Internet Shakespeare Editions

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

Troilus and Cressida (Folio 1, 1623)


Enter Vlysses, Diomedes, Nestor, Agamemnon,
Menelaus and Chalcas.
Florish.
Cal. Now Princes for the seruice I haue done you,
1850Th'aduantage of the time promps me aloud,
To call for recompence: appeare it to your minde,
That through the sight I beare in things to loue,
I haue abandon'd Troy, left my possession,
Incur'd a Traitors name, expos'd my selfe,
1855From certaine and possest conueniences,
To doubtfull fortunes, sequestring from me all
That time, acquaintance, custome and condition,
Made tame, and most familiar to my nature:
And here to doe you seruice am become,
1860As new into the world, strange, vnacquainted.
I doe beseech you, as in way of taste,
To giue me now a little benefit:
Out of those many registred in promise,
Which you say, liue to come in my behalfe.
1865Agam. What would'st thou of vs Troian? make
demand?
Cal. You haue a Troian prisoner, cal'd Anthenor,
Yesterday tooke: Troy holds him very deere.
Oft haue you (often haue you, thankes therefore)
1870Desir'd my Cressia in right great exchange.
Whom Troy hath still deni'd: but this Anthenor,
I know is such a wrest in their affaires;
That their negotiations all must slacke,
Wanting his mannage: and they will almost,
1875Giue vs a Prince of blood, a Sonne of Priam,
In change of him. Let him be sent great Princes,
And he shall buy my Daughter: and her presence,
Shall quite strike off all seruice I haue done,
In most accepted paine.
1880Aga. Let Diomedes beare him,
And bring vs Cressid hither: Calcas shall haue
What he requests of vs: good Diomed
Furnish you fairely for this enterchange;
Withall bring word, if Hector will to morrow
1885Be answer'd in his challenge. Aiax is ready.
Dio. This shall I vndertake, and 'tis a burthen
Which I am proud to beare.
Exit.
Enter Achilles and Patroclus in their Tent.
Vlis. Achilles stands i'th entrance of his Tent;
1890Please it our Generall to passe strangely by him,
As if he were forgot: and Princes all,
Lay negligent and loose regard vpon him;
I will come last, 'tis like heele question me,
Why such vnplausiue eyes are bent? why turn'd on him?
1895If so, I haue derision medicinable,
To vse betweene your strangenesse and his pride,
Which his owne will shall haue desire to drinke;
It may doe good, pride hath no other glasse
To show it selfe, but pride: for supple knees,
1900Feede arrogance, and are the proud mans fees.
Agam. Weele execute your purpose, and put on
A forme of strangenesse as we passe along,
So doe each Lord, and either greete him not,
Or else disdainfully, which shall shake him more,
1905Then if not lookt on. I will lead the way.
Achil. What comes the Generall to speake with me?
You know my minde, Ile fight no more 'gainst Troy.
Aga. What saies Achilles, would he ought with vs?
Nes. Would you my Lord ought with the Generall?
1910Achil. No.
Nes. Nothing my Lord.
Aga. The better.
Achil. Good day, good day.
Men. How doe you? how doe you?
1915Achi. What, do's the Cuckold scorne me?
Aiax. How now Patroclus?
Achil. Good morrow Aiax?
Aiax. Ha.
Achil. Good morrow.
1920Aiax. I, and good next day too.
Exeunt.
Achil. What meane these fellowes? know they not
Achilles?
Patr. They passe by strangely: they were vs'd to bend
To send their smiles before them to Achilles:
1925To come as humbly as they vs'd to creepe to holy Altars.
Achil. What am I poore of late?
'Tis certaine, greatnesse once falne out with fortune,
Must fall out with men too: what the declin'd is,
He shall as soone reade in the eyes of others,
1930As feele in his owne fall: for men like butter-flies,
Shew not their mealie wings, but to the Summer:
And not a man for being simply man,
Hath any honour; but honour'd for those honours
That are without him; as place, riches, and fauour,
1935Prizes of accident, as oft as merit:
Which when they fall, as being slippery standers;
The loue that leand on them as slippery too,
Doth one plucke downe another, and together
Dye in the fall. But 'tis not so with me;
1940Fortune and I are friends, I doe enioy
At ample point, all that I did possesse,
Saue these mens lookes: who do me thinkes finde out
Something not worth in me such rich beholding,
As they haue often giuen. Here is Ulisses,
1945Ile interrupt his reading: how now Vlisses?
Vlis. Now great Thetis Sonne.
Achil. What are you reading?
Vlis. A strange fellow here
Writes me, that man, how dearely euer parted,
1950How much in hauing, or without, or in,
Cannot make boast to haue that which he hath;
Nor feeles not what he owes, but by reflection:
As when his vertues shining vpon others,
Heate them, and they retort that heate againe
1955To the first giuer.
