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Troilus and Cressida

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Act I, Scene 2

The Same. A street.



  • Alexander. 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 moved:
    He chid Andromache and struck his armourer, 160
    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. 165
  • Alexander. The noise goes, this: there is among the Greeks
    A lord of Trojan blood, nephew to Hector;
    They call him Ajax.
  • Alexander. They say he is a very man per se,
    And stands alone.
  • Cressida. So do all men, unless they are drunk, sick, or have no legs.
  • Alexander. This man, lady, hath robbed many beasts of their
    particular additions; he is as valiant as the lion, 175
    churlish as the bear, slow as the elephant: a man
    into whom nature hath so crowded humours that his
    valour is crushed 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 180
    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. 185
  • Cressida. But how should this man, that makes
    me smile, make Hector angry?
  • Alexander. They say he yesterday coped Hector in the battle and
    struck him down, the disdain and shame whereof hath
    ever since kept Hector fasting and waking. 190


  • Pandarus. Good morrow, cousin Cressid: what do you talk of?
    Good morrow, Alexander. How do you, cousin? When
    were you at Ilium? 200
  • Pandarus. What were you talking of when I came? Was Hector
    armed and gone ere ye came to Ilium? Helen was not
    up, was she?
  • Cressida. Hector was gone, but Helen was not up. 205
  • Pandarus. Even so: Hector was stirring early.
  • Cressida. That were we talking of, and of his anger.
  • Pandarus. True, he was so: I know the cause too: he'll lay 210
    about him to-day, 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.
  • Pandarus. Who, Troilus? Troilus is the better man of the two. 215
  • Cressida. O Jupiter! there's no comparison.
  • Pandarus. What, not between Troilus and Hector? Do you know a
    man if you see him?
  • Cressida. Ay, if I ever saw him before and knew him.
  • Pandarus. Well, I say Troilus is Troilus. 220
  • Cressida. Then you say as I say; for, I am sure, he is not Hector.
  • Pandarus. No, nor Hector is not Troilus in some degrees.
  • Cressida. 'Tis just to each of them; he is himself.
  • Pandarus. Himself! Alas, poor Troilus! I would he were.
  • Pandarus. Condition, I had gone barefoot to India.
  • Pandarus. 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 230
    in her body. No, Hector is not a better man than Troilus.
  • Pandarus. Th' other's not come to't; you shall tell me another 235
    tale, when th' other's come to't. Hector shall not
    have his wit this year.
  • Cressida. He shall not need it, if he have his own.
  • Cressida. 'Twould not become him; his own's better.
  • Pandarus. You have no judgment, niece: Helen
    herself swore th' other day, that Troilus, for
    a brown favour—for so 'tis, I must confess,— 245
    not brown neither,—
  • Pandarus. 'Faith, to say truth, brown and not brown.
  • Cressida. To say the truth, true and not true.
  • Pandarus. She praised his complexion above Paris. 250
  • Cressida. Why, Paris hath colour enough.
  • Cressida. Then Troilus should have too much: if she praised
    him above, his complexion is higher than his; he
    having colour enough, and the other higher, is too 255
    flaming a praise for a good complexion. I had as
    lief Helen's golden tongue had commended Troilus for
    a copper nose.
  • Pandarus. I swear to you. I think Helen loves him better than Paris.
  • Cressida. Then she's a merry Greek indeed. 260
  • Pandarus. Nay, I am sure she does. She came to him th' other
    day into the compassed window,—and, you know, he
    has not past three or four hairs on his chin,—
  • Cressida. Indeed, a tapster's arithmetic may soon bring his
    particulars therein to a total. 265
  • Pandarus. Why, he is very young: and yet will he, within
    three pound, lift as much as his brother Hector.
  • Cressida. Is he so young a man and so old a lifter?
  • Pandarus. But to prove to you that Helen loves him: she came
    and puts me her white hand to his cloven chin— 270
  • Cressida. Juno have mercy! how came it cloven?
  • Pandarus. Why, you know 'tis dimpled: I think his smiling
    becomes him better than any man in all Phrygia.
  • Cressida. O yes, an 'twere a cloud in autumn.
  • Pandarus. Why, go to, then: but to prove to you that Helen
    loves Troilus,—
  • Cressida. Troilus will stand to the proof, if you'll
    prove it so. 280
  • Pandarus. Troilus! why, he esteems her no more than I esteem
    an addle egg.
  • Cressida. If you love an addle egg as well as you love an idle
    head, you would eat chickens i' the shell.
  • Pandarus. I cannot choose but laugh, to think how she tickled 285
    his chin: indeed, she has a marvellous white hand, I
    must needs confess,—
  • Pandarus. And she takes upon her to spy a white hair on his chin.
  • Cressida. Alas, poor chin! many a wart is richer. 290
  • Pandarus. But there was such laughing! Queen Hecuba laughed
    that her eyes ran o'er.
  • Cressida. But there was more temperate fire under the pot of 295
    her eyes: did her eyes run o'er too?
  • Cressida. At what was all this laughing?
  • Pandarus. Marry, at the white hair that Helen spied on Troilus' chin.
  • Cressida. An't had been a green hair, I should have laughed 300
  • Pandarus. They laughed not so much at the hair as at his pretty answer.
  • Pandarus. Quoth she, 'Here's but two and fifty hairs on your
    chin, and one of them is white. 305
  • Pandarus. 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, 310
    my husband? 'The forked one,' quoth he, 'pluck't
    out, and give it him.' But there was such laughing!
    and Helen so blushed, an Paris so chafed, and all the
    rest so laughed, that it passed.
  • Cressida. So let it now; for it has been while going by. 315
  • Pandarus. Well, cousin. I told you a thing yesterday; think on't.
  • Pandarus. I'll be sworn 'tis true; he will weep you, an 'twere
    a man born in April.
  • Cressida. And I'll spring up in his tears, an 'twere a nettle 320
    against May.

