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  • Title: Troilus and Cressida (Modern)
  • Editor: William Godshalk
  • ISBN: 1-55058-301-8

    Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: William Godshalk
    Peer Reviewed

    Troilus and Cressida (Modern)

    Enter Cressida and her man [Alexander].
    Who were those went by?
    Queen Hecuba and Helen.
    And whither go they?
    Up to the eastern tower,
    160Whose height commands as subject all the vale,
    To see the battle. Hector, whose patience
    Is as a virtue fixed, today was moved.
    He chides Andromache and struck his armorer,
    And, like as there were husbandry in war,
    165Before the sun rose, he was harnessed light,
    And to the field goes he, where every flower
    Did as a prophet weep what it foresaw
    In Hector's wrath.
    What was his cause of anger?
    170Alexander The noise goes this: There is among the Greeks
    A lord of Trojan blood, nephew to Hector;
    They call him Ajax.
    Good, and what of him?
    175Alexander They say he is a very man per se and stands alone.
    Cressida So do all men, unless they are drunk, sick, or have no legs.
    Alexander This man, lady, hath robbed many beasts of their particular additions: he is as valiant as the lion, churlish 180as the bear, slow as the elephant; a man into whom nature hath so crowded humors that his valor is crushed into folly, his folly sauced with discretion. There is no man hath a virtue that he hath not a glimpse of, nor any man an attaint, but he carries some stain of it. He is 185melancholy without cause, and merry against the hair; he hath the joints of every thing, but everything so out of joint, that he is a gouty Briareus, many hands and no use, or purblinded Argus, all eyes and no sight.
    Cressida But how should this man that makes me smile 190make Hector angry?
    Alexander They say he yesterday coped Hector in the battle and struck him down, the disdain and shame whereof hath ever since kept Hector fasting and waking.
    Enter Pandarus.
    195Cressida Who comes here?
    Alexander Madam, your uncle Pandarus.
    Cressida Hector's a gallant man.
    Alexander As may be in the world, lady.
    Pandarus What's that? What's that?
    200Cressida Good morrow, uncle Pandarus.
    Pandarus Good morrow, cousin Cressid. What do you talk of? -- Good morrow, Alexander. -- How do you, cousin? When were you at Ilium?
    Cressida This morning, uncle.
    205Pandarus What were you talking of when I came? Was Hector armed and gone ere ye came to Ilium? Helen was not up? Was she?
    Cressida Hector was gone, but Helen was not up?
    Pandarus E'en so; Hector was stirring early.
    210Cressida That were we talking of, and of his anger.
    Pandarus Was he angry?
    Cressida [Motioning to Alexander] So he says here.
    Pandarus True, he was so; I know the cause too. He'll lay about him today, I can tell them that, and there's Troilus 215will not come far behind him. Let them take heed of Troilus; I can tell them that too.
    Cressida What, is he angry too?
    Pandarus Who, Troilus?
    Troilus is the better man of the two.
    220Cressida O Jupiter, there's no comparison.
    Pandarus What, not between Troilus and Hector? Do you know a man if you see him?
    Cressida Ay, if I ever saw him before and knew him.
    Pandarus Well, I say Troilus is Troilus.
    225Cressida Then you say as I say, for I am sure he is not Hector.
    Pandarus No, nor Hector is not Troilus -- in some degrees.
    Cressida 'Tis just to each of them; he is himself.
    Pandarus Himself? Alas, poor Troilus, I would he were.
    230Cressida So he is.
    Pandarus Condition I had gone barefoot to India.
    Cressida He is not Hector.
    Pandarus Himself? No, he's not himself; would a were himself. -- Well, the gods are above; time must friend or 235end. Well, Troilus, well, I would my heart were in her body; no, Hector is not a better man than Troilus.
    Cressida Excuse me.
    Pandarus He is elder.
    Cressida Pardon me, pardon me.
    240Pandarus Th'other's not come to't; you shall tell me another tale when th'other's come to't. Hector shall not have his will this year.
    Cressida He shall not need it if he have his own.
    Pandarus Nor his qualities.
    245Cressida No matter.
    Pandarus Nor his beauty.
    Cressida 'Twould not become him; his own's better.
    Pandarus You have no judgment, niece; Helen herself swore th'other day, that Troilus for a brown favor (for 250so 'tis, I must confess) -- not brown neither --
    Cressida No, but brown.
    Pandarus Faith, to say truth, brown and not brown.
    Cressida To say the truth, true and not true.
    Pandarus She praised his complexion above Paris'.
    255Cressida Why, Paris hath color enough.