Achil. This is not strange Vlisses:
The beautie that is borne here in the face,
The bearer knowes not, but commends it selfe,
Not going from it selfe: but eye to eye oppos'd,
1960Salutes each other with each others forme.
For speculation turnes not to it selfe,
Till it hath trauail'd, and is married there
Where it may see it selfe: this is not strange at all.
Ulis. I doe not straine it at the position,
1965It is familiar; but at the Authors drift,
Who in his circumstance, expresly proues
That no may is the Lord of any thing,
(Though in and of him there is much consisting,)
Till he communicate his parts to others:
1970Nor doth he of himselfe know them for ought,
Till he behold them formed in th'applause,
Where they are extended: who like an arch reuerb'rate
The voyce againe; or like a gate of steele,
Fronting the Sunne, receiues and renders backe
1975His figure, and his heate. I was much rapt in this,
And apprehended here immediately:
The vnknowne Aiax;
Heauens what a man is there? a very Horse,
That has he knowes not what. Nature, what things there
1980Most abiect in regard, and deare in vse.
What things againe most deere in the esteeme,
And poore in worth: now shall we see to morrow,
An act that very chance doth throw vpon him?
Aiax renown'd? O heauens, what some men doe,
1985While some men leaue to doe!
How some men creepe in skittish fortunes hall,
Whiles others play the Ideots in her eyes:
How one man eates into anothers pride,
While pride is feasting in his wantonnesse
1990To see these Grecian Lords; why, euen already,
They clap the lubber Aiax on the shoulder,
As if his foote were on braue Hectors brest,
And great Troy shrinking.
Achil. I doe beleeue it:
1995For they past by me, as mysers doe by beggars,
Neither gaue to me good word, nor looke:
What are my deedes forgot?
Ulis. Time hath (my Lord) a wallet at his backe,
Wherein he puts almes for obliuion:
2000A great siz'd monster of ingratitudes:
Those scraps are good deedes past,
Which are deuour'd as fast as they are made,
Forgot as soone as done: perseuerance, deere my Lord,
Keepes honor bright, to haue done, is to hang
2005Quite out of fashion, like a rustie male,
In monumentall mockrie: take the instant way,
For honour trauels in a straight so narrow,
Where one but goes a breast, keepe then the path:
For emulation hath a thousand Sonnes,
2010That one by one pursue; if you giue way,
Or hedge aside from the direct forth right;
Like to an entred Tyde, they all rush by,
And leaue you hindmost:
Or like a gallant Horse falne in first ranke,
2015Lye there for pauement to the abiect, neere
Ore-run and trampled on: then what they doe in present,
Though lesse then yours in past, must ore-top yours:
For time is like a fashionable Hoste,
That slightly shakes his parting Guest by th'hand;
2020And with his armes out-stretcht, as he would flye,
Graspes in the commer: the welcome euer smiles,
And farewels goes out sighing: O let not vertue seeke
Remuneration for the thing it was: for beautie, wit,
High birth, vigor of bone, desert in seruice,
2025Loue, friendship, charity, are subiects all
To enuious and calumniating time:
One touch of nature makes the whole world kin:
That all with one consent praise new borne gaudes,
Though they are made and moulded of things past,
2030And goe to dust, that is a little guilt,
More laud then guilt oredusted.
The present eye praises the pres nt obiect:
Then maruell not thou great and compleat man,
That all the Greekes begin to worship Aiax;
2035Since things in motion begin to catch the eye,
Then what not stirs: the cry went out on thee,
And still it might, and yet it may againe,
If thou would'st not entombe thy selfe aliue,
And case thy reputation in thy Tent;
2040Whose glorious deedes, but in these fields of late,
Made emulous missions 'mongst the gods themselues,
And draue great Mars to faction.
Achil. Of this my priuacie,
I haue strong reasons.
2045Vlis. But 'gainst your priuacie
The reasons are more potent and heroycall:
'Tis knowne Achilles, that you are in loue
With one of Priams daughters.
Achil. Ha? knowne?
2050Ulis. Is that a wonder?
The prouidence that's in a watchfull State,
Knowes almost euery graine of Plutoes gold;
Findes bottome in th'vncomprehensiue deepes;
Keepes place with thought; and almost like the gods,
2055Doe thoughts vnuaile in their dumbe cradles:
There is a mysterie (with whom relation
Durst neuer meddle) in the soule of State;
Which hath an operation more diuine,
Then breath or pen can giue expressure to:
2060All the commerse that you haue had with Troy,
As perfectly is ours, as yours, my Lord.
And better would it fit Achilles much,
To throw downe Hector then Polixena.
