William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida (1601-02)

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)  


This is a part of a collection of works by William Shakespeare.


The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, ed. with a glossary by W.J. Craig M.A. (London: Oxford University Press, 1916).

See the complete volume in HTML and facs. PDF.



Table of Contents







Priam, King of Troy.
Hector,      } his Sons.
Troilus,     }
Paris, }
Deiphobus, }
Helenus,     }
Margarelon, a Bastard Son of Priam.
Æneas,    } Trojan Commanders.
Antenor, }
Calchas, a Trojan Priest, taking part with the Greeks.
Pandarus, Uncle to Cressida.
Agamemnon, the Grecian General.
Menelaus, his Brother.
Achilles, } Grecian Commanders.
Ajax,        }
Ulysses,  }
Nestor,      } Grecian Commanders.
Diomedes,   }
Patroclus, }
Thersites, a deformed and scurrilous Grecian.
Alexander, Servant to Cressida.
Servant to Troilus.
Servant to Paris.
Servant to Diomedes.
Helen, Wife to Menelaus.
Andromache, Wife to Hector.
Cassandra, Daughter to Priam; a prophetess.
Cressida, Daughter to Calchas.
Trojan and Greek Soldiers, and Attendants.



Scene.Troy, and the Grecian Camp before it.


In Troy there lies the scene. From isles of Greece

The princes orgulous, their high blood chaf’d,

Have to the port of Athens sent their ships,

Fraught with the ministers and instruments  4

Of cruel war: sixty and nine, that wore

Their crownets regal, from the Athenian bay

Put forth toward Phrygia; and their vow is made

To ransack Troy, within whose strong immures  8

The ravish’d Helen, Menelaus’ queen,

With wanton Paris sleeps; and that’s the quarrel.

To Tenedos they come,

And the deep-drawing barks do there disgorge

Their war-like fraughtage: now on Dardan plains  13

The fresh and yet unbruised Greeks do pitch

Their brave pavilions: Priam’s six-gated city,

Dardan, and Tymbria, Ilias, Chetas, Trojan,

And Antenorides, with massy staples  17

And corresponsive and fulfilling bolts,

Sperr up the sons of Troy.

Now expectation, tickling skittish spirits,  20

On one and other side, Trojan and Greek,

Sets all on hazard. And hither am I come

A prologue arm’d, but not in confidence

Of author’s pen or actor’s voice, but suited  24

In like conditions as our argument,

To tell you, fair beholders, that our play

Leaps o’er the vaunt and firstlings of those broils,

Beginning in the middle; starting thence away

To what may be digested in a play.  29

Like or find fault; do as your pleasures are:

Now good or bad, ’tis but the chance of war.


Scene I.— Troy. Before Priam’s Palace.

Enter Troilus armed, and Pandarus.


Call here my varlet, I’ll unarm again:

Why should I war without the walls of Troy,

That find such cruel battle here within?

Each Trojan that is master of his heart,  4

Let him to field; Troilus, alas! has none.


Will this gear ne’er be mended?


The Greeks are strong, and skilful to their strength.

Fierce to their skill, and to their fierceness valiant;  8

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 unpractis’d infancy.  12


Well, I have told you enough of this: for my part, I’ll not meddle nor make no further. He that will have a cake out of the wheat must tarry the grinding.  16


Have I not tarried?


Ay, the grinding; but you must tarry the bolting.


Have I not tarried?  20


Ay, the bolting; but you must tarry the leavening.


Still have I tarried.


Ay, to the leavening; but here’s yet in the word ‘hereafter’ the kneading, the making of the cake, the heating of the oven, and the baking; nay, you must stay the cooling too, or you may chance to burn your lips.  28


Patience herself, what goddess e’er she be,

Doth lesser blench at sufferance than I do.

At Priam’s royal table do I sit;

And when fair Cressid comes into my thoughts,—

So, traitor! ‘when she comes’!—When is she thence?  33


Well, she looked yesternight fairer than ever I saw her look, or any woman else.


I was about to tell thee: when my heart,

As wedged with a sigh, would rive in twain,  37

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;  40

But sorrow, that is couch’d in seeming gladness,

Is like that mirth fate turns to sudden sadness.


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 kins woman; I would not, as they term it, praise her, but I would somebody had heard her talk yesterday, as I did: I will not dispraise your sister Cassandra’s wit, but—  49


O Pandarus! I tell thee, Pandarus,—

When I do tell thee, there my hopes lie drown’d,

Reply not in how many fathoms deep  52

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,  57

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,  61

As true thou tell’st me, when I say I love her;

But, saying thus, instead of oil and balm,

Thou lay’st in every gash that love hath given me  64

The knife that made it.


I speak no more than truth.


Thou dost not speak so much.


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.


Good Pandarus, how now, Pandarus!  72


I have had my labour for my travail; ill-thought on of her, and ill-thought on of you: gone between, and between, but small thanks for my labour.  76


What! art thou angry, Pandarus? what! with me?


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 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.


Say I she is not fair?  83


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 I’ll tell her the next time I see her. For my part, I’ll meddle nor make no more i’ the matter.  88




Not I.


Sweet Pandarus,—


Pray you, speak no more to me! I will leave all as I found it, and there an end.  93

[Exit Pandarus. An alarum.


Peace, you ungracious clamours! peace, rude sounds!

Fools on both sides! Helen must needs bo fair,

When with your blood you daily paint her thus.

I cannot fight upon this argument;  97

It is too starv’d a subject for my sword.

But Pandarus,—O gods! how do you plague me.

I cannot come to Cressid but by Pandar;  100

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?  104

Her bed is India; there she lies, a pearl:

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.  109

Alarum. Enter Æneas.


How now, Prince Troilus! wherefore not afield?


Because not there: this woman’s answer sorts,

For womanish it is to be from thence.  112

What news, Æneas, from the field to-day?


That Paris is returned home, and hurt.


By whom, Æneas?


Troilus, by Menelaus.


Let Paris bleed: ’tis but a scar to scorn;

Paris is gor’d with Menelaus’ horn.



Hark, what good sport is out of town to-day!  118


Better at home, if ‘would I might’ were ‘may.’

But to the sport abroad: are you bound thither?


In all swift haste.


Come, go we then together.


Scene II.— The Same. A Street.

Enter Cressida and Alexander.


Who were those went by?


Queen Hecuba and Helen.


And whither go they?


Up to the eastern tower,

Whose height commands as subject all the vale,

To see the battle. Hector, whose patience  4

Is as a virtue fix’d, to-day was mov’d:

He chid Andromache, and struck his armourer;

And, like as there were husbandry in war,

Before the sun rose he was harness’d light,  8

And to the field goes he; where every flower

Did, as a prophet, weep what it foresaw

In Hector’s wrath.


What was his cause of anger?


The noise goes, this: there is among the Greeks  12

A lord of Trojan blood, nephew to Hector;

They call him Ajax.


Good; and what of him?


They say he is a very man per se

And stands alone.  16


So do all men, unless they are drunk, sick, or have no legs.


This man, lady, hath robbed many beasts of their particular additions: he is as valiant as the lion, 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 carries some stain of it. He is melancholy without cause, and merry against the hair; he hath the joints of every thing, but every thing so out of joint that he is a gouty Briareus, many hands and no use; or purblind Argus, all eyes and no sight.  31


But how should this man, that makes me smile, make Hector angry?


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.  37


Who comes here?

Enter Pandarus.


Madam, your uncle Pandarus.


Hector’s a gallant man.  40


As may be in the world, lady.


What’s that? what’s that?


Good morrow, uncle Pandarus.


Good morrow, cousin Cressid. What do you talk of? Good morrow, Alexander.

How do you, cousin? When were you at Ilium?


This morning, uncle.  47


What were you talking of when I came? Was Hector armed and gone ere ye came to Ilium? Helen was not up, was she?


Hector was gone, but Helen was not up.


E’en so: Hector was stirring early.  52


That were we talking of, and of his anger.


Was he angry?


So he says here.


True, he was so; I know the cause too: he’ll lay 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.  60


What! is he angry too?


Who, Troilus? Troilus is the better man of the two.


O Jupiter! there’s no comparison.  64


What! not between Troilus and Hector?

Do you know a man if you see him?


Ay, if I ever saw him before and knew him.  68


Well, I say Troilus is Troilus.


Then you say as I say; for I am sure he is not Hector.


No, nor Hector is not Troilus in some degrees.  73


’Tis just to each of them; he is himself.


Himself! Alas, poor Troilus, I would he were.  76


So he is.


Condition, I had gone bare-foot to India.


He is not Hector.


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 in her body. No, Hector is not a better man than Troilus.  84


Excuse me.


He is elder.


Pardon me, pardon me.


Th’ other’s not come to’t; you shall tell me another tale when the other’s come to’t. Hector shall not have his wit this year.


He shall not need it if he have his own.


Nor his qualities.  92


No matter.


Nor his beauty.


’Twould not become him; his own’s better.  96


You have no judgment, niece: Helen herself swore th’ other day, that Troilus, for a brown favour,—for so ’tis I must confess,—not brown neither,—  100


No, but brown.


Faith, to say truth, brown and not brown.


To say the truth, true and not true.  104


She prais’d his complexion above Paris.


Why, Paris hath colour enough.


So he has.


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 flaming a praise for a good complexion. I had as lief Helen’s golden tongue had commended Troilus for a copper nose.  113


I swear to you, I think Helen loves him better than Paris.


Then she’s a merry Greek indeed.  116


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,—  120


Indeed, a tapster’s arithmetic may soon bring his particulars therein to a total.


Why, he is very young; and yet will he, within three pound, lift as much as his brother Hector.  125


Is he so young a man, and so old a lifter?


But to prove to you that Helen loves him: she came and puts me her white hand to his cloven chin,—  130


Juno have mercy! how came it cloven?


Why, you know, ’tis dimpled. I think his smiling becomes him better than any man in all Phrygia.


O! he smiles valiantly.


Does he not?  136


O! yes, an ’twere a cloud in autumn.


Why, go to, then. But to prove to you that Helen loves Troilus,—


Troilus will stand to the proof, if you’ll prove it so.  141


Troilus! why he esteems her no more than I esteem an addle egg.


If you love an addle egg as well as you love an idle head, you would eat chickens i’ the shell.  146


I cannot choose but laugh, to think how she tickled his chin: indeed, she has a marvell’s white hand, I must needs confess,—


Without the rack.  150


And she takes upon her to spy a white hair on his chin.


Alas! poor chin! many a wart is richer.


But there was such laughing: Queen Hecuba laughed that her eyes ran o’er.


With millstones.  156


And Cassandra laughed.


But there was more temperate fire under the pot of her eyes: did her eyes run o’er too?


And Hector laughed.  160


At what was all this laughing?


Marry, at the white hair that Helen spied on Troilus’ chin.


An’t had been a green hair, I should have laughed too.  165


They laughed not so much at the hair as at his pretty answer.


What was his answer?  168


Quoth she, ‘Here’s but one-and-fifty hairs on your chin, and one of them is white.’


This is her question.


That’s true; make no question of that. ‘One-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, my husband?’ ‘The forked one,’ quoth he; ‘pluck’t out, and give it him.’ But there was such laughing, and Helen so blushed, and Paris so chafed, and all the rest so laughed, that it passed.  180


So let it now, for it has been a great while going by.


Well, cousin, I told you a thing yesterday; think on’t.  184


So I do.


I’ll be sworn ’tis true: he will weep you, an ’twere a man born in April.


And I’ll spring up in his tears, an ’twere a nettle against May.

[A retreat sounded.


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.


At your pleasure.  193


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.  197


Speak not so loud.

Æneas passes over the stage.


That’s Æneas: 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.  201

Antenor passes over.


Who’s that?


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 Troy, whosoever, and a proper man of person. When comes Troilus? I’ll show you Troilus anon: if he see me, you shall see him nod at me.  208


Will he give you the nod?


You shall see.


If he do, the rich shall have more.

Hector passes over.


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?  216


O! a brave man.


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!  222


Be those with swords?


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.  227

Paris crosses over.

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.  233


Who’s that?

Helenus passes over.


That’s Helenus. I marvel where Troilus is. That’s Helenus. I think he went not forth to-day. That’s Helenus.  237


Can Helenus fight, uncle?


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.  242


What sneaking fellow comes yonder?

Troilus passes over.


Where? yonder? that’s Deiphobus.

Tis Troilus! there’s a man, niece! Hem! Brave

Troilus! the prince of chivalry!  246


Peace! for shame, peace!


Mark him; note him: O brave Troilus! look well upon him, niece: look you how his sword is bloodied, and his helmet 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, 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.


Here come more.  259

Soldiers pass over.


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 all Greece.  265


There is among the Greeks Achilles, a better man than Troilus.


Achilles! a drayman, a porter, a very camel.  269


Well, well.


‘Well, well!’ Why, have you any discretion? have you any eyes? Do you know what a man is? Is not birth, beauty, good shape, discourse, manhood, learning, gentleness, virtue, youth, liberality, and so forth, the spice and salt that season a man?  276


Ay, a minced man: and then to be baked with no date in the pie, for then the man’s date’s out.


You are such a woman! one knows not at what ward you lie.  281


Upon my back, to defend my belly; upon my wit, to defend my wiles; upon my secrecy, to defend mine honesty; my mask, to defend my beauty; and you, to defend all these: and at all these wards I lie, at a thousand watches.


Say one of your watches.  288


Nay, I’ll watch you for that; and that’s one of the 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.  293


You are such another!

Enter Troilus’ Boy.


Sir, my lord would instantly speak with you.  296




At your own house; there he unarms him.


Good boy, tell him I come. [Exit Boy.] I doubt he be hurt. Fare ye well, good niece.


Adieu, uncle.


I’ll be with you, niece, by and by.


To bring, uncle?


Ay, a token from Troilus.  304


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;

But more in Troilus thousand-fold I see  308

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 belov’d knows nought that knows not this:  312

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:  316

Achievement is command; ungain’d, beseech:

Then though my heart’s content firm love doth bear,

Nothing of that shall from mine eyes appear.


Scene III.— The Grecian Camp. Before Agamemnon’s Tent.

Sennet. Enter Agamemnon, Nestor, Ulysses, Menelaus, and Others.



What grief hath set the jaundice on your cheeks?

The ample proposition that hope makes

In all designs begun on earth below  4

Fails in the promis’d largeness: checks and disasters

Grow in the veins of actions highest rear’d;

As knots, by the conflux of meeting sap,

Infect the sound pine and divert his grain  8

Tortive and errant from his course of growth.

Nor, princes, is it matter new to us

That we come short of our suppose so far

That after seven years’ siege yet Troy walls stand;  12

Sith every action that hath gone before,

Whereof we have record, trial did draw

Bias and thwart, not answering the aim,

And that unbodied figure of the thought  16

That gave’t surmised shape. Why then, you princes,

Do you with cheeks abash’d behold our works,

And call them shames? which are indeed nought else

But the protractive trials of great Jove,  20

To find persistive constancy in men:

The fineness of which metal is not found

In Fortune’s love; for then, the bold and coward,

The wise and fool, the artist and unread,  24

The hard and soft, seem all affin’d and kin:

But, in the wind and tempest of her frown,

Distinction, with a broad and powerful fan,

Puffing at all, winnows the light away;  28

And what hath mass or matter, by itself

Lies rich in virtue and unmingled.


With due observance of thy god-like seat,

Great Agamemnon, Nestor shall apply  32

Thy latest words. In the reproof of chance

Lies the true proof of men: the sea being smooth,

How many shallow bauble boats dare sail

Upon her patient breast, making their way  36

With those of nobler bulk!

But let the ruffian Boreas once enrage

The gentle Thetis, and anon behold

The strong-ribb’d bark through liquid mountains cut,  40

Bounding between the two moist elements,

Like Perseus’ horse: where’s then the saucy boat

Whose weak untimber’d sides but even now

Co-rivall’d greatness? either to harbour fled,  44

Or made a toast for Neptune. Even so

Doth valour’s show and valour’s worth divide

In storms of fortune; for in her ray and brightness

The herd hath more annoyance by the breese  48

Than by the tiger; but when the splitting wind

Makes flexible the knees of knotted oaks,

And flies fled under shade, why then the thing of courage,

As rous’d with rage, with rage doth sympathize,

And with an accent tun’d in self-same key,  53

Retorts to chiding fortune.



Thou great commander, nerve and bone of Greece,

Heart of our numbers, soul and only spirit,  56

In whom the tempers and the minds of all

Should be shut up, hear what Ulysses speaks.