    Pandarus So he has.
    Cressida Then Troilus should have too much, if she praised him above. His complexion is higher than his. He having color enough, and the other, higher, is too flaming a 260praise for a good complexion. I had as lief Helen's golden tongue had commended Troilus for a copper nose.
    Pandarus I swear to you, I think Helen loves him better than Paris.
    Cressida Then she's a merry Greek indeed.
    265Pandarus Nay, I am sure she does; she came to him th'other day into the compassed window, and, you know, he has not past three or four hairs on his chin.
    Cressida Indeed, a tapster's arithmetic may soon bring his particulars therein to a total.
    270Pandarus Why, he is very young, and yet will he within three pound lift as much as his brother Hector.
    Cressida Is he so young a man, and so old a lifter?
    Pandarus But to prove to you that Helen loves him: she came and puts me her white hand to his cloven chin --
    275 Cressida Juno have mercy. How came it cloven?
    Pandarus Why, you know 'tis dimpled. I think his smiling becomes him better than any man in all Phrygia.
    Cressida Oh, he smiles valiantly.
    280Pandarus Does he not?
    Cressida O yes, an 'twere a cloud in autumn.
    Pandarus Why, go to then. But to prove to you that Helen loves Troilus --
    Cressida Troilus will stand to the 285proof, if you'll prove it so.
    Pandarus Troilus? Why, he esteems her no more than I esteem an addle egg.
    Cressida If you love an addle egg as well as you love an idle head, you would eat chickens i'th'shell.
    290Pandarus I cannot choose but laugh to think how she tickled his chin. Indeed, she has a marvelous white hand, I must needs confess.
    Cressida Without the rack.
    Pandarus And she takes upon her to spy a white hair on 295his chin.
    Cressida Alas, poor chin. Many a wart is richer.
    Pandarus But there was such laughing; queen Hecuba laughed that her eyes ran o'er.
    Cressida With millstones?
    300Pandarus And Cassandra laughed --
    Cressida But there was more temperate fire under the pot of her eyes. Did her eyes run o'er too?
    Pandarus And Hector laughed.
    Cressida At what was all this laughing?
    305Pandarus Marry, at the white hair that Helen spied on Troilus's chin.
    Cressida An't had been a green hair, I should have laughed too.
    Pandarus They laughed not so much at the hair as at his 310pretty answer.
    Cressida What was his answer?
    Pandarus Quoth she, "Here's but two and fifty hairs on your chin, and one of them is white."
    Cressida This is her question.
    315Pandarus That's true; make no question of that. "Two and fifty hairs," quoth he, "and one white; that white hair is my father, and all the rest are his sons." "Jupiter," quoth she, "which of these hairs is Paris, my husband?" "The forked one," quoth he; "pluck't out and give it him." But there 320was such laughing, and Helen so blushed, and Paris so chafed, and all the rest so laughed, that it passed.
    Cressida So let it now, for it has been a great while going by.
    Pandarus Well, cousin, 325I told you a thing yesterday; think on't.
    Cressida So I do.
    Pandarus I'll be sworn 'tis true; he will weep you an 'twere a man born in April.
    [Sound a retreat.]
    Cressida And I'll spring up in his tears, an'twere a nettle 330against May.
    Pandarus Hark, they are coming from the field. Shall we stand up here and see them as they pass toward Ilium? Good niece, do, sweet niece Cressida.
    Cressida At your pleasure.
    335Pandarus Here, here, here's an excellent place; here we may see most bravely. I'll tell you them all by their names as they pass by, but mark Troilus above the rest.
    Enter Aeneas [and pass over the stage].
    Cressida Speak not so loud.
    340Pandarus That's Aeneas. Is not that a brave man? He's one of the flowers of Troy, I can tell you. But mark Troilus. You shall see anon.
    Cressida Who's that?
    [Enter Antenor and pass over the stage.]
    345Pandarus That's Antenor. He has a shrewd wit, I can tell you, and he's a man good enough; he's one o'th'soundest judgments in Troy whosoever, and a proper man of person. When comes Troilus? I'll show you Troilus anon. If he see me, you shall see him nod at me.
    350Cressida Will he give you the nod?
    Pandarus You shall see.
    Cressida If he do, the rich shall have more.
    Enter Hector [and pass over the stage].
    Pandarus That's Hector; that, that, look you, that: there's a fellow. Go 355thy way, Hector. There's a brave man, niece. O brave Hector. Look how he looks. There's a countenance. Is't not a brave man?
    Cressida O brave man.
