Internet Shakespeare Editions

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

Troilus and Cressida (Modern)

Enter Ajax armed, Achilles, Patroclus, Agamemnon, Menelaus, Ulysses, Nestor, Calchas, [and attendants including a trumpeter].
Agamemnon [To Ajax]Here art thou in appointment fresh and fair,
2550Anticipating time with starting courage.
Give, with thy trumpet, a loud note to Troy,
Thou dreadful Ajax, that the appallèd air
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 spherèd bias cheek
Outswell the colic of puffed Aquilon.
Come, stretch thy chest, and let thy eyes spout blood;
2560Thou blowest for Hector.
No trumpet answers.
Achilles 'Tis but early days.
[Enter Cressida escorted by Diomed.]
Agamemnon Is not young Diomed with Calchas' daughter?
Ulysses 'Tis he. I ken the manner of his gait;
2565He rises on the toe. That spirit of his
In aspiration lifts him from the earth.
Is this the lady Cressid?
Even she.
Agamemnon Most dearly welcome to the Greeks, sweet 2570lady.
[He kisses her.]
Nestor Our general doth salute you with a kiss.
Ulysses Yet is the kindness but particular.
'Twere better she were kissed in general.
Nestor And very courtly counsel. I'll begin.
[He kisses her.]
So much 2575for Nestor.
Achilles I'll take that winter from your lips, fair lady.
Achilles bids you welcome.
[He kisses her.]
Menelaus [To Cressida] I had good argument for kissing once.
Patroclus But that's no argument for kissing now,
2580For thus popped Paris in his hardiment,
2580.1And parted, thus, you and your argument.
[He kisses her.]
Ulysses Oh, deadly gall, and theme of all our scorns,
For which we lose our heads to gild his horns.
Patroclus The first was Menelaus' kiss; this, mine.
Patroclus kisses you.
[He kisses her.]
Oh, this is trim.
Patroclus [To Cressida] Paris and I kiss evermore for him.
Menelaus I'll have my kiss, sir. -- Lady, by your leave.
Cressida In kissing, do you render or receive?
[Cressida holds him off?]
Both take and give.
I'll make my match to live,
The kiss you take is better then you give. Therefore no kiss.
[Holding him off?]
Menelaus I'll give you boot; I'll give you three for one.
Cressida You are an odd man; give even, or give none.
2595Menelaus An odd man, lady? Every man is odd.
Cressida No, Paris is not, for you know 'tis true
That you are odd, and he is even with you.
You fillip me o'th'head.
No, I'll be sworn.
2600Ulysses 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.
2605Ulysses Why then, for Venus' sake, give me a kiss,
When Helen is a maid again, and his --
Cressida I am your debtor; claim it when 'tis due.
Ulysses Never's my day, and then a kiss of you.
Diomed Lady, a word. I'll bring you to your father.
[He leads her across the stage to Calchas.]
A woman of quick sense.
Fie, fie upon her.
There's a language in her eye, her cheek, her lip;
Nay, her foot speaks; her wanton spirits look out
At every joint and motive of her body.
2615Oh, 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
For sluttish spoils of opportunity
2620And daughters of the game.
Exeunt [Cressida and Calchas].
Enter Hector [armed], Paris, Aeneas, Helenus, [Troilus] and Attendants. Flourish.
All [Greeks].
The Trojan's trumpet.
Yonder comes the troop.
2625Aeneas 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
Pursue each other, or shall they be divided
2630By any voice or order of the field?
Hector bade ask.
Which way would Hector have it?
Aeneas He cares not; he'll obey conditions.
Agamemnon 'Tis done like Hector -- But securely done,
A little proudly, and great deal disprizing
2635The knight opposed.
Aeneas If not Achilles, sir, what is your name?
Achilles If not Achilles, nothing.
Aeneas Therefore, Achilles. But whate'er, know this:
In the extremity of great and little,
2640Valor and pride excel themselves in Hector --
The one, almost as infinite as all;
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,
2645In love whereof, half Hector stays at home;
Half heart, half hand, half Hector comes to seek
This blended knight, half Trojan, and half Greek.
Achilles A maiden battle then? Oh, I perceive you.
Agamemnon Here is Sir Diomed. -- Go, gentle knight;
2650Stand by our Ajax. As you and lord Aeneas
Consent upon the order of their fight,
So be it: either to the uttermost,
Or else a breach. The combatants being kin
Half stints their strife before their strokes begin.
