The History of Troilus and Cressida
William Shakespeare [Craig edition]
Part 2 out of 4
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!
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.
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.
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?
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
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?
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.
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
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
Well, I'll make's excuse.
Ay, good my lord. Why should you say Cressida?
No, your poor disposer's sick.
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
Ay, ay, prithee now. By my troth, sweet lord, thou hast a
Ay, you may, you may.
Let thy song be love. This love will undo us all. O 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.
[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.
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 corner. 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.
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!
Ajax goes up and down the field asking for himself.
He must fight singly to-morrow with Hector, and is so
prophetically proud of an heroical cudgelling that he raves in
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
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?
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
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--
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.
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