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Troilus and Cressida

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Act IV, Scene 5

The Grecian camp. Lists set out.



  • Agamemnon. Here art thou in appointment fresh and fair, 2595
    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. 2600
  • Ajax. 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; 2605
    Thou blow'st for Hector.

[Trumpet sounds]

  • Agamemnon. Is not yond Diomed, with Calchas' daughter? 2610
  • Ulysses. '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.


  • Agamemnon. Most dearly welcome to the Greeks, sweet lady.
  • Nestor. Our general doth salute you with a kiss.
  • Ulysses. Yet is the kindness but particular;
    'Twere better she were kiss'd in general. 2620
  • Nestor. And very courtly counsel: I'll begin.
    So much for Nestor.
  • Achilles. I'll take what winter from your lips, fair lady:
    Achilles bids you welcome.
  • Menelaus. I had good argument for kissing once. 2625
  • Patroclus. But that's no argument for kissing now;
    For this popp'd Paris in his hardiment,
    And parted thus you and your argument.
  • Ulysses. O deadly gall, and theme of all our scorns!
    For which we lose our heads to gild his horns. 2630
  • Patroclus. The first was Menelaus' kiss; this, mine:
    Patroclus kisses you.
  • Patroclus. Paris and I kiss evermore for him.
  • Menelaus. I'll have my kiss, sir. Lady, by your leave. 2635
  • Cressida. In kissing, do you render or receive?
  • Cressida. I'll make my match to live,
    The kiss you take is better than you give;
    Therefore no kiss. 2640
  • Menelaus. I'll give you boot, I'll give you three for one.
  • Cressida. You're an odd man; give even or give none.
  • Menelaus. An odd man, lady! every man is odd.
  • Cressida. No, Paris is not; for you know 'tis true,
    That you are odd, and he is even with you. 2645
  • Ulysses. It were no match, your nail against his horn.
    May I, sweet lady, beg a kiss of you?
  • Ulysses. Why then for Venus' sake, give me a kiss,
    When Helen is a maid again, and his.
  • Cressida. I am your debtor, claim it when 'tis due. 2655
  • Ulysses. Never's my day, and then a kiss of you.
  • Diomedes. Lady, a word: I'll bring you to your father.

[Exit with CRESSIDA]

  • Nestor. A woman of quick sense.
  • Ulysses. Fie, fie upon her! 2660
    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 accosting welcome ere it comes, 2665
    And wide unclasp the tables of their thoughts
    To every ticklish reader! set them down
    For sluttish spoils of opportunity
    And daughters of the game.

[Trumpet within]

  • All. The Trojans' trumpet.
  • Agamemnon. Yonder comes the troop.
    [Enter HECTOR, armed; AENEAS, TROILUS, and other]
    Trojans, with Attendants]
  • Aeneas. Hail, all you state of Greece! what shall be done 2675
    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? 2680
    Hector bade ask.
  • Aeneas. He cares not; he'll obey conditions.
  • Achilles. 'Tis done like Hector; but securely done,
    A little proudly, and great deal misprizing 2685
    The knight opposed.
  • Aeneas. If not Achilles, sir,
    What is your name?
  • Aeneas. Therefore Achilles: but, whate'er, know this: 2690
    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. 2695
    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.
  • Achilles. A maiden battle, then? O, I perceive you. 2700

[Re-enter DIOMEDES]

  • Agamemnon. 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, 2705
    Or else a breath: the combatants being kin
    Half stints their strife before their strokes begin.

[AJAX and HECTOR enter the lists]

  • Ulysses. They are opposed already.
  • Agamemnon. What Trojan is that same that looks so heavy? 2710
  • Ulysses. 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 provoked nor being provoked soon calm'd:
    His heart and hand both open and both free; 2715
    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 2720
    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 2725
    Even to his inches, and with private soul
    Did in great Ilion thus translate him to me.

[Alarum. Hector and Ajax fight]

  • Nestor. Now, Ajax, hold thine own! 2730
  • Troilus. Hector, thou sleep'st;
    Awake thee!
  • Agamemnon. His blows are well disposed: there, Ajax!

