's excuse?
- To a hair.
- Farewell, sweet queen.
- Commend me to your niece.
- I will, sweet queen.
[Exit. Sound a retreat.]
- They're come from the field. Let us to Priam's hall
- To greet the warriors. Sweet Helen, I must woo you
- To help unarm our Hector. His stubborn buckles,
- With these your white enchanting fingers touch'd,
- Shall more obey than to the edge of steel
- Or force of Greekish sinews; you shall do more
- Than all the island kings—disarm great Hector.
- 'Twill make us proud to be his servant, Paris;
- Yea, what he shall receive of us in duty
- Gives us more palm in beauty than we have,
- Yea, overshines ourself.
- Sweet, above thought I love thee.Exeunt
SCENE 2. Troy. PANDARUS' orchard
[Enter PANDARUS and TROILUS' BOY, meeting.]
- How now! Where's thy master? At my cousin Cressida's?
- No, sir; he stays for you to conduct him thither.
- O, here he comes. How now, how now!
- Sirrah, walk off.
- Have you seen my cousin?
- No, Pandarus. I stalk about her door
- Like a strange soul upon the Stygian banks
- Staying for waftage. O, be thou my Charon,
- And give me swift transportance to these fields
- Where I may wallow in the lily beds
- Propos'd for the deserver! O gentle Pandar,
- from Cupid's shoulder pluck his painted wings,
- and fly with me to Cressid!
- Walk here i' th' orchard, I'll bring her straight.
- I am giddy; expectation whirls me round.
- Th' imaginary relish is so sweet
- That it enchants my sense; what will it be
- When that the wat'ry palate tastes indeed
- Love's thrice-repured nectar? Death, I fear me;
- Swooning destruction; or some joy too fine,
- Too subtle-potent, tun'd too sharp in sweetness,
- For the capacity of my ruder powers.
- I fear it much; and I do fear besides
- That I shall lose distinction in my joys;
- As doth a battle, when they charge on heaps
- The enemy flying.
- She's making her ready, she'll come straight; you must be witty
- now. She does so blush, and fetches her wind so short, as
- if she were fray'd with a sprite. I'll fetch her. It is the
- prettiest villain; she fetches her breath as short as a new-ta'en
- Even such a passion doth embrace my bosom.
- My heart beats thicker than a feverous pulse,
- And all my powers do their bestowing lose,
- Like vassalage at unawares encount'ring
- The eye of majesty.
[Re-enter PANDARUS With CRESSIDA.]
- Come, come, what need you blush? Shame's a baby.—Here she
- is now; swear the oaths now to her that you have sworn to me.—
- What, are you gone again? You must be watch'd ere you be made
- tame, must you? Come your ways, come your ways; an you draw
- backward, we'll put you i' th' fills.—Why do you not speak to
- her?—Come, draw this curtain and let's see your picture.
- Alas the day, how loath you are to offend daylight! An 'twere
- dark, you'd close sooner. So, so; rub on, and kiss the mistress
- How now, a kiss in fee-farm! Build there, carpenter; the air is
- sweet. Nay, you shall fight your hearts out ere I part you. The
- falcon as the tercel, for all the ducks i' th' river. Go to, go
- You have bereft me of all words, lady.
- Words pay no debts, give her deeds; but she'll bereave
- you o' th' deeds too, if she call your activity in question.
- What, billing again? Here's 'In witness whereof the parties
- interchangeably.' Come in, come in; I'll go get a fire.
- Will you walk in, my lord?
- O Cressid, how often have I wish'd me thus!
- Wish'd, my lord! The gods grant—O my lord!
- What should they grant? What makes this pretty abruption?
- What too curious dreg espies my sweet lady in the fountain of our
- More dregs than water, if my fears have eyes.
- Fears make devils of cherubims; they never see truly.
- Blind fear, that seeing reason leads, finds safer footing
- than blind reason stumbling without fear. To fear the worst oft
- cures the worse.
- O, let my lady apprehend no fear! In all Cupid's pageant
- there is presented no monster.
- Nor nothing monstrous neither?
- Nothing, but our undertakings when we vow to weep seas,
- live in fire, eat rocks, tame tigers; thinking it harder for our
- mistress to devise imposition enough than for us to undergo any
- difficulty imposed. This is the monstruosity in love, lady, that
- the will is infinite, and the execution confin'd; that the desire
- is boundless, and the act a slave to limit.
- They say all lovers swear more performance than they are
- able, and yet reserve an ability that they never perform; vowing
- more than the perfection of ten, and discharging less than the
- tenth part of one. They that have the voice of lions and the act
- of hares, are they not monsters?
- Are there such? Such are not we. Praise us as we are
- tasted, allow us as we prove; our head shall go bare till merit
- crown it. No perfection in reversion shall have a praise in
- present. We will not name desert before his birth; and, being
- born, his addition shall be humble. Few words to fair faith:
- Troilus shall be such to Cressid as what envy can say worst shall
- be a mock for his truth; and what truth can speak truest not
- truer than Troilus.
- Will you walk in, my lord?
- What, blushing still? Have you not done talking yet?
- Well, uncle, what folly I commit, I dedicate to you.
- I thank you for that; if my lord get a boy of you, you'll
- give him me. Be true to my lord; if he flinch, chide me for it.
- You know now your hostages: your uncle's word and my firm
- Nay, I'll give my word for her too: our kindred, though
- they be long ere they are wooed, they are constant being won;
- they are burs, I can tell you; they'll stick where they are
- Boldness comes to me now and brings me heart.
- Prince Troilus, I have lov'd you night and day
- For many weary months.
- Why was my Cressid then so hard to win?
- Hard to seem won; but I was won, my lord,
- With the first glance that ever-pardon me.
- If I confess much, you will play the tyrant.
- I love you now; but till now not so much
- But I might master it. In faith, I lie;
- My thoughts were like unbridled children, grown
- Too headstrong for their mother. See, we fools!
- Why have I blabb'd? Who shall be true to us,
- When we are so unsecret to ourselves?
- But, though I lov'd you well, I woo'd you not;
- And yet, good faith, I wish'd myself a man,
- Or that we women had men's privilege
- Of speaking first. Sweet, bid me hold my tongue,
- For in this rapture I shall surely speak
- The thing I shall repent. See, see, your silence,
- Cunning in dumbness, from my weakness draws
- My very soul of counsel. Stop my mouth.
- And shall, albeit sweet music issues thence.
- Pretty, i' faith.
- My lord, I do beseech you, pardon me;
- 'Twas not my purpose thus to beg a kiss.
- I am asham'd. O heavens! what have I done?
- For this time will I take my leave, my lord.
- Your leave, sweet Cressid!
- Leave! An you take leave till to-morrow morning—
- Pray you, content you.
- What offends you, lady?
- Sir, mine own company.
- You cannot shun yourself.
- Let me go and try.
- I have a kind of self resides with you;
- But an unkind self, that itself will leave
- To be another's fool. I would be gone.
- Where is my wit? I know not what I speak.
- Well know they what they speak that speak so wisely.
- Perchance, my lord, I show more craft than love;
- And fell so roundly to a large confession
- To angle for your thoughts; but you are wise—
- Or else you love not; for to be wise and love
- Exceeds man's might; that dwells with gods above.
- O that I thought it could be in a woman—
- As, if it can, I will presume in you—
- To feed for aye her lamp and flames of love;
- To keep her constancy in plight and youth,
- Outliving beauty's outward, with a mind
- That doth renew swifter than blood decays!
- Or that persuasion could but thus convince me
- That my integrity and truth to you
- Might be affronted with the match and weight
- Of such a winnowed purity in love.
- How were I then uplifted! but, alas,
- I am as true as truth's simplicity,
- And simpler than the infancy of truth.
- In that I'll war with you.
- O virtuous fight,
- When right with right wars who shall be most right!
- True swains in love shall in the world to come
- Approve their truth by Troilus, when their rhymes,
- Full of protest, of oath, and big compare,
- Want similes, truth tir'd with iteration—
- As true as steel, as plantage to the moon,
- As sun to day, as turtle to her mate,
- As iron to adamant, as earth to th' centre—
- Yet, after all comparisons of truth,
- As truth's authentic author to be cited,
- 'As true as Troilus' shall crown up the verse
- And sanctify the numbers.
- Prophet may you be!
- If I be false, or swerve a hair from truth,
- When time is old and hath forgot itself,
- When waterdrops have worn the stones of Troy,
- And blind oblivion swallow'd cities up,
- And mighty states characterless are grated
- To dusty nothing—yet let memory
- From false to false, among false maids in love,
- Upbraid my falsehood when th' have said 'As false
- As air, as water, wind, or sandy earth,
- As fox to lamb, or wolf to heifer's calf,
- Pard to the hind, or stepdame to her son'—
- Yea, let them say, to stick the heart of falsehood,
- 'As false as Cressid.'
- Go to, a bargain made; seal it, seal it; I'll be the
- witness. Here I hold your hand; here my cousin's. If ever you
- prove false one to another, since I have taken such pains to
- bring you together, let all pitiful goers-between be call'd to
- the world's end after my name—call them all Pandars; let all
- constant men be Troiluses, all false women Cressids, and all
- brokers between Pandars. Say 'Amen.'
- Amen. Whereupon I will show you a chamber and a bed; which bed,
- because it shall not speak of your pretty encounters, press it to
- Away! And Cupid grant all tongue-tied maidens here,
- Bed, chamber, pander, to provide this gear!
SCENE 3. The Greek camp
[Flourish. Enter AGAMEMNON, ULYSSES, DIOMEDES, NESTOR, AJAX, MENELAUS, and CALCHAS.]