Besides the applause and approbation

The which, [To Agamemnon.] most mighty for thy place and sway,  60

[To Nestor.] And thou most reverend for thy stretch’d-out life,

I give to both your speeches, which were such

As Agamemnon and the hand of Greece

Should hold up high in brass; and such again  64

As venerable Nestor, hatch’d in silver,

Should with a bond of air, strong as the axle-tree

On which heaven rides, knit all the Greekish ears

To his experienc’d tongue, yet let it please hoth,  68

Thou great, and wise, to hear Ulysses speak.


Speak, Prince of Ithaca; and be’t of less expect

That matter needless, of importless burden,

Divide thy lips, than we are confident,  72

When rank Thersites opes his mastick jaws,

We shall hear music, wit, and oracle.


Troy, yet upon his basis, had been down,

And the great Hector’s sword had lack’d a master,  76

But for these instances.

The specialty of rule hath been neglected:

And look, how many Grecian tents do stand

Hollow upon this plain, so many hollow factions.  80

When that the general is not like the hive

To whom the foragers shall all repair,

What honey is expected? Degree being vizarded,

The unworthiest shows as fairly in the mask.  84

The heavens themselves, the planets, and this centre

Observe degree, priority, and place,

Insisture, course, proportion, season, form,

Office, and custom, in all line of order:  88

And therefore is the glorious planet Sol

In noble eminence enthron’d and spher’d

Amidst the other; whose med’cinable eye

Corrects the ill aspects of planets evil,  92

And posts, like the commandment of a king,

Sans check, to good and bad: but when the planets

In evil mixture to disorder wander,

What plagues, and what portents, what mutiny,

What raging of the sea, shaking of earth,  97

Commotion in the winds, frights, changes, horrors,

Divert and crack, rend and deracinate

The unity and married calm of states  100

Quite from their fixure! O! when degree is shak’d,

Which is the ladder to all high designs,

The enterprise is sick. How could communities,

Degrees in schools, and brotherhoods in cities,

Peaceful commerce from dividable shores,  105

The primogenitive and due of birth,

Prerogative of age, crowns, sceptres, laurels,

But by degree, stand in authentic place?  108

Take but degree away, untune that string,

And, hark! what discord follows; each thing meets

In mere oppugnancy: the bounded waters

Should lift their bosoms higher than the shores,

And make a sop of all this solid globe:  113

Strength should be lord of imbecility,

And the rude son should strike his father dead:

Force should be right; or rather, right and wrong—  116

Between whose endless jar justice resides—

Should lose their names, and so should justice too.

Then every thing includes itself in power,

Power into will, will into appetite;  120

And appetite, a universal wolf,

So doubly seconded with will and power,

Must make perforce a universal prey,

And last eat up himself. Great Agamemnon,

This chaos, when degree is suffocate,  125

Follows the choking.

And this neglection of degree it is

That by a pace goes backward, with a purpose

It hath to climb. The general’s disdain’d  129

By him one step below, he by the next,

That next by him beneath; so every step,

Exampled by the first pace that is sick  132

Of his superior, grows to an envious fever

Of pale and bloodless emulation:

And ’tis this fever that keeps Troy on foot,

Not her own sinews. To end a tale of length,

Troy in our weakness lives, not in her strength.


Most wisely hath Ulysses here discover’d

The fever whereof all our power is sick.


The nature of the sickness found, Ulysses,  140

What is the remedy?


The great Achilles, whom opinion crowns

The sinew and the forehand of our host,

Having his ear full of his airy fame,  144

Grows dainty of his worth, and in his tent

Lies mocking our designs. With him Patroclus

Upon a lazy bed the livelong day

Breaks scurril jests,  148

And with ridiculous and awkward action—

Which, slanderer, he imitation calls—

He pageants us. Sometime, great Agamemnon,

Thy topless deputation he puts on  152

And, like a strutting player, whose conceit

Lies in his hamstring, and doth think it rich

To hear the wooden dialogue and sound

’Twixt his stretch’d footing and the scaffoldage,—  156

Such to-be-pitied and o’er-wrested seeming

He acts thy greatness in:—and when he speaks,

’Tis like a chime a mending; with terms unsquar’d,

Which, from the tongue of roaring Typhon dropp’d,  160

Would seem hyperboles. At this fusty stuff

The large Achilles, on his press’d bed lolling,

From his deep chest laughs out a loud applause;

Cries, ‘Excellent! ’tis Agamemnon just.  164

Now play me Nestor; hem, and stroke thy beard,

As he being drest to some oration.’

That’s done;—as near as the extremest ends

Of parallels, like as Vulcan and his wife:—  168

Yet good Achilles still cries, ‘Excellent!

’Tis Nestor right. Now play him me, Patroclus,

Arming to answer in a night alarm.’

And then, forsooth, the faint defects of age  172

Must be the scene of mirth; to cough and spit,

And with a palsy-fumbling on his gorget,

Shake in and out the rivet: and at this sport

Sir Valour dies; cries, ‘O! enough, Patroclus;

Or give me ribs of steel; I shall split all  177

In pleasure of my spleen.’ And in this fashion,

All our abilities, gifts, natures, shapes,

Severals and generals of grace exact,  180

Achievements, plots, orders, preventions,

Excitements to the field, or speech for truce,

Success or loss, what is or is not, serves

As stuff for these two to make paradoxes.  184


And in the imitation of these twain—

Whom, as Ulysses says, opinion crowns

With an imperial voice—many are infect.

Ajax is grown self-will’d, and bears his head  188

In such a rein, in full as proud a place

As broad Achilles; keeps his tent like him;

Makes factious feasts; rails on our state of war,

Bold as an oracle, and sets Thersites—  192

A slave whose gall coins slanders like a mint—

To match us in comparison with dirt;

To weaken and discredit our exposure,

How rank soever rounded in with danger.  196


They tax our policy, and call it cowardice;

Count wisdom as no member of the war;

Forestall prescience, and esteem no act

But that of hand: the still and mental parts,  200

That do contrive how many hands shall strike,

When fitness calls them on, and know by measure

Of their observant toil the enemies’ weight,—

Why, this hath not a finger’s dignity:  204

They call this bed-work, mappery, closet-war;

So that the ram that batters down the wall,

For the great swing and rudeness of his poise,

They place before his hand that made the engine,

Or those that with the fineness of their souls  209

By reason guides his execution.


Let this be granted, and Achilles’ horse

Makes many Thetis’ sons.

[A tucket.


What trumpet? look, Menelaus.  213


From Troy.

Enter Æneas.


What would you ’fore our tent?


Is this great Agamemnon’s tent, I pray you?  216


Even this.


May one, that is a herald and a prince,

Do a fair message to his kingly ears?


With surety stronger than Achilles’ arm  220

’Fore all the Greekish heads, which with one voice

Call Agamemnon head and general.


Fair leave and large security. How may

A stranger to those most imperial looks  224

Know them from eyes of other mortals?





I ask, that I might waken reverence,

And bid the cheek be ready with a blush  228

Modest as morning when she coldly eyes

The youthful Phœbus:

Which is that god in office, guiding men?

Which is the high and mighty Agamemnon?  232


This Trojan scorns us; or the men of Troy

Are ceremonious courtiers.


Courtiers as free, as debonair, unarm’d,

As bending angels; that’s their fame in peace:

But when they would seem soldiers, they have galls,  237

Good arms, strong joints, true swords; and, Jove’s accord,

Nothing so full of heart. But peace, Æneas!

Peace, Trojan! lay thy finger on thy lips!  240

The worthiness of praise distains his worth,

If that the prais’d himself bring the praise forth;

But what the repining enemy commends,

That breath fame blows; that praise, sole pure, transcends.  244


Sir, you of Troy, call you yourself Æneas?


Ay, Greek, that is my name.


What’s your affair, I pray you?


Sir, pardon; ’tis for Agamemnon’s ears.


He hears nought privately that comes from Troy.  249


Nor I from Troy come not to whisper him:

I bring a trumpet to awake his ear,

To set his sense on the attentive bent,  252

And then to speak.


Speak frankly as the wind:

It is not Agamemnon’s sleeping hour;

That thou shalt know, Trojan, he is awake,

He tells thee so himself.


Trumpet, blow aloud,  256

Send thy brass voice through all these lazy tents;

And every Greek of mettle, let him know,

What Troy means fairly shall be spoke aloud.

[Trumpet sounds.

We have, great Agamemnon, here in Troy.  260

A prince called Hector,—Priam is his father,—

Who in this dull and long-continu’d truce

Is rusty grown: he bade me take a trumpet,

And to this purpose speak: kings, princes, lords!

If there be one among the fair’st of Greece  265

That holds his honour higher than his ease,

That seeks his praise more than he fears his peril,

That knows his valour, and knows not his fear,

That loves his mistress more than in confession,  269

With truant vows to her own lips he loves,

And dare avow her beauty and her worth

In other arms than hers,—to him this challenge.

Hector, in view of Trojans and of Greeks,  273

Shall make it good, or do his best to do it,

He hath a lady wiser, fairer, truer,

Than ever Greek did compass in his arms;  276

And will to-morrow with his trumpet call,

Mid-way between your tents and walls of Troy,

To rouse a Grecian that is true in love:

If any come, Hector shall honour him;  280

If none, he’ll say in Troy when he retires,

The Grecian dames are sunburnt, and not worth

The splinter of a lance. Even so much.


This shall be told our lovers, Lord Æneas;  284

If none of them have soul in such a kind,

We left them all at home: but we are soldiers;

And may that soldier a mere recreant prove,

That means not, hath not, or is not in love!  288

If then one is, or hath, or means to be,

That one meets Hector; if none else, I am he.


Tell him of Nestor, one that was a man

When Hector’s grandsire suck’d: he is old now;

But if there be not in our Grecian host  293

One noble man that hath one spark of fire

To answer for his love, tell him from me,

I’ll hide my silver beard in a gold beaver,  296

And in my vantbrace put this wither’d brawn;

And, meeting him, will tell him that my lady

Was fairer than his grandam, and as chaste

As may be in the world: his youth in flood,  300

I’ll prove this truth with my three drops of blood.


Now heavens forbid such scarcity of youth!




Fair Lord Æneas, let me touch your hand;  304

To our pavilion shall I lead you first.

Achilles shall have word of this intent;

So shall each lord of Greece, from tent to tent:

Yourself shall feast with us before you go,  308

And find the welcome of a noble foe.

[Exeunt all but Ulysses and Nestor.




What says Ulysses?


I have a young conception in my brain;  312

Be you my time to bring it to some shape.


What is’t?


This ’tis:

Blunt wedges rive hard knots: the seeded pride

That hath to this maturity blown up  317

In rank Achilles, must or now be cropp’d,

Or, shedding, breed a nursery of like evil,

To overbulk us all.


Well, and how?  320


This challenge that the gallant Hector sends,

However it is spread in general name,

Relates in purpose only to Achilles.


The purpose is perspicuous even as substance  324

Whose grossness little characters sum up:

And, in the publication, make no strain,

But that Achilles, were his brain as barren

As banks of Libya,—though, Apollo knows,  328

’Tis dry enough,—will with great speed of judgment,

Ay, with celerity, find Hector’s purpose

Pointing on him.


And wake him to the answer, think you?  332


Yes, ’tis most meet: whom may you else oppose,

That can from Hector bring those honours off,

If not Achilles? Though’t be a sportful combat,

Yet in the trial much opinion dwells;  336

For here the Trojans taste our dear’st repute

With their fin’st palate: and trust to me, Ulysses,

Our imputation shall be oddly pois’d

In this wild action; for the success,  340

Although particular, shall give a scantling

Of good or bad unto the general;

And in such indexes, although small pricks

To their subsequent volumes, there is seen  344

The baby figure of the giant mass

Of things to come at large. It is suppos’d

He that meets Hector issues from our choice;

And choice, being mutual act of all our souls,  348

Makes merit her election, and doth boil,

As ’twere from forth us all, a man distill’d

Out of our virtues; who miscarrying,

What heart receives from bence the conquering part,  352

To steel a strong opinion to themselves?

Which entertain’d, limbs are his instruments,

In no less working than are swords and bows

Directive by the limbs.  356


Give pardon to my speech:

Therefore ’tis meet Achilles meet not Hector.

Let us like merchants show our foulest wares,

And think perchance they’ll sell; if not,  360

The lustre of the better yet to show

Shall show the better. Do not consent

That ever Hector and Achilles meet;

For both our honour and our shame in this  364

Are dogg’d with two strange followers.


I see them not with my old eyes: what are they?


What glory our Achilles shares from Hector,

Were he not proud, we all should share with him:  368

But he already is too insolent;

And we were better parch in Afric sun

Than in the pride and salt scorn of his eyes,

Should he ’scape Hector fair: if he were foil’d,  372

Why then we did our main opinion crush

In taint of our best man. No; make a lottery;

And by device let blockish Ajax draw

The sort to fight with Hector: among ourselves

Give him allowance as the worthier man,  377

For that will physic the great Myrmidon

Who broils in loud applause; and make him fall

His crest that prouder than blue Iris bends.  380

If the dull brainless Ajax come safe off,

We’ll dress him up in voices: if he fail,

Yet go we under our opinion still

That we have better men. But, hit or miss,  384

Our project’s life this shape of sense assumes:

Ajax employ’d plucks down Achilles’ plumes.



Now I begin to relish thy advice;  388

And I will give a taste of it forthwith

To Agamemnon: go we to him straight.

Two curs shall tame each other: pride alone

Must tarre the mastiffs on, as ’twere their bone.



Scene I.— A Part of the Grecian Camp.

Enter Ajax and Thersites.




Agamemnon, how if he had boils? full, all over, generally?


Thersites!  4


And those boils did run? Say so, did not the general run then? were not that a botchy core?


Dog!  8


Then would come some matter from him: I see none now.


Thou bitch-wolf’s son, canst thou not hear?

Feel, then.

[Strikes him.


The plague of Greece upon thee, thou mongrel beef-witted lord!


Speak then, thou vinewedst leaven, speak: I will beat thee into handsomeness.  16


I shall sooner rail thee into wit and holiness: but I think thy horse will sooner con an oration than thou learn a prayer without book. Thou canst strike, canst thou? a red murrain o’ thy jade’s tricks!  21


Toadstool, learn me the proclamation.


Dost thou think I have no sense, thou strikest me thus?  24


The proclamation!


Thou art proclaimed a fool, I think.


Do not, porpentine, do not: my fingers itch.  28


I would thou didst itch from head to foot, and I had the scratching of thee; I would make thee the loathsomest scab of Greece. When thou art forth in the incursions, thou strikest as slow as another.  33


I say, the proclamation!


Thou grumblest and railest every hour on Achilles, and thou art as full of envy at his greatness as Cerberus is at Proserpina’s beauty, ay that thou barkest at him.


Mistress Thersites!


Thou shouldst strike him.  40




He would pun thee into shivers with his fist, as a sailor breaks a biscuit.


You whoreson cur.

[Beating him.


Do, do.  45


Thou stool for a witch!


Ay, do, do; thou sodden-witted lord! thou hast no more brain than I have in mine elbows; an assinego may tutor thee: thou scurvy-valiant ass! thou art here but to thrash Trojans; and thou art bought and sold among those of any wit, like a barbarian slave. If thou use to beat me, I will begin at thy heel, and tell what thou art by inches, thou thing of no bowels, thou!


You dog!


You scurvy lord!  56


You cur!

[Beating him.


Mars his idiot! do, rudeness; do, camel; do, do.

Enter Achilles and Patroclus.


Why, how now, Ajax! wherefore do you this?  60

How now, Thersites! what’s the matter, man?


You see him there, do you?


Ay; what’s the matter?


Nay, look upon him.  64


So I do: what’s the matter?


Nay, but regard him well.


‘Well!’ why, so I do.


But yet you look not well upon him; for, whosoever you take him to be, he is Ajax.  69


I know that, fool.


Ay, but that fool knows not himself.


Therefore I beat thee.  72


Lo, lo, lo, lo, what modicums of wit he utters! his evasions have ears thus long. I have bobbed his brain more than he has beat my bones: I will buy nine sparrows for a penny, and his pia mater is not worth the ninth part of a sparrow. This lord, Achilles, Ajax, who wears his wit in his belly, and his guts in his head, I’ll tell you what I say of him.  80




I say, this Ajax,—

[Ajax offers to strike him.


Nay, good Ajax.


Has not so much wit—  84


Nay, I must hold you.


As will stop the eye of Helen’s needle, for whom he comes to fight.


Peace, fool!  88


I would have peace and quietness, but the fool will not: he there; that he; look you there.


O thou damned cur! I shall—  92


Will you set your wit to a fool’s?


No, I warrant you; for a fool’s will shame it.


Good words, Thersites.  96


What’s the quarrel?


I bade the vile owl go learn me the tenour of the proclamation, and he rails upon me.  100


I serve thee not.


Well, go to, go to.


I serve here voluntary.