But it must grieue yong Pirhus now at home,
2065When fame shall in her Iland sound her trumpe;
And all the Greekish Girles shall tripping sing,
Great Hectors sister did Achilles winne;
But our great Aiax brauely beate downe him.
Farewell my Lord: I as your louer speake;
2070The foole slides ore the Ice that you should breake.
Patr. To this effect Achilles haue I mou'd you;
A woman impudent and mannish growne,
Is not more loth'd, then an effeminate man,
In time of action: I stand condemn'd for this;
2075They thinke my little stomacke to the warre,
And your great loue to me, restraines you thus:
Sweete, rouse your selfe; and the weake wanton Cupid
Shall from your necke vnloose his amorous fould,
And like a dew drop from the Lyons mane,
2080Be shooke to ayrie ayre.
Achil. Shall Aiax fight with Hector?
Patr. I, and perhaps receiue much honor by him.
Achil. I see my reputation is at stake,
My fame is shrowdly gored.
2085Patr. O then beware:
Those wounds heale ill, that men doe giue themselues:
Omission to doe what is necessary,
Seales a commission to a blanke of danger,
And danger like an ague subtly taints
2090Euen then when we sit idely in the sunne.
Achil. Goe call Thersites hither sweet Patroclus,
Ile send the foole to Aiax, and desire him
T'inuite the Troian Lords after the Combat
To see vs here vnarm'd: I haue a womans longing,
2095An appetite that I am sicke withall,
To see great Hector in his weedes of peace;
Enter Thersi.
To talke with him, and to behold his visage,
Euen to my full of view. A labour sau'd.
Ther. A wonder.
2100Achil. What?
Ther. Aiax goes vp and downe the field, asking for
himselfe.
Achil. How so?
Ther. Hee must fight singly to morrow with Hector,
2105and is so prophetically proud of an heroicall cudgelling,
that he raues in saying nothing.
Achil. How can that be?
Ther. Why he stalkes vp and downe like a Peacock, a
stride and a stand: ruminates like an hostesse, that hath no
2110Arithmatique but her braine to set downe her recko-
ning: bites his lip with a politique regard, as who should
say, there were wit in his head and twoo'd out; and so
there is: but it lyes as coldly in him, as fire in a flint,
which will not shew without knocking. The mans vn-
2115done for euer; for if Hector breake not his necke i'th'com-
bat, heele break't himselfe in vaine-glory. He knowes
not mee: I said, good morrow Aiax; And he replyes,
thankes Agamemnon. What thinke you of this man,
that takes me for the Generall? Hee's growne a very
2120land-fish, languagelesse, a monster: a plague of o-
pinion, a man may weare it on both sides like a leather
Ierkin.
Achil. Thou must be my Ambassador to him Thersites.
Ther. Who, I: why, heele answer no body: he pro-
2125fesses not answering; speaking is for beggers: he weares
his tongue in's armes: I will put on his presence; let Pa-
troclus make his demands to me, you shall see the Page-
ant of Aiax.
Achil. To him Patroclus; tell him, I humbly desire the
2130valiant Aiax, to inuite the most valorous Hector, to come
vnarm'd to my Tent, and to procure safe conduct for his
person, of the magnanimious and most illustrious, sixe or
seauen times honour'd Captaine, Generall of the Grecian
Armie Agamemnon, &c. doe this.
2135Patro. Ioue blesse great Aiax.
Ther. Hum.
Patr. I come from the worthy Aehilles.
Ther. Ha?
Patr. Who most humbly desires you to inuite Hector
2140to his Tent.
Ther. Hum.
Patr. And to procure safe conduct from Agamemnon.
Ther. Agamemnon?
Patr. I my Lord.
2145Ther. Ha?
Patr. What say you too't.
Ther. God buy you with all my heart.
Patr. Your answer sir.
Ther. If to morrow be a faire day, by eleuen a clocke
2150it will goe one way or other; howsoeuer, he shall pay for
me ere he has me.
Patr. Your answer sir.
Ther. Fare you well withall my heart.
Achil. Why, but he is not in this tune, is he?
2155Ther. No, but he's out a tune thus: what musicke will
be in him when Hector has knockt out his braines, I know
not: but I am sure none, vnlesse the Fidler Apollo get his
sinewes to make catlings on.
Achil. Come, thou shalt beare a Letter to him
2160straight.
Ther. Let me carry another to his Horse; for that's the
more capable creature.
Achil. My minde is troubled like a Fountaine stir'd,
And I my selfe see not the bottome of it.
2165Ther. Would the Fountaine of your minde were cleere
againe, that I might water an Asse at it: I had rather be a
Ticke in a Sheepe, then such a valiant ignorance.