Internet Shakespeare Editions

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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 Pandarus and Troilus.
    Call here my varlet; I'll unarm again.
    Why should I war without the walls of Troy
    That find such cruel battle here within?
    Each Trojan that is master of his heart,
    40Let him to field; Troilus, alas, hath none.
    Will this gear ne'er be mended?
    The Greeks are strong, and skillful to their strength,
    Fierce to their skill, and to their fierceness valiant,
    But I am weaker than a woman's tear,
    45Tamer than sleep, fonder than ignorance,
    Less valiant than the virgin in the night,
    And skilless as unpracticed infancy.
    Well, I have told you enough of this. For my part, I'll not meddle nor make no farther. He that will 50have a cake out of the wheat must needs tarry the grinding.
    Have I not tarried?
    Ay, the grinding, but you must tarry the bolting.
    Have I not tarried?
    Ay, the bolting, but you must tarry the leav'ning.
    Still have I tarried.
    Ay, to the leavening, but here's yet in the word hereafter -- the kneading, the making of the cake, the heating of the oven, and the baking; nay, you must stay 60the cooling too, or you may chance to burn your lips.
    Patience herself, what goddess e'er she be,
    Doth lesser blench at sufferance than I do.
    At Priam's royal table do I sit,
    And when fair Cressid comes into my thoughts,
    65So, traitor, then she comes, when she is thence.
    Well, she looked yesternight fairer than ever I saw her look,
    or any woman else.
    I was about to tell thee: when my heart,
    70As wedgèd with a sigh, would rive in twain,
    Lest Hector or my father should perceive me,
    I have, as when the sun doth light a-scorn,
    Buried this sigh in wrinkle of a smile.
    But sorrow that is couched in seeming gladness
    75Is like that mirth fate turns to sudden sadness.
    An her hair were not somewhat darker than Helen's -- well, go to -- there were no more comparison between the women. But -- for my part -- she is my kinswoman, I would not -- as they term it -- praise her, but I would 80somebody had heard her talk yesterday as I did. I will not dispraise your sister Cassandra's wit, but --
    O Pandarus, I tell thee, Pandarus,
    When I do tell thee, "there my hopes lie drowned,"
    Reply not in how many fathoms deep
    85They lie indrenched. I tell thee, "I am mad
    In Cressid's love." Thou answer'st, "She is fair";
    Pour'st in the open ulcer of my heart
    Her eyes, her hair, her cheek, her gait, her voice;
    Handlest in thy discourse, oh, that her hand,
    90In whose comparison all whites are ink
    Writing their own reproach, to whose soft seizure
    The cygnet's down is harsh, and spirit of sense
    Hard as the palm of plowman. This thou tell'st me,
    As true thou tell'st me, when I say I love her.
    95But, saying thus, instead of oil and balm,
    Thou lay'st in every gash that love hath given me
    The knife that made it.
    I speak no more than truth.
    Thou dost not speak so much.
    Faith, I'll not meddle in't. Let her be as she is; if she be fair, 'tis the better for her; an she be not, she has the mends in her own hands.
    Good Pandarus. How now, Pandarus?
    I have had my labor for my travail, ill thought 105on of her, and ill thought on of you, gone between and between, but small thanks for my labor.
    What, art thou angry, Pandarus? What? With me?
    Because she's kin to me, therefore she's not so fair as Helen; an she were not kin to me, she would 110be as fair on Friday as Helen is on Sunday. But what care I? I care not an she were a blackamoor; 'tis all one to me.
    Say I she is not fair?
    I do not care whether you do or no. She's a 115fool to stay behind her father. Let her to the Greeks, and so I'll tell her the next time I see her. For my part, I'll meddle nor make no more i'th'matter.
    Not I.
    Sweet Pandarus.
    Pray you, speak no more to me. I will leave all as I found it, and there an end.
    Exit Pandarus. Sound alarum.
    Peace, you ungracious clamors; peace, rude sounds.
    Fools on both sides, Helen must needs be fair,
    125When with your blood you daily paint her thus.
    I cannot fight upon this argument;
    It is too starved a subject for my sword.
    But Pandarus (O gods) how do you plague me?
    I cannot come to Cressid but by Pandar,
    130And he's as tetchy to be wooed to woo,
    As she is stubborn, chaste, against all suit.
    Tell me, Apollo, for thy Daphne's love,
    What Cressid is, what Pandar, and what we:
    Her bed is India; there she lies, a pearl.
    135Between our Ilium and where she resides,
    Let it be called the wild and wand'ring flood,
    Ourself, the merchant, and this sailing Pandar,
    Our doubtful hope, our convoy, and our bark.
    Alarum. Enter Aeneas.
    How now, prince Troilus? Wherefore not afield?
    Because not there; this woman's answer sorts,
    For womanish it is to be from thence.
    What news, Aeneas, from the field today?
    That Paris is returnèd home, and hurt.
    By whom, Aeneas?
    Troilus, by Menelaus.
    Let Paris bleed; 'tis but a scar to scorn.
    Paris is gored with Menelaus' horn.
    Hark, what good sport is out of town today.
    Better at home, if "would I might" were "may."
    But to the sport abroad, are you bound thither?
    In all swift haste.
    Come, go we then together.