- Now, Princes, for the service I have done,
- Th' advantage of the time prompts me aloud
- To call for recompense. Appear it to your mind
- That, through the sight I bear in things to come,
- I have abandon'd Troy, left my possession,
- Incurr'd a traitor's name, expos'd myself
- From certain and possess'd conveniences
- To doubtful fortunes, sequest'ring from me all
- That time, acquaintance, custom, and condition,
- Made tame and most familiar to my nature;
- And here, to do you service, am become
- As new into the world, strange, unacquainted—
- I do beseech you, as in way of taste,
- To give me now a little benefit
- Out of those many regist'red in promise,
- Which you say live to come in my behalf.
- What wouldst thou of us, Troyan? Make demand.
- You have a Troyan prisoner call'd Antenor,
- Yesterday took; Troy holds him very dear.
- Oft have you—often have you thanks therefore—
- Desir'd my Cressid in right great exchange,
- Whom Troy hath still denied; but this Antenor,
- I know, is such a wrest in their affairs
- That their negotiations all must slack
- Wanting his manage; and they will almost
- Give us a prince of blood, a son of Priam,
- In change of him. Let him be sent, great Princes,
- And he shall buy my daughter; and her presence
- Shall quite strike off all service I have done
- In most accepted pain.
- Let Diomedes bear him,
- And bring us Cressid hither. Calchas shall have
- What he requests of us. Good Diomed,
- Furnish you fairly for this interchange;
- Withal, bring word if Hector will to-morrow
- Be answer'd in his challenge. Ajax is ready.
- This shall I undertake; and 'tis a burden
- Which I am proud to bear.
[Exeunt DIOMEDES and CALCHAS.]
[ACHILLES and PATROCLUS stand in their tent.]
- Achilles stands i' th' entrance of his tent.
- Please it our general pass strangely by him,
- As if he were forgot; and, Princes all,
- Lay negligent and loose regard upon him.
- I will come last. 'Tis like he'll question me
- Why such unplausive eyes are bent, why turn'd on him?
- If so, I have derision med'cinable
- To use between your strangeness and his pride,
- Which his own will shall have desire to drink.
- It may do good. Pride hath no other glass
- To show itself but pride; for supple knees
- Feed arrogance and are the proud man's fees.
- We'll execute your purpose, and put on
- A form of strangeness as we pass along.
- So do each lord; and either greet him not,
- Or else disdainfully, which shall shake him more
- Than if not look'd on. I will lead the way.
- What comes the general to speak with me?
- You know my mind. I'll fight no more 'gainst Troy.
- What says Achilles? Would he aught with us?
- Would you, my lord, aught with the general?
- Nothing, my lord.
- The better.
[Exeunt AGAMEMNON and NESTOR.]
- Good day, good day.
- How do you? How do you?
- What, does the cuckold scorn me?
- How now, Patroclus?
- Good morrow, Ajax.
- Good morrow.
- Ay, and good next day too.
- What mean these fellows? Know they not Achilles?
- They pass by strangely. They were us'd to bend,
- To send their smiles before them to Achilles,
- To come as humbly as they us'd to creep
- To holy altars.
- What, am I poor of late?
- 'Tis certain, greatness, once fall'n out with fortune,
- Must fall out with men too. What the declin'd is,
- He shall as soon read in the eyes of others
- As feel in his own fall; for men, like butterflies,
- Show not their mealy wings but to the summer;
- And not a man for being simply man
- Hath any honour, but honour for those honours
- That are without him, as place, riches, and favour,
- Prizes of accident, as oft as merit;
- Which when they fall, as being slippery standers,
- The love that lean'd on them as slippery too,
- Doth one pluck down another, and together
- Die in the fall. But 'tis not so with me:
- Fortune and I are friends; I do enjoy
- At ample point all that I did possess
- Save these men's looks; who do, methinks, find out
- Something not worth in me such rich beholding
- As they have often given. Here is Ulysses.
- I'll interrupt his reading.
- How now, Ulysses!
- Now, great Thetis' son!
- What are you reading?
- A strange fellow here
- Writes me that man—how dearly ever parted,
- How much in having, or without or in—
- Cannot make boast to have that which he hath,
- Nor feels not what he owes, but by reflection;
- As when his virtues shining upon others
- Heat them, and they retort that heat again
- To the first giver.
- This is not strange, Ulysses.
- The beauty that is borne here in the face
- The bearer knows not, but commends itself
- To others' eyes; nor doth the eye itself—
- That most pure spirit of sense—behold itself,
- Not going from itself; but eye to eye opposed
- Salutes each other with each other's form;
- For speculation turns not to itself
- Till it hath travell'd, and is mirror'd there
- Where it may see itself. This is not strange at all.
- I do not strain at the position—
- It is familiar—but at the author's drift;
- Who, in his circumstance, expressly proves
- That no man is the lord of anything,
- Though in and of him there be much consisting,
- Till he communicate his parts to others;
- Nor doth he of himself know them for aught
- Till he behold them formed in th' applause
- Where th' are extended; who, like an arch, reverb'rate
- The voice again; or, like a gate of steel
- Fronting the sun, receives and renders back
- His figure and his heat. I was much rapt in this;
- And apprehended here immediately
- Th' unknown Ajax. Heavens, what a man is there!
- A very horse that has he knows not what!
- Nature, what things there are
- Most abject in regard and dear in use!
- What things again most dear in the esteem
- And poor in worth! Now shall we see to-morrow—
- An act that very chance doth throw upon him—
- Ajax renown'd. O heavens, what some men do,
- While some men leave to do!
- How some men creep in skittish Fortune's-hall,
- Whiles others play the idiots in her eyes!
- How one man eats into another's pride,
- While pride is fasting in his wantonness!
- To see these Grecian lords!—why, even already
- They clap the lubber Ajax on the shoulder,
- As if his foot were on brave Hector's breast,
- And great Troy shrinking.
- I do believe it; for they pass'd by me
- As misers do by beggars-neither gave to me
- Good word nor look. What, are my deeds forgot?
- Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back,
- Wherein he puts alms for oblivion,
- A great-siz'd monster of ingratitudes.
- Those scraps are good deeds past, which are devour'd
- As fast as they are made, forgot as soon
- As done. Perseverance, dear my lord,
- Keeps honour bright. To have done is to hang
- Quite out of fashion, like a rusty mail
- In monumental mock'ry. Take the instant way;
- For honour travels in a strait so narrow—
- Where one but goes abreast. Keep then the path,
- For emulation hath a thousand sons
- That one by one pursue; if you give way,
- Or hedge aside from the direct forthright,
- Like to an ent'red tide they all rush by
- And leave you hindmost;
- Or, like a gallant horse fall'n in first rank,
- Lie there for pavement to the abject rear,
- O'er-run and trampled on. Then what they do in present,
- Though less than yours in past, must o'ertop yours;
- For Time is like a fashionable host,
- That slightly shakes his parting guest by th' hand;
- And with his arms out-stretch'd, as he would fly,
- Grasps in the comer. The welcome ever smiles,
- And farewell goes out sighing. O, let not virtue seek
- Remuneration for the thing it was;
- For beauty, wit,
- High birth, vigour of bone, desert in service,
- Love, friendship, charity, are subjects all
- To envious and calumniating Time.
- One touch of nature makes the whole world kin—
- That all with one consent praise new-born gawds,
- Though they are made and moulded of things past,
- And give to dust that is a little gilt
- More laud than gilt o'er-dusted.
- The present eye praises the present object.
- Then marvel not, thou great and complete man,
- That all the Greeks begin to worship Ajax,
- Since things in motion sooner catch the eye
- Than what stirs not. The cry went once on thee,
- And still it might, and yet it may again,
- If thou wouldst not entomb thyself alive
- And case thy reputation in thy tent,
- Whose glorious deeds but in these fields of late
- Made emulous missions 'mongst the gods themselves,
- And drave great Mars to faction.
- Of this my privacy
- I have strong reasons.
- But 'gainst your privacy
- The reasons are more potent and heroical.
- 'Tis known, Achilles, that you are in love
- With one of Priam's daughters.
- Ha! known!
- Is that a wonder?
- The providence that's in a watchful state
- Knows almost every grain of Plutus' gold;
- Finds bottom in th' uncomprehensive deeps;
- Keeps place with thought, and almost, like the gods,
- Do thoughts unveil in their dumb cradles.
- There is a mystery—with whom relation
- Durst never meddle—in the soul of state,
- Which hath an operation more divine
- Than breath or pen can give expressure to.
- All the commerce that you have had with Troy
- As perfectly is ours as yours, my lord;
- And better would it fit Achilles much
- To throw down Hector than Polyxena.
- But it must grieve young Pyrrhus now at home,
- When fame shall in our island sound her trump,
- And all the Greekish girls shall tripping sing
- 'Great Hector's sister did Achilles win;
- But our great Ajax bravely beat down him.'
- Farewell, my lord. I as your lover speak.
- The fool slides o'er the ice that you should break.
- To this effect, Achilles, have I mov'd you.
- A woman impudent and mannish grown
- Is not more loath'd than an effeminate man
- In time of action. I stand condemn'd for this;
- They think my little stomach to the war
- And your great love to me restrains you thus.
- Sweet, rouse yourself; and the weak wanton Cupid
- Shall from your neck unloose his amorous fold,
- And, like a dew-drop from the lion's mane,
- Be shook to airy air.
- Shall Ajax fight with Hector?
- Ay, and perhaps receive much honour by him.
- I see my reputation is at stake;
- My fame is shrewdly gor'd.
- O, then, beware:
- Those wounds heal ill that men do give themselves;
- Omission to do what is necessary
- Seals a commission to a blank of danger;
- And danger, like an ague, subtly taints
- Even then when they sit idly in the sun.
- Go call Thersites hither, sweet Patroclus.
