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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 Ajax armed, Achilles, Patroclus, Agamemnon, Menelaus, Ulysses, Nestor, Calchas, [and attendants including a trumpeter].
    [To Ajax]Here art thou in appointment fresh and fair,
    2550Anticipating time with starting courage.
    Give, with thy trumpet, a loud note to Troy,
    Thou dreadful Ajax, that the appallèd air
    May pierce the head of the great combatant,
    And hale him hither.
    Thou, trumpet, there's my purse.
    Now crack thy lungs, and split thy brazen pipe.
    Blow, villain, till thy spherèd bias cheek
    Outswell the colic of puffed Aquilon.
    Come, stretch thy chest, and let thy eyes spout blood;
    2560Thou blowest for Hector.
    [Sound trumpet.]
    No trumpet answers.
    'Tis but early days.
    [Enter Cressida escorted by Diomed.]
    Is not young Diomed with Calchas' daughter?
    'Tis he. I ken the manner of his gait;
    2565He rises on the toe. That spirit of his
    In aspiration lifts him from the earth.
    Is this the lady Cressid?
    Even she.
    Most dearly welcome to the Greeks, sweet 2570lady.
    [He kisses her.]
    Our general doth salute you with a kiss.
    Yet is the kindness but particular.
    'Twere better she were kissed in general.
    And very courtly counsel. I'll begin.
    [He kisses her.]
    So much 2575for Nestor.
    I'll take that winter from your lips, fair lady.
    Achilles bids you welcome.
    [He kisses her.]
    [To Cressida] I had good argument for kissing once.
    But that's no argument for kissing now,
    2580For thus popped Paris in his hardiment,
    2580.1And parted, thus, you and your argument.
    [He kisses her.]
    Oh, deadly gall, and theme of all our scorns,
    For which we lose our heads to gild his horns.
    The first was Menelaus' kiss; this, mine.
    Patroclus kisses you.
    [He kisses her.]
    Oh, this is trim.
    [To Cressida] Paris and I kiss evermore for him.
    I'll have my kiss, sir. -- Lady, by your leave.
    In kissing, do you render or receive?
    [Cressida holds him off?]
    Both take and give.
    I'll make my match to live,
    The kiss you take is better then you give.
    Therefore no kiss.
    [Holding him off?]
    I'll give you boot; I'll give you three for one.
    You are an odd man; give even, or give none.
    An odd man, lady? Every man is odd.
    No, Paris is not, for you know 'tis true
    That you are odd, and he is even with you.
    You fillip me o'th'head.
    No, I'll be sworn.
    It were no match, your nail against his horn.
    May I, sweet lady, beg a kiss of you?
    You may.
    I do desire it.
    Why, beg then.
    Why then, for Venus' sake, give me a kiss,
    When Helen is a maid again, and his --
    I am your debtor; claim it when 'tis due.
    Never's my day, and then a kiss of you.
    Lady, a word. I'll bring you to your father.
    [He leads her across the stage to Calchas.]
    A woman of quick sense.
    Fie, fie upon her.
    There's a language in her eye, her cheek, her lip;
    Nay, her foot speaks; her wanton spirits look out
    At every joint and motive of her body.
    2615Oh, these encounterers, so glib of tongue,
    That give a coasting welcome ere it comes
    And wide unclasp the tables of their thoughts
    To every tickling reader, set them down
    For sluttish spoils of opportunity
    2620And daughters of the game.
    Exeunt [Cressida and Calchas].
    Enter Hector [armed], Paris, Aeneas, Helenus, [Troilus] and Attendants. Flourish.
    All [Greeks].
    The Trojan's trumpet.
    Yonder comes the troop.
    Hail, all you state of Greece. What shall be done
    To him that victory commands? Or do you purpose
    A victor shall be known? Will you the knights
    Shall to the edge of all extremity
    Pursue each other, or shall they be divided
    2630By any voice or order of the field?
    Hector bade ask.
    Which way would Hector have it?
    He cares not; he'll obey conditions.
    'Tis done like Hector -- But securely done,
    A little proudly, and great deal disprizing
    2635The knight opposed.
    If not Achilles, sir, what is your name?
    If not Achilles, nothing.
    Therefore, Achilles. But whate'er, know this:
    In the extremity of great and little,
    2640Valor and pride excel themselves in Hector --
    The one, almost as infinite as all;
    The other, blank as nothing. Weigh him well,
    And that which looks like pride is courtesy.