Your last service was sufferance, ’twas not voluntary; no man is beaten voluntary: Ajax was here the voluntary, and you as under an impress.  107


Even so; a great deal of your wit too lies in your sinews, or else there be liars. Hector shall have a great catch if he knock out either of your brains: a’ were as good crack a fusty nut with no kernel.  112


What, with me too, Thersites?


There’s Ulysses and old Nestor, whose wit was mouldy ere your grandsires had nails on their toes, yoke you like draught-oxen, and make you plough up the wars.  117


What, what?


Yes, good sooth: to, Achilles! to, Ajax! to!  120


I shall cut out your tongue.


’Tis no matter; I shall speak as much as thou afterwards.


No more words, Thersites; peace!  124


I will hold my peace when Achilles’ brach bids me, shall I?


There’s for you, Patroclus.


I will see you hanged, like clotpoles, ere I come any more to your tents: I will keep where there is wit stirring and leave the faction of fools.



A good riddance.  132


Marry, this, sir, is proclaim’d through all our host:

That Hector, by the fifth hour of the sun,

Will, with a trumpet, ’twixt our tents and Troy

To morrow morning call some knight to arms

That hath a stomach; and such a one that dare  137

Maintain—I know not what: ’tis trash. Farewell.


Farewell. Who shall answer him?


I know not: it is put to lottery; otherwise,  140

He knew his man.


O, meaning you. I will go learn more of it.


Scene II.— Troy. A Room in Priam’s Palace.

Enter Priam, Hector, Troilus, Paris, and Helenus.


After so many hours, lives, speeches spent,

Thus once again says Nestor from the Greeks:

‘Deliver Helen, and all damage else,

As honour, loss of time, travail, expense,  4

Wounds, friends, and what else dear that is consum’d

In hot digestion of this cormorant war,

Shall be struck off.’ Hector, what say you to’t?


Though no man lesser fears the Greeks than I,  8

As far as toucheth my particular,

Yet, dread Priam,

There is no lady of more softer bowels,

More spongy to suck in the sense of fear,  12

More ready to cry out ‘Who knows what follows?’

Than Hector is. The wound of peace is surety,

Surety secure; but modest doubt is call’d

The beacon of the wise, the tent that searches  16

To the bottom of the worst. Let Helen go:

Since the first sword was drawn about this question,

Every tithe soul, ’mongst many thousand dismes,

Hath been as dear as Helen; I mean, of ours:

If we have lost so many tenths of ours,  21

To guard a thing not ours nor worth to us,

Had it our name, the value of one ten,

What merit’s in that reason which denies  24

The yielding of her up?


Fie, fie! my brother,

Weigh you the worth and honour of a king

So great as our dread father in a scale

Of common ounces? will you with counters sum

The past proportion of his infinite?  29

And buckle in a waist most fathomless

With spans and inches so diminutive

As fears and reasons? fie, for godly shame!  32


No marvel, though you bite so sharp at reasons,

You are so empty of them. Should not our father

Bear the great sway of his affairs with reasons,

Because your speech hath none that tells him so?  36


You are for dreams and slumbers, brother priest;

You fur your gloves with reason. Here are your reasons:

You know an enemy intends you harm;

You know a sword employ’d is perilous,  40

And reason flies the object of all harm:

Who marvels then, when Helenus beholds

A Grecian and his sword, if he do set

The very wings of reason to his heels,  44

And fly like chidden Mercury from Jove,

Or like a star disorb’d? Nay, if we talk of reason,

Let’s shut our gates and sleep: manhood and honour

Should have hare-hearts, would they but fat their thoughts  48

With this cramm’d reason: reason and respect

Make livers pale, and lustihood deject.


Brother, she is not worth what she doth cost

The holding.


What is aught but as ’tis valu’d?


But value dwells not in particular will;

It holds his estimate and dignity

As well wherein ’tis precious of itself

As in the prizer. ’Tis mad idolatry  56

To make the service greater than the god;

And the will dotes that is inclinable

To what infectiously itself affects,

Without some image of the affected merit.  60


I take to-day a wife, and my election

Is led on in the conduct of my will;

My will enkindled by mine eyes and ears,

Two traded pilots ’twixt the dangerous shores  64

Of will and judgment. How may I avoid,

Although my will distaste what it elected,

The wife I chose? there can be no evasion

To blench from this and to stand firm by honour.  68

We turn not back the silks upon the merchant

When we have soil’d them, nor the remainder viands

We do not throw in unrespective sink

Because we now are full. It was thought meet

Paris should do some vengeance on the Greeks:

Your breath of full consent bellied his sails;

The seas and winds—old wranglers—took a truce

And did him service: he touch’d the ports desir’d,  76

And for an old aunt whom the Greeks held captive

He brought a Grecian queen, whose youth and freshness

Wrinkles Apollo’s, and makes stale the morning.

Why keep we her? the Grecians keep our aunt:

Is she worth keeping? why, she is a pearl,  81

Whose price hath launch’d above a thousand ships,

And turn’d crown’d kings to merchants.

If you’ll avouch ’twas wisdom Paris went,—  84

As you must needs, for you all cried ‘Go, go,’—

If you’ll confess he brought home noble prize,—

As you must needs, for you all clapp’d your hands,

And cry’d ‘Inestimable!’—why do you now  88

The issue of your proper wisdoms rate,

And do a deed that Fortune never did,

Beggar the estimation which you priz’d

Richer than sea and land? O! theft most base,

That we have stol’n what we do fear to keep!  93

But thieves unworthy of a thing so stol’n,

That in their country did them that disgrace

We fear to warrant in our native place.  96


[Within.] Cry, Trojans, cry!


What noise? what shriek?


’Tis our mad sister, I do know her voice


[Within.] Cry, Trojans!


It is Cassandra.  100

Enter Cassandra, raving.


Cry, Trojans, cry! lend me ten thousand eyes,

And I will fill them with prophetic tears.


Peace, sister, peace!


Virgins and boys, mid-age and wrinkled eld,  104

Soft infancy, that nothing canst but cry,

Add to my clamours! let us pay betimes

A moiety of that mass of moan to come.

Cry, Trojans, cry! practise your eyes with tears!

Troy must not be, nor goodly Ilion stand;  109

Our firebrand brother, Paris, burns us all.

Cry, Trojans, cry! a Helen and a woe!

Cry, cry! Troy burns, or else let Helen go.



Now, youthful Troilus, do not these high strains  113

Of divination in our sister work

Some touches of remorse? or is your blood

So madly hot that no discourse of reason,  116

Nor fear of bad success in a bad cause,

Can qualify the same?


Why, brother Hector,

We may not think the justness of each act

Such and no other than event doth form it,  120

Nor once deject the courage of our minds,

Because Cassandra’s mad: her brain-sick raptures

Cannot distaste the goodness of a quarrel

Which hath our several honours all engag’d  124

To make it gracious. For my private part,

I am no more touch’d than all Priam’s sons;

And Jove forbid there should be done amongst us

Such things as might offend the weakest spleen

To fight for and maintain.  129


Else might the world convince of levity

As well my undertakings as your counsels;

But I attest the gods, your full consent  132

Gave wings to my propension and cut off

All fears attending on so dire a project:

For what, alas! can these my single arms?

What propugnation is in one man’s valour,  136

To stand the push and enmity of those

This quarrel would excite? Yet, I protest,

Were I alone to pass the difficulties,

And had as ample power as I have will,  140

Paris should ne’er retract what he hath done,

Nor faint in the pursuit.


Paris, you speak

Like one besotted on your sweet delights:

You have the honey still, but these the gall;  144

So to be valiant is no praise at all.


Sir, I propose not merely to myself

The pleasure such a beauty brings with it;

But I would have the soil of her fair rape  148

Wip’d off, in honourable keeping her.

What treason were it to the ransack’d queen,

Disgrace to your great worths, and shame to me,

Now to deliver her possession up,  152

On terms of base compulsion! Can it be

That so degenerate a strain as this

Should once set footing in your generous bosoms?

There’s not the meanest spirit on our party  156

Without a heart to dare or sword to draw

When Helen is defended, nor none so noble

Whose life were ill bestow’d or death unfam’d

Where Helen is the subject: then, I say,  160

Well may we fight for her, whom, we know well,

The world’s large spaces cannot parallel.


Paris and Troilus, you have both said well;

And on the cause and question now in hand  164

Have gloz’d, but superficially; not much

Unlike young men, whom Aristotle thought

Unfit to hear moral philosophy.

The reasons you allege do more conduce  168

To the hot passion of distemper’d blood

Than to make up a free determination

’Twixt right and wrong; for pleasure and revenge

Have ears more deaf than adders to the voice

Of any true decision. Nature craves  173

All dues be render’d to their owners: now,

What nearer debt in all humanity

Than wife is to the husband? if this law  176

Of nature be corrupted through affection,

And that great minds, of partial indulgence

To their benumbed wills, resist the saine;

There is a law in each well-order’d nation  180

To curb those raging appetites that are

Most disobedient and refractory.

If Helen then be wife to Sparta’s king,

As it is known she is, these moral laws  184

Of nature, and of nations, speak aloud

To have her back return’d: thus to persist

In doing wrong extenuates not wrong,

But makes it much more heavy. Hector’s opinion  188

Is this, in way of truth; yet, ne’ertheless,

My spritely brethren, I propend to you

In resolution to keep Helen still;

For ’tis a cause that hath no mean dependance

Upon our joint and several dignities.  193


Why, there you touch’d the life of our design:

Were it not glory that we more affected

Than the performance of our heaving spleens,

I would not wish a drop of Trojan blood  197

Spent more in her defence. But, worthy Hector,

She is a theme of honour and renown,

A spur to valiant and magnanimous deeds,  200

Whose present courage may beat down our foes,

And fame in time to come canonize us;

For, I presume, brave Hector would not lose

So rich advantage of a promis’d glory  204

As smiles upon the forehead of this action

For the wide world’s revenue.


I am yours,

You valiant offspring of great Priamus.

I have a roisting challenge sent amongst  208

The dull and factious nobles of the Greeks

Will strike amazement to their drowsy spirits.

I was advertis’d their great general slept

Whilst emulation in the army crept:  212

This, I presume, will wake him.


Scene III.— The Grecian Camp. Before Achilles’ Tent.

Enter Thersites.


How now, Thersites! what, lost in the labyrinth of thy fury! Shall the elephant Ajax carry it thus? he beats me, and I rail at him: O worthy satisfaction! Would it were otherwise; that I could beat him, whilst he railed at me. ’Sfoot, I’ll learn to conjure and raise devils, but I’ll see some issue of my spiteful execrations. Then there’s Achilles, a rare enginer. If Troy be not taken till these two undermine it, the walls will stand till they fall of themselves. O! thou great thunder-darter of Olympus, forget that thou art Jove the king of gods, and, Mercury, lose all the serpentine craft of thy caduceus, if ye take not that little little less than little wit from them that they have; which short-armed ignorance itself knows is so abundant scarce it will not in circumvention deliver a fly from a spider, without drawing their massy irons and cutting the web. After this, the vengeance on the whole camp! or, rather, the Neapolitan bone-ache! for that, methinks, is the curse dependant on those that war for a placket. I have said my prayers, and devil Envy say Amen. What, ho! my Lord Achilles!  24

Enter Patroclus.


Who’s there? Thersites! Good Thersites, come in and rail.


If I could have remembered a gilt counterfeit, thou wouldst not have slipped out of my contemplation: but it is no matter; thyself upon thyself! The common curse of mankind, folly and ignorance, be thine in great revenue! heaven bless thee from a tutor, and discipline come not near thee! Let thy blood be thy direction till thy death! then, if she that lays thee out says thou art a fair corpse, I’ll be sworn and sworn upon’t she never shrouded any but lazars. Amen. Where’s Achilles?  37


What! art thou devout? wast thou in prayer?


Ay; the heavens hear me!  40

Enter Achilles.


Who’s there?


Thersites, my lord.


Where, where? Art thou come? Why, my cheese, my digestion, why hast thou not served thyself in to my table so many meals? Come, what’s Agamemnon?


Thy commander, Achilles. Then tell me, Patroclus, what’s Achilles?  48


Thy lord, Thersites. Then tell me, I pray thee, what’s thyself?


Thy knower, Patroclus. Then tell me, Patroclus, what art thou?  52


Thou mayst tell that knowest.


O! tell, tell.


I’ll decline the whole question. Agamemnon commands Achilles; Achilles is my lord; I am Patroclus’ knower; and Patroclus is a fool.


You rascal!


Peace, fool! I have not done.  60


He is a privileged man. Proceed, Thersites.


Agamemnon is a fool; Achilles is a fool; Thersites is a fool; and, as aforesaid, Patroclus is a fool.  65


Derive this; come.


Agamemnon is a fool to offer to command Achilles; Achilles is a fool to be commanded of Agamemnon; Thersites is a fool to serve such a fool; and Patroclus is a fool positive.


Why am I a fool?  72


Make that demand to the Creator. It suffices me thou art. Look you, who comes here?


Patroclus, I’ll speak with nobody. Come in with me, Thersites.



Here is such patchery, such juggling, and such knavery! all the argument is a cuckold and a whore; a good quarrel to draw emulous factions and bleed to death upon. Now, the dry serpigo on the subject! and war and lechery confound all!


Enter Agamemnon, Ulysses, Nestor, Diomedes, and Ajax.


Where is Achilles?  84


Within his tent; but ill-dispos’d, my lord.


Let it be known to him that we are here.

He shent our messengers; and we lay by

Our appertainments, visiting of him:  88

Let him be told so; lest perchance he think

We dare not move the question of our place,

Or know not what we are.


I shall say so to him.



We saw him at the opening of his tent:  92

He is not sick.


Yes, lion-sick, sick of proud heart: you may call it melancholy if you will favour the man; but, by my head, ’tis pride: but why, why? let him show us a cause. A word, my lord.

[Takes Agamemnon aside.


What moves Ajax thus to bay at him?


Achilles hath inveigled his fool from him.  101


Who, Thersites?




Then will Ajax lack matter, if he have lost his argument.  105


No; you see, he is his argument that has his argument, Achilles.


All the better; their fraction is more our wish than their faction: but it was a strong composure a fool could disunite.


The amity that wisdom knits not folly may easily untie. Here comes Patroclus.  112

Re-enter Patroclus.


No Achilles with him.


The elephant hath joints, but none for courtesy: his legs are legs for necessity, not for flexure.  116


Achilles bids me say, he is much sorry

If any thing more than your sport and pleasure

Did move your greatness and this noble state

To call upon him; he hopes it is no other  120

But, for your health and your digestion sake,

An after-dinner’s breath.


Hear you, Patroclus:

We are too well acquainted with these answers:

But his evasion, wing’d thus swift with scorn,

Cannot outfly our apprehensions.  125

Much attribute he hath, and much the reason

Why we ascribe it to him; yet all his virtues,

Not virtuously on his own part beheld,  128

Do in our eyes begin to lose their gloss,

Yea, like fair fruit in an unwholesome dish,

Are like to rot untasted. Go and tell him,

We come to speak with him; and you shall not sin  132

If you do say we think him over-proud

And under-honest, in self-assumption greater

Than in the note of judgment; and worthier than himself  135

Here tend the savage strangeness he puts on,

Disguise the holy strength of their command,

And underwrite in an observing kind

His humorous predominance; yea, watch

His pettish lunes, his ebbs, his flows, as if  140

The passage and whole carriage of this action

Rode on his tide. Go tell him this, and add,

That if he overhold his price so much,

We’ll none of him; but let him, like an engine

Not portable, lie under this report:  145

‘Bring action hither, this cannot go to war:’

A stirring dwarf we do allowance give

Before a sleeping giant: tell him so.  148


I shall; and bring his answer presently.



In second voice we’ll not be satisfied;

We come to speak with him. Ulysses, enter you.

[Exit Ulysses.


What is he more than another?  152


No more than what he thinks he is.


Is he so much? Do you not think he thinks himself a better man than I am?


No question.  156


Will you subscribe his thought, and say he is?


No, noble Ajax; you are as strong, as valiant, as wise, no less noble, much more gentle, and altogether more tractable.  161


Why should a man be proud? How doth pride grow? I know not what pride is.


Your mind is the clearer, Ajax, and your virtues the fairer. He that is proud eats up himself: pride is his own glass, his own trumpet, his own chronicle; and whatever praises itself but in the deed, devours the deed in the praise.  169


I do hate a proud man, as I hate the engendering of toads.


[Aside.] Yet he loves himself: is’t not strange?  173

Re-enter Ulysses.


Achilles will not to the field to-morrow.


What’s his excuse?


He doth rely on none,

But carries on the stream of his dispose  176

Without observance or respect of any,

In will peculiar and in self-admission.