- I'll send the fool to Ajax, and desire him
- T' invite the Troyan lords, after the combat,
- To see us here unarm'd. I have a woman's longing,
- An appetite that I am sick withal,
- To see great Hector in his weeds of peace;
- To talk with him, and to behold his visage,
- Even to my full of view.
- A labour sav'd!
- A wonder!
- Ajax goes up and down the field asking for himself.
- How so?
- He must fight singly to-morrow with Hector, and is so
- prophetically proud of an heroical cudgelling that he raves in
- saying nothing.
- How can that be?
- Why, 'a stalks up and down like a peacock—a stride and a
- stand; ruminaies like an hostess that hath no arithmetic but her
- brain to set down her reckoning, bites his lip with a politic
- regard, as who should say 'There were wit in this head, an
- 'twould out'; and so there is; but it lies as coldly in him as
- fire in a flint, which will not show without knocking. The man's
- undone for ever; for if Hector break not his neck i' th' combat,
- he'll break't himself in vainglory. He knows not me. I said 'Good
- morrow, Ajax'; and he replies 'Thanks, Agamemnon.' What think you
- of this man that takes me for the general? He's grown a very land
- fish, languageless, a monster. A plague of opinion! A man may
- wear it on both sides, like leather jerkin.
- Thou must be my ambassador to him, Thersites.
- Who, I? Why, he'll answer nobody; he professes not answering.
- Speaking is for beggars: he wears his tongue in's arms. I will
- put on his presence. Let Patroclus make his demands to me, you
- shall see the pageant of Ajax.
- To him, Patroclus. Tell him I humbly desire the valiant
- Ajax to invite the most valorous Hector to come unarm'd to my
- tent; and to procure safe conduct for his person of the
- magnanimous and most illustrious six-or-seven-times-honour'd
- Captain General of the Grecian army, et cetera, Agamemnon. Do
- Jove bless great Ajax!
- I come from the worthy Achilles—
- Who most humbly desires you to invite Hector to his tent—
- And to procure safe conduct from Agamemnon.
- Ay, my lord.
- What you say to't?
- God buy you, with all my heart.
- Your answer, sir.
- If to-morrow be a fair day, by eleven of the clock it will go one
- way or other. Howsoever, he shall pay for me ere he has me.
- Your answer, sir.
- Fare ye well, with all my heart.
- Why, but he is not in this tune, is he?
- No, but he's out a tune thus. What music will be in him when
- Hector has knock'd out his brains I know not; but, I am sure,
- none; unless the fiddler Apollo get his sinews to make catlings
- Come, thou shalt bear a letter to him straight.
- Let me carry another to his horse; for that's the more
- capable creature.
- My mind is troubled, like a fountain stirr'd;
- And I myself see not the bottom of it.
[Exeunt ACHILLES and PATROCLUS.]
- Would the fountain of your mind were clear again, that I
- might water an ass at it. I had rather be a tick in a sheep than
- such a valiant ignorance.
SCENE 1. Troy. A street
[Enter, at one side, AENEAS, and servant with a torch; at another, PARIS, DEIPHOBUS, ANTENOR, DIOMEDES the Grecian, and others, with torches.]
- See, ho! Who is that there?
- It is the Lord Aeneas.
- Is the Prince there in person?
- Had I so good occasion to lie long
- As you, Prince Paris, nothing but heavenly business
- Should rob my bed-mate of my company.
- That's my mind too. Good morrow, Lord Aeneas.
- A valiant Greek, Aeneas—take his hand:
- Witness the process of your speech, wherein
- You told how Diomed, a whole week by days,
- Did haunt you in the field.
- Health to you, valiant sir,
- During all question of the gentle truce;
- But when I meet you arm'd, as black defiance
- As heart can think or courage execute.
- The one and other Diomed embraces.
- Our bloods are now in calm; and so long health!
- But when contention and occasion meet,
- By Jove, I'll play the hunter for thy life
- With all my force, pursuit, and policy.
- And thou shalt hunt a lion, that will fly
- With his face backward. In humane gentleness,
- Welcome to Troy! now, by Anchises' life,
- Welcome indeed! By Venus' hand I swear
- No man alive can love in such a sort
- The thing he means to kill, more excellently.
- We sympathise. Jove let Aeneas live,
- If to my sword his fate be not the glory,
- A thousand complete courses of the sun!
- But in mine emulous honour let him die
- With every joint a wound, and that to-morrow!
- We know each other well.
- We do; and long to know each other worse.
- This is the most despiteful'st gentle greeting
- The noblest hateful love, that e'er I heard of.
- What business, lord, so early?
- I was sent for to the King; but why, I know not.
- His purpose meets you: 'twas to bring this Greek
- To Calchas' house, and there to render him,
- For the enfreed Antenor, the fair Cressid.
- Let's have your company; or, if you please,
- Haste there before us. I constantly believe—
- Or rather call my thought a certain knowledge—
- My brother Troilus lodges there to-night.
- Rouse him and give him note of our approach,
- With the whole quality wherefore; I fear
- We shall be much unwelcome.
- That I assure you:
- Troilus had rather Troy were borne to Greece
- Than Cressid borne from Troy.
- There is no help;
- The bitter disposition of the time
- Will have it so. On, lord; we'll follow you.
- Good morrow, all.
[Exit with servant.]
- And tell me, noble Diomed-faith, tell me true,
- Even in the soul of sound good-fellowship—
- Who in your thoughts deserves fair Helen best,
- Myself or Menelaus?
- Both alike:
- He merits well to have her that doth seek her,
- Not making any scruple of her soilure,
- With such a hell of pain and world of charge;
- And you as well to keep her that d
- Not palating the taste of her dishonour,
- With such a costly loss of wealth and friends.
- He like a puling cuckold would drink up
- The lees and dregs of a flat tamed piece;
- You, like a lecher, out of whorish loins
- Are pleas'd to breed out your inheritors.
- Both merits pois'd, each weighs nor less nor more;
- But he as he, the heavier for a whore.
- You are too bitter to your country-woman.
- She's bitter to her country. Hear me, Paris:
- For every false drop in her bawdy veins
- A Grecian's life hath sunk; for every scruple
- Of her contaminated carrion weight
- A Troyan hath been slain; since she could speak,
- She hath not given so many good words breath
- As for her Greeks and Troyans suff'red death.
- Fair Diomed, you do as chapmen do,
- Dispraise the thing that you desire to buy;
- But we in silence hold this virtue well:
- We'll not commend what we intend to sell.
- Here lies our way.
SCENE 2. Troy. The court of PANDARUS' house
[Enter TROILUS and CRESSIDA.]
- Dear, trouble not yourself; the morn is cold.
- Then, sweet my lord, I'll call mine uncle down;
- He shall unbolt the gates.
- Trouble him not;
- To bed, to bed! Sleep kill those pretty eyes,
- And give as soft attachment to thy senses
- As infants' empty of all thought!
- Good morrow, then.
- I prithee now, to bed.
- Are you aweary of me?
- O Cressida! but that the busy day,
- Wak'd by the lark, hath rous'd the ribald crows,
- And dreaming night will hide our joys no longer,
- I would not from thee.
- Night hath been too brief.
- Beshrew the witch! with venomous wights she stays
- As tediously as hell, but flies the grasps of love
- With wings more momentary-swift than thought.
- You will catch cold, and curse me.
- Prithee tarry.
- You men will never tarry.
- O foolish Cressid! I might have still held off,
- And then you would have tarried. Hark! there's one up.
What's all the doors open here?
- It is your uncle.
- A pestilence on him! Now will he be mocking.
- I shall have such a life!
- How now, how now! How go maidenheads?
- Here, you maid! Where's my cousin Cressid?
- Go hang yourself, you naughty mocking uncle.
- You bring me to do, and then you flout me too.
- To do what? to do what? Let her say what.
- What have I brought you to do?
- Come, come, beshrew your heart! You'll ne'er be good,
- Nor suffer others.
- Ha, ha! Alas, poor wretch! a poor capocchia! hast not
- slept to-night? Would he not, a naughty man, let it sleep? A
- bugbear take him!
- Did not I tell you? Would he were knock'd i' th' head!
- Who's that at door? Good uncle, go and see.
- My lord, come you again into my chamber.
- You smile and mock me, as if I meant naughtily.
- Ha! ha!
- Come, you are deceiv'd, I think of no such thing.
- How earnestly they knock! Pray you come in:
- I would not for half Troy have you seen here.
[Exeunt TROILUS and CRESSIDA.]
- Who's there? What's the matter? Will you beat down the
- door? How now? What's the matter?
- Good morrow, lord, good morrow.
- Who's there? My lord Aeneas? By my troth,
- I knew you not. What news with you so early?
- Is not Prince Troilus here?
- Here! What should he do here?
- Come, he is here, my lord; do not deny him.
- It doth import him much to speak with me.
- Is he here, say you? It's more than I know, I'll be
- sworn. For my own part, I came in late. What should he do here?
- Who!—nay, then. Come, come, you'll do him wrong ere you are
- ware; you'll be so true to him to be false to him. Do not you
- know of him, but yet go fetch him hither; go.
- How now! What's the matter?
- My lord, I scarce have leisure to salute you,
- My matter is so rash. There is at hand
- Paris your brother, and Deiphobus,
- The Grecian Diomed, and our Antenor
- Deliver'd to us; and for him forthwith,
- Ere the first sacrifice, within this hour,
- We must give up to Diomedes' hand
- The Lady Cressida.
- Is it so concluded?
- By Priam, and the general state of Troy.
- They are at hand and ready to effect it.
- How my achievements mock me!
- I will go meet them; and, my lord Aeneas,
- We met by chance; you did not find me here.
- Good, good, my lord, the secrets of neighbour Pandar
- Have not more gift in taciturnity.
[Exeunt TROILUS and AENEAS.]
- Is't possible? No sooner got but lost? The devil take
- Antenor! The young prince will go mad. A plague upon Antenor! I
- would they had broke's neck.