    This Ajax is half made of Hector's blood,
    2645In love whereof, half Hector stays at home;
    Half heart, half hand, half Hector comes to seek
    This blended knight, half Trojan, and half Greek.
    A maiden battle then? Oh, I perceive you.
    Here is Sir Diomed. -- Go, gentle knight;
    2650Stand by our Ajax. As you and lord Aeneas
    Consent upon the order of their fight,
    So be it: either to the uttermost,
    Or else a breach. The combatants being kin
    Half stints their strife before their strokes begin.
    [Ajax and Hector square off.]
    They are opposed already.
    What Trojan is that same that looks so heavy?
    The youngest son of Priam,
    A true knight; they call him Troilus,
    Not yet mature, yet matchless; firm of word,
    2660Speaking in deeds, and deedless in his tongue;
    Not soon provoked, nor, being provoked, soon calmed;
    His heart and hand both open, and both free,
    For what he has, he gives; what thinks, he shows;
    Yet gives he not till judgment guide his bounty,
    2665Nor dignifies an impair thought with breath;
    Manly as Hector, but more dangerous,
    For Hector in his blaze of wrath subscribes
    To tender objects, but he, in heat of action,
    Is more vindicative than jealous love.
    2670They call him Troilus, and on him erect
    A second hope as fairly built as Hector.
    Thus says Aeneas, one that knows the youth
    Even to his inches and, with private soul,
    Did in great Ilium thus translate him to me.
    Alarum. [Hector and Ajax fight.]
    They are in action.
    Now, Ajax, hold thine own.
    Hector, thou sleep'st; awake thee.
    His blows are well disposed. -- There, Ajax.
    Trumpets cease.
    You must no more.
    Princes, enough, so please you.
    [They cease fighting.]
    I am not warm yet; let us fight again.
    As Hector pleases.
    Why, then will I no more.
    Thou art, great lord, my father's sister's son,
    2685A cousin-german to great Priam's seed.
    The obligation of our blood forbids
    A gory emulation 'twixt us twain.
    Were thy commixtion Greek and Trojan so
    That thou couldst say, "This hand is Grecian all,
    2690And this is Trojan; the sinews of this leg,
    All Greek, and this all Troy; my mother's blood
    Runs on the dexter cheek, and this sinister
    Bounds in my father's," by Jove multipotent,
    Thou shouldst not bear from me a Greekish member
    2695Wherein my sword had not impressure made
    Of our rank feud, but the just gods gainsay
    That any drop thou borrowed'st from thy mother,
    My sacred aunt, should by my mortal sword
    Be drained. Let me embrace thee, Ajax.
    2700By him that thunders, thou hast lusty arms;
    Hector would have them fall upon him thus --
    [They embrace.]
    Cousin, all honor to thee.
    I thank thee, Hector.
    Thou art too gentle, and too free a man.
    2705I came to kill thee, cousin, and bear hence
    A great addition earnèd in thy death.
    Not Neoptolemus so mirable,
    On whose bright crest fame with her loud'st "oyez"
    Cries, "This is he," couldst promise to himself
    2710A thought of added honor torn from Hector.
    There is expectance here from both the sides
    What further you will do.
    We'll answer it.
    The issue is embracement. -- Ajax, farewell.
    [They embrace again.]
    If I might in entreaties find success
    (As seld I have the chance), I would desire
    My famous cousin to our Grecian tents.
    'Tis Agamemnon's wish, and great Achilles
    Doth long to see unarmed the valiant Hector.
    Aeneas, call my brother Troilus to me,
    And signify this loving interview
    To the expecters of our Trojan part;
    Desire them home. -- [To Ajax] Give me thy hand, my cousin;
    I will go eat with thee, and see your knights.
    2725Enter [to stage front] Agamemnon and the rest.
    Great Agamemnon comes to meet us here.
    [To Aeneas]The worthiest of them, tell me name by name,
    But, for Achilles, mine own searching eyes
    Shall find him by his large and portly size.
    Worthy of arms, as welcome as to one
    That would be rid of such an enemy. --
    But that's no welcome. Understand more clear,
    What's past, and what's to come, is strewed with husks
    And formless ruin of oblivion,
    2735But in this extant moment, faith and troth,
    Strained purely from all hollow bias drawing,
    Bids thee, with most divine integrity,
    From heart of very heart, "great Hector, welcome."