Why will he not upon our fair request

Untent his person and share the air with us?


Things small as nothing, for request’s sake only,  181

He makes important: possess’d he is with greatness,

And speaks not to himself but with a pride

That quarrels at self-breath: imagin’d worth

Holds in his blood such swoln and hot discourse,  185

That ’twixt his mental and his active parts

Kingdom’d Achilles in commotion rages

And batters down himself: what should I say?

He is so plaguy proud, that the death-tokens of it  189

Cry ‘No recovery.’


Let Ajax go to him.

Dear lord, go you and meet him in his tent:

’Tis said he holds you well, and will be led  192

At your request a little from himself.


O Agamemnon! let it not be so.

We’ll consecrate the steps that Ajax makes

When they go from Achilles: shall the proud lord  196

That bastes his arrogance with his own seam,

And never suffers matter of the world

Enter his thoughts, save such as do revolve

And ruminate himself, shall he be worshipp’d

Of that we hold an idol more than he?  201

No, this thrice-worthy and right valiant lord

Must not so stale his palm, nobly acquir’d;

Nor, by my will, assubjugate his merit,  204

As amply titled as Achilles is,

By going to Achilles:

That were to enlard his fat-already pride,

And add more coals to Cancer when he burns

With entertaining great Hyperion.  209

This lord go to him! Jupiter forbid,

And say in thunder, ‘Achilles go to him.’


[Aside.] O! this is well; he rubs the vein of him.  213


[Aside.] And how his silence drinks up this applause!


If I go to him, with my armed fist  216

I’ll pash him o’er the face.


O, no! you shall not go.


An a’ be proud with me, I’ll pheeze his pride.

Let me go to him.  220


Not for the worth that hangs upon our quarrel.


A paltry, insolent fellow!


[Aside.] How he describes himself!


Can he not be sociable?  224


[Aside.] The raven chides blackness.


I’ll let his humours blood.


[Aside.] He will be the physician that should be the patient.  228


An all men were o’ my mind,—


[Aside.] Wit would be out of fashion.


A’ should not bear it so, a’ should eat swords first: shall pride carry it?  232


[Aside.] An’t would, you’d carry half.


[Aside.] A’ would have ten shares.


I will knead him; I will make him supple.


[Aside.] He’s not yet through warm: force him with praises: pour in, pour in; his ambition is dry.  238


[To Agamemnon.] My lord, you feed too much on this dislike.


Our noble general, do not do so.  240


You must prepare to fight without Achilles.


Why, ’tis this naming of him does him harm.

Here is a man—but ’tis before his face;

I will be silent.


Wherefore should you so?  244

He is not emulous, as Achilles is.


Know the whole world, he is as valiant.


A whoreson dog, that shall palter thus with us! Would he were a Trojan!  248


What a vice were it in Ajax now,—


If he were proud,—


Or covetous of praise,—


Ay, or surly borne,—  252


Or strange, or self-affected!


Thank the heavens, lord, thou art of sweet composure;

Praise him that got thee, her that gave thee suck:

Fam’d be thy tutor, and thy parts of nature  256

Thrice-fam’d, beyond all erudition:

But he that disciplin’d thy arms to fight,

Let Mars divide eternity in twain,

And give him half: and, for thy vigour,  260

Bull-bearing Milo his addition yield

To sinewy Ajax. I will not praise thy wisdom,

Which, like a bourn, a pale, a shore, confines

Thy spacious and dilated parts: here’s Nestor

Instructed by the antiquary times,  265

He must, he is, he cannot but be wise;

But pardon, father Nestor, were your days

As green as Ajax, and your brain so temper’d,

You should not have the eminence of him,  269

But be as Ajax.


Shall I call you father?


Ay, my good son.


Be rul’d by him, Lord Ajax.


There is no tarrying here; the hart Achilles  272

Keeps thicket. Please it our great general

To call together all his state of war;

Fresh kings are come to Troy: to-morrow,

We must with all our main of power stand fast:

And here’s a lord,—come knights from east to west,  277

And cull their flower, Ajax shall cope the best.


Go we to council. Let Achilles sleep:

Light boats sail swift, though greater hulks draw deep.



Scene I.— Troy. Priam’s Palace.

Enter Pandarus and a Servant.


Friend! you! pray you, a word: do not you follow the young Lord Paris?


Ay, sir, when he goes before me.


You depend upon him, I mean?  4


Sir, I do depend upon the Lord.


You depend upon a noble gentleman;

I must needs praise him.


The Lord be praised!  8


You know me, do you not?


Faith, sir, superficially.


Friend, know me better. I am the

Lord Pandarus.  12


I hope I shall know your honour better.


I do desire it.


You are in the state of grace.  16


Grace! not so, friend; honour and lordship are my titles. [Music within.] What music is this?


I do but partly know, sir: it is music in parts.  21


Know you the musicians?


Wholly, sir.


Who play they to?  24


To the hearers, sir.


At whose pleasure, friend?


At mine, sir, and theirs that love music.


Command, I mean, friend.  28


Who shall I command, sir?


Friend, we understand not one another:

I am too courtly, and thou art too cunning. At whose request do these men play?  32


That’s to’t, indeed, sir. Marry, sir, at the request of Paris my lord, who is there in person; with him the mortal Venus, the heartblood of beauty, love’s invisible soul.  36


Who, my cousin Cressida?


No, sir, Helen: could you not find out that by her attributes?


It should seem, fellow, that thou hast not seen the Lady Cressida. I come to speak with Paris from the Prince Troilus: I will make a complimental assault upon him, for my business seethes.  44


Sodden business: there’s a stewed phrase, indeed.

Enter Paris and Helen, attended.


Fair be to you, my lord, and to all this fair company! fair desires, in all fair measures, fairly guide them! especially to you, fair queen! fair thoughts be your fair pillow!  50


Dear lord, you are full of fair words.


You speak your fair pleasure, sweet queen. Fair prince, here is good broken music.


You have broke it, cousin; and, by my life, you shall make it whole again: you shall piece it out with a piece of your performance. Nell, he is full of harmony.  57


Truly, lady, no.


O, sir!


Rude, in sooth; in good sooth, very rude.  61


Well said, my lord! Well, you say so in fits.


I have business to my lord, dear queen.

My lord, will you vouchsafe me a word?  65


Nay, this shall not hedge us out: we’ll hear you sing, certainly.


Well, sweet queen, you are pleasant with me. But, marry, thus, my lord. My dear lord and most esteemed friend, your brother Troilus—


My Lord Pandarus; honey-sweet lord,—  73


Go to, sweet queen, go to: commends himself most affectionately to you.


You shall not bob us out of our melody: if you do, our melancholy upon your head!


Sweet queen, sweet queen! that’s a sweet queen, i’ faith.  80


And to make a sweet lady sad is a sour offence.


Nay, that shall not serve your turn; that shall it not, in truth, la! Nay, I care not for such words: no, no. And, my lord, he desires you, that if the king call for him at supper, you will make his excuse.


My Lord Pandarus,—  88


What says my sweet queen, my very sweet queen?


What exploit’s in hand? where sups he to-night?  92


Nay, but my lord,—


What says my sweet queen! My cousin will fall out with you. You must know where he sups.  96


I’ll lay my life, with my disposer Cressida.


No, no, no such matter; you are wide. Come, your disposer is sick.  100


Well, I’ll make excuse.


Ay, good my lord. Why should you say Cressida? no, your poor disposer’s sick.


I spy.  104


You spy! what do you spy? Come, give me an instrument. Now, sweet queen.


Why, this is kindly done.


My niece is horribly in love with a thing you have, sweet queen.  109


She shall have it, my lord, if it be not my Lord Paris.


He! no, she’ll none of him; they two are twain.  113


Falling in, after falling out, may make them three.


Come, come, I’ll hear no more of this.

I’ll sing you a song now.  117


Ay, ay, prithee now. By my troth, sweet lord, thou hast a fine forehead.


Ay, you may, you may.  120


Let thy song be love: this love will undo us all. O Cupid, Cupid, Cupid!


Love! ay, that it shall, i’ faith.


Ay, good now, love, love, nothing but love.  125


In good troth, it begins so:


Love, love, nothing but love, still more!

For, oh! love’s bow  128

Shoots buck and doe:

The shaft confounds,

Not that it wounds,

But tickles still the sore.  132

These lovers cry O! O! they die!

Yet that which seems the wound to kill,

Doth turn O! O! to ha! ha! he!

So dying love lives still:  136

O! O! a while, but ha! ha! ha!

O! O! groans out for ha! ha! ha!



In love, i’ faith, to the very tip of the nose.  141


He eats nothing but doves, love; and that breeds hot blood, and hot blood begets hot thoughts, and hot thoughts beget hot deeds, and hot deeds is love.  145


Is this the generation of love? hot blood? hot thoughts, and hot deeds? Why, they are vipers: is love a generation of vipers? Sweet lord, who’s a-field to-day?  149


Hector, Deiphobus, Helenus, Antenor, and all the gallantry of Troy: I would fain have armed to-day, but my Nell would not have it so. How chance my brother Troilus went not?  153


He hangs the lip at something: you know all, Lord Pandarus.


Not I, honey-sweet queen. I long to hear how they sped to-day. You’ll remember your brother’s excuse?


To a hair.


Farewell, sweet queen.  160


Commend me to your niece.


I will, sweet queen.

[Exit. A retreat sounded.


They’re come from field: let us to Priam’s hall

To greet the warriors. Sweet Helen, I must woo you  164

To help unarm our Hector: his stubborn buckles,

With these your white enchanting fingers touch’d,

Shall more obey than to the edge of steel

Or force of Greekish sinews; you shall do more  168

Than all the island kings,—disarm great Hector.


’Twill make us proud to be his servant, Paris;

Yea, what he shall receive of us in duty

Gives us more palm in beauty than we have,  172

Yea, overshines ourself.


Sweet, above thought I love thee.


Scene II.— The Same. PandarusOrchard.

Enter Pandarus and Troilus’ Boy, meeting.


How now! where’s thy master? at my cousin Cressida’s?


No, sir; he stays for you to conduct him thither.  4

Enter Troilus.


O! here he comes. How now, how now!


Sirrah, walk off.

[Exit Boy.


Have you seen my cousin?


No, Pandarus: I stalk about her door,

Like a strange soul upon the Stygian banks  9

Staying for waftage. O! be thou my Charon,

And give me swift transportance to those fields

Where I may wallow in the lily-beds  12

Propos’d for the deserver! O gentle Pandarus!

From Cupid’s shoulder pluck his painted wings,

And fly with me to Cressid.


Walk here i’ the orchard. I’ll bring her straight.



I am giddy, expectation whirls me round.

The imaginary relish is so sweet

That it enchants my sense. What will it be

When that the watery palate tastes indeed  20

Love’s thrice-repured nectar? death, I fear me,

Swounding destruction, or some joy too fine,

Too subtle-potent, tun’d too sharp in sweetness

For the capacity of my ruder powers:  24

I fear it much; and I do fear besides

That I shall lose distinction in my joys;

As doth a battle, when they charge on heaps

The enemy flying.  28

Re-enter Pandarus.


She’s making her ready: she’ll come straight: you must be witty now. She does so blush, and fetches her wind so short, as if she were frayed with a sprite: I’ll fetch her. It is the prettiest villain: she fetches her breath as short as a new-ta’en sparrow.



Even such a passion doth embrace my bosom;

My heart beats thicker than a fev’rous pulse;  36

And all my powers do their bestowing lose,

Like vassalage at unawares encountering

The eye of majesty.

Re-enter Pandarus with Cressida.


Come, come, what need you blush? shame’s a baby. Here she is now: swear the oaths now to her that you have sworn to me. What! are you gone again? you must be watched ere you be made tame, must you? Come your ways, come your ways; an you draw backward, we’ll put you i’ the fills. Why do you not speak to her? Come, draw this curtain, and let’s see your picture. Alas the day, how loath you are to offend day-light! an ’twere dark, you’d close sooner. So, so; rub on, and kiss the mistress. How now! a kiss in fee-farm! build there, carpenter; the air is sweet. Nay, you shall fight your hearts out ere I part you. The falcon as the tercel, for all the ducks i’ the river: go to, go to.


You have bereft me of all words, lady.


Words pay no debts, give her deeds; but she’ll bereave you of the deeds too if she call your activity in question. What! billing again? Here’s ‘In witness whereof the parties interchangeably’—Come in, come in: I’ll go get a fire.



Will you walk in, my lord?


O Cressida! how often have I wished me thus!  64


Wished, my lord! The gods grant,—O my lord!


What should they grant? what makes this pretty abruption? What too curious dreg espies my sweet lady in the fountain of our love?


More dregs than water, if my fears have eyes.


Fears make devils of cherubins; they never see truly.  73


Blind fear, that seeing reason leads, finds safer footing than blind reason stumbling without fear: to fear the worst oft cures the worse.  77


O! let my lady apprehend no fear: in all Cupid’s pageant there is presented no monster.


Nor nothing monstrous neither?  80


Nothing but our undertakings; when we vow to weep seas, live in fire, eat rocks, tame tigers; thinking it harder for our mistress to devise imposition enough than for us to undergo any difficulty imposed. This is the monstruosity in love, lady, that the will is infinite, and the execution confined; that the desire is boundless, and the act a slave to limit.  88


They say all lovers swear more performance than they are able, and yet reserve an ability that they never perform; vowing more than the perfection of ten and discharging less than the tenth part of one. They that have the voice of lions and the act of hares, are they not monsters?  95


Are there such? such are not we. Praise us as we are tasted, allow us as we prove; our head shall go bare, till merit crown it. No perfection in reversion shall have a praise in present: we will not name desert before his birth, and, being born, his addition shall be humble. Few words to fair faith: Troilus shall be such to Cressid, as what envy can say worst shall be a mock for his truth; and what truth can speak truest not truer than Troilus.  105


Will you walk in, my lord?

Re-enter Pandarus.


What! blushing still? have you not done talking yet?  108


Well, uncle, what folly I commit, I dedicate to you.


I thank you for that: if my lord get a boy of you, you’ll give him me. Be true to my lord; if he flinch, chide me for it.  113


You know now your hostages; your uncle’s word, and my firm faith.


Nay, I’ll give my word for her too. Our kindred, though they be long ere they are wooed, they are constant being won: they are burrs, I can tell you; they’ll stick where they are thrown.  120


Boldness comes to me now, and brings me heart:

Prince Troilus, I have lov’d you night and day

For many weary months.


Why was my Cressid then so hard to win?  124


Hard to seem won; but I was won, my lord,

With the first glance that ever—pardon me—

If I confess much you will play the tyrant.

I love you now; but, till now, not so much  128

But I might master it: in faith, I lie;

My thoughts were like unbridled children, grown

Too headstrong for their mother. See, we fools!

Why have I blabb’d? who shall be true to us  132

When we are so unsecret to ourselves?

But, though I lov’d you well, I woo’d you not;

And yet, good faith, I wish’d myself a man,

Or that we women had men’s privilege  136

Of speaking first. Sweet, bid me hold my tongue;

For in this rapture I shall surely speak

The thing I shall repent. See, see! your silence,

Cunning in dumbness, from my weakness draws

My very soul of counsel. Stop my mouth.  141


And shall, albeit sweet music issues thence.


Pretty, i’ faith.


My lord, I do beseech you, pardon me;

’Twas not my purpose thus to beg a kiss:  145

I am asham’d: O heavens! what have I done?

For this time will I take my leave, my lord.


Your leave, sweet Cressid?  148


Leave! an you take leave till to-morrow morning,—


Pray you, content you.


What offends you, lady?


Sir, mine own company.  152


You cannot shun yourself.


Let me go and try:

I have a kind of self resides with you;

But an unkind self, that itself will leave,  156

To be another’s fool. I would be gone:

Where is my wit? I speak I know not what.


Well know they what they speak that speak so wisely.


Perchance, my lord, I show more craft than love;  160

And fell so roundly to a large confession,

To angle for your thoughts: but you are wise,

Or else you love not, for to be wise, and love,

Exceeds man’s might; that dwells with gods above.  164


O! that I thought it could be in a woman—

As if it can I will presume in you—

To feed for aye her lamp and flames of love;

To keep her constancy in plight and youth,  168

Outliving beauty’s outward, with a mind

That doth renew swifter than blood decays:

Or that persuasion could but thus convince me,

That my integrity and truth to you  172

Might be affronted with the match and weight

Of such a winnow’d purity in love;

How were I then uplifted! but, alas!

I am as true as truth’s simplicity,  176

And simpler than the infancy of truth.


In that I’ll war with you.


O virtuous fight!

When right with right wars who shall be most right.