- How now! What's the matter? Who was here?
- Ah, ah!
- Why sigh you so profoundly? Where's my lord? Gone? Tell
- me, sweet uncle, what's the matter?
- Would I were as deep under the earth as I am above!
- O the gods! What's the matter?
- Pray thee, get thee in. Would thou hadst ne'er been born!
- I knew thou wouldst be his death! O, poor gentleman! A plague
- upon Antenor!
- Good uncle, I beseech you, on my knees I beseech you,
- what's the matter?
- Thou must be gone, wench, thou must be gone; thou art chang'd for
- Antenor; thou must to thy father, and be gone from Troilus.
- 'Twill be his death; 'twill be his bane; he cannot bear it.
- O you immortal gods! I will not go.
- Thou must.
- I will not, uncle. I have forgot my father;
- I know no touch of consanguinity,
- No kin, no love, no blood, no soul so near me
- As the sweet Troilus. O you gods divine,
- Make Cressid's name the very crown of falsehood,
- If ever she leave Troilus! Time, force, and death,
- Do to this body what extremes you can,
- But the strong base and building of my love
- Is as the very centre of the earth,
- Drawing all things to it. I'll go in and weep—
- Do, do.
- Tear my bright hair, and scratch my praised cheeks,
- Crack my clear voice with sobs and break my heart,
- With sounding 'Troilus.' I will not go from Troy.
SCENE 3. Troy. A street before PANDARUS' house
[Enter PARIS, TROILUS, AENEAS, DEIPHOBUS, ANTENOR, and DIOMEDES.]
- It is great morning; and the hour prefix'd
- For her delivery to this valiant Greek
- Comes fast upon. Good my brother Troilus,
- Tell you the lady what she is to do
- And haste her to the purpose.
- Walk into her house.
- I'll bring her to the Grecian presently;
- And to his hand when I deliver her,
- Think it an altar, and thy brother Troilus
- A priest, there off'ring to it his own heart.
- I know what 'tis to love,
- And would, as I shall pity, I could help!
- Please you walk in, my lords.
SCENE 4. Troy. PANDARUS' house
[Enter PANDARUS and CRESSIDA.]
- Be moderate, be moderate.
- Why tell you me of moderation?
- The grief is fine, full, perfect, that I taste,
- And violenteth in a sense as strong
- As that which causeth it. How can I moderate it?
- If I could temporize with my affections
- Or brew it to a weak and colder palate,
- The like allayment could I give my grief.
- My love admits no qualifying dross;
- No more my grief, in such a precious loss.
- Here, here, here he comes. Ah, sweet ducks!
- [Embracing him.]
- O Troilus! Troilus!
- What a pair of spectacles is here! Let me embrace too. 'O
- heart,' as the goodly saying is,—
- O heart, heavy heart,
- Why sigh'st thou without breaking?
when he answers again
Because thou canst not ease thy smart
- By friendship nor by speaking.
There was never a truer rhyme. Let us cast away nothing, for we
- may live to have need of such a verse. We see it, we see it. How
- now, lambs!
- Cressid, I love thee in so strain'd a purity
- That the bless'd gods, as angry with my fancy,
- More bright in zeal than the devotion which
- Cold lips blow to their deities, take thee from me.
- Have the gods envy?
- Ay, ay, ay; 'tis too plain a case.
- And is it true that I must go from Troy?
- A hateful truth.
- What! and from Troilus too?
- From Troy and Troilus.
- Is it possible?
- And suddenly; where injury of chance
- Puts back leave-taking, justles roughly by
- All time of pause, rudely beguiles our lips
- Of all rejoindure, forcibly prevents
- Our lock'd embrasures, strangles our dear vows
- Even in the birth of our own labouring breath.
- We two, that with so many thousand sighs
- Did buy each other, must poorly sell ourselves
- With the rude brevity and discharge of one.
- Injurious time now with a robber's haste
- Crams his rich thievery up, he knows not how.
- As many farewells as be stars in heaven,
- With distinct breath and consign'd kisses to them,
- He fumbles up into a loose adieu,
- And scants us with a single famish'd kiss,
- Distasted with the salt of broken tears.
- [Within.] My lord, is the lady ready?
- Hark! you are call'd. Some say the Genius so
- Cries 'Come!' to him that instantly must die.
- Bid them have patience; she shall come anon.
- Where are my tears? Rain, to lay this wind, or my heart
- will be blown up by the root!
- I must then to the Grecians?
- No remedy.
- A woeful Cressid 'mongst the merry Greeks!
- When shall we see again?
- Hear me, my love. Be thou but true of heart
- I true! how now! What wicked deem is this?
- Nay, we must use expostulation kindly,
- For it is parting from us.
- I speak not 'Be thou true' as fearing thee,
- For I will throw my glove to Death himself
- That there's no maculation in thy heart;
- But 'Be thou true' say I to fashion in
- My sequent protestation: be thou true,
- And I will see thee.
- O! you shall be expos'd, my lord, to dangers
- As infinite as imminent! But I'll be true.
- And I'll grow friend with danger. Wear this sleeve.
- And you this glove. When shall I see you?
- I will corrupt the Grecian sentinels
- To give thee nightly visitation.
- But yet be true.
- O heavens! 'Be true' again!
- Hear why I speak it, love.
- The Grecian youths are full of quality;
- They're loving, well compos'd, with gifts of nature,
- Flowing and swelling o'er with arts and exercise.
- How novelty may move, and parts with person,
- Alas, a kind of godly jealousy,
- Which, I beseech you, call a virtuous sin,
- Makes me afear'd.
- O heavens! you love me not.
- Die I a villain, then!
- In this I do not call your faith in question
- So mainly as my merit. I cannot sing,
- Nor heel the high lavolt, nor sweeten talk,
- Nor play at subtle games; fair virtues all,
- To which the Grecians are most prompt and pregnant;
- But I can tell that in each grace of these
- There lurks a still and dumb-discoursive devil
- That tempts most cunningly. But be not tempted.
- Do you think I will?
- But something may be done that we will not;
- And sometimes we are devils to ourselves,
- When we will tempt the frailty of our powers,
- Presuming on their changeful potency.
- [Within.] Nay, good my lord!
- Come, kiss; and let us part.
- [Within.] Brother Troilus!
- Good brother, come you hither;
- And bring Aeneas and the Grecian with you.
- My lord, will you be true?
- Who, I? Alas, it is my vice, my fault!
- Whiles others fish with craft for great opinion,
- I with great truth catch mere simplicity;
- Whilst some with cunning gild their copper crowns,
- With truth and plainness I do wear mine bare.
- Fear not my truth: the moral of my wit
- Is plain and true; there's all the reach of it.
[Enter AENEAS, PARIS, ANTENOR, DEIPHOBUS, and DIOMEDES.]
- Welcome, Sir Diomed! Here is the lady
- Which for Antenor we deliver you;
- At the port, lord, I'll give her to thy hand,
- And by the way possess thee what she is.
- Entreat her fair; and, by my soul, fair Greek,
- If e'er thou stand at mercy of my sword,
- Name Cressid, and thy life shall be as safe
- As Priam is in Ilion.
- Fair Lady Cressid,
- So please you, save the thanks this prince expects.
- The lustre in your eye, heaven in your cheek,
- Pleads your fair usage; and to Diomed
- You shall be mistress, and command him wholly.
- Grecian, thou dost not use me courteously
- To shame the zeal of my petition to thee
- In praising her. I tell thee, lord of Greece,
- She is as far high-soaring o'er thy praises
- As thou unworthy to be call'd her servant.
- I charge thee use her well, even for my charge;
- For, by the dreadful Pluto, if thou dost not,
- Though the great bulk Achilles be thy guard,
- I'll cut thy throat.
- O, be not mov'd, Prince Troilus.
- Let me be privileg'd by my place and message
- To be a speaker free: when I am hence
- I'll answer to my lust. And know you, lord,
- I'll nothing do on charge: to her own worth
- She shall be priz'd. But that you say 'Be't so,'
- I speak it in my spirit and honour, 'No.'
- Come, to the port. I'll tell thee, Diomed,
- This brave shall oft make thee to hide thy head.
- Lady, give me your hand; and, as we walk,
- To our own selves bend we our needful talk.
[Exeunt TROILUS, CRESSIDA, and DIOMEDES.]
- Hark! Hector's trumpet.
- How have we spent this morning!
- The Prince must think me tardy and remiss,
- That swore to ride before him to the field.
- 'Tis Troilus' fault. Come, come to field with him.
- Let us make ready straight.
- Yea, with a bridegroom's fresh alacrity
- Let us address to tend on Hector's heels.
- The glory of our Troy doth this day lie
- On his fair worth and single chivalry.
SCENE 5. The Grecian camp. Lists set out
[Enter AJAX, armed; AGAMEMNON, ACHILLES, PATROCLUS, MENELAUS, ULYSSES, NESTOR, and others.]
- Here art thou in appointment fresh and fair,
- Anticipating time with starting courage.
- Give with thy trumpet a loud note to Troy,
- Thou dreadful Ajax, that the appalled air
- May pierce the head of the great combatant,
- And hale him hither.
- Thou, trumpet, there's my purse.
- Now crack thy lungs and split thy brazen pipe;
- Blow, villain, till thy sphered bias cheek
- Outswell the colic of puff'd Aquilon.
- Come, stretch thy chest, and let thy eyes spout blood:
- Thou blowest for Hector.
- No trumpet answers.
- 'Tis but early days.
[Enter DIOMEDES, with CRESSIDA.]
- Is not yond Diomed, with Calchas' daughter?
- 'Tis he, I ken the manner of his gait:
- He rises on the toe. That spirit of his
- In aspiration lifts him from the earth.
[Enter DIOMEDES with CRESSIDA.]
