Internet Shakespeare Editions

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

Troilus and Cressida (Quarto 1, 1609)


Enter Vlisses, Diomed, Nestor, Agamem, Chalcas.
Cal Now Princes for the seruice I haue done,
1850Th'aduantage of the time prompts me aloud,
To call for recompence: appere it to mind,
That through the sight I beare in things to loue,
I haue abandond Troy, left my possession,
Incurd a traytors name, exposd 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 do beseech you as in way of tast,
To giue me now a little benefit.
Out of those many registred in promise,
Which you say liue to come in my behalfe:
1865Aga. What wouldst thou of vs Troian? make demand?
Calc. You haue a Troian prisoner cald Antenor,
Yesterday tooke, Troy holds him very deere.
Oft haue you (often haue you thankes therefore)
1870Desird my Cressed 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 Pryam,
In change of him. Let him be sent great Princes,
And he shall buy my daughter: and her presence,
Shall quite strike of 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 farely for this enterchange,
Withall bring word If Hector will to morrow,
1885Bee answered in his challenge. Aiax is ready.
Dio. This shall I vndertake, and tis a burthen
Which I am proud to bcare.
Exit,
Achilles and Patro stand in their tent.
Uli. Achilles stands ith entrance of his tent,
1890Please it our generall 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 mee.
Why such vnpaulsiue eyes are bent? why turnd on him,
1895If so I haue derision medecinable,
To vse betweene your strangnes 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,
1900Feed arrogance and are the proud mans fees.
Aga. Weele execute your purpose and put on,
A forme of strangnesse as we pas along,
So do each Lord, and either greet him not
Or els disdaynfully, which shall shake him more:
1905Then if not lookt on. I will lead the way.
Achil. What comes the generall to speake with mee?
You know my minde Ile fight no more 'gainst Troy.
Aga. What saies Achilles would he ought with vs?
Nest. Would you my Lord ought with the generall.
1910Achil. No.
Nest. Nothing my Lord:
Aga. The better.
Achil. Good day, good day:
Men. How do you? how do you?
1915Achil. What do's the Cnckould scorne me?
Aiax. How now Patroclus?
Achil. Good morrow Aiax?
Aiax. Ha:
Achil. Good morrow.
1920Aiax. I and good next day too.
Exeunt.
Ach. What meane these fellowes know they not Achilles?
Patro. They passe by strangely: they were vs'd to bend,
To send their smiles before them to Achilles:
1925To come as humbly as they vsd to creep, to holy aultars:
Achil. What am I poore of late?
Tis certaine, greatnesse once falne out with fortune,
Must fall out with men to, 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 mealy wings but to the Summer,
And not a man for being simply man,
Hath any honour, but honour for those honours
That are without him, as place, ritches, and fauour,
1935Prizes of accident as oft as merit
Which when they fall as being slipery standers,
The loue that lean'd on them as slipery too,
Doth one pluck downe another, and together, die in the fall,
But tis not so with mee,
1940Fortune and I are friends, I do enioy:
At ample point all that I did possesse,
Saue these mens lookes, who do me thinkes finde out:
Some thing not worth in me such ritch beholding,
As they haue often giuen. Here is Vlisses
1945Ile interrupt his reading, how now Vlisses?
Vliss. Now great Thetis Sonne.
Achil. What are you reading?
Vliss. A strange fellow here,
Writes me that man, how derely euer parted:
1950How much in hauing or without or in
Cannot, make bost to haue that which he hath,
Nor feeles not what he owes but by reflection:
As when his vertues ayming vpon others,
Heate them and they retort that heate againe
1955To the first giuers.
Achil. This is not strange Vlisses,
The beauty that is borne here in the face:
The bearer knowes not, but commends it selfe.
1958.1To others eyes, nor doth the eye it selfe
That most pure spirit of sence, behold it selfe
Not going from it selfe: but eye to eye opposed,
1960Sallutes each other, with each others forme.
For speculation turnes not to it selfe,
Till it hath trauel'd and is married there?
Where it may see it selfe: this is not strange at all.
Uliss. I do not straine at the position,
1965It is familiar, but at the authors drift,
Who in his circumstance expressly prooues,
That no man is the Lord of any thing:
Though in and of him there be much consisting,
Till he communicate his parts to others,
1970Nor doth hee of himselfe know them for aught:
Till he behold them formed in the applause.
Where th'are extended: who like an arch reuerb'rate
The voice againe or like a gate of steele:
Fronting the Sunne, receiues and renders back
1975His figure and his heate. I was much rap't in this,
And apprehended here immediately,
Th'vnknowne Aiax, heauens what a man is there?
A very horse, that has he knowes not what
Nature what things there are.
1980Most obiect in regard, and deere 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 fasting in his wantonesse.
1990To see these Grecian Lords, why euen already:
They clap the lubber Aiax on the shoulder
As if his foote were one braue Hectors brest,
And great Troy shriking.
Achill. I doe beleeue it,
1995For they past by me as misers do by beggars,
Neither gaue to me good word nor looke:
What are my deeds forgot?
Vliss. Time hath (my Lord) a wallet at his back,
Wherein he puts almes for obliuion:
2000A great siz'd monster of ingratitudes,
Those scraps are good deeds past,
Which are deuour'd as fast as they are made,
Forgot as soone as done, perseuerance deere my Lord:
Keepes honour bright, to haue done, is to hang,
2005Quite out of fashion like a rusty male,
