Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: W. L. Godshalk
Peer Reviewed

Troilus and Cressida (Folio 1, 1623)



Troylus and Cressida.

My Will enkindled by mine eyes and eares,
Two traded Pylots 'twixt the dangerous shores
1050Of Will, and Iudgement. How may I auoyde
(Although my will distaste what it elected)
The Wife I chose, there can be no euasion
To blench from this, and to stand firme by honour.
We turne not backe the Silkes vpon the Merchant
1055When we haue spoyl'd them; nor the remainder Viands
We do not throw in vnrespectiue same,
Because we now are full. It was thought meete
Paris should do some vengeance on the Greekes;
Your breath of full consent bellied his Sailes,
1060The Seas and Windes (old Wranglers) tooke a Truce,
And did him seruice; he touch'd the Ports desir'd,
And for an old Aunt whom the Greekes held Captiue,
He brought a Grecian Queen, whose youth & freshnesse
Wrinkles Apolloes, and makes stale the morning.
1065Why keepe we her? the Grecians keepe our Aunt:
Is she worth keeping? Why she is a Pearle,
Whose price hath launch'd aboue a thousand Ships,
And turn'd Crown'd Kings to Merchants.
If you'l auouch, 'twas wisedome Paris went,
1070(As you must needs, for you all cride, Go, go:)
If you'l confesse, he brought home Noble prize,
(As you must needs) for you all clapt your hands,
And cride inestimable; why do you now
The issue of your proper Wisedomes rate,
1075And do a deed that Fortune neuer did?
Begger the estimation which you priz'd,
Richer then Sea and Land? O Theft most base!
That we haue stolne what we do feare to keepe.
But Theeues vnworthy of a thing so stolne,
1080That in their Country did them that disgrace,
We feare to warrant in our Natiue place.

Enter Cassandra with her haire about
her eares.
Cas. Cry Troyans, cry.
1085Priam. What noyse? what shreeke is this?
Troy. 'Tis our mad sister, I do know her voyce.
Cas. Cry Troyans.
Hect. It is Cassandra.
Cas. Cry Troyans cry; lend me ten thousand eyes,
1090And I will fill them with Propheticke teares.
Hect. Peace sister, peace.
Cas. Virgins, and Boyes; mid-age & wrinkled old,
Soft infancie, that nothing can but cry,
Adde to my clamour: let vs pay betimes
1095A moity of that masse of moane to come.
Cry Troyans cry, practise your eyes with teares,
Troy must not be, nor goodly Illion stand,
Our fire-brand Brother Paris burnes vs all.
Cry Troyans cry, a Helen and a woe;
1100Cry, cry, Troy burnes, or else let Helen goe.
Exit.
Hect. Now youthfull Troylus, do not these hie strains
Of diuination in our Sister, worke
Some touches of remorse? Or is your bloud
So madly hot, that no discourse of reason,
1105Nor feare of bad successe in a bad cause,
Can qualifie the same?
Troy. Why Brother Hector,
We may not thinke the iustnesse of each acte
Such, and no other then euent doth forme it,
1110Nor once deiect the courage of our mindes;
Because Cassandra's mad, her brainsicke raptures
Cannot distaste the goodnesse of a quarrell,
Which hath our seuerall Honours all engag'd
To make it gracious. For my priuate part,
1115I am no more touch'd, then all Priams sonnes,
And Ioue forbid there should be done among'st vs
Such things as might offend the weakest spleene,
To fight for, and maintaine.
Par. Else might the world conuince of leuitie,
1120As well my vnder-takings as your counsels:
But I attest the gods, your full consent
Gaue wings to my propension, and cut off
All feares attending on so dire a proiect.
For what (alas) can these my single armes?
1125What propugnation is in one mans valour
To stand the push and enmity of those
This quarrell would excite? Yet I protest,
Were I alone to passe the difficulties,
And had as ample power, as I haue will,
1130Paris should ne're retract what he hath done,
Nor faint in the pursuite.
Pri. Paris, you speake
Like one be-sotted on your sweet delights;
You haue the Hony still, but these the Gall,
1135So to be valiant, is no praise at all.
Par. Sir, I propose not meerely to my selfe,
The pleasures such a beauty brings with it:
But I would haue the soyle of her faire Rape
Wip'd off in honourable keeping her.
1140What Treason were it to the ransack'd Queene,
Disgrace to your great worths, and shame to me,
Now to deliuer her possession vp
On termes of base compulsion? Can it be,
That so degenerate a straine as this,
1145Should once set footing in your generous bosomes?
There's not the meanest spirit on our partie,
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 vnfam'd,
1150Where Helen is the subiect. Then (I say)
Well may we fight for her, whom we know well,
The worlds large spaces cannot paralell.
Hect. Paris and Troylus, you haue both said well:
And on the cause and question now in hand,
1155Haue gloz'd, but superficially; not much
Vnlike young men, whom Aristotle thought
Vnfit to heare Morall Philosophie.
The Reasons you alledge, do more conduce
To the hot passion of distemp'red blood,
1160Then to make vp a free determination
'Twixt right and wrong: For pleasure, and reuenge,
Haue eares more deafe then Adders, to the voyce
Of any true decision. Nature craues
All dues be rendred to their Owners: now
1165What neerer debt in all humanity,
Then Wife is to the Husband? If this law
Of Nature be corrupted through affection,
And that great mindes of partiall indulgence,
To their benummed wills resist the same,
1170There is a Law in each well-ordred Nation,
To curbe those raging appetites that are
Most disobedient and refracturie.
If Helen then be wife to Sparta's King
(As it is knowne she is) these Morall Lawes
1175Of Nature, and of Nation, speake alowd
To haue her backe return'd. Thus to persist
In doing wrong, extenuates not wrong,
But makes it much more heauie. Hectors opinion
Is