- Is this the lady Cressid?
- Even she.
- Most dearly welcome to the Greeks, sweet lady.
- Our general doth salute you with a kiss.
- Yet is the kindness but particular;
- 'Twere better she were kiss'd in general.
- And very courtly counsel: I'll begin.
- So much for Nestor.
- I'll take that winter from your lips, fair lady.
- Achilles bids you welcome.
- I had good argument for kissing once.
- But that's no argument for kissing now;
- For thus popp'd Paris in his hardiment,
- And parted thus you and your argument.
- O deadly gall, and theme of all our scorns!
- For which we lose our heads to gild his horns.
- The first was Menelaus' kiss; this, mine:
- Patroclus kisses you.
- O, this is trim!
- Paris and I kiss evermore for him.
- I'll have my kiss, sir. Lady, by your leave.
- In kissing, do you render or receive?
- Both take and give.
- I'll make my match to live,
- The kiss you take is better than you give;
- Therefore no kiss.
- I'll give you boot; I'll give you three for one.
- You are an odd man; give even or give none.
- An odd man, lady! Every man is odd.
- No, Paris is not; for you know 'tis true
- That you are odd, and he is even with you.
- You fillip me o' the head.
- No, I'll be sworn.
- It were no match, your nail against his horn.
- May I, sweet lady, beg a kiss of you?
- You may.
- I do desire it.
- Why, beg then.
- Why then, for Venus' sake give me a kiss
- When Helen is a maid again, and his.
- I am your debtor; claim it when 'tis due.
- Never's my day, and then a kiss of you.
- Lady, a word. I'll bring you to your father.
[Exit with CRESSIDA.]
- A woman of quick sense.
- Fie, fie upon her!
- There's language in her eye, her cheek, her lip,
- Nay, her foot speaks; her wanton spirits look out
- At every joint and motive of her body.
- O! these encounterers so glib of tongue
- That give a coasting welcome ere it comes,
- And wide unclasp the tables of their thoughts
- To every tickling reader! Set them down
- For sluttish spoils of opportunity,
- And daughters of the game.
- The Trojans' trumpet.
- Yonder comes the troop.
[Enter HECTOR, armed; AENEAS, TROILUS, PARIS, HELENUS, and other Trojans, with attendants.]
- Hail, all you state of Greece! What shall be done
- To him that victory commands? Or do you purpose
- A victor shall be known? Will you the knights
- Shall to the edge of all extremity
- Pursue each other, or shall be divided
- By any voice or order of the field?
- Hector bade ask.
- Which way would Hector have it?
- He cares not; he'll obey conditions.
- 'Tis done like Hector; but securely done,
- A little proudly, and great deal misprising
- The knight oppos'd.
- If not Achilles, sir,
- What is your name?
- If not Achilles, nothing.
- Therefore Achilles. But whate'er, know this:
- In the extremity of great and little
- Valour and pride excel themselves in Hector;
- The one almost as infinite as all,
- The other blank as nothing. Weigh him well,
- And that which looks like pride is courtesy.
- This Ajax is half made of Hector's blood;
- In love whereof half Hector stays at home;
- Half heart, half hand, half Hector comes to seek
- This blended knight, half Trojan and half Greek.
- A maiden battle then? O! I perceive you.
- Here is Sir Diomed. Go, gentle knight,
- Stand by our Ajax. As you and Lord Aeneas
- Consent upon the order of their fight,
- So be it; either to the uttermost,
- Or else a breath. The combatants being kin
- Half stints their strife before their strokes begin.
[AJAX and HECTOR enter the lists.]
- They are oppos'd already.
- What Trojan is that same that looks so heavy?
- The youngest son of Priam, a true knight;
- Not yet mature, yet matchless; firm of word;
- Speaking in deeds and deedless in his tongue;
- Not soon provok'd, nor being provok'd soon calm'd;
- His heart and hand both open and both free;
- For what he has he gives, what thinks he shows,
- Yet gives he not till judgment guide his bounty,
- Nor dignifies an impure thought with breath;
- Manly as Hector, but more dangerous;
- For Hector in his blaze of wrath subscribes
- To tender objects, but he in heat of action
- Is more vindicative than jealous love.
- They call him Troilus, and on him erect
- A second hope as fairly built as Hector.
- Thus says Aeneas, one that knows the youth
- Even to his inches, and, with private soul,
- Did in great Ilion thus translate him to me.
[Alarum. HECTOR and AJAX fight.]
- They are in action.
- Now, Ajax, hold thine own!
- Hector, thou sleep'st;
- Awake thee!
- His blows are well dispos'd. There, Ajax!
- You must no more.
- Princes, enough, so please you.
- I am not warm yet; let us fight again.
- As Hector pleases.
- Why, then will I no more.
- Thou art, great lord, my father's sister's son,
- A cousin-german to great Priam's seed;
- The obligation of our blood forbids
- A gory emulation 'twixt us twain:
- Were thy commixtion Greek and Trojan so
- That thou could'st say 'This hand is Grecian all,
- And this is Trojan; the sinews of this leg
- All Greek, and this all Troy; my mother's blood
- Runs on the dexter cheek, and this sinister
- Bounds in my father's; by Jove multipotent,
- Thou shouldst not bear from me a Greekish member
- Wherein my sword had not impressure made
- Of our rank feud; but the just gods gainsay
- That any drop thou borrow'dst from thy mother,
- My sacred aunt, should by my mortal sword
- Be drained! Let me embrace thee, Ajax.
- By him that thunders, thou hast lusty arms;
- Hector would have them fall upon him thus.
- Cousin, all honour to thee!
- I thank thee, Hector.
- Thou art too gentle and too free a man.
- I came to kill thee, cousin, and bear hence
- A great addition earned in thy death.
- Not Neoptolemus so mirable,
- On whose bright crest Fame with her loud'st Oyes
- Cries 'This is he!' could promise to himself
- A thought of added honour torn from Hector.
- There is expectance here from both the sides
- What further you will do.
- We'll answer it:
- The issue is embracement. Ajax, farewell.
- If I might in entreaties find success,
- As seld' I have the chance, I would desire
- My famous cousin to our Grecian tents.
- 'Tis Agamemnon's wish; and great Achilles
- Doth long to see unarm'd the valiant Hector.
- Aeneas, call my brother Troilus to me,
- And signify this loving interview
- To the expecters of our Trojan part;
- Desire them home. Give me thy hand, my cousin;
- I will go eat with thee, and see your knights.
[AGAMEMNON and the rest of the Greeks come forward.]
- Great Agamemnon comes to meet us here.
- The worthiest of them tell me name by name;
- But for Achilles, my own searching eyes
- Shall find him by his large and portly size.
- Worthy of arms! as welcome as to one
- That would be rid of such an enemy.
- But that's no welcome. Understand more clear,
- What's past and what's to come is strew'd with husks
- And formless ruin of oblivion;
- But in this extant moment, faith and troth,
- Strain'd purely from all hollow bias-drawing,
- Bids thee with most divine integrity,
- From heart of very heart, great Hector, welcome.
- I thank thee, most imperious Agamemnon.
- My well-fam'd lord of Troy, no less to you.
- Let me confirm my princely brother's greeting.
- You brace of warlike brothers, welcome hither.
- Who must we answer?
- The noble Menelaus.
- O you, my lord? By Mars his gauntlet, thanks!
- Mock not that I affect the untraded oath;
- Your quondam wife swears still by Venus' glove.
- She's well, but bade me not commend her to you.
- Name her not now, sir; she's a deadly theme.
- O, pardon; I offend.
- I have, thou gallant Trojan, seen thee oft,
- Labouring for destiny, make cruel way
- Through ranks of Greekish youth; and I have seen thee,
- As hot as Perseus, spur thy Phrygian steed,
- Despising many forfeits and subduements,
- When thou hast hung thy advanced sword i' th' air,
- Not letting it decline on the declined;
- That I have said to some my standers-by
- 'Lo, Jupiter is yonder, dealing life!'
- And I have seen thee pause and take thy breath,
- When that a ring of Greeks have hemm'd thee in,
- Like an Olympian wrestling. This have I seen;
- But this thy countenance, still lock'd in steel,
- I never saw till now. I knew thy grandsire,
- And once fought with him. He was a soldier good,
- But, by great Mars, the captain of us all,
- Never like thee. O, let an old man embrace thee;
- And, worthy warrior, welcome to our tents.
- 'Tis the old Nestor.
- Let me embrace thee, good old chronicle,
- That hast so long walk'd hand in hand with time.
- Most reverend Nestor, I am glad to clasp thee.
- I would my arms could match thee in contention
- As they contend with thee in courtesy.
- I would they could.
- By this white beard, I'd fight with thee to-morrow.
- Well, welcome, welcome! I have seen the time.
- I wonder now how yonder city stands,
- When we have here her base and pillar by us.
- I know your favour, Lord Ulysses, well.
- Ah, sir, there's many a Greek and Trojan dead,
- Since first I saw yourself and Diomed
- In Ilion on your Greekish embassy.
- Sir, I foretold you then what would ensue.
- My prophecy is but half his journey yet;
- For yonder walls, that pertly front your town,
- Yond towers, whose wanton tops do buss the clouds,
- Must kiss their own feet.
- I must not believe you.
- There they stand yet; and modestly I think
- The fall of every Phrygian stone will cost
- A drop of Grecian blood. The end crowns all;
- And that old common arbitrator, Time,
- Will one day end it.
- So to him we leave it.
- Most gentle and most valiant Hector, welcome.
- After the General, I beseech you next
- To feast with me and see me at my tent.
- I shall forestall thee, Lord Ulysses, thou!
- Now, Hector, I have fed mine eyes on thee;
- I have with exact view perus'd thee, Hector,
- And quoted joint by joint.
- Is this Achilles?