[Trumpets cease]

  • Aeneas. Princes, enough, so please you.
  • Ajax. I am not warm yet; let us fight again.
  • Hector. Why, then will I no more:
    Thou art, great lord, my father's sister's son, 2740
    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 couldst say 'This hand is Grecian all, 2745
    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 2750
    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 drain'd! Let me embrace thee, Ajax: 2755
    By him that thunders, thou hast lusty arms;
    Hector would have them fall upon him thus:
    Cousin, all honour to thee!
  • Ajax. I thank thee, Hector
    Thou art too gentle and too free a man: 2760
    I came to kill thee, cousin, and bear hence
    A great addition earned in thy death.
  • Hector. Not Neoptolemus so mirable,
    On whose bright crest Fame with her loud'st Oyes
    Cries 'This is he,' could promise to himself 2765
    A thought of added honour torn from Hector.
  • Aeneas. There is expectance here from both the sides,
    What further you will do.
  • Hector. We'll answer it;
    The issue is embracement: Ajax, farewell. 2770
  • Ajax. If I might in entreaties find success—
    As seld I have the chance—I would desire
    My famous cousin to our Grecian tents.
  • Diomedes. 'Tis Agamemnon's wish, and great Achilles
    Doth long to see unarm'd the valiant Hector. 2775
  • 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. 2780
  • Ajax. Great Agamemnon comes to meet us here.
  • Hector. The worthiest of them tell me name by name;
    But for Achilles, mine own searching eyes
    Shall find him by his large and portly size.
  • Agamemnon. Worthy of arms! as welcome as to one 2785
    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, 2790
    Strain'd purely from all hollow bias-drawing,
    Bids thee, with most divine integrity,
    From heart of very heart, great Hector, welcome.
  • Hector. I thank thee, most imperious Agamemnon.
  • Agamemnon. [To TROILUS] My well-famed lord of Troy, no 2795
    less to you.
  • Menelaus. Let me confirm my princely brother's greeting:
    You brace of warlike brothers, welcome hither.
  • Aeneas. The noble Menelaus. 2800
  • Hector. 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.
  • Menelaus. Name her not now, sir; she's a deadly theme. 2805
  • Nestor. 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, 2810
    Despising many forfeits and subduements,
    When thou hast hung thy advanced sword i' the air,
    Not letting it decline on the declined,
    That I have said to some my standers by
    'Lo, Jupiter is yonder, dealing life!' 2815
    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, 2820
    And once fought with him: he was a soldier good;
    But, by great Mars, the captain of us all,
    Never saw like thee. Let an old man embrace thee;
    And, worthy warrior, welcome to our tents.
  • Aeneas. 'Tis the old Nestor. 2825
  • Hector. 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.
  • Nestor. I would my arms could match thee in contention,
    As they contend with thee in courtesy. 2830
  • Nestor. Ha!
    By this white beard, I'ld fight with thee to-morrow.
    Well, welcome, welcome! I have seen the time.
  • Ulysses. I wonder now how yonder city stands 2835
    When we have here her base and pillar by us.
  • Hector. 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. 2840
  • Ulysses. 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. 2845
  • Hector. 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, 2850
    Will one day end it.
  • Ulysses. 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. 2855
  • Achilles. I shall forestall thee, Lord Ulysses, thou!
    Now, Hector, I have fed mine eyes on thee;
    I have with exact view perused thee, Hector,
    And quoted joint by joint.
  • Hector. Is this Achilles? 2860
  • Hector. Stand fair, I pray thee: let me look on thee.
  • Hector. Nay, I have done already.
  • Achilles. Thou art too brief: I will the second time, 2865
    As I would buy thee, view thee limb by limb.
  • Hector. 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?
  • Achilles. Tell me, you heavens, in which part of his body 2870
    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!
  • Hector. It would discredit the blest gods, proud man, 2875
    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?
  • Hector. 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 every where, yea, o'er and o'er. 2885
    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—
  • Ajax. Do not chafe thee, cousin: 2890
    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. 2895
  • Hector. I pray you, let us see you in the field:
    We have had pelting wars, since you refused
    The Grecians' cause.
  • Achilles. Dost thou entreat me, Hector?
    To-morrow do I meet thee, fell as death; 2900
    To-night all friends.
  • Hector. Thy hand upon that match.
  • Agamemnon. 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 2905
    Concur together, severally entreat him.
    Beat loud the tabourines, let the trumpets blow,
    That this great soldier may his welcome know.

[Exeunt all except TROILUS and ULYSSES]

  • Troilus. My Lord Ulysses, tell me, I beseech you, 2910
    In what place of the field doth Calchas keep?
  • Ulysses. 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 2915
    On the fair Cressid.
  • Troilus. Shall sweet lord, be bound to you so much,
    After we part from Agamemnon's tent,
    To bring me thither?
  • Ulysses. You shall command me, sir. 2920
    As gentle tell me, of what honour was
    This Cressida in Troy? Had she no lover there
    That wails her absence?
  • Troilus. O, sir, to such as boasting show their scars
    A mock is due. Will you walk on, my lord? 2925
    She was beloved, she loved; she is, and doth:
    But still sweet love is food for fortune's tooth.