[Ajax and Hector square off.]
2655Ulysses They are opposed already.
Agamemnon What Trojan is that same that looks so heavy?
Ulysses The youngest son of Priam,
A true knight; they call him Troilus,
Not yet mature, yet matchless; firm of word,
2660Speaking in deeds, and deedless in his tongue;
Not soon provoked, nor, being provoked, soon calmed;
His heart and hand both open, and both free,
For what he has, he gives; what thinks, he shows;
Yet gives he not till judgment guide his bounty,
2665Nor dignifies an impair thought with breath;
Manly as Hector, but more dangerous,
For Hector in his blaze of wrath subscribes
To tender objects, but he, in heat of action,
Is more vindicative than jealous love.
2670They call him Troilus, and on him erect
A second hope as fairly built as Hector.
Thus says Aeneas, one that knows the youth
Even to his inches and, with private soul,
Did in great Ilium thus translate him to me.
Alarum. [Hector and Ajax fight.]
They are in action.
Now, Ajax, hold thine own.
Troilus Hector, thou sleep'st; awake thee.
Agamemnon His blows are well disposed. -- There, Ajax.
Trumpets cease.
You must no more.
Princes, enough, so please you.
[They cease fighting.]
Ajax 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,
2685A cousin-german to great Priam's seed.
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,
2690And this is Trojan; the sinews of this leg,
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,
Thou shouldst not bear from me a Greekish member
2695Wherein my sword had not impressure made
Of our rank feud, but the just gods gainsay
That any drop thou borrowed'st from thy mother,
My sacred aunt, should by my mortal sword
Be drained. Let me embrace thee, Ajax.
2700By him that thunders, thou hast lusty arms;
Hector would have them fall upon him thus --
[They embrace.]
Cousin, all honor to thee.
I thank thee, Hector.
Thou art too gentle, and too free a man.
2705I came to kill thee, cousin, and bear hence
A great addition earnèd in thy death.
Hector Not Neoptolemus so mirable,
On whose bright crest fame with her loud'st "oyez"
Cries, "This is he," couldst promise to himself
2710A thought of added honor torn from Hector.
Aeneas There is expectance here from both the sides
What further you will do.
We'll answer it.
The issue is embracement. -- Ajax, farewell.
[They embrace again.]
2715Ajax If I might in entreaties find success
(As seld I have the chance), I would desire
My famous cousin to our Grecian tents.
Diomed 'Tis Agamemnon's wish, and great Achilles
Doth long to see unarmed the valiant Hector.
2720Hector Aeneas, call my brother Troilus to me,
And signify this loving interview
To the expecters of our Trojan part;
Desire them home. -- [To Ajax] Give me thy hand, my cousin;
I will go eat with thee, and see your knights.
Enter [to stage front] Agamemnon and the rest.
Ajax Great Agamemnon comes to meet us here.
Hector [To Aeneas]The worthiest of them, tell me name by name,
But, for Achilles, mine own searching eyes
Shall find him by his large and portly size.
2730Agamemnon 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 strewed with husks
And formless ruin of oblivion,
2735But in this extant moment, faith and troth,
Strained purely from all hollow bias drawing,
Bids thee, with most divine integrity,
From heart of very heart, "great Hector, welcome."
Hector I thank thee, most imperious Agamemnon.
2740Agamemnon [To Troilus] My well-famed lord of Troy, no less to you.
Menelaus Let me confirm my princely brother's greeting.
You brace of warlike brothers, welcome hither.
[He embraces Hector and Troilus?]
Who must we answer?
The noble Menelaus.
2745Hector Oh, you, my lord? By Mars his gauntlet, thanks.
Mock not that I affect th'untraded oath;
Your quondam wife swears still by Venus' glove.
She's well, but bade me not commend her to you.
Menelaus Name her not now, sir; she's a deadly theme.
2750Hector Oh, pardon. I offend.
Nestor I have, thou gallant Trojan, seen thee oft,
Laboring for destiny, make cruel way
Through ranks of Greekish youth, and I have seen thee,
As hot as Perseus, spur thy Phrygian steed,
2755And seen thee scorning forfeits and subduements,
When thou hast hung th'advancèd sword i'th'air,
Not letting it decline on the declined,
That I have said unto my standers-by,
"Lo, Jupiter is yonder, dealing life."