- I am Achilles.
- Stand fair, I pray thee; let me look on thee.
- Behold thy fill.
- Nay, I have done already.
- Thou art too brief. I will the second time,
- As I would buy thee, view thee limb by limb.
- O, like a book of sport thou'lt read me o'er;
- But there's more in me than thou understand'st.
- Why dost thou so oppress me with thine eye?
- Tell me, you heavens, in which part of his body
- Shall I destroy him? Whether there, or there, or there?
- That I may give the local wound a name,
- And make distinct the very breach whereout
- Hector's great spirit flew. Answer me, heavens.
- It would discredit the blest gods, proud man,
- To answer such a question. Stand again.
- Think'st thou to catch my life so pleasantly
- As to prenominate in nice conjecture
- Where thou wilt hit me dead?
- I tell thee yea.
- Wert thou an oracle to tell me so,
- I'd not believe thee. Henceforth guard thee well;
- For I'll not kill thee there, nor there, nor there;
- But, by the forge that stithied Mars his helm,
- I'll kill thee everywhere, yea, o'er and o'er.
- You wisest Grecians, pardon me this brag.
- His insolence draws folly from my lips;
- But I'll endeavour deeds to match these words,
- Or may I never—
- Do not chafe thee, cousin;
- And you, Achilles, let these threats alone
- Till accident or purpose bring you to't.
- You may have every day enough of Hector,
- If you have stomach. The general state, I fear,
- Can scarce entreat you to be odd with him.
- I pray you let us see you in the field;
- We have had pelting wars since you refus'd
- The Grecians' cause.
- Dost thou entreat me, Hector?
- To-morrow do I meet thee, fell as death;
- To-night all friends.
- Thy hand upon that match.
- First, all you peers of Greece, go to my tent;
- There in the full convive we; afterwards,
- As Hector's leisure and your bounties shall
- Concur together, severally entreat him.
- Beat loud the tambourines, let the trumpets blow,
- That this great soldier may his welcome know.
[Exeunt all but TROILUS and ULYSSES.]
- My Lord Ulysses, tell me, I beseech you,
- In what place of the field doth Calchas keep?
- At Menelaus' tent, most princely Troilus.
- There Diomed doth feast with him to-night,
- Who neither looks upon the heaven nor earth,
- But gives all gaze and bent of amorous view
- On the fair Cressid.
- Shall I, sweet lord, be bound to you so much,
- After we part from Agamemnon's tent,
- To bring me thither?
- You shall command me, sir.
- As gentle tell me of what honour was
- This Cressida in Troy? Had she no lover there
- That wails her absence?
- O, sir, to such as boasting show their scars
- A mock is due. Will you walk on, my lord?
- She was belov'd, she lov'd; she is, and doth;
- But still sweet love is food for fortune's tooth.
SCENE 1. The Grecian camp. Before the tent of ACHILLES
[Enter ACHILLES and PATROCLUS.]
- 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.
- Here comes Thersites.
- How now, thou core of envy!
- Thou crusty batch of nature, what's the news?
- Why, thou picture of what thou seemest, and idol of
- idiot worshippers, here's a letter for thee.
- From whence, fragment?
- Why, thou full dish of fool, from Troy.
- Who keeps the tent now?
- The surgeon's box or the patient's wound.
- Well said, Adversity! and what needs these tricks?
- Prithee, be silent, boy; I profit not by thy talk; thou
- art said to be Achilles' male varlet.
- Male varlet, you rogue! What's that?
- 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
- Why, thou damnable box of envy, thou, what meanest thou
- to curse thus?
- Do I curse thee?
- Why, no, you ruinous butt; you whoreson indistinguishable cur,
- 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!
- Out, gall!
- Finch egg!
- 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.]
- 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.]
- We go wrong, we go wrong.
- No, yonder 'tis;
- There, where we see the lights.
- I trouble you.
- No, not a whit.
- Here comes himself to guide you.
- Welcome, brave Hector; welcome, Princes all.
- So now, fair Prince of Troy, I bid good night;
- Ajax commands the guard to tend on you.
- Thanks, and good night to the Greeks' general.
- Good night, my lord.
- Good night, sweet Lord Menelaus.
- Sweet draught! 'Sweet' quoth a'!
- Sweet sink, sweet sewer!
- Good night and welcome, both at once, to those
- That go or tarry.
- Good night.
[Exeunt AGAMEMNON and MENELAUS.]
- Old Nestor tarries; and you too, Diomed,
- Keep Hector company an hour or two.
- I cannot, lord; I have important business,
- The tide whereof is now. Good night, great Hector.
- Give me your hand.
[Aside to TROILUS]
- Follow his torch; he goes to
- Calchas' tent; I'll keep you company.
- Sweet sir, you honour me.
- And so, good night.
[Exit DIOMEDES; ULYSSES and TROILUS following.]
- Come, come, enter my tent.
[Exeunt all but THERSITES.]
- That same Diomed's a false-hearted rogue, a most unjust
- knave; I will no more trust him when he leers than I will a
- serpent when he hisses. He will spend his mouth and promise, like
- Brabbler the hound; but when he performs, astronomers foretell
- it: it is prodigious, there will come some change; the sun
- borrows of the moon when Diomed keeps his word. I will rather
- leave to see Hector than not to dog him. They say he keeps a
- Trojan drab, and uses the traitor Calchas' tent. I'll after.
- Nothing but lechery! All incontinent varlets!
SCENE 2. The Grecian camp. Before CALCHAS' tent
- What, are you up here, ho! Speak.
- [Within.] Who calls?
- Diomed. Calchas, I think. Where's your daughter?
- [Within.] She comes to you.
[Enter TROILUS and ULYSSES, at a distance; after them THERSITES.]
- Stand where the torch may not discover us.
- Cressid comes forth to him.
- How now, my charge!
- Now, my sweet guardian! Hark, a word with you.
- Yea, so familiar!
- She will sing any man at first sight.
- And any man may sing her, if he can take her cliff; she's noted.
- Will you remember?
- Remember! Yes.
- Nay, but do, then;
- And let your mind be coupled with your words.
- What should she remember?
- Sweet honey Greek, tempt me no more to folly.
- Nay, then
- I'll tell you what—
- Fo, fo! come, tell a pin; you are a forsworn.
- In faith, I cannot. What would you have me do?
- A juggling trick, to be secretly open.
- What did you swear you would bestow on me?
- I prithee, do not hold me to mine oath;
- Bid me do anything but that, sweet Greek.
- Good night.
- Hold, patience!
- How now, Trojan!
- No, no, good night; I'll be your fool no more.
- Thy better must.
- Hark! one word in your ear.
- O plague and madness!
- You are moved, Prince; let us depart, I pray you,
- Lest your displeasure should enlarge itself
- To wrathful terms. This place is dangerous;
- The time right deadly; I beseech you, go.
- Behold, I pray you.
- Nay, good my lord, go off;
- You flow to great distraction; come, my lord.
- I pray thee stay.
- You have not patience; come.
- I pray you, stay; by hell and all hell's torments,
- I will not speak a word.
- And so, good night.
- Nay, but you part in anger.
- Doth that grieve thee? O withered truth!
- How now, my lord?
- By Jove, I will be patient.
- Guardian! Why, Greek!
- Fo, fo! adieu! you palter.
- In faith, I do not. Come hither once again.
- You shake, my lord, at something; will you go?
- You will break out.
- She strokes his cheek.
- Come, come.
- Nay, stay; by Jove, I will not speak a word:
- There is between my will and all offences
- A guard of patience. Stay a little while.
- How the devil Luxury, with his fat rump and potato
- finger, tickles these together! Fry, lechery, fry!
- But will you, then?
- In faith, I will, la; never trust me else.
- Give me some token for the surety of it.
- I'll fetch you one.
- You have sworn patience.
- Fear me not, my lord;
- I will not be myself, nor have cognition
- Of what I feel. I am all patience.
- Now the pledge; now, now, now!
- Here, Diomed, keep this sleeve.
- O beauty! where is thy faith?
- My lord!
- I will be patient; outwardly I will.
- You look upon that sleeve; behold it well.
- He lov'd me O false wench! Give't me again.
- Whose was't?
- It is no matter, now I have't again.
- I will not meet with you to-morrow night.
- I prithee, Diomed, visit me no more.
- Now she sharpens. Well said, whetstone.
- I shall have it.
- What, this?
- Ay, that.
- O all you gods! O pretty, pretty pledge!
- Thy master now lies thinking on his bed
- Of thee and me, and sighs, and takes my glove,
- And gives memorial dainty kisses to it,
- As I kiss thee. Nay, do not snatch it from me;
- He that takes that doth take my heart withal.
- I had your heart before; this follows it.
- I did swear patience.
- You shall not have it, Diomed; faith, you shall not;
- I'll give you something else.
- I will have this. Whose was it?
- It is no matter.
- Come, tell me whose it was.
- 'Twas one's that lov'd me better than you will.
- But, now you have it, take it.
- Whose was it?
- By all Diana's waiting women yond,
- And by herself, I will not tell you whose.
- To-morrow will I wear it on my helm,
- And grieve his spirit that dares not challenge it.
- Wert thou the devil and wor'st it on thy horn,
- It should be challeng'd.
- Well, well, 'tis done, 'tis past; and yet it is not;
- I will not keep my word.
- Why, then farewell;
- Thou never shalt mock Diomed again.
- You shall not go. One cannot speak a word
- But it straight starts you.
- I do not like this fooling.
- Nor I, by Pluto; but that that likes not you
- Pleases me best.
- What, shall I come? The hour?
- Ay, come-O Jove! Do come. I shall be plagu'd.
- Farewell till then.
- Good night. I prithee come.
- Troilus, farewell! One eye yet looks on thee;
- But with my heart the other eye doth see.
