Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: William Godshalk
Peer Reviewed

Troilus and Cressida (Modern)

Enter Pandarus and Troilus's Man.
How now, where's thy master? At my cousin Cressida's?
1635Troilus's Man
No, sir, he stays for you to conduct him thither.
Enter Troilus.
Oh, here he comes. -- How now, how now?
[To his Man]Sirrah, walk off.
Have you seen my cousin?
No, Pandarus. I stalk about her door,
Like a strange soul upon the Stygian banks,
Staying for waftage. O be thou my Charon,
And give me swift transportance to those fields
Where I may wallow in the lily-beds
1645Proposed for the deserver. O gentle Pandarus,
From Cupid's shoulder pluck his painted wings
And fly with me to Cressid.
Walk here i'th'orchard. I'll bring her straight.
Exit Pandarus.
I am giddy; expectation whirls me round.
Th'imaginary relish is so sweet
That it enchants my sense. What will it be
When that the wat'ry palates taste indeed
Love's thrice-reputed nectar? Death, I fear me,
1655Sounding destruction, or some joy too fine,
Too subtle, potent, and too sharp in sweetness,
For the capacity of my ruder powers;
I fear it much, and I do fear besides
That I shall lose distinction in my joys,
1660As doth a battle when they charge on heaps,
The enemy flying.
Enter Pandarus.
She's making her ready; she'll come straight. You must be witty now; she does so blush, and fetches her wind so short, as if she were 'fraid with a spirit. I'll fetch her. It 1665is the prettiest villain. She fetches her breath so short as a new-ta'en sparrow.
Exit Pandarus.
Even such a passion doth embrace my bosom.
My heart beats thicker than a feverous pulse,
And all my powers do their bestowing lose,
1670Like vassalage at unawares encount'ring
The eye of majesty.
Enter Pandarus with Cressida [veiled].
Come, come, what need you blush? Shame's a baby. -- [To Troilus] Here she is now; swear the oaths now 1675to her that you have sworn to me. -- [To Cressida] What, are you gone again? [Cressida pulls away.] You must be watched ere you be made tame, must you? Come your ways; come your ways; an you draw backward we'll put you i'th'fills. -- [To Troilus] Why do you not speak to her? -- [To Cressida] Come draw this curtain, and let's see your picture. [Pandarus unveils Cressida.] 1680Alas the day, how loath you are to offend daylight. An 'twere dark, you'd close sooner. So, so, rub on, and kiss the mistress. [They neck and pet.] How now, a kiss in fee-farm? Build there, carpenter; the air is sweet. Nay, you shall fight your hearts out ere I part you. The falcon as the tercel, for 1685all the ducks i'th'river. Go to, go to.
You have bereft me of all words, lady.
Words pay no debts; give her deeds. But she'll bereave you o'th'deeds too, if she call your activity in question. What, billing again? Here's "in witness 1690whereof the parties interchangeably --" Come in; come in. I'll go get a fire.
Will you walk in, my lord?
O Cressida, how often have I wished me thus?
Wished, my lord? The gods grant -- O my lord.
What should they grant? What makes this pretty abruption? What too curious dreg espies my sweet lady in the fountain of our love?
More dregs than water, if my tears have eyes.
Fears make devils of cherubins; they never see 1700truly.
Blind fear, that seeing reason leads, finds safer footing than blind reason, stumbling without fear. To fear the worst oft cures the worse.
Oh, let my lady apprehend no fear; 1705in all Cupid's pageant there is presented no monster.
Nor nothing monstrous neither?
Nothing, but our undertakings, when we vow to weep seas, live in fire, eat rocks, tame tigers, thinking it harder for our mistress to devise imposition 1710enough than for us to undergo any difficulty imposed. This is the monstruosity in love, lady, that the will is infinite, and the execution confined, that the desire is boundless, and the act a slave to limit.
They say all lovers swear more performance 1715than they are able, and yet reserve an ability that they never perform, vowing more than the perfection of ten, and discharging less than the tenth part of one. They that have the voice of lions and the act of hares, are they not monsters?
Are there such? Such are not we. Praise us as we are tasted; allow us as we prove. Our head shall go bare till merit crown it; no perfection in reversion shall have a praise in present. We will not name desert before his birth, and, being born, his addition shall be 1725humble. Few words to fair faith. Troilus shall be such to Cressid as what envy can say worst shall be a mock for his truth, and what truth can speak truest: "not truer than Troylus."
Will you walk in, my lord?