True swains in love shall in the world to come

Approve their truths by Troilus: when their rimes,  181

Full of protest, of oath, and big compare,

Want similes, truth tir’d with iteration,

As true as steel, as plantage to the moon,  184

As sun to day, as turtle to her mate,

As iron to adamant, as earth to the centre,

Yet, after all comparisons of truth,

As truth’s authentic author to be cited,  188

‘As true as Troilus’ shall crown up the verse

And sanctify the numbers.


Prophet may you be!

If I be false, or swerve a hair from truth,

When time is old and hath forgot itself,  192

When waterdrops have worn the stones of Troy,

And blind oblivion swallow’d cities up,

And mighty states characterless are grated

To dusty nothing, yet let memory,  196

From false to false, among false maids in love

Upbraid my falsehood! when they have said ‘as false

As air, as water, wind, or sandy earth,

As fox to lamb, as wolf to heifer’s calf,  200

Pard to the hind, or stepdame to her son;’

Yea, let them say, to stick the heart of falsehood,

‘As false as Cressid.’


Go to, a bargain made; seal it, seal it: I’ll be the witness. Here I hold your hand, here my cousin’s. If ever you prove false one to another, since I have taken such pains to bring you together, let all pitiful goers-between be called to the world’s end after my name; call them all Pandars; let all constant men be Troiluses, all false women Cressids, and all brokers-between Pandars! say, Amen.  212






Amen. Whereupon I will show you a chamber and a bed; which bed, because it shall not speak of your pretty encounters, press it to death: away!

And Cupid grant all tongue-tied maidens here

Bed, chamber, Pandar to provide this gear!  220


Scene III.— The Grecian Camp.

Enter Agamemnon, Ulysses, Diomedes, Nestor, Ajax, Menelaus, and Calchas.


Now, princes, for the service I have done you,

The advantage of the time prompts me aloud

To call for recompense. Appear it to your mind

That through the sight I bear in things to come,

I have abandon’d Troy, left my possession,  5

Incurr’d a traitor’s name; expos’d myself,

From certain and possess’d conveniences,

To doubtful fortunes; sequestering from me all

That time, acquaintance, custom, and condition

Made tame and most familiar to my nature;

And here, to do you service, have become

As new into the world, strange, unacquainted:

I do beseech you, as in way of taste,  13

To give me now a little benefit,

Out of those many register’d in promise,

Which, you say, live to come in my behalf.  16


What wouldst thou of us, Trojan? make demand.


You have a Trojan prisoner, call’d Antenor,

Yesterday took: Troy holds him very dear.

Oft have you—often have you thanks therefore—  20

Desir’d my Cressid in right great exchange,

Whom Troy hath still denied; but this Antenor

I know is such a wrest in their affairs

That their negociations all must slack,  24

Wanting his manage; and they will almost

Give us a prince of blood, a son of Priam,

In change of him: let him be sent, great princes,

And he shall buy my daughter; and her presence  28

Shall quite strike off all service I have done,

In most accepted pain.


Let Diomedes bear him,

And bring us Cressid hither: Calchas shall have

What he requests of us. Good Diomed,  32

Furnish you fairly for this interchange:

Withal bring word if Hector will to-morrow

Be answer’d in his challenge: Ajax is ready.


This shall I undertake; and ’tis a burden  36

Which I am proud to bear.

[Exeunt Diomedes and Calchas.

Enter Achilles and Patroclus, before their tent.


Achilles stands in the entrance of his tent:

Please it our general to pass strangely by him,

As if he were forgot; and, princes all,  40

Lay negligent and loose regard upon him:

I will come last. ’Tis like he’ll question me

Why such unplausive eyes are bent on him:

If so, I have derision med’cinable  44

To use between your strangeness and his pride,

Which his own will shall have desire to drink.

It may do good: pride hath no other glass

To show itself but pride, for supple knees  48

Feed arrogance and are the poor man’s fees.


We’ll execute your purpose, and put on

A form of strangeness as we pass along:

So do each lord, and either greet him not,  52

Or else disdainfully, which shall shake him more

Than if not look’d on. I will lead the way.


What! comes the general to speak with me?

You know my mind; I’ll fight no more ’gainst Troy.  56


What says Achilles? would he aught with us?


Would you, my lord, aught with the general?




Nothing, my lord.  60


The better.

[Exeunt Agamemnon and Nestor.


Good day, good day.


How do you? how do you?



What! does the cuckold scorn me?  64


How now, Patroclus?


Good morrow, Ajax.




Good morrow.  68


Ay, and good next day too.



What mean these fellows? Know they not Achilles?


They pass by strangely: they were us’d to bend,

To send their smiles before them to Achilles;  72

To come as humbly as they us’d to creep

To holy altars.


What! am I poor of late?

’Tis certain, greatness, once fall’n out with fortune,

Must fall out with men too: what the declin’d is

He shall as soon read in the eyes of others  77

As feel in his own fall; for men, like butterflies,

Show not their mealy wings but to the summer,

And not a man, for being simply man,  80

Hath any honour, but honour for those honours

That are without him, as places, riches, and favour,

Prizes of accident as oft as merit:

Which when they fall, as being slippery standers,  84

The love that lean’d on them as slippery too,

Do one pluck down another, and together

Die in the fall. But ’tis not so with me:

Fortune and I are friends: I do enjoy  88

At ample point all that I did possess,

Save these men’s looks; who do, methinks, find out

Something not worth in me such rich beholding

As they have often given. Here is Ulysses:  92

I’ll interrupt his reading.

How now, Ulysses!


Now, great Thetis’ son!


What are you reading?


A strange fellow here

Writes me,

That man, how dearly ever parted,

How much in having, or without or in,  97

Cannot make boast to have that which he hath,

Nor feels not what he owes but by reflection;

As when his virtues shining upon others  100

Heat them, and they retort that heat again

To the first giver.


This is not strange, Ulysses!

The beauty that is borne here in the face

The bearer knows not, but commends itself  104

To others’ eyes: nor doth the eye itself—

That most pure spirit of sense—behold itself,

Not going from itself; but eye to eye oppos’d

Salutes each other with each other’s form;  108

For speculation turns not to itself

Till it hath travell’d and is mirror’d there

Where it may see itself. This is not strange at all.


I do not strain at the position,  112

It is familiar, but at the author s drift;

Who in his circumstance expressly proves

That no man is the lord of any thing—

Though in and of him there be much consisting—  116

Till he communicate his parts to others:

Nor doth he of himself know them for aught

Till he behold them form’d in the applause

Where they’re extended; who, like an arch, reverberates  120

The voice again, or, like a gate of steel

Fronting the sun, receives and renders back

His figure and his heat. I was much rapt in this;

And apprehended here immediately  124

The unknown Ajax.

Heavens, what a man is there! a very horse,

That has he knows not what. Nature, what things there are,

Most abject in regard, and dear in use!  128

What things again most dear in the esteem

And poor in worth! Now shall we see to-morrow,

An act that very chance doth throw upon him,

Ajax renown’d. O heavens! what some men do;  132

While some men leave to do.

How some men creep in skittish Fortune’s hall,

Whiles others play the idiots in her eyes!

How one man eats into another’s pride,  136

While pride is fasting in his wantonness!

To see these Grecian lords! why, even already

They clap the lubber Ajax on the shoulder,

As if his foot were on brave Hector’s breast,  140

And great Troy shrinking.


I do believe it; for they pass’d by me

As misers do by beggars, neither gave to me

Good word or look: what! are my deeds forgot?


Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back,  145

Wherein he puts alms for oblivion,

A great-siz’d monster of ingratitudes:

Those scraps are good deeds past; which are devour’d  148

As fast as they are made, forgot as soon

As done: perseverance, dear my lord,

Keeps honour bright: to have done, is to hang

Quite out of fashion, like a rusty mail  152

In monumental mockery. Take the instant way;

For honour travels in a strait so narrow

Where one but goes abreast: keep, then, the path;

For emulation hath a thousand sons  156

That one by one pursue: if you give way,

Or hedge aside from the direct forthright,

Like to an enter’d tide they all rush by

And leave you hindmost;  160

Or, like a gallant horse fall’n in first rank,

Lie there for pavement to the abject rear,

O’errun and trampled on: then what they do in present,

Though less than yours in past, must o’ertop yours;  164

For time is like a fashionable host,

That slightly shakes his parting guest by the hand,

And with his arms outstretch’d, as he would fly,

Grasps in the comer: welcome ever smiles,  168

And farewell goes out sighing. O! let not virtue seek

Remuneration for the thing it was;

For beauty, wit,

High birth, vigour of bone, desert in service,  172

Love, friendship, charity, are subjects all

To envious and calumniating time.

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin,

That all with one consent praise new-born gawds,  176

Though they are made and moulded of things past,

And give to dust that is a little gilt

More laud than gilt o’er-dusted.

The present eye praises the present object:  180

Then marvel not, thou great and complete man,

That all the Greeks begin to worship Ajax;

Since things in motion sooner catch the eye

Than what not stirs. The cry went once on thee,  184

And still it might, and yet it may again,

If thou wouldst not entomb thyself alive,

And case thy reputation in thy tent;

Whose glorious deeds, but in these fields of late,

Made emulous missions ’mongst the gods themselves,  189

And drave great Mars to faction.


Of this my privacy

I have strong reasons.


But ’gainst your privacy

The reasons are more potent and heroical.  192

’Tis known, Achilles, that you are in love

With one of Priam’s daughters.


Ha! known!


Is that a wonder?  196

The providence that’s in a watchful state

Knows almost every grain of Plutus’ gold,

Finds bottom in the uncomprehensive deeps,

Keeps place with thought, and almost, like the gods,  200

Does thoughts unveil in their dumb cradles.

There is a mystery—with whom relation

Durst never meddle—in the soul of state,

Which hath an operation more divine  204

Than breath or pen can give expressure to.

All the commerce that you have had with Troy

As perfectly is ours as yours, my lord;

And better would it fit Achilles much  208

To throw down Hector than Polyxena;

But it must grieve young Pyrrhus now at home,

When fame shall in our islands sound her trump,

And all the Greekish girls shall tripping sing,

‘Great Hector’s sister did Achilles win,  213

But our great Ajax bravely beat down him.’

Farewell, my lord: I as your lover speak;

The fool slides o’er the ice that you should break.



To this effect, Achilles, have I mov’d you.  217

A woman impudent and mannish grown

Is not more loath’d than an effeminate man

In time of action. I stand condemn’d for this:

They think my little stomach to the war  221

And your great love to me restrains you thus.

Sweet, rouse yourself; and the weak wanton Cupid

Shall from your neck unloose his amorous fold,

And, like a dew-drop from the lion’s mane,  225

Be shook to air.


Shall Ajax fight with Hector?


Ay; and perhaps receive much honour by him.


I see my reputation is at stake;  228

My fame is shrewdly gor’d.


O! then, beware;

Those wounds heal ill that men do give themselves:

Omission to do what is necessary

Seals a commission to a blank of danger;  232

And danger, like an ague, subtly taints

Even then when we sit idly in the sun.


Go call Thersites hither, sweet Patroclus:

I’ll send the fool to Ajax and desire him  236

T’ invite the Trojan lords after the combat

To see us here unarmed. I have a woman’s longing,

An appetite that I am sick withal,

To see great Hector in his weeds of peace;  240

To talk with him and to behold his visage,

Even to my full of view. A labour sav’d!

Enter Thersites.


A wonder!


What?  244


Ajax goes up and down the field, asking for himself.


How so?


He must fight singly to-morrow with Hector, and is so prophetically proud of an heroical cudgelling that he raves in saying nothing.


How can that be?  252


Why, he stalks up and down like a peacock, a stride and a stand; ruminates like a hostess that hath no arithmetic but her brain to set down her reckoning; bites his lip with a politic regard, as who should say ‘There were wit in this head, an ’twould out;’ and so there is, but it lies as coldly in him as fire in a flint, which will not show without knocking. The man’s undone for ever; for if Hector break not his neck i’ the combat, he’ll break’t himself in vainglory. He knows not me: I said, ‘Good morrow, Ajax;’ and he replies, ‘Thanks, Agamemnon.’ What think you of this man that takes me for the general? He’s grown a very land-fish, languageless, a monster. A plague of opinion! a man may wear it on both sides, like a leather jerkin.  269


Thou must be my ambassador to him, Thersites.


Who, I? why, he’ll answer nobody; he professes not answering; speaking is for beggars; he wears his tongue in his arms. I will put on his presence: let Patroclus make demands to me, you shall see the pageant of Ajax.  276


To him, Patroclus: tell him, I humbly desire the valiant Ajax to invite the most valorous Hector to come unarmed to my tent; and to procure safe-conduct for his person of the magnanimous and most illustrious, six-or-seven-times-honoured captain-general of the Grecian army, Agamemnon, et cætera. Do this.


Jove bless great Ajax!  284




I come from the worthy Achilles,—




Who most humbly desires you to invite Hector to his tent,—  289




And to procure safe-conduct from Agamemnon.  292




Ay, my lord.




What say you to’t?  296


God be wi’ you, with all my heart.


Your answer, sir.


If to-morrow be a fair day, by eleven o’clock it will go one way or other; howsoever, he shall pay for me ere he has me.  301


Your answer, sir.


Fare you well, with all my heart.


Why, but he is not in this tune, is he?


No, but he’s out o’ tune thus. What music will be in him when Hector has knocked out his brains, I know not; but, I am sure, none, unless the fiddler Apollo get his sinews to make catlings on.  309


Come, thou shalt bear a letter to him straight.


Let me bear another to his horse, for that’s the more capable creature.  313


My mind is troubled, like a fountain stirr’d;

And I myself see not the bottom of it.

[Exeunt Achilles and Patroclus.


Would the fountain of your mind were clear again, that I might water an ass at it! I had rather be a tick in a sheep than such a valiant ignorance.



Scene I.— Troy. A Street.

Enter, on one side, Æneas, and Servant with a torch; on the other, Paris, Deiphobus, Antenor, Diomedes, and Others, with torches.


See, ho! who is that there?


It is the Lord Æneas.


Is the prince there in person?

Had I so good occasion to lie long

As you, Prince Paris, nothing but heavenly business  4

Should rob my bed-mate of my company.


That’s my mind too. Good morrow, Lord Æneas.


A valiant Greek, Æneas; take his hand:

Witness the process of your speech, wherein  8

You told how Diomed, a whole week by days,

Did haunt you in the field.


Health to you, valiant sir,

During all question of the gentle truce;

But when I meet you arm’d, as black defiance  12

As heart can think or courage execute.


The one and other Diomed embraces.

Our bloods are now in calm, and, so long, health!

But when contention and occasion meet,  16

By Jove, I’ll play the hunter for thy life

With all my force, pursuit, and policy.


And thou shalt hunt a lion, that will fly

With his face backward. In humane gentleness,

Welcome to Troy! now, by Anchises’ life,  21

Welcome, indeed! By Venus’ hand I swear,

No man alive can love in such a sort

The thing he means to kill more excellently.  24


We sympathize. Jove, let Æneas live,

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,  28

With every joint a wound, and that to-morrow!


We know each other well.


We do; and long to know each other worse.


This is the most despiteful gentle greeting,  32

The noblest hateful love, that e’er I heard of.

What business, lord, so early?


I was sent for to the king; but why, I know not.


His purpose meets you: ’twas to bring this Greek  36

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—  40

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  44

We shall be much unwelcome.


That I assure you:

Troilus had rather Troy were borne to Greece

Than Cressid borne from Troy.


There is no help;

The bitter disposition of the time  48

Will have it so. On, lord; we’ll follow you.


Good morrow, all.



And tell me, noble Diomed; faith, tell me true,

Even in the soul of sound good-fellowship,  52

Who, in your thoughts, merits fair Helen best—

Myself or Menelaus?


Both alike:

He merits well to have her that doth seek her—

Not making any scruple of her soilure—  56

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:  60

He, like a puling cuckold, would drink up

The lees and dregs of a flat tamed piece;

You, like a lecher, out of whorish loins

Are pleas’d to breed out your inheritors:  64

Both merits pois’d, each weighs nor less nor more;

But he as he, the heavier for a whore.


You are too bitter to your country-woman.


She’s bitter to her country. Hear me, Paris:  68

For every false drop in her bawdy veins

A Grecian’s life hath sunk; for every scruple

Of her contaminated carrion weight

A Trojan hath been slain. Since she could speak,  72

She hath not given so many good words breath

As for her Greeks and Trojans suffer’d death.


Fair Diomed, you do as chapmen do,

Dispraise the thing that you desire to buy;  76

But we in silence hold this virtue well,

We’ll not commend what we intend to sell.

Here lies our way.


Scene II.— The Same. A Court before PandarusHouse.

Enter Troilus and Cressida.


Dear, trouble not yourself: the morn is cold.