- Ah, poor our sex! this fault in us I find,
- The error of our eye directs our mind.
- What error leads must err; O, then conclude,
- Minds sway'd by eyes are full of turpitude.
- A proof of strength she could not publish more,
- Unless she said 'My mind is now turn'd whore.'
- All's done, my lord.
- It is.
- Why stay we, then?
- To make a recordation to my soul
- Of every syllable that here was spoke.
- But if I tell how these two did co-act,
- Shall I not lie in publishing a truth?
- Sith yet there is a credence in my heart,
- An esperance so obstinately strong,
- That doth invert th' attest of eyes and ears;
- As if those organs had deceptious functions
- Created only to calumniate.
- Was Cressid here?
- I cannot conjure, Trojan.
- She was not, sure.
- Most sure she was.
- Why, my negation hath no taste of madness.
- Nor mine, my lord. Cressid was here but now.
- Let it not be believ'd for womanhood.
- Think, we had mothers; do not give advantage
- To stubborn critics, apt, without a theme,
- For depravation, to square the general sex
- By Cressid's rule. Rather think this not Cressid.
- What hath she done, Prince, that can soil our mothers?
- Nothing at all, unless that this were she.
- Will he swagger himself out on's own eyes?
- This she? No; this is Diomed's Cressida.
- If beauty have a soul, this is not she;
- If souls guide vows, if vows be sanctimony,
- If sanctimony be the god's delight,
- If there be rule in unity itself,
- This was not she. O madness of discourse,
- That cause sets up with and against itself!
- Bi-fold authority! where reason can revolt
- Without perdition, and loss assume all reason
- Without revolt: this is, and is not, Cressid.
- Within my soul there doth conduce a fight
- Of this strange nature, that a thing inseparate
- Divides more wider than the sky and earth;
- And yet the spacious breadth of this division
- Admits no orifice for a point as subtle
- As Ariachne's broken woof to enter.
- Instance, O instance! strong as Pluto's gates:
- Cressid is mine, tied with the bonds of heaven.
- Instance, O instance! strong as heaven itself:
- The bonds of heaven are slipp'd, dissolv'd, and loos'd;
- And with another knot, five-finger-tied,
- The fractions of her faith, orts of her love,
- The fragments, scraps, the bits, and greasy relics
- Of her o'er-eaten faith, are bound to Diomed.
- May worthy Troilus be half-attach'd
- With that which here his passion doth express?
- Ay, Greek; and that shall be divulged well
- In characters as red as Mars his heart
- Inflam'd with Venus. Never did young man fancy
- With so eternal and so fix'd a soul.
- Hark, Greek: as much as I do Cressid love,
- So much by weight hate I her Diomed.
- That sleeve is mine that he'll bear on his helm;
- Were it a casque compos'd by Vulcan's skill
- My sword should bite it. Not the dreadful spout
- Which shipmen do the hurricano call,
- Constring'd in mass by the almighty sun,
- Shall dizzy with more clamour Neptune's ear
- In his descent than shall my prompted sword
- Falling on Diomed.
- He'll tickle it for his concupy.
- O Cressid! O false Cressid! false, false, false!
- Let all untruths stand by thy stained name,
- And they'll seem glorious.
- O, contain yourself;
- Your passion draws ears hither.
- I have been seeking you this hour, my lord.
- Hector, by this, is arming him in Troy;
- Ajax, your guard, stays to conduct you home.
- Have with you, Prince. My courteous lord, adieu.
- Fairwell, revolted fair! and, Diomed,
- Stand fast and wear a castle on thy head.
- I'll bring you to the gates.
- Accept distracted thanks.
[Exeunt TROILUS, AENEAS. and ULYSSES.]
- Would I could meet that rogue Diomed! I would croak like
- a raven; I would bode, I would bode. Patroclus will give me
- anything for the intelligence of this whore; the parrot will not
- do more for an almond than he for a commodious drab. Lechery,
- lechery! Still wars and lechery! Nothing else holds fashion. A
- burning devil take them!
SCENE 3. Troy. Before PRIAM'S palace
[Enter HECTOR and ANDROMACHE.]
- When was my lord so much ungently temper'd
- To stop his ears against admonishment?
- Unarm, unarm, and do not fight to-day.
- You train me to offend you; get you in.
- By all the everlasting gods, I'll go.
- My dreams will, sure, prove ominous to the day.
- No more, I say.
- Where is my brother Hector?
- Here, sister, arm'd, and bloody in intent.
- Consort with me in loud and dear petition,
- Pursue we him on knees; for I have dreamt
- Of bloody turbulence, and this whole night
- Hath nothing been but shapes and forms of slaughter.
- O, 'tis true!
- Ho! bid my trumpet sound.
- No notes of sally, for the heavens, sweet brother!
- Be gone, I say. The gods have heard me swear.
- The gods are deaf to hot and peevish vows;
- They are polluted off'rings, more abhorr'd
- Than spotted livers in the sacrifice.
- O, be persuaded! Do not count it holy
- To hurt by being just. It is as lawful,
- For we would give much, to use violent thefts
- And rob in the behalf of charity.
- It is the purpose that makes strong the vow;
- But vows to every purpose must not hold.
- Unarm, sweet Hector.
- Hold you still, I say.
- Mine honour keeps the weather of my fate.
- Life every man holds dear; but the dear man
- Holds honour far more precious dear than life.
- How now, young man! Mean'st thou to fight to-day?
- Cassandra, call my father to persuade.
- No, faith, young Troilus; doff thy harness, youth;
- I am to-day i' the vein of chivalry.
- Let grow thy sinews till their knots be strong,
- And tempt not yet the brushes of the war.
- Unarm thee, go; and doubt thou not, brave boy,
- I'll stand to-day for thee and me and Troy.
- Brother, you have a vice of mercy in you
- Which better fits a lion than a man.
- What vice is that, good Troilus?
- Chide me for it.
- When many times the captive Grecian falls,
- Even in the fan and wind of your fair sword,
- You bid them rise and live.
- O, 'tis fair play!
- Fool's play, by heaven, Hector.
- How now! how now!
- For th' love of all the gods,
- Let's leave the hermit Pity with our mothers;
- And when we have our armours buckled on,
- The venom'd vengeance ride upon our swords,
- Spur them to ruthful work, rein them from ruth!
- Fie, savage, fie!
- Hector, then 'tis wars.
- Troilus, I would not have you fight to-day.
- Who should withhold me?
- Not fate, obedience, nor the hand of Mars
- Beckoning with fiery truncheon my retire;
- Not Priamus and Hecuba on knees,
- Their eyes o'ergalled with recourse of tears;
- Nor you, my brother, with your true sword drawn,
- Oppos'd to hinder me, should stop my way,
- But by my ruin.
[Re-enter CASSANDRA, with PRIAM.]
- Lay hold upon him, Priam, hold him fast;
- He is thy crutch; now if thou lose thy stay,
- Thou on him leaning, and all Troy on thee,
- Fall all together.
- Come, Hector, come, go back.
- Thy wife hath dreamt; thy mother hath had visions;
- Cassandra doth foresee; and I myself
- Am like a prophet suddenly enrapt
- To tell thee that this day is ominous.
- Therefore, come back.
- Aeneas is a-field;
- And I do stand engag'd to many Greeks,
- Even in the faith of valour, to appear
- This morning to them.
- Ay, but thou shalt not go.
- I must not break my faith.
- You know me dutiful; therefore, dear sir,
- Let me not shame respect; but give me leave
- To take that course by your consent and voice
- Which you do here forbid me, royal Priam.
- O Priam, yield not to him!
- Do not, dear father.
- Andromache, I am offended with you.
- Upon the love you bear me, get you in.
- This foolish, dreaming, superstitious girl
- Makes all these bodements.
- O, farewell, dear Hector!
- Look how thou diest. Look how thy eye turns pale.
- Look how thy wounds do bleed at many vents.
- Hark how Troy roars; how Hecuba cries out;
- How poor Andromache shrills her dolours forth;
- Behold distraction, frenzy, and amazement,
- Like witless antics, one another meet,
- And all cry, Hector! Hector's dead! O Hector!
- Away, away!
- Farewell! yet, soft! Hector, I take my leave.
- Thou dost thyself and all our Troy deceive.
- You are amaz'd, my liege, at her exclaim.
- Go in, and cheer the town; we'll forth, and fight,
- Do deeds worth praise and tell you them at night.
- Farewell. The gods with safety stand about thee!
[Exeunt severally PRIAM and HECTOR. Alarums.]
- They are at it, hark! Proud Diomed, believe,
- I come to lose my arm or win my sleeve.
- Do you hear, my lord? Do you hear?
- What now?
- Here's a letter come from yond poor girl.
- Let me read.
- A whoreson tisick, a whoreson rascally tisick so troubles
- me, and the foolish fortune of this girl, and what one thing,
- what another, that I shall leave you one o' these days; and I
- have a rheum in mine eyes too, and such an ache in my bones that
- unless a man were curs'd I cannot tell what to think on't. What
- says she there?
- Words, words, mere words, no matter from the heart;
- Th' effect doth operate another way.
[Tearing the letter.]
- Go, wind, to wind, there turn and change together.
- My love with words and errors still she feeds,
- But edifies another with her deeds.
SCENE 4. The plain between Troy and the Grecian camp
[Alarums. Excursions. Enter THERSITES.]
- 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 of
- a sleeve-less 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 prov'd 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.
[Enter DIOMEDES, TROILUS following.]
Soft! here comes sleeve, and t'other.
- Fly not; for shouldst thou take the river Styx
- I would swim after.
- Thou dost miscall retire.
- I do not fly; but advantageous care
- Withdrew me from the odds of multitude.
- Have at thee.
- Hold thy whore, Grecian; now for thy whore,
- Trojan! now the sleeve, now the sleeve!
