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Troilus and Cressida

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Act IV, Scene 1

Troy. A street.


[Enter, from one side, AENEAS, and Servant with a] [p]torch; from the other, PARIS, DEIPHOBUS, ANTENOR, [p]DIOMEDES, and others, with torches]

  • Paris. See, ho! who is that there?
  • 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.
  • Diomedes. That's my mind too. Good morrow, Lord AEneas. 2205
  • Paris. 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.
  • Aeneas. Health to you, valiant sir, 2210
    During all question of the gentle truce;
    But when I meet you arm'd, as black defiance
    As heart can think or courage execute.
  • Diomedes. The one and other Diomed embraces.
    Our bloods are now in calm; and, so long, health! 2215
    But when contention and occasion meet,
    By Jove, I'll play the hunter for thy life
    With all my force, pursuit and policy.
  • Aeneas. And thou shalt hunt a lion, that will fly
    With his face backward. In humane gentleness, 2220
    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.
  • Diomedes. We sympathize: Jove, let AEneas live, 2225
    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!
  • Aeneas. We know each other well. 2230
  • Diomedes. We do; and long to know each other worse.
  • Paris. This is the most despiteful gentle greeting,
    The noblest hateful love, that e'er I heard of.
    What business, lord, so early?
  • Aeneas. I was sent for to the king; but why, I know not. 2235
  • Paris. 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 do think— 2240
    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. 2245
  • Aeneas. That I assure you:
    Troilus had rather Troy were borne to Greece
    Than Cressid borne from Troy.
  • Paris. There is no help;
    The bitter disposition of the time 2250
    Will have it so. On, lord; we'll follow you.

[Exit with Servant]

  • Paris. And tell me, noble Diomed, faith, tell me true,
    Even in the soul of sound good-fellowship, 2255
    Who, in your thoughts, merits fair Helen best,
    Myself or Menelaus?
  • Diomedes. Both alike:
    He merits well to have her, that doth seek her,
    Not making any scruple of her soilure, 2260
    With such a hell of pain and world of charge,
    And you as well to keep her, that defend her,
    Not palating the taste of her dishonour,
    With such a costly loss of wealth and friends:
    He, like a puling cuckold, would drink up 2265
    The lees and dregs of a flat tamed piece;
    You, like a lecher, out of whorish loins
    Are pleased to breed out your inheritors:
    Both merits poised, each weighs nor less nor more;
    But he as he, the heavier for a whore. 2270
  • Paris. You are too bitter to your countrywoman.
  • Diomedes. 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, 2275
    A Trojan hath been slain: since she could speak,
    She hath not given so many good words breath
    As for her Greeks and Trojans suffer'd death.
  • Paris. Fair Diomed, you do as chapmen do,
    Dispraise the thing that you desire to buy: 2280
    But we in silence hold this virtue well,
    We'll but commend what we intend to sell.
    Here lies our way.