Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: William Godshalk
Peer Reviewed

Troilus and Cressida (Folio 1, 1623)

Troylus and Cressida.
Ther. Nay but regard him well.
Achil. Well, why I do so.
Ther. But yet you looke not well vpon him: for who
some euer you take him to be, he is Aiax.
920Achil. I know that foole.
Ther. I, but that foole knowes not himselfe.
Aiax. Therefore I beate thee.
Ther. Lo, lo, lo, lo, what modicums of wit he vtters: his
euasions haue eares thus long. I haue bobb'd his Braine
925more then he has beate my bones: I will buy nine Spar-
rowes for a peny, and his Piamater is not worth the ninth
part of a Sparrow. This Lord (Achilles) Aiax who wears
his wit in his belly, and his guttes in his head, Ile tell you
what I say of him.
930Achil. What?
Ther. I say this Aiax---
Achil. Nay good Aiax.
Ther. Has not so much wit.
Achil: Nay, I must hold you.
935Ther. As will stop the eye of Helens Needle, for whom
he comes to fight.
Achil. Peace foole.
Ther. I would haue peace and quietnes, but the foole
will not: he there, that he, looke you there.
940Aiax. O thou damn'd Curre, I shall---
Achil. Will you set your wit to a Fooles.
Ther. No I warrant you, for a fooles will shame it.
Pat. Good words Thersites.
Achil. What's the quarrell?
945Aiax. I bad thee vile Owle, goe learne me the tenure
of the Proclamation, and he rayles vpon me.
Ther. I serue thee not.
Aiax. Well, go too, go too.
Ther. I serue heere voluntary.
950Achil. Your last seruice was sufferance, 'twas not vo-
luntary, no man is beaten voluntary: Aiax was heere the
voluntary, and you as vnder an Impresse.
Ther. E'neso, a great deale of your wit too lies in your
sinnewes, or else there be Liars. Hector shall haue a great
955catch, if he knocke out either of your braines, he were as
good cracke a fustie nut with no kernell.
Achil. What with me to Thersites?
Ther. There's Vlysses, and old Nestor, whose Wit was
mouldy ere their Grandsires had nails on their toes, yoke
960you like draft-Oxen, and make you plough vp the warre.
Achil. What? what?
Ther. Yes good sooth, to Achilles, to Aiax, to---
Aiax. I shall cut out your tongue.
Ther. 'Tis no matter, I shall speake as much as thou
Pat. No more words Thersites.
Ther. I will hold my peace when Achilles Brooch bids
me, shall I?
Achil. There's for you Patroclus.
970Ther. I will see you hang'd like Clotpoles ere I come
any more to your Tents; I will keepe where there is wit
stirring, and leaue the faction of fooles. Exit.
Pat. A good riddance.
Achil. Marry this Sir is proclaim'd through al our host,
975That Hector by the fift houre of the Sunne,
Will with a Trumpet, 'twixt our Tents and Troy
To morrow morning call some Knight to Armes,
That hath a stomacke, and such a one that dare
Maintaine I know not what: 'tis trash. Farewell.
980Aiax. Farewell? who shall answer him?
Achil. I know not, 'tis put to Lottry: otherwise
He knew his man.
Aiax. O meaning you, I wil go learne more of it. Exit.
Enter Priam, Hector, Troylus, Paris and Helenus.
985Pri. After so many houres, liues, speeches spent,
Thus once againe sayes Nestor from the Greekes,
Deliuer Helen, and all damage else
(As honour, losse of time, trauaile, expence,
Wounds, friends, and what els deere that is consum'd
990In hot digestion of this comorant Warre)
Shall be stroke off. Hector, what say you too't.
Hect. Though no man lesser feares the Greeks then I,
As farre as touches my particular: yet dread Priam,
There is no Lady of more softer bowels,
995More spungie, to sucke in the sense of Feare,
More ready to cry out, who knowes what followes
Then Hector is: the wound of peace is surety,
Surety secure: but modest Doubt is cal'd
The Beacon of the wise: the tent that searches
1000To'th'bottome of the worst. Let Helen go,
Since the first sword was drawne about this question,
Euery tythe soule 'mongst many thousand dismes,
Hath bin as deere as Helen: I meane of ours:
If we haue lost so many tenths of ours
1005To guard a thing not ours, nor worth to vs
(Had it our name) the valew of one ten;
What merit's in that reason which denies
The yeelding of her vp.
Troy. Fie, fie, my Brother;
1010Weigh you the worth and honour of a King
(So great as our dread Father) in a Scale
Of common Ounces? Wil you with Counters summe
The past proportion of his infinite,
And buckle in a waste most fathomlesse,
1015With spannes and inches so diminutiue,
As feares and reasons? Fie for godly shame?
Hel. No maruel though you bite so sharp at reasons,
You are so empty of them, should not our Father
Beare the great sway of his affayres with reasons,
1020Because your speech hath none that tels him so.
Troy. You are for dreames & slumbers brother Priest
You furre your gloues with reason: here are your reasons
You know an enemy intends you harme,
You know, a sword imploy'd is perillous,
1025And reason flyes the obiect of all harme.
Who maruels then when Helenus beholds
A Grecian and his sword, if he do set
The very wings of reason to his heeles:
Or like a Starre disorb'd. Nay, if we talke of Reason,
1030And flye like chidden Mercurie from Ioue,
Let's shut our gates and sleepe: Manhood and Honor
Should haue hard hearts, wold they but fat their thoghts
With this cramm'd reason: reason and respect,
Makes Liuers pale, and lustyhood deiect.
1035Hect. Brother, she is not worth
What she doth cost the holding.
Troy. What's aught, but as 'tis valew'd?
Hect. But value dwels not in particular will,
It holds his estimate and dignitie
1040As well, wherein 'tis precious of it selfe,
As in the prizer: 'Tis made Idolatrie,
To make the seruice greater then the God,
And the will dotes that is inclineable
To what infectiously it selfe affects,
1045Without some image of th'affected merit.
Troy. I take to day a Wife, and my election
Is led on in the conduct of my Will;
¶3 My