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Troilus and Cressida

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Act V, Scene 3

Troy. Before Priam’s palace.



  • Andromache. When was my lord so much ungently temper'd,
    To stop his ears against admonishment?
    Unarm, unarm, and do not fight to-day.
  • Hector. You train me to offend you; get you in:
    By all the everlasting gods, I'll go! 3280
  • Andromache. My dreams will, sure, prove ominous to the day.


  • Andromache. Here, sister; arm'd, and bloody in intent. 3285
    Consort with me in loud and dear petition,
    Pursue we him on knees; for I have dream'd
    Of bloody turbulence, and this whole night
    Hath nothing been but shapes and forms of slaughter.
  • Hector. Ho! bid my trumpet sound!
  • Cassandra. No notes of sally, for the heavens, sweet brother.
  • Hector. Be gone, I say: the gods have heard me swear.
  • Cassandra. The gods are deaf to hot and peevish vows:
    They are polluted offerings, more abhorr'd 3295
    Than spotted livers in the sacrifice.
  • Andromache. O, be persuaded! do not count it holy
    To hurt by being just: it is as lawful,
    For we would give much, to use violent thefts,
    And rob in the behalf of charity. 3300
  • Cassandra. It is the purpose that makes strong the vow;
    But vows to every purpose must not hold:
    Unarm, sweet Hector.
  • Hector. Hold you still, I say;
    Mine honour keeps the weather of my fate: 3305
    Lie every man holds dear; but the brave man
    Holds honour far more precious-dear than life.
    [Enter TROILUS]
    How now, young man! mean'st thou to fight to-day?
  • Andromache. Cassandra, call my father to persuade. 3310


  • Hector. No, faith, young Troilus; doff thy harness, youth;
    I am to-day i' the vein of chivalry:
    Let grow thy sinews till their knots be strong,
    And tempt not yet the brushes of the war. 3315
    Unarm thee, go, and doubt thou not, brave boy,
    I'll stand to-day for thee and me and Troy.
  • Troilus. Brother, you have a vice of mercy in you,
    Which better fits a lion than a man.
  • Hector. What vice is that, good Troilus? chide me for it. 3320
  • Troilus. When many times the captive Grecian falls,
    Even in the fan and wind of your fair sword,
    You bid them rise, and live.
  • Troilus. Fool's play, by heaven, Hector. 3325
  • Troilus. For the love of all the gods,
    Let's leave the hermit pity with our mothers,
    And when we have our armours buckled on,
    The venom'd vengeance ride upon our swords, 3330
    Spur them to ruthful work, rein them from ruth.
  • Hector. Troilus, I would not have you fight to-day.
  • Troilus. Who should withhold me? 3335
    Not fate, obedience, nor the hand of Mars
    Beckoning with fiery truncheon my retire;
    Not Priamus and Hecuba on knees,
    Their eyes o'ergalled with recourse of tears;
    Not you, my brother, with your true sword drawn, 3340
    Opposed to hinder me, should stop my way,
    But by my ruin.

[Re-enter CASSANDRA, with PRIAM]

  • Cassandra. Lay hold upon him, Priam, hold him fast:
    He is thy crutch; now if thou lose thy stay, 3345
    Thou on him leaning, and all Troy on thee,
    Fall all together.
  • Priam. Come, Hector, come, go back:
    Thy wife hath dream'd; thy mother hath had visions;
    Cassandra doth foresee; and I myself 3350
    Am like a prophet suddenly enrapt
    To tell thee that this day is ominous:
    Therefore, come back.
  • Hector. AEneas is a-field;
    And I do stand engaged to many Greeks, 3355
    Even in the faith of valour, to appear
    This morning to them.
  • Priam. Ay, but thou shalt not go.
  • Hector. I must not break my faith.
    You know me dutiful; therefore, dear sir, 3360
    Let me not shame respect; but give me leave
    To take that course by your consent and voice,
    Which you do here forbid me, royal Priam.
  • Hector. Andromache, I am offended with you:
    Upon the love you bear me, get you in.


  • Troilus. This foolish, dreaming, superstitious girl
    Makes all these bodements. 3370
  • Cassandra. O, farewell, dear Hector!
    Look, how thou diest! look, how thy eye turns pale!
    Look, how thy wounds do bleed at many vents!
    Hark, how Troy roars! how Hecuba cries out!
    How poor Andromache shrills her dolours forth! 3375
    Behold, distraction, frenzy and amazement,
    Like witless antics, one another meet,
    And all cry, Hector! Hector's dead! O Hector!
  • Cassandra. Farewell: yet, soft! Hector! take my leave: 3380
    Thou dost thyself and all our Troy deceive.


  • Hector. You are amazed, my liege, at her exclaim:
    Go in and cheer the town: we'll forth and fight,
    Do deeds worth praise and tell you them at night. 3385
  • Priam. Farewell: the gods with safety stand about thee!

[Exeunt severally PRIAM and HECTOR. Alarums]

  • Troilus. They are at it, hark! Proud Diomed, believe,
    I come to lose my arm, or win my sleeve.


  • Pandarus. Do you hear, my lord? do you hear?
  • Pandarus. Here's a letter come from yond poor girl.
  • Pandarus. A whoreson tisick, a whoreson rascally tisick so 3395
    troubles me, and the foolish fortune of this girl;
    and what one thing, what another, that I shall
    leave you one o' these days: and I have a rheum
    in mine eyes too, and such an ache in my bones
    that, unless a man were cursed, I cannot tell what 3400
    to think on't. What says she there?
  • Troilus. Words, words, mere words, no matter from the heart:
    The effect doth operate another way.
    [Tearing the letter]
    Go, wind, to wind, there turn and change together. 3405
    My love with words and errors still she feeds;
    But edifies another with her deeds.

[Exeunt severally]