Then, sweet my lord, I’ll call mine uncle down:

He shall unbolt the gates.


Trouble him not;

To bed, to bed: sleep kill those pretty eyes,  4

And give as soft attachment to thy senses

As infants’ empty of all thought!


Good morrow then.


I prithee now, to bed.


Are you aweary of me?


O Cressida! but that the busy day,  8

Wak’d by the lark, hath rous’d the ribald crows,

And dreaming night will hide our joys no longer,

I would not from thee.


Night hath been too brief.


Beshrew the witch! with venomous wights she stays  12

As tediously as hell, but flies the grasps of love

With wings more momentary-swift than thought.

You will catch cold, and curse me.


Prithee, tarry:

You men will never tarry.  16

O foolish Cressid! I might have still held off,

And then you would have tarried. Hark! there’s one up.


[Within.] What! are all the doors open here?


It is your uncle.  20


A pestilence on him! now will he be mocking: I shall have such a life!

Enter Pandarus.


How now, how now! how go maiden-heads?

Here, you maid! where’s my cousin Cressid?  24


Go hang yourself, you naughty mocking uncle!

You bring me to do—and then you flout me too.


To do what? to do what? let her say what: what have I brought you to do?  28


Come, come; beshrew your heart! you’ll ne’er be good,

Nor suffer others.


Ha, ha! Alas, poor wretch! a poor capocchia! hast not slept to-night? would he not, a naughty man, let it sleep? a bugbear take him!


Did not I tell you? ’would he were knock’d o’ the head!

[Knocking within.

Who’s that at door? good uncle, go and see.  36

My lord, come you again into my chamber:

You smile, and mock me, as if I meant naughtily.


Ha, ha!


Come, you are deceiv’d, I think of no such thing.

[Knocking within.

How earnestly they knock! Pray you, come in:

I would not for half Troy have you seen here.

[Exeunt Troilus and Cressida.


[Going to the door.] Who’s there? what’s the matter? will you beat down the door? How now! what’s the matter?  45

Enter Æneas.


Good morrow, lord, good morrow.


Who’s there? my Lord Æneas! By my troth,

I knew you not: what news with you so early?


Is not Prince Troilus here?  49


Here! what should he do here?


Come, he is here, my lord: do not deny him: it doth import him much to speak with me.  53


Is he here, say you? ’tis more than I know, I’ll be sworn: for my own part, I came in late. What should he do here?  56


Who! nay, then: come, come, you’ll do him wrong ere you’re ’ware. You’ll be so true to him, to be false to him. Do not you know of him, but yet go fetch him hither; go.  60

Re-enter Troilus.


How now! what’s the matter?


My lord, I scarce have leisure to salute you,

My matter is so rash: there is at hand

Paris your brother, and Deiphobus,  64

The Grecian Diomed, and our Antenor

Deliver’d to us; and for him forthwith,

Ere the first sacrifice, within this hour,

We must give up to Diomedes’ hand  68

The Lady Cressida.


Is it so concluded?


By Priam, and the general state of Troy:

They are at hand and ready to effect it.


How my achievements mock me!  72

I will go meet them: and, my Lord Æneas,

We met by chance; you did not find me here.


Good, good, my lord; the secrets of nature

Have not more gift in taciturnity.  76

[Exeunt Troilus and Æneas.


Is’t possible? no sooner got but lost?

The devil take Antenor! the young prince will go mad: a plague upon Antenor! I would they had broke’s neck!  80

Enter Cressida.


How now! What is the matter? Who was here?


Ah! ah!


Why sigh you so profoundly? where’s my lord? gone! Tell me, sweet uncle, what’s the matter?


Would I were as deep under the earth as I am above!  88


O the gods! what’s the matter?


Prithee, get thee in. Would thou hadst ne’er been born! I knew thou wouldst be his death. O poor gentleman! A plague upon Antenor!  93


Good uncle, I beseech you, on my knees I beseech you, what’s the matter?


Thou must be gone, wench, thou must be gone; thou art changed for Antenor. Thou must to thy father, and be gone from Troilus: ’twill be his death; ’twill be his bane; he cannot bear it.  100


O you immortal gods! I will not go.


Thou must.


I will not, uncle: I have forgot my father;

I know no touch of consanguinity;  104

No kin, no love, no blood, no soul so near me

As the sweet Troilus. O you gods divine!

Make Cressid’s name the very crown of falsehood

If ever she leave Troilus! Time, force, and death,

Do to this body what extremes you can;  109

But the strong base and building of my love

Is as the very centre of the earth,

Drawing all things to it. I’ll go in and weep,—


Do, do.  113


Tear my bright hair, and scratch my praised cheeks,

Crack my clear voice with sobs, and break my heart

With sounding Troilus. I will not go from Troy.


Scene III.— The Same. Before PandarusHouse.

Enter Paris, Troilus, Æneas, Deiphobus, Antenor, and Diomedes.


It is great morning, and the hour prefix’d

Of her delivery to this valiant Greek

Comes fast upon. Good my brother Troilus,

Tell you the lady what she is to do,  4

And haste her to the purpose.


Walk into her house;

I’ll bring her to the Grecian presently:

And to his hand when I deliver her,

Think it an altar, and thy brother Troilus  8

A priest, there offering to it his own heart.



I know what ’tis to love;

And would, as I shall pity, I could help!

Please you walk in, my lords.


Scene IV.— The Same. A Room in PandarusHouse.

Enter Pandarus and Cressida.


Be moderate, be moderate.


Why tell you me of moderation?

The grief is fine, full, perfect, that I taste,

And violenteth in a sense as strong  4

As that which causeth it: how can I moderate it?

If I could temporize with my affection,

Or brew it to a weak and colder palate,

The like allayment could I give my grief:  8

My love admits no qualifying dross;

No more my grief, in such a precious loss.

Enter Troilus.


Here, here, here he comes. Ah! sweet ducks.


[Embracing him.] O Troilus! Troilus!


What a pair of spectacles is here! Let me embrace too. ‘O heart,’ as the goodly saying is,—

O heart, heavy heart,  16

Why sigh’st thou without breaking?

when he answers again,

Because thou canst not ease thy smart

By friendship nor by speaking.  20

There was never a truer rime. Let us cast away nothing, for we may live to have need of such a verse: we see it, we see it. How now, lambs!


Cressid, I love thee in so strain’d a purity,  24

That the bless’d gods, as angry with my fancy,

More bright in zeal than the devotion which

Cold lips blow to their deities, take thee from me.


Have the gods envy?  28


Ay, ay, ay, ay; ’tis too plain a case.


And is it true that I must go from Troy?


A hateful truth.


What! and from Troilus too?


From Troy and Troilus.


Is it possible?  32


And suddenly; where injury of chance

Puts back leave-taking, justles roughly by

All time of pause, rudely beguiles our lips

Of all rejoindure, forcibly prevents  36

Our lock’d embrasures, strangles our dear vows

Even in the birth of our own labouring breath.

We two, that with so many thousand sighs

Did buy each other, must poorly sell ourselves

With the rude brevity and discharge of one.  41

Injurious time now with a robber’s haste

Crams his rich thievery up, he knows not how:

As many farewells as be stars in heaven,  44

With distinct breath and consign’d kisses to them,

He fumbles up into a loose adieu,

And scants us with a single famish’d kiss,

Distasted with the salt of broken tears.  48


[Within.] My lord, is the lady ready?


Hark! you are call’d: some say the Genius so

Cries ‘Come!’ to him that instantly must die.

Bid them have patience; she shall come anon.


Where are my tears? rain, to lay this wind, or my heart will be blown up by the root!



I must then to the Grecians?


No remedy.


A woeful Cressid ’mongst the merry Greeks!  56

When shall we see again?


Hear me, my love. Be thou but true of heart,—


I true! how now! what wicked deem is this?


Nay, we must use expostulation kindly,

For it is parting from us:  61

I speak not ‘be thou true,’ as fearing thee,

For I will throw my glove to Death himself,

That there’s no maculation in thy heart;  64

But, ‘be thou true,’ say I, to fashion in

My sequent protestation; be thou true,

And I will see thee.


O! you shall be expos’d, my lord, to dangers  68

As infinite as imminent; but I’ll be true.


And I’ll grow friend with danger. Wear this sleeve.


And you this glove. When shall I see you?


I will corrupt the Grecian sentinels,  72

To give thee nightly visitation.

But yet, be true.


O heavens! ‘be true’ again!


Hear why I speak it, love:

The Grecian youths are full of quality;  76

They’re loving, well compos’d, with gifts of nature,

Flowing and swelling o’er with arts and exercise:

How novelty may move, and parts with person,

Alas! a kind of godly jealousy,—  80

Which, I beseech you, call a virtuous sin,—

Makes me afear’d.


O heavens! you love me not.


Die I a villain, then!

In this I do not call your faith in question  84

So mainly as my merit: I cannot sing,

Nor heel the high lavolt, nor sweeten talk,

Nor play at subtle games; fair virtues all,

To which the Grecians are most prompt and pregnant:  88

But I can tell that in each grace of these

There lurks a still and dumb-discoursive devil

That tempts most cunningly. But be not tempted.


Do you think I will?  92



But something may be done that we will not:

And sometimes we are devils to ourselves

When we will tempt the frailty of our powers,

Presuming on their changeful potency.  97


[Within.] Nay, good my lord,—


Come, kiss; and let us part.


[Within.] Brother Troilus!


Good brother, come you hither;

And bring Æneas and the Grecian with you.  100


My lord, will you be true?


Who, I? alas, it is my vice, my fault:

While others fish with craft for great opinion,

I with great truth catch mere simplicity;  104

Whilst some with cunning gild their copper crowns,

With truth and plainness I do wear mine bare.

Fear not my truth; the moral of my wit

Is plain, and true; there’s all the reach of it.

Enter Æneas, Paris, Antenor, Deiphobus, and Diomedes.

Welcome, Sir Diomed! Here is the lady  109

Which for Antenor we deliver you:

At the port, lord, I’ll give her to thy hand,

And by the way possess thee what she is.  112

Entreat her fair; and, by my soul, fair Greek,

If e’er thou stand at mercy of my sword,

Name Cressid, and thy life shall be as safe

As Priam is in Ilion.


Fair Lady Cressid,  116

So please you, save the thanks this prince expects:

The lustre in your eye, heaven in your cheek,

Pleads your fair usage; and to Diomed

You shall be mistress, and command him wholly.


Grecian, thou dost not use me courteously,  121

To shame the zeal of my petition to thee

In praising her: I tell thee, lord of Greece,

She is as far high-soaring o’er thy praises  124

As thou unworthy to be call’d her servant.

I charge thee use her well, even for my charge;

For, by the dreadful Pluto, if thou dost not,

Though the great bulk Achilles be thy guard,

I’ll cut thy throat.


O! be not mov’d, Prince Troilus:

Let me be privileg’d by my place and message

To be a speaker free; when I am hence,

I’ll answer to my lust; and know you, lord,  132

I’ll nothing do on charge: to her own worth

She shall be priz’d; but that you say ‘be’t so,’

I’ll speak it in my spirit and honour, ‘no.’


Come, to the port. I’ll tell thee, Diomed,

This brave shall oft make thee to hide thy head.  137

Lady, give me your hand, and, as you walk,

To our own selves bend we our needful talk.

[Exeunt Troilus, Cressida, and Diomedes. Trumpet sounded.


Hark! Hector’s trumpet.


How have we spent this morning!

The prince must think me tardy and remiss,  141

That swore to ride before him to the field.


’Tis Troilus’ fault. Come, come, to field with him.


Let us make ready straight.  144


Yea, with a bridegroom’s fresh alacrity,

Let us address to tend on Hector’s heels:

The glory of our Troy doth this day lie

On his fair worth and single chivalry.


Scene V.— The Grecian Camp. Lists set out.

Enter Ajax, armed; Agamemnon, Achilles, Patroclus, Menelaus, Ulysses, Nestor, and Others.


Here art thou in appointment fresh and fair,

Anticipating time with starting courage.

Give with thy trumpet a loud note to Troy,

Thou dreadful Ajax; that the appalled air  4

May pierce the head of the great combatant

And hale him hither.


Thou, trumpet, there’s my purse.

Now crack thy lungs, and split thy brazen pipe:

Blow, villain, till thy sphered bias cheek  8

Outswell the colic of puff’d Aquilon.

Come, stretch thy chest, and let thy eyes spout blood;

Thou blow’st for Hector.

[Trumpet sounds.


No trumpet answers.


’Tis but early days.  12


Is not yond Diomed with Calchas’ daughter?


’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.  16

Enter Diomedes, with Cressida.


Is this the Lady Cressid?


Even she.


Most dearly welcome to the Greeks, sweet lady.


Our general doth salute you with a kiss.


Yet is the kindness but particular;  20

’Twere better she were kiss’d in general.


And very courtly counsel: I’ll begin.

So much for Nestor.


I’ll take that winter from your lips, fair lady:  24

Achilles bids you welcome.


I had good argument for kissing once.


But that’s no argument for kissing now;

For thus popp’d Paris in his hardiment,  28

And parted thus you and your argument.


O, deadly gall, and theme of all our scorns!

For which we lose our heads to gild his horns.


The first was Menelaus’ kiss; this, mine:  32

Patroclus kisses you.


O! this is trim.


Paris and I, kiss evermore for him.


I’ll have my kiss, sir. Lady, by your leave.


In kissing, do you render or receive?  36


Both take and give.


I’ll make my match to live,

The kiss you take is better than you give;

Therefore no kiss.


I’ll give you boot; I’ll give you three for one.  40


You’re an odd man; give even, or give none.


An odd man, lady! every man is odd.


No, Paris is not; for, you know ’tis true,

That you are odd, and he is even with you.  44


You fillip me o’ the head.


No, I’ll be sworn.


It were no match, your nail against his horn.

May I, sweet lady, beg a kiss of you?


You may.


I do desire it.


Why, beg, then.  48


Why, then, for Venus’ sake, give me a kiss,

When Helen is a maid again, and his.


I am your debtor; claim it when ’tis due.


Never’s my day, and then a kiss of you.  52


Lady, a word: I’ll bring you to your father.

[Diomedes leads out Cressida.


A woman of quick sense.


Fie, fie upon her!

There’s language in her eye, her cheek, her lip,

Nay, her foot speaks; her wanton spirits look out  56

At every joint and motive of her body.

O! these encounterers, so glib of tongue,

That give a coasting welcome ere it comes,

And wide unclasp the tables of their thoughts

To every tickling reader, set them down  61

For sluttish spoils of opportunity

And daughters of the game.

[Trumpet within.


The Trojans’ trumpet.


Yonder comes the troop.  64

Enter Hector, armed; Æneas, Troilus, and other Trojans, with Attendants.


Hail, all you state of Greece! what shall be done

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  68

Pursue each other, or shall be divided

By any voice or order of the field?

Hector bade ask.


Which way would Hector have it?


He cares not; he’ll obey conditions.  72


’Tis done like Hector; but securely done,

A little proudly, and great deal misprising

The knight oppos’d.


If not Achilles, sir.

What is your name?


If not Achilles, nothing.  76


Therefore Achilles; but, whate’er, know this:

In the extremity of great and little,

Valour and pride excel themselves in Hector;

The one almost as infinite as all,  80

The other blank as nothing. Weigh him well,

And that which looks like pride is courtesy.

This Ajax is half made of Hector’s blood:

In love whereof half Hector stays at home;  84

Half heart, half hand, half Hector comes to seek

This blended knight, half Trojan, and half Greek.


A maiden battle, then? O! I perceive you.

Re-enter Diomedes.


Here is Sir Diomed. Go, gentle knight,  88

Stand by our Ajax: as you and Lord Æneas

Consent upon the order of their fight,

So be it; either to the uttermost,

Or else a breath: the combatants being kin  92

Half stints their strife before their strokes begin.

[Ajax and Hector enter the lists.


They are oppos’d already.


What Trojan is that same that looks so heavy?


The youngest son of Priam, a true knight:  96

Not yet mature, yet matchless; firm of word,

Speaking in deeds and deedless in his tongue;

Not soon provok’d, nor being provok’d soon calm’d:

His heart and hand both open and both free;  100

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;  104

For Hector, in his blaze of wrath, subscribes

To tender objects; but he in heat of action

Is more vindicative than jealous love.

They call him Troilus, and on him erect  108

A second hope, as fairly built as Hector.

Thus says Æneas; one that knows the youth

Even to his inches, and with private soul

Did in great Ilion thus translate him to me.  112

[Alarum. Hector and Ajax fight.


They are in action.


Now, Ajax, hold thine own!


Hector, thou sleep’st; awake thee!


His blows are well dispos’d: there, Ajax!


You must no more.

[Trumpets cease.


