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Troilus and Cressida: Act 1 Scene 1
Scene: Troy, and the Grecian camp before it.
- In Troy, there lies the scene. From isles of Greece
- The princes orgulous, their high blood chafed,
- Have to the port of Athens sent their ships,
- Fraught with the ministers and instruments
- 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
- 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 warlike fraughtage: now on Dardan plains
- The fresh and yet unbruised Greeks do pitch
- Their brave pavilions: Priam's six-gated city,
- Dardan, and Tymbria, Helias, Chetas, Troien,
- And Antenorides, with massy staples
- And corresponsive and fulfilling bolts,
- Sperr up the sons of Troy.
- Now expectation, tickling skittish spirits,
- 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
- 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.
- 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,
- Let him to field; Troilus, alas! hath 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;
- 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 unpractised infancy.
- 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 needs tarry the grinding.
- Have I not tarried?
- Ay, the grinding; but you must tarry
- the bolting.
- Have I not tarried?
- 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.
- 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?
- 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,
- 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:
- 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 kinswoman; 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--
- O Pandarus! I tell thee, Pandarus,--
- When I do tell thee, there my hopes lie drown'd,
- Reply not in how many fathoms deep
- 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,
- 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,
- 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
- 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!
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- Not I.
- Sweet Pandarus,--
- Pray you, speak no more to me: I will leave all as I
- found it, and there an end.
- [Exit PANDARUS. An alarum]
- Peace, you ungracious clamours! peace, rude sounds!
- Fools on both sides! Helen must needs be fair,
- When with your blood you daily paint her thus.
- I cannot fight upon this argument;
- It is too starved a subject for my sword.
- But Pandarus,--O gods, how do you plague me!
- I cannot come to Cressid but by Pandar;
- 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?
- 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.
- [Alarum. Enter AENEAS]
- How now, Prince Troilus! wherefore not afield?
- Because not there: this woman's answer sorts,
- For womanish it is to be from thence.
- What news, AEneas, from the field to-day?
- That Paris is returned home and hurt.
- By whom, AEneas?
- Troilus, by Menelaus.
- Let Paris bleed; 'tis but a scar to scorn;
- Paris is gored with Menelaus' horn.
- Hark, what good sport is out of town to-day!
- 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.