    Pandarus Is a not? It does a man's heart good. Look you 360what hacks are on his helmet. Look you yonder. Do you see? Look you there. There's no jesting; there's laying on; tak't off who will, as they say; there be hacks.
    Cressida Be those with swords?
    Enter Paris [and pass over the stage].
    365Pandarus Swords, anything, he cares not; an the devil come to him, it's all one; by God's lid, it does one's heart good. Yonder comes Paris. Yonder comes Paris. Look ye yonder, niece. Is't not a gallant man too, is't not? Why, this is brave now: who said he came hurt home today? 370He's not hurt. Why, this will do Helen's heart good now, ha? Would I could see Troilus now; you shall see Troilus anon.
    Cressida Who's that?
    Enter Helenus [and pass over the stage].
    375Pandarus That's Helenus. I marvel where Troilus is. That's Helenus. -- I think he went not forth today. -- That's Helenus.
    Cressida Can Helenus fight, uncle?
    Pandarus Helenus? No. Yes, he'll fight indifferent well. I 380marvel where Troilus is. Hark, do you not hear the people cry "Troilus"? -- Helenus is a priest.
    Cressida What sneaking fellow comes yonder?
    Enter Troilus [and pass over the stage].
    Pandarus Where? Yonder? That's Deiphobus. -- 'Tis 385Troilus. There's a man, niece, hem? Brave Troilus, the prince of chivalry.
    Cressida Peace, for shame, peace.
    Pandarus [Pointing toward Troilus] Mark him, [Pointing toward another Trojan warrior] not him. O brave Troilus. Look well upon him, niece; look you how his sword is 390bloodied, and his helm more hacked than Hector's, and how he looks, and how he goes. O admirable youth. He ne'er saw three and twenty. Go thy way, Troilus, go thy way. Had I a sister were a grace, or a daughter a goddess, he should take his choice. O admirable man. Paris? Paris 395is dirt to him, and, I warrant Helen, to change, would give money to boot.
    Enter common soldiers [passing over the stage].
    Cressida Here come more.
    Pandarus Asses, fools, dolts; chaff and bran, chaff and 400bran; porridge after meat. I could live and die i'th'eyes of Troilus. Ne'er look; ne'er look; the eagles are gone. Crows and daws, crows and daws. I had rather be such a man as Troilus than Agamemnon and all Greece.
    Cressida There is among the Greeks Achilles, a better 405man than Troilus.
    Pandarus Achilles? A drayman, a porter, a very camel.
    Cressida Well, well.
    Pandarus "Well, well?" Why, have you any discretion? Have you any eyes? Do you know what a man is? Is not birth, 410beauty, good shape, discourse, manhood, learning, gentleness, virtue, youth, liberality, and so forth, the spice and salt that seasons a man?
    Cressida Ay, a minced man, and then to be baked with no date in the pie, for then the man's date's out.
    415Pandarus You are such another woman; one knows not at what ward you lie.
    Cressida Upon my back, to defend my belly; upon my wit, to defend my wiles; upon my secrecy, to defend mine honesty; my mask, to defend my beauty, and you 420to defend all these; and all these wards I lie at, at a thousand watches.
    Pandarus Say one of your watches.
    Cressida Nay, I'll watch you for that, and that's one of the chiefest of them too. If I cannot ward what I would 425not have hit, I can watch you for telling how I took the blow, unless it swell past hiding, and then it's past watching.
    Enter [Troilus's] Boy.
    Pandarus You are such another.
    430Troilus's Boy Sir, my lord would instantly speak with you.
    Pandarus Where?
    Troilus's Boy At your own house.
    Pandarus Good boy, tell him I come.
    [Exit Troilus's Boy.]
    I doubt he be hurt. Fare ye well, good niece.
    435Cressida Adieu, uncle.
    Pandarus I'll be with you, niece, by and by.
    Cressida To bring, uncle?
    Pandarus Ay, a token from Troilus.
    Cressida By the same token, you are a bawd.
    Exit Pandarus.
    440Words, vows, gifts, tears, and love's full sacrifice,
    He offers in another's enterprise,
    But more in Troilus thousandfold I see
    Than in the glass of Pandar's praise may be;
    Yet hold I off. Women are angels, wooing;
    445Things won are done; joy's soul lies in the doing.
    That she belov'd knows naught that knows not this:
    Men prize the thing ungained more than it is.
    That she was never yet that ever knew
    Love got so sweet as when desire did sue.
    450Therefore this maxim out of love I teach:
    "Achievement is command; ungained, beseech."
    That though my heart's contents firm love doth bear,
    Nothing of that shall from mine eyes appear.
    Exit [Cressida with Alexander, attending].