Princes, enough, so please you.  116


I am not warm yet; let us fight again.


As Hector pleases.


Why, then will I no more:

Thou art, great lord, my father’s sister’s son,

A cousin-german to great Priam’s seed;  120

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,

And this is Trojan; the sinews of this leg  125

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,  128

Thou shouldst not bear from me a Greekish member

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  133

Be drain’d! Let me embrace thee, Ajax;

By him that thunders, thou hast lusty arms;

Hector would have them fall upon him thus:

Cousin, all honour to thee!


I thank thee, Hector:

Thou art too gentle and too free a man:

I came to kill thee, cousin, and bear hence

A great addition earned in thy death.  140


Not Neoptolemus so mirable,

On whose bright crest Fame with her loud’st byes

Cries, ‘This is he!’ could promise to himself

A thought of added honour torn from Hector.


There is expectance here from both the sides,  145

What further you will do.


We’ll answer it;

The issue is embracement: Ajax, farewell.


If I might in entreaties find success,—

As seld I have the chance,—I would desire  149

My famous cousin to our Grecian tents.


’Tis Agamemnon’s wish, and great Achilles

Doth long to see unarm’d the valiant Hector.


Æneas, 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;  156

I will go eat with thee and see your knights.


Great Agamemnon comes to meet us here.


The worthiest of them tell me name by name;

But for Achilles, mine own searching eyes  160

Shall find him by his large and portly size.


Worthy of arms! as welcome as to one

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  165

And formless ruin of oblivion;

But in this extant moment, faith and troth,

Strain’d purely from all hollow bias-drawing,  168

Bids thee, with most divine integrity,

From heart of very heart, great Hector, welcome.


I thank thee, most imperious Agamemnon.


[To Troilus.] My well-fam’d Lord of Troy, no less to you.  172


Let me confirm my princely brother’s greeting:

You brace of war-like brothers, welcome hither.


Whom must we answer?


The noble Menelaus.


O! you, my lord? by Mars his gauntlet, thanks!  176

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.


Name her not now, sir; she’s a deadly theme.  180


O! pardon; I offend.


I have, thou gallant Trojan, seen thee oft,

Labouring for destiny, make cruel way

Through ranks of Greekish youth: and I have seen thee,  184

As hot as Perseus, spur thy Phrygian steed,

Despising many forfeits and subduements,

When thou hast hung thy advanc’d sword i’ th’ air,

Not letting it decline on the declin’d;  188

That I have said to some my standers-by,

‘Lo! Jupiter is yonder, dealing life!’

And I have seen thee pause and take thy breath,

When that a ring of Greeks have hemm’d thee in,  192

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,

And once fought with him: he was a soldier good;  196

But, by great Mars, the captain of us all,

Never like thee. Let an old man embrace thee;

And, worthy warrior, welcome to our tents.


’Tis the old Nestor.  200


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.


I would my arms could match thee in contention,  204

As they contend with thee in courtesy.


I would they could.



By this white beard, I’d fight with thee to-morrow.  208

Well, welcome, welcome! I have seen the time.—


I wonder now how yonder city stands,

When we have here her base and pillar by us.


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.


Sir, I foretold you then what would ensue:  216

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.


I must not believe you:  220

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,  224

Will one day end it.


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.  228


I shall forestall thee, Lord Ulysses, thou!

Now, Hector, I have fed mine eyes on thee;

I have with exact view perus’d thee, Hector,

And quoted joint by joint.


Is this Achilles?  232


I am Achilles.


Stand fair, I pray thee: let me look on thee.


Behold thy fill.


Nay, I have done already.


Thou art too brief: I will the second time,  236

As I would buy thee, view thee limb by limb.


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?


Tell me, you heavens, in which part of his body  241

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  244

Hector’s great spirit flew. Answer me, heavens!


It would discredit the bless’d gods, proud man,

To answer such a question. Stand again:

Think’st thou to catch my life so pleasantly  248

As to prenominate in nice conjecture

Where thou wilt hit me dead?


I tell thee, yea.


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.

You wisest Grecians, pardon me this brag;  256

His insolence draws folly from my lips;

But I’ll endeavour deeds to match these words,

Or may I never—


Do not chafe thee, cousin:

And you, Achilles, let these threats alone,  260

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.  264


I pray you, let us see you in the field;

We have had pelting wars since you refus’d

The Grecians’ cause.


Dost thou entreat me, Hector?

To-morrow do I meet thee, fell as death;  268

To-night all friends.


Thy hand upon that match.


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  272

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.


My Lord Ulysses, tell me, I beseech you,

In what place of the field doth Calchas keep?


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  281

On the fair Cressid.


Shall I, sweet lord, be bound to thee so much,

After we part from Agamemnon’s tent,  284

To bring me thither?


You shall command me, sir.

As gentle tell me, of what honour was

This Cressida in Troy? Had she no lover there

That wails her absence?  288


O, sir! to such as boasting show their scars

A mock is due. Will you walk on, my lord?

She was belov’d, she lov’d; she is, and doth:

But still sweet love is food for fortune’s tooth.



Scene I.— The Grecian Camp. Before AchillesTent.

Enter Achilles and Patroclus.


I’ll heat his blood with Greekish wine to-night,

Which with my scimitar I’ll cool to-morrow.

Patroclus, let us feast him to the height.


Here comes Thersites.

Enter Thersites.


How now, thou core of envy!  4

Thou crusty batch of nature, what’s the news?


Why, thou picture of what thou seemest, and idol of idiot-worshippers, here’s a letter for thee.  8


From whence, fragment?


Why, thou full dish of fool, from Troy.


Who keeps the tent now?


The surgeon’s box, or the patient’s wound.  13


Well said, adversity! and what need these tricks?


Prithee, be silent, boy: I profit not by thy talk: thou art thought to be Achilles’ male varlet.  18


Male varlet, you rogue! what’s that?


Why, his masculine whore. Now, the rotten diseases of the south, the guts-griping, ruptures, catarrhs, loads o’ gravel i’ the back, lethargies, cold palsies, raw eyes, dirt-rotten livers, wheezing lungs, bladders full of imposthume, sciaticas, lime-kilns i’ the palm, incurable bone-ache, and the rivelled fee-simple of the tetter, take and take again such preposterous discoveries!  28


Why, thou damnable box of envy, thou, what meanest thou to curse thus?


Do I curse thee?


Why, no, you ruinous butt, you whoreson indistinguishable cur, no.  33


No! why art thou then exasperate, thou idle immaterial skein of sleave silk, thou green sarcenet flap for a sore eye, thou tassel of a prodigal’s purse, thou? Ah! how the poor world is pestered with such water-flies, diminutives of nature.


Out, gall!  40


Finch egg!


My sweet Patroclus, I am thwarted quite

From my great purpose in to-morrow’s battle.

Here is a letter from Queen Hecuba,  44

A token from her daughter, my fair love,

Both taxing me and gaging me to keep

An oath that I have sworn. I will not break it:

Fall Greeks; fail fame; honour or go or stay;

My major vow lies here, this I’ll obey.  49

Come, come, Thersites, help to trim my tent;

This night in banqueting must all be spent.

Away, Patroclus!  52

[Exeunt Achilles and Patroclus.


With too much blood and too little brain, these two may run mad; but if with too much brain, and too little blood they do, I’ll be a curer of madmen. Here’s Agamemnon, an honest fellow enough, and one that loves quails, but he has not so much brain as ear-wax: and the goodly transformation of Jupiter there, his brother, the bull, the primitive statue, and oblique memorial of cuckolds; a thrifty shoeing-horn in a chain, hanging at his brother’s leg, to what form but that he is should wit larded with malice and malice forced with wit turn him to? To an ass, were nothing: he is both ass and ox; to an ox, were nothing: he is both ox and ass. To be a dog, a mule, a cat, a fitchew, a toad, a lizard, an owl, a puttock, or a herring without a roe, I would not care; but to be Menelaus! I would conspire against destiny. Ask me not what I would be, if I were not Thersites, for I care not to be the louse of a lazar, so I were not Menelaus. Hey-day! spirits and fires!  74

Enter Hector, Troilus, Ajax, Agamemnon, Ulysses, Nestor, Menelaus, and Diomedes, with lights.


We go wrong, we go wrong.


No, yonder ’tis;

There, where we see the lights.


I trouble you.  76


No, not a whit.


Here comes himself to guide you.

Re-enter Achilles.


Welcome, brave Hector; welcome, princes all.


So now, fair prince of Troy, I bid good-night.

Ajax commands the guard to tend on you.  80


Thanks and good-night to the Greeks’ general.


Good-night, my lord.


Good-night, sweet Lord Menelaus.


Sweet draught: ‘sweet,’ quoth a’! sweet sink, sweet sewer.  85


Good-night and welcome both at once, to those

That go or tarry.


Good-night.  88

[Exeunt Agamemnon and Menelaus.


Old Nestor tarries; and you too, Diomed,

Keep Hector company an hour or two.


I cannot, lord; I have important business,

The tide whereof is now. Good-night, great Hector.  92


Give me your hand.


[Aside to Troilus.] Follow his torch; he goes to Calchas’ tent.

I’ll keep you company.


Sweet sir, you honour me.


And so, good-night.  96

[Exit Diomedes; Ulysses and Troilus following.


Come, come, enter my tent.

[Exeunt Achilles, Hector, Ajax, and Nestor.


That same Diomed’s a false-hearted rogue, a most unjust knave; I will no more trust him when he leers than I will a serpent when he hisses. He will spend his mouth, and promise, like Brabbler the hound; but when he performs, astronomers foretell it: it is prodigious, there will come some change: the sun borrows of the moon when Diomed keeps his word. I will rather leave to see Hector, than not to dog him: they say he keeps a Trojan drab, and uses the traitor Calchas’ tent. I’ll after. Nothing but lechery! all incontinent varlets.


Scene II.— The Same. Before CalchasTent.

Enter Diomedes.


What, are you up here, ho! speak.


[Within.] Who calls?


Diomed. Calchas, I think. Where’s your daughter?


[Within.] She comes to you.  4

Enter Troilus and Ulysses, at a distance; after them Thersites.


Stand where the torch may not discover us.

Enter Cressida.


Cressid comes forth to him.


How now, my charge!


Now, my sweet guardian! Hark! a word with you.



Yea, so familiar!  8


She will sing any man at first sight.


And any man may sing her, if he can take her cliff; she’s noted.


Will you remember?  12


Remember! yes.


Nay, but do, then;

And let your mind be coupled with your words.


What should she remember?  16




Sweet honey Greek, tempt me no more to folly.




Nay, then,—


I’ll tell you what,—  20


Foh, foh! come, tell a pin: you are forsworn.


In faith, I cannot. What would you have me do?


A juggling trick,—to be secretly open.


What did you swear you would bestow on me?  24


I prithee, do not hold me to mine oath;

Bid me do anything but that, sweet Greek.




Hold, patience!  28


How now, Trojan?




No, no, good-night; I’ll be your fool no more.


Thy better must.


Hark! one word in your ear.  32


O plague and madness!


You are mov’d, prince; let us depart, I pray you,

Lest your displeasure should enlarge itself

To wrathful terms. This place is dangerous;  36

The time right deadly. I beseech you, go.


Behold, I pray you!


Nay, good my lord, go off:

You flow to great distraction; come, my lord.


I pray thee, stay.


You have not patience; come.  40


I pray you, stay. By hell, and all hell’s torments,

I will not speak a word!


And so, good-night.


Nay, but you part in anger.


Doth that grieve thee?

O wither’d truth!


Why, how now, lord!


By Jove,  44

I will be patient.


Guardian!—why, Greek!


Foh, foh! adieu; you palter.


In faith, I do not: come hither once again.


You shake, my lord, at something: will you go?  48

You will break out.


She strokes his cheek!


Come, come.


Nay, stay; by Jove, I will not speak a word:

There is between my will and all offences

A guard of patience: stay a little while.  52


How the devil Luxury, with his fat rump and potato finger, tickles these together! Fry, lechery, fry!


But will you, then?  56


In faith, I will, la; never trust me else.


Give me some token for the surety of it.


I’ll fetch you one.



You have sworn patience.


Fear me not, sweet lord;  60

I will not be myself, nor have cognition

Of what I feel: I am all patience.

Re-enter Cressida.


Now the pledge! now, now, now!


Here, Diomed, keep this sleeve.  64


O beauty! where is thy faith?


My lord,—


I will be patient; outwardly I will.


You look upon that sleeve; behold it well.

He lov’d me—O false wench!—Give’t to me again.  68


Whose was’t?


It is no matter, now I have’t again.

I will not meet with you to-morrow night.

I prithee, Diomed, visit me no more.


Now she sharpens: well said, whetstone!  72


I shall have it.


What, this?


Ay, that.


O! all you gods. O pretty, pretty pledge!

Thy master now lies thinking in his bed

Of thee and me; and sighs, and takes my glove,

And gives me norial dainty kisses to it,  77

As I kiss thee. Nay, do not snatch it from me;

He that takes that doth take my heart withal.


I had your heart before; this follows it.


I did swear patience.  81


You shall not have it, Diomed; faith you shall not;

I’ll give you something else.


I will have this. Whose was it?


’Tis no matter.


Come, tell me whose it was.  85


’Twas one’s that loved me better than you will.

But, now you have it, take it.


Whose was it?


By all Diana’s waiting-women yond,  88

And by herself, I will not tell you whose.


To-morrow will I wear it on my helm,

And grieve his spirit that dares not challenge it.


Wert thou the devil, and wor’st it on thy horn,  92

It should be challeng’d.


Well, well, ’tis done, ’tis past: and yet it is not:

I will not keep my word.


Why then, farewell;

Thou never shalt mock Diomed again.  96


You shall not go: one cannot speak a word,

But it straight starts you.


I do not like this fooling.


Nor I, by Pluto: but that that likes not me

Pleases me best.  100


What, shall I come? the hour?


Ay, come:—O Jove!—

Do come:—I shall be plagu’d.


Farewell till then.


Good-night: I prithee, come.—

[Exit Diomedes.

Troilus, farewell! one eye yet looks on thee,  104

But with my heart the other eye doth see.

Ah! poor our sex; this fault in us I find,

The error of our eye directs our mind.

What error leads must err. O! then conclude

Minds sway’d by eyes are full of turpitude.  109



A proof of strength she could not publish more,

Unless she said, ‘My mind is now turn’d whore.’


All’s done, my lord.


It is.


Why stay we, then?


To make a recordation to my soul  113

Of every syllable that here was spoke.

But if I tell how these two did co-act,

Shall I not lie in publishing a truth?  116

Sith yet there is a credence in my heart,

An esperance so obstinately strong,

That doth invert the attest of eyes and ears,

As if those organs had deceptions functions,

Created only to calumniate.  121

Was Cressid here?


I cannot conjure, Trojan.


She was not, sure.


Most sure she was.


Why, my negation hath no taste of madness.  124


Nor mine, my lord: Cressid was here but now.


Let it not be believ’d for womanhood!

Think we had mothers; do not give advantage

To stubborn critics, apt, without a theme,  128

For depravation, to square the general sex

By Cressid’s rule: rather think this not Cressid.


What hath she done, prince, that can soil our mothers?


Nothing at all, unless that this were she.


Will he swagger himself out on’s own eyes?  133


This she? no, this is Diomed’s Cressida.

If beauty have a soul, this is not she;

If souls guide vows, if vows be sanctimony,  136

If sanctimony be the gods’ delight,

If there be rule in unity itself,

This is not she. O madness of discourse,

That cause sets up with and against itself;  140

Bi-fold authority! where reason can revolt

Without perdition, and loss assume all reason

Without revolt: this is, and is not, Cressid.

Within my soul there doth conduce a fight  144

Of this strange nature that a thing inseparate

Divides more wider than the sky and earth;

And yet the spacious breadth of this division

Admits no orifice for a point as subtle  148

As Ariachne’s broken woof to enter.

Instance, O instance! strong as Pluto’s gates;

Cressid is mine, tied with the bonds of heaven:

Instance, O instance! strong as heaven itself;

The bonds of heaven are slipp’d, dissolv’d, and loos’d;  153

And with another knot, five-finger-tied,

The fractions of her faith, orts of her love,

The fragments, scraps, the bits, and greasy reliques  156

Of her o’er-eaten faith, are bound to Diomed.


May worthy Troilus be half attach’d

With that which here his passion doth express?


Ay, Greek; and that shall be divulged well  160

In characters as red as Mars his heart

Inflam’d with Venus: never did young man fancy

With so eternal and so fix’d a soul.

