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Troilus and Cressida

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Act I, Scene 1

Troy. Before Priam’s palace.


[Enter TROILUS armed, and PANDARUS]

  • Troilus. Call here my varlet; I'll unarm again:
    Why should I war without the walls of Troy,
    That find such cruel battle here within? 35
    Each Trojan that is master of his heart,
    Let him to field; Troilus, alas! hath none.
  • Pandarus. Will this gear ne'er be mended?
  • Troilus. The Greeks are strong and skilful to their strength,
    Fierce to their skill and to their fierceness valiant; 40
    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 unpractised infancy.
  • Pandarus. Well, I have told you enough of this: for my part, 45
    I'll not meddle nor make no further. He that will
    have a cake out of the wheat must needs tarry the grinding.
  • Pandarus. Ay, the grinding; but you must tarry
    the bolting. 50
  • Pandarus. Ay, the bolting, but you must tarry the leavening.
  • Pandarus. Ay, to the leavening; but here's yet in the word
    'hereafter' the kneading, the making of the cake, the 55
    heating of the oven and the baking; nay, you must
    stay the cooling too, or you may chance to burn your lips.
  • Troilus. Patience herself, what goddess e'er she be,
    Doth lesser blench at sufferance than I do.
    At Priam's royal table do I sit; 60
    And when fair Cressid comes into my thoughts,—
    So, traitor! 'When she comes!' When is she thence?
  • Pandarus. Well, she looked yesternight fairer than ever I saw
    her look, or any woman else.
  • Troilus. I was about to tell thee:—when my heart, 65
    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, 70
    Is like that mirth fate turns to sudden sadness.
  • Pandarus. 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 75
    somebody had heard her talk yesterday, as I did. I
    will not dispraise your sister Cassandra's wit, but—
  • Troilus. O Pandarus! I tell thee, Pandarus,—
    When I do tell thee, there my hopes lie drown'd,
    Reply not in how many fathoms deep 80
    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, 85
    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; 90
    But, saying thus, instead of oil and balm,
    Thou lay'st in every gash that love hath given me
    The knife that made it.
  • Troilus. Thou dost not speak so much. 95
  • Pandarus. 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.
  • Troilus. Good Pandarus, how now, Pandarus!
  • Pandarus. I have had my labour for my travail; ill-thought on of 100
    her and ill-thought on of you; gone between and
    between, but small thanks for my labour.
  • Troilus. What, art thou angry, Pandarus? what, with me?
  • Pandarus. 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 105
    fair on Friday as Helen is on Sunday. But what care
    I? I care not an she were a black-a-moor; 'tis all one to me.
  • Pandarus. 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 110
    I'll tell her the next time I see her: for my part,
    I'll meddle nor make no more i' the matter.
  • Pandarus. Pray you, speak no more to me: I will leave all as I
    found it, and there an end.

[Exit PANDARUS. An alarum]

  • Troilus. Peace, you ungracious clamours! peace, rude sounds!
    Fools on both sides! Helen must needs be fair, 120
    When with your blood you daily paint her thus.
    I cannot fight upon this argument;
    It is too starved a subject for my sword.
    But Pandarus,—O gods, how do you plague me!
    I cannot come to Cressid but by Pandar; 125
    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: 130
    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]

  • Aeneas. How now, Prince Troilus! wherefore not afield?
  • Troilus. Because not there: this woman's answer sorts,
    For womanish it is to be from thence.
    What news, AEneas, from the field to-day?
  • Aeneas. That Paris is returned home and hurt. 140
  • Aeneas. Troilus, by Menelaus.
  • Troilus. Let Paris bleed; 'tis but a scar to scorn;
    Paris is gored with Menelaus' horn.


  • Aeneas. Hark, what good sport is out of town to-day!
  • Troilus. Better at home, if 'would I might' were 'may.'
    But to the sport abroad: are you bound thither?
  • Troilus. Come, go we then together. 150