1730Enter Pandarus.
What, blushing still? Have you not done talking yet?
Well, uncle, what folly I commit, I dedicate to you.
I thank you for that. If my lord get a boy of you, you'll give him me. Be true to my lord; if he flinch, chide me for it.
[To Cressida] You know now your hostages: your uncle's word and my firm faith.
Nay, I'll give my word for her too; our kindred, though they be long ere they are wooed, they are constant being won; they are burs, I can tell you; they'll stick where they are thrown.
Boldness comes to me now, and brings me 1745heart. Prince Troilus, I have loved you night and day for many weary months.
Why was my Cressid then so hard to win?
Hard to seem won, but I was won, my lord,
With the first glance that ever -- pardon me.
1750If I confess much, you will play the tyrant.
I love you now, but not till now so much
But I might master it; in faith, I lie.
My thoughts were like unbridled children, grown
Too headstrong for their mother. See? We fools.
1755Why have I blabbed? Who shall be true to us
When we are so unsecret to ourselves?
But though I loved you well, I wooed you not,
And yet, good faith, I wished myself a man,
Or that we women had men's privilege
1760Of speaking first. Sweet, bid me hold my tongue,
For in this rapture I shall surely speak
The thing I shall repent. See, see? Your silence,
Coming in dumbness, from my weakness draws
My soul of counsel from me. Stop, my mouth.
And shall, albeit sweet music issues thence.
[He kisses her.]
Pretty, i'faith.
[To Troilus]My lord, I do beseech you pardon me.
'Twas not my purpose thus to beg a kiss.
I am ashamed. O heavens, what have I done?
1770For this time will I take my leave, my lord.
[Cressida prepares to go.]
Your leave, sweet Cressid?
Leave? And you take leave till tomorrow morning --
Pray you, content you.
What offends you, lady?
Sir, mine own company.
You cannot shun yourself.
Let me go and try.
I have a kind of self resides with you,
1780But an unkind self, that itself will leave
To be another's fool. Where is my wit?
I would be gone. I speak I know not what.
Well know they what they speak that speaks so wisely.
Perchance, my lord, I show more craft than love,
And fell so roundly to a large confession
To angle for your thoughts; but you are wise,
Or else you love not, for to be wise and love
Exceeds man's might; that dwells with gods above.
Oh, that I thought it could be in a woman
(As, if it can, I will presume in you)
To feed for aye her lamp and flames of love,
To keep her constancy in plight and youth,
Outliving beauty's outward, with a mind
1795That doth renew swifter than blood decays,
Or that persuasion could but thus convince me
That my integrity and truth to you
Might be affronted with the match and weight
Of such a winnowed purity in love.
1800How were I then uplifted. But, alas,
I am as true as truth's simplicity
And simpler than the infancy of truth.
In that I'll war with you.
O virtuous fight,
1805When right with right wars who shall be most right.
True swains in love shall in the world to come
Approve their truths by Troilus. When their times,
Full of protest, of oath and big compare,
Wants similes (truth tired with iteration) --
1810"As true as steel," "as plantage to the moon,"
"As sun to day," "as turtle to her mate,"
"As iron to adamant," "as earth to th'center" --
Yet, after all comparisons of truth --
As truth's authentic author to be cited --
1815"As true as Troilus" shall crown up the verse
And sanctify the numbers.
Prophet may you be.
If I be false, or swerve a hair from truth,
When time is old and hath forgot itself,
1820When water-drops have worn the stones of Troy,
And blind oblivion swallowed cities up,
And mighty states characterless are grated
To dusty nothing, yet let memory,
From false to false among false maids in love,
1825Upbraid my falsehood. When they've said, "As false
As air, as water, as wind, as sandy earth,
As fox to lamb, as wolf to heifer's calf,
Pard to the hind, or stepdame to her son,"
Yea, let them say, to stick the heart of falsehood,
1830"As false as Cressid."
Go to, a bargain made. Seal it. Seal it. I'll be the witness. Here I hold your hand; here, my cousin's. If ever you prove false one to another, since I have taken such pains to bring you together, let all 1835pitiful goers-between be called to the world's end after my name: call them all Pandars. Let all constant men be Troiluses, all false women Cressids, and all brokers-between panders. Say "Amen."
Amen. Whereupon I will show you a chamber, which bed, because it shall not speak of your pretty encounters, press it to death. Away.
1845And Cupid grant all tongue-tied maidens here,
Bed, chamber, and pander to provide this gear.