Hark, Greek: as much as I do Cressid love,  164

So much by weight hate I her Diomed;

That sleeve is mine that he’ll bear on his helm;

Were it a casque compos’d by Vulcan’s skill,

My sword should bite it. Not the dreadful spout

Which shipmen do the hurricano call,  169

Constring’d in mass by the almighty sun,

Shall dizzy with more clamour Neptune’s ear

In his descent than shall my prompted sword

Falling on Diomed.  173


He’ll tickle it for his concupy.


O Cressid! O false Cressid! false, false, false!

Let all untruths stand by thy stained name,  176

And they’ll seem glorious.


O! contain yourself;

Your passion draws ears hither.

Enter Æneas.


I have been seeking you this hour, my lord.

Hector, by this, is arming him in Troy:  180

Ajax, your guard, stays to conduct you home.


Have with you, prince. My courteous lord, adieu.

Farewell, revolted fair! and Diomed,

Stand fast, and wear a castle on thy head!  184


I’ll bring you to the gates.


Accept distracted thanks.

[Exeunt Troilus, Æneas, and Ulysses.


Would I could meet that rogue Diomed! I would croak like a raven; I would bode, I would bode. Patroclus would give me any thing for the intelligence of this whore: the parrot will not do more for an almond than he for a commodious drab. Lechery, lechery; still, wars and lechery: nothing else holds fashion. A burning devil take them!


Scene III.— Troy. Before Priam’s Palace.

Enter Hector and Andromache.


When was my lord so much ungently temper’d,

To stop his ears against admonishment?

Unarm, unarm, and do not fight to-day.


You train me to offend you; get you in:  4

By all the everlasting gods, I’ll go.


My dreams will, sure, prove ominous to the day.


No more, I say.

Enter Cassandra.


Where is my brother Hector?


Here, sister; arm’d, and bloody in intent.  8

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.  12


O! ’tis true.


Ho! bid my trumpet sound.


No notes of sally, for the heavens, sweet brother.


Be gone, I say: the gods have heard me swear.


The gods are deaf to hot and peevish vows:  16

They are polluted offerings, more abhorr’d

Than spotted livers in the sacrifice.


O! be persuaded: do not count it holy

To hurt by being just: it is as lawful,  20

For we would give much, to use violent thefts,

And rob in the behalf of charity.


It is the purpose that makes strong the vow;

But vows to every purpose must not hold.  24

Unarm, sweet Hector.


Hold you still, I say;

Mine honour keeps the weather of my fate:

Life every man holds dear; but the dear man

Holds honour far more precious-dear than life.

Enter Troilus.

How now, young man! mean’st thou to fight to-day?  29


Cassandra, call my father to persuade.

[Exit Cassandra.


No, faith, young Troilus; doff thy harness, youth;

I am to-day i’ the vein of chivalry:  32

Let grow thy sinews till their knots be strong,

And tempt not yet the brushes of the war.

Unarm thee, go, and doubt thou not, brave boy,

I’ll stand to-day for thee and me and Troy.  36


Brother, you have a vice of mercy in you,

Which better fits a lion than a man.


What vice is that, good Troilus? chide me for it.


When many times the captive Grecian falls,  40

Even in the fan and wind of your fair sword,

You bid them rise, and live.


O! ’tis fair play.


Fool’s play, by heaven, Hector.


How now! how now!


For the love of all the gods,  44

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,

Spur them to ruthful work, rein them from ruth.  48


Fie, savage, fie!


Hector, then ’tis wars.


Troilus, I would not have you fight to-day.


Who should withhold me?

Not fate, obedience, nor the hand of Mars  52

Beckoning with fiery truncheon my retire;

Not Priamus and Hecuba on knees,

Their eyes o’ergalled with recourse of tears;

Nor you, my brother, with your true sword drawn,  56

Oppos’d to hinder me, should stop my way,

But by my ruin.

Re-enter Cassandra, with Priam.


Lay hold upon him, Priam, hold him fast:

He is thy crutch; now if thou lose thy stay,  60

Thou on him leaning, and all Troy on thee,

Fall all together.


Come, Hector, come; go back:

Thy wife hath dream’d; thy mother hath had visions;

Cassandra doth foresee; and I myself  64

Am like a prophet suddenly enrapt,

To tell thee that this day is ominous:

Therefore, come back.


Æneas is a-field;

And I do stand engag’d to many Greeks,  68

Even in the faith of valour, to appear

This morning to them.


Ay, but thou shalt not go.


I must not break my faith.

You know me dutiful; therefore, dear sir,  72

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.


O Priam! yield not to him.


Do not, dear father.  76


Andromache, I am offended with you:

Upon the love you bear me, get you in.

[Exit Andromache.


This foolish, dreaming, superstitious girl

Makes all these bodements.


O farewell! dear Hector.  80

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!

Behold, distraction, frenzy, and amazement,  85

Like witless anticks, one another meet,

And all cry Hector! Hector’s dead! O Hector!


Away! Away!  88


Farewell. Yet, soft! Hector, I take my leave:

Thou dost thyself and all our Troy deceive.



You are amaz’d, 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.  93


Farewell: the gods with safety stand about thee!

[Exeunt severally Priam and Hector. Alarums.


They are at it, hark! Proud Diomed, believe,

I come to lose my arm, or win my sleeve.  96

As Troilus is going out, enter, from the other side, Pandarus.


Do you hear, my lord? do you hear?


What now?


Here’s a letter come from yond poor girl.


Let me read.  100


A whoreson tisick, a whoreson rascally tisick so 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 to think on’t. What says she there?  108


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.

My love with words and errors still she feeds,

But edifies another with her deeds.  113

[Exeunt severally.

Scene IV.— Between Troy and the Grecian Camp.

Alarums. Excursions. Enter Thersites.


Now they are clapper-clawing one another; I’ll go look on. That dissembling abominable varlet, Diomed, has got that same scurvy doting foolish young knave’s sleeve of Troy there in his helm: I would fain see them meet; that that same young Trojan ass, that loves the whore there, might send that Greekish whoremasterly villain, with the sleeve, back to the dissembling luxurious drab, on a sleeveless errand. O’ the other side, the policy of those crafty swearing rascals,—that stale old mouse-eaten dry cheese, Nestor, and that same dog-fox, Ulysses, is not proved worth a blackberry: they set me up, in policy, that mongrel cur, Ajax, against that dog of as bad a kind, Achilles; and now is the cur Ajax prouder than the cur Achilles, and will not arm to-day; whereupon the Grecians begin to proclaim barbarism, and policy grows into an ill opinion. Soft! here comes sleeve, and t’ other.  20

Enter Diomedes, Troilus following.


Fly not; for shouldst thou take the river Styx,

I would swim after.


Thou dost miscall retire:

I do not fly; but advantageous care

Withdrew me from the odds of multitude.  24

Have at thee!


Hold thy whore, Grecian! now for thy whore, Trojan! now the sleeve, now the sleeve!

[Exeunt Troilus and Diomedes, fighting.

Enter Hector.


What art thou, Greek? art thou for Hector’s match?  28

Art thou of blood and honour?


No, no, I am a rascal; a scurvy railing knave; a very filthy rogue.


I do believe thee: live.



God-a-mercy, that thou wilt believe me; but a plague break thy neck for frighting me! What’s become of the wenching rogues? I think they have swallowed one another: I would laugh at that miracle; yet, in a sort, lechery eats itself. I’ll seek them.


Scene V.— Another Part of the Plains.

Enter Diomedes and a Servant.


Go, go, my servant, take thou Troilus’ horse;

Present the fair steed to my Lady Cressid:

Fellow, commend my service to her beauty:

Tell her I have chastis’d the amorous Trojan,  4

And am her knight by proof.


I go, my lord.


Enter Agamemnon.


Renew, renew! The fierce Polydamas

Hath beat down Menon; bastard Margarelon

Hath Doreus prisoner,  8

And stands colossus-wise, waving his beam,

Upon the pashed corses of the kings

Epistrophus and Cedius; Polixenes is slain;

Amphimachus, and Thoas, deadly hurt;  12

Patroclus ta’en, or slain; and Palamedes

Sore hurt and bruis’d; the dreadful Sagittary

Appals our numbers: haste we, Diomed,

To reinforcement, or we perish all.  16

Enter Nestor.


Go, bear Patroclus’ body to Achilles;

And bid the snail-pac’d Ajax arm for shame.

There is a thousand Hectors in the field:

Now here he fights on Galathe his horse,  20

And there lacks work; anon he’s there afoot,

And there they fly or die, like scaled sculls

Before the belching whale; then is he yonder,

And there the strawy Greeks, ripe for his edge,

Fall down before him, like the mower’s swath:

Here, there, and everywhere, he leaves and takes,

Dexterity so obeying appetite

That what he will he does; and does so much

That proof is called impossibility.  29

Enter Ulysses.


O! courage, courage, princes; great Achilles

Is arming, weeping, cursing, vowing vengeance:

Patroclus’ wounds have rous’d his drowsy blood,

Together with his mangled Myrmidons,  33

That noseless, handless, hack’d and chipp’d, come to him,

Crying on Hector. Ajax hath lost a friend,

And foams at mouth, and he is arm’d and at it,  36

Roaring for Troilus, who hath done to-day

Mad and fantastic execution,

Engaging and redeeming of himself

With such a careless force and forceless care  40

As if that luck, in very spite of cunning,

Bade him win all.

Enter Ajax.


Troilus! thou coward Troilus!



Ay, there, there.


So, so, we draw together.

Enter Achilles.


Where is this Hector?

Come, come, thou boy-queller, show thy face;  45

Know what it is to meet Achilles angry:

Hector! where’s Hector? I will none but Hector.


Scene VI.— Another Part of the Plains.

Enter Ajax.


Troilus, thou coward Troilus, show thy head!

Enter Diomedes.


Troilus, I say! where’s Troilus?


What wouldst thou?


I would correct him.


Were I the general, thou shouldst have my office  4

Ere that correction. Troilus, I say! what, Troilus!

Enter Troilus.


O traitor Diomed! Turn thy false face, thou traitor!

And pay thy life thou ow’st me for my horse!


Ha! art thou there?  8


I’ll fight with him alone: stand, Diomed.


He is my prize; I will not look upon.


Come, both you cogging Greeks; have at you both!

[Exeunt, fighting.

Enter Hector.


Yea, Troilus? O, well fought, my youngest brother!  12

Enter Achilles.


Now I do see thee. Ha! have at thee, Hector!


Pause, if thou wilt.


I do disdain thy courtesy, proud Trojan.

Be happy that my arms are out of use:  16

My rest and negligence befriend thee now,

But thou anon shalt hear of me again;

Till when, go seek thy fortune.



Fare thee well:—

I would have been much more a fresher man,  20

Had I expected thee. How now, my brother!

Re-enter Troilus.


Ajax hath ta’en Æneas: shall it be?

No, by the flame of yonder glorious heaven,

He shall not carry him: I’ll be ta’en too,  24

Or bring him off. Fate, hear me what I say!

I reck not though I end my life to-day.


Enter One in sumptuous armour.


Stand, stand, thou Greek; thou art a goodly mark.

No? wilt thou not? I like thy armour well;  28

I’ll frush it, and unlock the rivets all,

But I’ll be master of it. Wilt thou not, beast, abide?

Why then, fly on, I’ll hunt thee for thy hide.


Scene VII.— Another Part of the Plains.

Enter Achilles, with Myrmidons.


Come here about me, you my Myrmidons;

Mark what I say. Attend me where I wheel:

Strike not a stroke, but keep yourselves in breath:

And when I have the bloody Hector found,  4

Empale him with your weapons round about;

In fellest manner execute your aims.

Follow me, sirs, and my proceedings eye:

It is decreed, Hector the great must die.  8


Enter Menelaus and Paris, fighting; then Thersites.


The cuckold and the cuckold-maker are at it. Now, bull! now, dog! ’Loo, Paris, ’loo! now, my double-henned sparrow! ’loo, Paris, ’loo! The bull has the game: ’ware horns, ho!

[Exeunt Paris and Menelaus.

Enter Margarelon.


Turn, slave, and fight.


What art thou?


A bastard son of Priam’s.  16


I am a bastard too; I love bastards: I am a bastard begot, bastard instructed, bastard in mind, bastard in valour, in every thing illegitimate. One bear will not bite another, and wherefore should one bastard? Take heed, the quarrel’s most ominous to us: if the son of a whore fight for a whore, he tempts judgment. Farewell, bastard.



The devil take thee, coward!


Scene VIII.— Another Part of the Plains.

Enter Hector.


Most putrefied core, so fair without,

Thy goodly armour thus hath cost thy life.

Now is my day’s work done; I’ll take good breath:

Rest, sword; thou hast thy fill of blood and death.

[Puts off his helmet, and hangs his shield behind him.

Enter Achilles and Myrmidons.


Look, Hector, how the sun begins to set;  5

How ugly night comes breathing at his heels:

Even with the vail and darking of the sun,

To close the day up, Hector’s life is done.  8


I am unarm’d; forego this vantage, Greek.


Strike, fellows, strike! this is the man I seek.

[Hector falls.

So, Ilion, fall thou next! now, Troy, sink down!

Here lies thy heart, thy sinews, and thy bone.  12

On! Myrmidons, and cry you all amain,

‘Achilles hath the mighty Hector slain.’—

[A retreat sounded.

Hark! a retreat upon our Grecian part.


The Trojan trumpets sound the like, my lord.  16


The dragon wing of night o’erspreads the earth,

And, stickler-like, the armies separates.

My half-supp’d sword, that frankly would have fed,

Pleas’d with this dainty bait, thus goes to bed.—

[Sheathes his sword.

Come, tie his body to my horse’s tail;  21

Along the field I will the Trojan trail.


Scene IX.— Another Part of the Plains.

Enter Agamemnon, Ajax, Menelaus, Nestor, Diomedes, and Others marching. Shouts within.


Hark! hark! what shout is that?


Peace, drums!

[Within.] Achilles!

Achilles! Hector’s slain! Achilles!


The bruit is, Hector’s slain, and by Achilles.


If it be so, yet bragless let it be;  4

Great Hector was a man as good as he.


March patiently along. Let one be sent

To pray Achilles see us at our tent.

If in his death the gods have us befriended,  8

Great Troy is ours, and our sharp wars are ended.

[Exeunt marching.

Scene X.— Another Part of the Plains.

Enter Æneas and Trojans.


Stand, ho! yet are we masters of the field.

Never go home; here starve we out the night.

Enter Troilus.


Hector is slain.


Hector! the gods forbid!


He’s dead; and at the murderer’s horse’s tail,  4

In beastly sort, dragg’d through the shameful field.

Frown on, you heavens, effect your rage with speed!

Sit, gods, upon your thrones, and smile at Troy!

I say, at once let your brief plagues be mercy,  8

And linger not our sure destructions on!


My lord, you do discomfort all the host.


You understand me not that tell me so.

I do not speak of flight, of fear, of death;  12

But dare all imminence that gods and men

Address their dangers in. Hector is gone:

Who shall tell Priam so, or Hecuba?

Let him that will a screech-owl aye be call’d  16

Go in to Troy, and say there Hector’s dead:

There is a word will Priam turn to stone,

Make wells and Niobes of the maids and wives,

Cold statues of the youth; and, in a word,  20

Scare Troy out of itself. But march away:

Hector is dead; there is no more to say.

Stay yet. You vile abominable tents,

Thus proudly pight upon our Phrygian plains,

Let Titan rise as early as he dare,  25

I’ll through and through you! And, thou great-siz’d coward,

No space of earth shall sunder our two hates:

I’ll haunt thee like a wicked conscience still,  28

That mouldeth goblins swift as frenzy’s thoughts.

Strike a free march to Troy! with comfort go:

Hope of revenge shall hide our inward woe.

[Exeunt Æneas and Trojan Forces.

As Troilus is going out, enter, from the other side, Pandarus.


But hear you, hear you!  32


Hence, broker lackey! ignomy and shame

Pursue thy life, and live aye with thy name!



A goodly medicine for my aching bones! O world! world! world! thus is the poor agent despised. O traitors and bawds, how earnestly are you set a-work, and how ill requited! why should our endeavour be so loved, and the performance so loathed? what verse for it? what instance for it?—Let me see!—  41

Full merrily the humble-bee doth sing,

Till he hath lost his honey and his sting;

And being once subdu’d in armed tail,  44

Sweet honey and sweet notes together fail.

Good traders in the flesh, set this in your painted cloths.

As many as be here of pander’s hall,  48

Your eyes, half out, weep out at Pandar’s fall;

Or if you cannot weep, yet give some groans,

Though not for me, yet for your aching bones.

Brethren and sisters of the hold-door trade,  52

Some two months hence my will shall here be made.

It should be now, but that my fear is this,

Some galled goose of Winchester would hiss.

Till then I’ll sweat, and seek about for eases;  56

And at that time bequeath you my diseases