Internet Shakespeare Editions

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

Troilus and Cressida (Quarto 1, 1609)

The history
Successe or losse, what is, or is not, serues
As stuffe for these two to make paradoxes.
645Nestor. And in the imitation of these twaine,
Who as Vlisses sayes opinion crownes,
With an imperiall voyce: many are infect,
Aiax is growne selfe-wild, and beares his head
In such a reyne, in full as proud a place
650As broad Achilles: keepes his Tent like him,
Makes factious feasts, railes on our state of warre,
Bould as an Oracle, and sets Thersites
A slaue, whose gall coynes slanders like a mint,
To match vs in comparisons with durt,
655To weaken our discredit, our exposure
How ranke so euer rounded in with danger.
Vlisses. They taxe our pollicie, and call it cowardice,
Count wisdome as no member of the warre,
Forstall prescience, and esteeme no act
660But that of hand, the still and mentall parts,
That do contriue how many hands shall strike,
When fitnesse calls them on, and know by measure
Of their obseruant toyle the enemies waight,
Why this hath not a fingers dignitie,
665They call this bed-worke, mappry, Closet warre,
So that the Ram that batters downe the wall,
For the great swinge and rudenesse of his poise,
They place before his hand that made the engine,
Or those that with the fincsse of their soules,
670By reason guide his execution.
Nest. Let this be granted, and Achilles horse
Makes many Thetis sonnes,
Agam. What trumpet? looke Menelaus.
Mene. From Troy.
675Agam. What would you fore our tent.
Æne. Is this great Agamemnons tent I pray you?
Agam. Euen this.
Æne. May one that is a Herrald and a Prince,
Do a faire message to his Kingly eyes?
680Agam. With surety stronger then Achilles arme,