Internet Shakespeare Editions

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

Troilus and Cressida (Quarto 1, 1609)


The history
But by degree stand in authentique place:
Take but degree away, vntune that string,
And harke what discord followes, each thing melts
570In meere oppugnancie: the bounded waters
Should lift their bosomes higher then the shores,
And make a sop of all this solid globe:
Strength should be Lord of imbecilitie,
And the rude sonne should strike his father dead.
575Force should be right or rather right and wrong,
(Betweene whose endlesse iarre Iustice recides)
Should loose their names, and so should Iustice to?
Then euery thing include it selfe in power,
Power into will, will into appetite,
580And appetite an vniuersall Woolfe,
(So doubly seconded with will and power)
Must make perforce an vniuersall prey,
And last eate vp himselfe.
Great Agamemnon,
585This chaos when degree is suffocate,
Followes the choaking,
And this neglection of degree it is,
That by a pace goes backward with a purpose
It hath to clime. The generalls disdaind,
590By him one step below, he by the next,
That next by him beneath, so euery step,
Exampl'd by the first pace that is sick
Of his superior, growes to an enuious feauer
Of pale and bloudlesse emulation,
595And 'tis this feauer that keepes Troy on foote,
Not her owne sinnews. To end a tale of length,
Troy in our weaknesse stands not in her strength.
Nestor. Most wisely hath Vlisses here discouerd,
The feuer whereof all our power is sick.
600Agamem. The nature of the sicknesse found, Vlisses
What is the remedie?
Ulisses. The great Achilles whom opinion crownes,
The sinnow and the fore-hand of our hoste,
Hauing his eare full of his ayrie fame,
Growes