[A retreat sounded]

  • Pandarus. 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. 325
  • Pandarus. 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.

[AENEAS passes]

  • Pandarus. 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 anon.

[ANTENOR passes]

  • Pandarus. That's Antenor: he has a shrewd wit, I can tell you;
    and he's a man good enough, he's one o' the soundest
    judgments in whosoever, and a proper man of person.
    When comes Troilus? I'll show you Troilus anon: if 340
    he see me, you shall see him nod at me.
  • Cressida. If he do, the rich shall have more.

[HECTOR passes]

  • Pandarus. 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?
  • Pandarus. 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! 355
  • Pandarus. Swords! any thing, 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.
    [PARIS passes] 360
    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. 365

[HELENUS passes]

  • Pandarus. That's Helenus. I marvel where Troilus is. That's
    Helenus. I think he went not forth to-day. That's Helenus.
  • Pandarus. 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.
  • Cressida. What sneaking fellow comes yonder?

[TROILUS passes]

  • Pandarus. Where? yonder? that's Deiphobus. 'Tis Troilus!
    there's a man, niece! Hem! Brave Troilus! the
    prince of chivalry!
  • Pandarus. Mark him; note him. O brave Troilus! Look well upon 380
    him, niece: look you how his sword is bloodied, and
    his helm more hacked than Hector's, and how he looks,
    and how he goes! O admirable youth! he ne'er saw
    three and twenty. Go thy way, Troilus, go thy way!
    Had I a sister were a grace, or a daughter a goddess, 385
    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.

[Forces pass]

  • Pandarus. Asses, fools, dolts! chaff and bran, chaff and bran!
    porridge after meat! I could live and die i' 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 395
    all Greece.
  • Cressida. There is among the Greeks Achilles, a better man than Troilus.
  • Pandarus. Achilles! a drayman, a porter, a very camel.
  • Pandarus. 'Well, well!' why, have you any discretion? have 400
    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?
  • Cressida. Ay, a minced man: and then to be baked with no date 405
    in the pie, for then the man's date's out.
  • Pandarus. You are such a woman! one knows not at what ward you
  • Cressida. Upon my back, to defend my belly; upon my wit, to
    defend my wiles; upon my secrecy, to defend mine 410
    honesty; my mask, to defend my beauty; and you, to
    defend all these: and at all these wards I lie, at a
    thousand watches.
  • Cressida. Nay, I'll watch you for that; and that's one of the 415
    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.

[Enter Troilus's Boy]

  • Boy. Sir, my lord would instantly speak with you.
  • Boy. At your own house; there he unarms him.
  • Pandarus. Good boy, tell him I come. 425
    [Exit boy]
    I doubt he be hurt. Fare ye well, good niece.
  • Pandarus. I'll be with you, niece, by and by.
  • Cressida. By the same token, you are a bawd.
    [Exit PANDARUS]
    Words, vows, gifts, tears, and love's full sacrifice,
    He offers in another's enterprise; 435
    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 beloved knows nought that knows not this: 440
    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: 445
    Then though my heart's content firm love doth bear,
    Nothing of that shall from mine eyes appear.