2760And I have seen thee pause and take thy breath,
When that a ring of Greeks have hemmed thee in,
Like an Olympian wrestling. This have I seen,
But this thy countenance, still locked in steel,
I never saw till now. I knew thy grandsire,
2765And once fought with him; he was a soldier good,
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.
Aeneas [To Hector] 'Tis the old Nestor.
2770Hector [Hector and Nestor embrace.] Let me embrace thee, good old chronicle,
That hast so long walked hand in hand with time.
Most reverend Nestor, I am glad to clasp thee.
Nestor I would my arms could match thee in contention
As they contend with thee in courtesy.
2775Hector I would they could.
Nestor Ha? By this white beard, I'd fight with thee tomorrow. Well, welcome, welcome. I have seen the time.
Ulysses I wonder now how yonder city stands
When we have here her base and pillar by us.
2780Hector I know your favor, lord Ulysses, well.
Ah, sir, there's many a Greek and Trojan dead
Since first I saw yourself and Diomed
In Ilium on your Greekish embassy.
Ulysses Sir, I foretold you then what would ensue.
2785My prophecy is but half his journey yet,
For yonder walls that pertly front your town,
Yon towers, whose wanton tops do buss the clouds,
Must kiss their own feet.
I must not believe you.
2790There 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,
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.
Achilles I shall forestall thee, lord Ulysses, thou.
2800Now, Hector, I have fed mine eyes on thee;
I have with exact view perused thee, Hector,
And quoted joint by joint.
Is this Achilles?
Achilles I am Achilles.
2805Hector Stand fair. I prithee, let me look on thee.
Behold thy fill.
Nay, I have done already.
Achilles Thou art too brief. I will the second time,
As I would buy thee, view thee limb by limb.
2810Hector Oh, 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?
Achilles Tell me, you heavens, in which part of his body
Shall I destroy him -- whether there, or there, or there --
[Pointing to different parts of Hector's body]
2815That I may give the local wound a name,
And make distinct the very breach whereout
Hector's great spirit flew. Answer me, heavens.
Hector It would discredit the blest gods, proud man,
To answer such a question. Stand again.
2820Think'st thou to catch my life so pleasantly
As to prenominate in nice conjecture
Where thou wilt hit me dead?
I tell thee, yea.
Hector Wert thou the oracle to tell me so,
2825I'd not believe thee. Henceforth guard thee well,
For I'll not kill thee there, not there, nor there,
[Pointing to different parts of Achilles' body]
But by the forge that stithied Mars his helm,
I'll kill thee everywhere, yea, o'er and o'er. --
You wisest Grecians, pardon me this brag.
2830His insolence draws folly from my lips,
But I'll endeavor deeds to match these words,
Or may I never --
Do not chafe thee, cousin,
And you, Achilles, let these threats alone
2835Till accident or purpose bring you to't.
You may every day enough of Hector,
If you have stomach. The general state, I fear,
Can scarce entreat you to be odd with him.
Hector [To Achilles] I pray you, let us see you in the field;
2840We have had pelting wars, since you refused
The Grecians' cause.
Dost thou entreat me, Hector?
Tomorrow do I meet thee, fell as death;
Tonight, all friends.
Thy hand upon that match.
Agamemnon First, all you peers of Greece, go to my tent;
There, in the full, convive you. Afterwards,
As Hector's leisure and your bounties shall
Concur together, severally entreat him.
2850Beat loud the taborins; let the trumpets blow
That this great soldier may his welcome know.
Exeunt [all but Ulysses and Troilus.]s
Troilus My lord Ulysses, tell me, I beseech you,
In what place of the field doth Calchas keep?
Ulysses At Menelaus' tent, most princely Troilus.
2855There Diomed doth feast with him tonight,
Who neither looks on heaven nor on earth,
But gives all gaze and bent of amorous view
On the fair Cressid.
Troilus Shall I, sweet lord, be bound to thee so much,
2860After we part from Agamemnon's tent,
To bring me thither?
You shall command me, sir.
As gentle, tell me of what honor was
This Cressida in Troy? Had she no lover there
2865That wails her absence?
Troilus O sir, to such as boasting show their scars
A mock is due. Will you walk on, my lord?
She was belov'd; she loved; she is, and doth,
But still sweet love is food for fortune's tooth.