[Exeunt TROILUS and DIOMEDES fighting.]
- What art thou, Greek? Art thou for Hector's match?
- Art thou of blood and honour?
- No, no I am a rascal; a scurvy railing knave; a very
- filthy rogue.
- I do believe thee. Live.
- 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
SCENE 5. Another part of the plain
[Enter DIOMEDES and A SERVANT.]
- Go, go, my servant, take thou Troilus' horse;
- Present the fair steed to my lady Cressid.
- Fellow, commend my service to her beauty;
- Tell her I have chastis'd the amorous Trojan,
- And am her knight by proof.
- I go, my lord.
- Renew, renew! The fierce Polydamus
- Hath beat down Menon; bastard Margarelon
- Hath Doreus prisoner,
- And stands colossus-wise, waving his beam,
- Upon the pashed corses of the kings
- Epistrophus and Cedius. Polixenes is slain;
- Amphimacus and Thoas deadly hurt;
- Patroclus ta'en, or slain; and Palamedes
- Sore hurt and bruis'd. The dreadful Sagittary
- Appals our numbers. Haste we, Diomed,
- To reinforcement, or we perish all.
- Go, bear Patroclus' body to Achilles,
- And bid the snail-pac'd Ajax arm for shame.
- There is a thousand Hectors in the field;
- Now here he fights on Galathe his horse,
- And there lacks work; anon he's there afoot,
- And there they fly or die, like scaled sculls
- Before the belching whale; then is he yonder,
- And there the strawy Greeks, ripe for his edge,
- Fall down before him like the mower's swath.
- Here, there, and everywhere, he leaves and takes;
- Dexterity so obeying appetite
- That what he will he does, and does so much
- That proof is call'd impossibility.
- O, courage, courage, courage, Princes! Great
- Achilles is arming, weeping, cursing, vowing vengeance.
- Patroclus' wounds have rous'd his drowsy blood,
- Together with his mangled Myrmidons,
- That noseless, handless, hack'd and chipp'd, come to
- him, Crying on Hector. Ajax hath lost a friend
- And foams at mouth, and he is arm'd and at it,
- Roaring for Troilus; who hath done to-day
- Mad and fantastic execution,
- Engaging and redeeming of himself
- With such a careless force and forceless care
- As if that luck, in very spite of cunning,
- Bade him win all.
- Troilus! thou coward Troilus!
- Ay, there, there.
- So, so, we draw together.
- Where is this Hector?
- Come, come, thou boy-queller, show thy face;
- Know what it is to meet Achilles angry.
- Hector! where's Hector? I will none but Hector.
SCENE 6. Another part of the plain
- Troilus, thou coward Troilus, show thy head.
- Troilus, I say! Where's Troilus?
- What wouldst thou?
- I would correct him.
- Were I the general, thou shouldst have my office
- Ere that correction. Troilus, I say! What, Troilus!
- O traitor Diomed! Turn thy false face, thou traitor,
- And pay thy life thou owest me for my horse.
- Ha! art thou there?
- I'll fight with him alone. Stand, Diomed.
- He is my prize. I will not look upon.
- Come, both, you cogging Greeks; have at you—
- Yea, Troilus? O, well fought, my youngest brother!
- Now do I see thee. Ha! have at thee, Hector!
- Pause, if thou wilt.
- I do disdain thy courtesy, proud Trojan.
- Be happy that my arms are out of use;
- My rest and negligence befriend thee now,
- But thou anon shalt hear of me again;
- Till when, go seek thy fortune.
- Fare thee well.
- I would have been much more a fresher man,
- Had I expected thee.
How now, my brother!
- Ajax hath ta'en Aeneas. Shall it be?
- No, by the flame of yonder glorious heaven,
- He shall not carry him; I'll be ta'en too,
- Or bring him off. Fate, hear me what I say:
- I reck not though thou end my life to-day.
[Enter one in armour.]
- Stand, stand, thou Greek; thou art a goodly mark.
- No? wilt thou not? I like thy armour well;
- I'll frush it and unlock the rivets all
- But I'll be master of it. Wilt thou not, beast, abide?
- Why then, fly on; I'll hunt thee for thy hide.
SCENE 7. Another part of the plain
[Enter ACHILLES, with Myrmidons.]
- Come here about me, you my Myrmidons;
- Mark what I say. Attend me where I wheel;
- Strike not a stroke, but keep yourselves in breath;
- And when I have the bloody Hector found,
- Empale him with your weapons round about;
- In fellest manner execute your aims.
- Follow me, sirs, and my proceedings eye.
- It is decreed Hector the great must die.
[Enter MENELAUS and PARIS, fighting; then THERSITES.]
- The cuckold and the cuckold-maker are at it. Now, bull!
- now, dog! 'Loo, Paris, 'loo! now my double-henned sparrow! 'loo,
- Paris, 'loo! The bull has the game. 'Ware horns, ho!
[Exeunt PARIS and MENELAUS.]
- Turn, slave, and fight.
- What art thou?
- A bastard son of Priam's.
- I am a bastard too; I love bastards. I am a bastard
- begot, bastard instructed, bastard in mind, bastard in valour, in
- everything illegitimate. One bear will not bite another, and
- wherefore should one bastard? Take heed, the quarrel's most
- ominous to us: if the son of a whore fight for a whore, he tempts
- judgment. Farewell, bastard.
- The devil take thee, coward!
SCENE 8. Another part of the plain
- Most putrified core so fair without,
- Thy goodly armour thus hath cost thy life.
- Now is my day's work done; I'll take good breath:
- Rest, sword; thou hast thy fill of blood and death!
[Enter ACHILLES and his Myrmidons.]
- Look, Hector, how the sun begins to set;
- How ugly night comes breathing at his heels;
- Even with the vail and dark'ning of the sun,
- To close the day up, Hector's life is done.
- I am unarm'd; forego this vantage, Greek.
- Strike, fellows, strike; this is the man I seek.
- So, Ilion, fall thou next! Now, Troy, sink down;
- Here lies thy heart, thy sinews, and thy bone.
- On, Myrmidons, and cry you an amain
- 'Achilles hath the mighty Hector slain.'
[A retreat sounded.]
- Hark! a retreat upon our Grecian part.
- The Trojan trumpets sound the like, my lord.
- The dragon wing of night o'erspreads the earth
- And, stickler-like, the armies separates.
- My half-supp'd sword, that frankly would have fed,
- Pleas'd with this dainty bait, thus goes to bed.
[Sheathes his sword.]
- Come, tie his body to my horse's tail;
- Along the field I will the Trojan trail.
SCENE 9. Another part of the plain
[Sound retreat. Shout. Enter AGAMEMNON, AJAX, MENELAUS, NESTOR, DIOMEDES, and the rest, marching.]
- Hark! hark! what shout is this?
- Peace, drums!
- [Within.] Achilles! Achilles! Hector's slain. Achilles!
- The bruit is Hector's slain, and by Achilles.
- If it be so, yet bragless let it be;
- Great Hector was as good a man as he.
- March patiently along. Let one be sent
- To pray Achilles see us at our tent.
- If in his death the gods have us befriended;
- Great Troy is ours, and our sharp wars are ended.
SCENE 10. Another part of the plain
[Enter AENEAS, PARIS, ANTENOR, and DEIPHOBUS.]
- Stand, ho! yet are we masters of the field.
- Never go home; here starve we out the night.
- Hector is slain.
- Hector! The gods forbid!
- He's dead, and at the murderer's horse's tail,
- In beastly sort, dragg'd through the shameful field.
- Frown on, you heavens, effect your rage with speed.
- Sit, gods, upon your thrones, and smile at Troy.
- I say at once let your brief plagues be mercy,
- And linger not our sure destructions on.
- My lord, you do discomfort all the host.
- You understand me not that tell me so.
- I do not speak of flight, of fear of death,
- But dare all imminence that gods and men
- Address their dangers in. Hector is gone.
- Who shall tell Priam so, or Hecuba?
- Let him that will a screech-owl aye be call'd
- Go in to Troy, and say there 'Hector's dead.'
- There is a word will Priam turn to stone;
- Make wells and Niobes of the maids and wives,
- Cold statues of the youth; and, in a word,
- Scare Troy out of itself. But, march away;
- Hector is dead; there is no more to say.
- Stay yet. You vile abominable tents,
- Thus proudly pight upon our Phrygian plains,
- Let Titan rise as early as he dare,
- I'll through and through you. And, thou great-siz'd coward,
- No space of earth shall sunder our two hates;
- I'll haunt thee like a wicked conscience still,
- That mouldeth goblins swift as frenzy's thoughts.
- Strike a free march to Troy. With comfort go;
- Hope of revenge shall hide our inward woe.
- But hear you, hear you!
- Hence, broker-lackey. Ignominy and shame
- Pursue thy life and live aye with thy name!
[Exeunt all but PANDARUS.]
- A goodly medicine for my aching bones! world! world! thus
- is the poor agent despis'd! traitors and bawds, how earnestly are
- you set a-work, and how ill requited! Why should our endeavour be
- so lov'd, and the performance so loathed? What verse for it? What
- instance for it? Let me see—
- Full merrily the humble-bee doth sing
- Till he hath lost his honey and his sting;
- And being once subdu'd in armed trail,
- Sweet honey and sweet notes together fail.
- Good traders in the flesh, set this in your painted cloths.
- As many as be here of pander's hall,
- Your eyes, half out, weep out at Pandar's fall;
- Or, if you cannot weep, yet give some groans,
- Though not for me, yet for your aching bones.
- Brethren and sisters of the hold-door trade,
- Some two months hence my will shall here be made.
- It should be now, but that my fear is this,
- Some galled goose of Winchester would hiss.
- Till then I'll sweat and seek about for eases,
- And at that time bequeath you my diseases.