Internet Shakespeare Editions

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

Troilus and Cressida (Folio 1, 1623)



Troylus and Cressida.

Bold as an Oracle, and sets Thersites
A slaue, whose Gall coines slanders like a Mint,
To match vs in comparisons with durt,
655To weaken and discredit our exposure,
How ranke soeuer rounded in with danger.
Vlys. They taxe our policy, and call it Cowardice,
Count Wisedome as no member of the Warre,
Fore-stall prescience, and esteeme no acte
660But that of hand: The still and mentall parts,
That do contriue how many hands shall strike
When fitnesse call them on, and know by measure
Of their obseruant toyle, the Enemies waight,
Why this hath not a fingers dignity:
665They call this Bed-worke, Mapp'ry, Closset-Warre:
So that the Ramme that batters downe the wall,
For the great swing and rudenesse of his poize,
They place before his hand that made the Engine,
Or those that with the finenesse of their soules,
670By Reason guide his execution.
Nest. Let this be granted, and Achilles horse
Makes many Thetis sonnes.
Tucket
Aga. What Trumpet? Looke Menelaus.
Men. From Troy.
Enter Æneas.
675Aga. What would you 'fore our Tent?
Æne. Is this great Agamemnons Tent, I pray you?
Aga. Euen this.
Æne. May one that is a Herald, and a Prince,
Do a faire message to his Kingly eares?
680Aga. With surety stronger then Achilles arme,
'Fore all the Greekish heads, which with one voyce
Call Agamemnon Head and Generall.
Æne. Faire leaue, and large security. How may
A stranger to those most Imperial lookes,
685Know them from eyes of other Mortals?
Aga. How?
Æne. I: I aske, that I might waken reuerence,
And on the cheeke be ready with a blush
Modest as morning, when she coldly eyes
690The youthfull Phœbus:
Which is that God in office guiding men?
Which is the high and mighty Agamemnon?
Aga. This Troyan scornes vs, or the men of Troy
Are ceremonious Courtiers.
695Æne. Courtiers as free, as debonnaire; vnarm'd,
As bending Angels: that's their Fame, in peace:
But when they would seeme Souldiers, they haue galles,
Good armes, strong ioynts, true swords, & Ioues accord,
Nothing so full of heart. But peace Æneas,
700Peace Troyan, lay thy finger on thy lips,
The worthinesse of praise distaines his worth:
If that he prais'd himselfe, bring the praise forth.
But what the repining enemy commends,
That breath Fame blowes, that praise sole pure transcẽds.
705Aga. Sir, you of Troy, call you your selfe Æneas?
Æne. I Greeke, that is my name.
Aga. What's your affayre I pray you?
Æne. Sir pardon, 'tis for Agamemnons eares.
Aga. He heares nought priuatly
710That comes from Troy.
Æne. Nor I from Troy come not to whisper him,
I bring a Trumpet to awake his eare,
To set his sence on the attentiue bent,
And then to speake.
715Aga. Speake frankely as the winde,
It is not Agamemnons sleeping houre;
That thou shalt know Troyan he is awake,
He tels thee so himselfe.
Æne. Trumpet blow loud,
720Send thy Brasse voyce through all these lazie Tents,
And euery Greeke of mettle, let him know,
What Troy meanes fairely, shall be spoke alowd.
The Trumpets sound.
We haue great Agamemnon heere in Troy,
725A Prince calld Hector, Priam is his Father:
Who in this dull and long-continew'd Truce
Is rusty growne. He bad me take a Trumpet,
And to this purpose speake: Kings, Princes, Lords,
If there be one among'st the fayr'st of Greece,
730That holds his Honor higher then his ease,
That seekes his praise, more then he feares his perill,
That knowes his Valour, and knowes not his feare,
That loues his Mistris more then in consession,
(With truant vowes to her owne lips he loues)
735And dare avow her Beauty, and her Worth,
In other armes then hers: to him this Challenge.
Hector, in view of Troyans, and of Greekes,
Shall make it good, or do his best to do it.
He hath a Lady, wiser, fairer, truer,
740Then euer Greeke did compasse in his armes,
And will to morrow with his Trumpet call,
Midway betweene your Tents, and walles of Troy,
To rowze a Grecian that is true in loue.
If any come, Hector shal honour him:
745If none, hee'l say in Troy when he retyres,
The Grecian Dames are sun-burnt, and not worth
The splinter of a Lance: Euen so much.
Aga. This shall be told our Louers Lord Æneas,
If none of them haue soule in such a kinde,
750We left them all at home: But we are Souldiers,
And may that Souldier a meere recreant proue,
That meanes not, hath not, or is not in loue:
If then one is, or hath, or meanes to be,
That one meets Hector; if none else, Ile be he.
755Nest. Tell him of Nestor, one that was a man
When Hectors Grandsire suckt: he is old now,
But if there be not in our Grecian mould,
One Noble man, that hath one spark of fire
To answer for his Loue; tell him from me,
760Ile hide my Siluer beard in a Gold Beauer,
And in my Vantbrace put this wither'd brawne,
And meeting him, wil tell him, that my Lady
Was fayrer then his Grandame, and as chaste
As may be in the world: his youth in flood,
765Ile pawne this truth with my three drops of blood.
Æne. Now heauens forbid such scarsitie of youth.
Vlys. Amen.
Aga. Faire Lord Æneas,
Let me touch your hand:
770To our Pauillion shal I leade you first:
Achilles shall haue word of this intent,
So shall each Lord of Greece from Tent to Tent:
Your selfe shall Feast with vs before you goe,
And finde the welcome of a Noble Foe.
Exeunt.
775
Manet Vlysses, and Nestor.
Vlys. Nestor.
Nest. What sayes Vlysses?
Vlys. I haue a young conception in my braine,
Be you my time to bring it to some shape.
780Nest. What is't?
Ulysses. This 'tis:
Blunt wedges riue hard knots: the seeded Pride
That hath to this maturity blowne vp
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