In monumentall mockry? take the instant way,
For honour trauells in a straight so narrow:
Where on but goes a brest, keepe then the path
For emulation hath a thousand Sonnes,
2010That one by one pursue, if you giue way,
Or turne a side from the direct forth right:
Like to an entred tide they all rush by,
And leaue you him, most, then what they do in present:
Though lesse then yours in passe, must ore top yours.
For time is like a fashionable hoast,
That slightly shakes his parting guest by th'hand,
2020And with his armes out-stretcht as he would flie,
Graspes in the commer: the welcome euer smiles,
And farewell goes out sighing. Let not vertue seeke,
Remuneration for the thing it was. For beauty, wit,
High birth, vigor of bone, desert in seruice,
2025Loue, friendship, charity, are subiects all,
To enuious and calumniatig 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 ore-dusted.
The present eye praises the present obiect.
Then maruell not thou great and complet man,
That all the Greekes begin to worship Aiax;
2035Since things in motion sooner catch the eye,
That what stirs not. The crie went once on thee,
And still it might, and yet it may againe,
If thou wouldst not entombe thy selfe aliue,
And case thy reputation in thy tent,
2040Whose glorious deeds but in these fields of late,
Made emulous missions mongst the gods them selues
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 prouidencc thats in a watchfull state,
Knowes almost euery thing,
Findes bottom in the vncomprehensiue depth,
Keepes place with thought and almost like the gods,
2055Do 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 fitt Achilles much,
To throw downe Hector then Polixena.
But it must grieue young Pirhus now at home,
2065When fame shall in our Ilands 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 moou'd you,
A woman impudent and mannish growne,
Is not more loth'd then an effeminate man
In time of action: I stand condemnd for this
2075They thinke my little stomack to the warre,
And your great loue to me, restraines you thus,
Sweete rouse your selfe, and the weake wanton Cupid,
Shall from your neck vnloose his amorous fould,
And like dewdrop from the Lions mane,
2080Be shooke to ayre.
Ach. Shall Aiax fight with Hector.
Patro. I and perhaps receiue much honor by him.
Achil. I see my reputation is at stake,
My fame is shrowdly gor'd.
2085Patro. O then beware.
Those wounds heale ill, that men do 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 they sit idely in the sunne.
Achil. Go call Thersites hether sweet Patroclus,
Ile send the foole to Aiax, and desire him
T''inuite the Troyan lords after the combate,
To see vs heere vnarmd. I haue a womans longing,
2095An appetite that I am sick with-all,
To see great Hector in his weeds of peace,
To talke with him, and to behold his visage,
Euen to my full of view. A labour sau'd.
2098.1
Enter Thersites.
Thersi. A wonder. Achil. What?
Thersi. Aiax goes vp and downe the field asking for
himselfe.
Achil. How so?
Thersi. He must fight singly to morrow with Hector, and
2105is so prophetically proud of an heroycall cudgeling, that
he raues in saying nothing.
Achil. How can that be?
Thersi. Why a stalkes vp and downe like a peacock, a
stride and a stand: ruminates like an hostisse, that hath no
2110Arithmatique but her braine to set downe her reckoning:
bites his lip with a politique regarde, as who should say
there were witte in this head and twoo'd out: and so there
is. But it lyes as coldly in him, as fire in a flint, which will
not show without knocking, the mans vndone for euer, for
2115if Hector breake not his neck ith' combate, hee'le breakt
himselfe in vaine glory. Hee knowes not mee. I sayd
good morrow Aiax: And hee replyes thankes Agamem-
non. What thinke you of this man that takes mee for the
Generall? Hees growne a very land-fish languagelesse, a
2120monster, a plague of opinion, a man may weare it on both
sides like a lether Ierkin.
Achil. Thou must be my Ambassador Thersites.
Thersi. Who I: why heele answer no body: hee profef-
2125ses not answering, speaking is for beggers: he weares his
tongue in's armes. I will put on his presence, let Patroclus
make demands to me. You shall see the pageant of Aiax.
Achil. To him Patroclus, tell him I humbly desire the va-
2130liant Aiax, to inuite the valorous Hector to come vnarm'd
to my tent, and to procure safe-conduct for his person, of
the magnanimous and most illustrious, sixe or seauen times
honour'd Captaine Generall of the armie. Agamemnon,
do this.
2135Patro. Ioue blesse great Aiax. Thers. Hum.
Patr. I comc from the worthy Achilles.
Thers. Ha?
Patr. Who most humbly desires you to inuite Hector to
2140Thers. Hum?
Patr. And to procure safe conduct from Agamemnon.
Thers. Agamemnon?
Patr. I my Lord. Thers. Ha?
Patr. What say you too't.
Thers. God buy you with all my heart.
Patr. Your answer sir.
Thers. If to morrow be a faire day, by a leuen of the clock
2150it will goe one way or other, howsoeuer he shall pay for me
ere hee ha's me.
Patr. Your answer sir.
Thers. Fare yee well with all my heart.
Achil. Why, but he is not in this tune, is he?
2155Thers. No: but out of tune thus. What musick will be in
him, when Hector ha's knockt out his braines, I know not.
But I am sure none, vnlesse the fidler Apollo get his sinnews
to make Catlings on.
Achil. Come, thou shalt beare a letter to him straight.
Thers. Let mee beare another to his horse, for thats the
more capable creature.
Achil. My minde is troubled like a fountaine stird,
And I myselse see not the bottome of it.
2165Thers. Would the fountaine of your minde were cleere
againe, that I might water an Asse at it, I had rather be a tick
in a sheepe, then such a valiant ignorance.