    I thank thee, most imperious Agamemnon.
    [To Troilus] My well-famed lord of Troy, no less to you.
    Let me confirm my princely brother's greeting.
    You brace of warlike brothers, welcome hither.
    [He embraces Hector and Troilus?]
    Who must we answer?
    The noble Menelaus.
    Oh, you, my lord? By Mars his gauntlet, thanks.
    Mock not that I affect th'untraded oath;
    Your quondam wife swears still by Venus' glove.
    She's well, but bade me not commend her to you.
    Name her not now, sir; she's a deadly theme.
    Oh, pardon. I offend.
    I have, thou gallant Trojan, seen thee oft,
    Laboring for destiny, make cruel way
    Through ranks of Greekish youth, and I have seen thee,
    As hot as Perseus, spur thy Phrygian steed,
    2755And seen thee scorning forfeits and subduements,
    When thou hast hung th'advancèd sword i'th'air,
    Not letting it decline on the declined,
    That I have said unto my standers-by,
    "Lo, Jupiter is yonder, dealing life."
    2760And I have seen thee pause and take thy breath,
    When that a ring of Greeks have hemmed thee in,
    Like an Olympian wrestling. This have I seen,
    But this thy countenance, still locked in steel,
    I never saw till now. I knew thy grandsire,
    2765And once fought with him; he was a soldier good,
    But -- by great Mars, the captain of us all --
    Never like thee. Let an old man embrace thee,
    And, worthy warrior, welcome to our tents.
    [To Hector] 'Tis the old Nestor.
    [Hector and Nestor embrace.]
    Let me embrace thee, good old chronicle,
    That hast so long walked hand in hand with time.
    Most reverend Nestor, I am glad to clasp thee.
    I would my arms could match thee in contention
    As they contend with thee in courtesy.
    I would they could.
    Ha? By this white beard, I'd fight with thee to
    morrow. Well, welcome, welcome. I have seen the time.
    I wonder now how yonder city stands
    When we have here her base and pillar by us.
    I know your favor, lord Ulysses, well.
    Ah, sir, there's many a Greek and Trojan dead
    Since first I saw yourself and Diomed
    In Ilium on your Greekish embassy.
    Sir, I foretold you then what would ensue.
    2785My prophecy is but half his journey yet,
    For yonder walls that pertly front your town,
    Yon towers, whose wanton tops do buss the clouds,
    Must kiss their own feet.
    I must not believe you.
    2790There they stand yet, and modestly I think
    The fall of every Phrygian stone will cost
    A drop of Grecian blood. The end crowns all,
    And that old common arbitrator, time,
    Will one day end it.
    So to him we leave it.
    Most gentle and most valiant Hector, welcome.
    After the general, I beseech you next
    To feast with me, and see me at my tent.
    I shall forestall thee, lord Ulysses, thou.
    2800Now, Hector, I have fed mine eyes on thee;
    I have with exact view perused thee, Hector,
    And quoted joint by joint.
    Is this Achilles?
    I am Achilles.
    Stand fair. I prithee, let me look on thee.
    Behold thy fill.
    Nay, I have done already.
    Thou art too brief. I will the second time,
    As I would buy thee, view thee limb by limb.
    Oh, like a book of sport thou'lt read me o'er?
    But there's more in me than thou understand'st.
    Why dost thou so oppress me with thine eye?
    Tell me, you heavens, in which part of his body
    Shall I destroy him -- whether there, or there, or there --
    [Pointing to different parts of Hector's body]
    2815That I may give the local wound a name,
    And make distinct the very breach whereout
    Hector's great spirit flew. Answer me, heavens.
    It would discredit the blest gods, proud man,
    To answer such a question. Stand again.
    2820Think'st thou to catch my life so pleasantly
    As to prenominate in nice conjecture
    Where thou wilt hit me dead?
    I tell thee, yea.
    Wert thou the oracle to tell me so,
    2825I'd not believe thee. Henceforth guard thee well,
    For I'll not kill thee there, not there, nor there,
    [Pointing to different parts of Achilles' body]
    But by the forge that stithied Mars his helm,
    I'll kill thee everywhere, yea, o'er and o'er. --
    You wisest Grecians, pardon me this brag.
    2830His insolence draws folly from my lips,
    But I'll endeavor deeds to match these words,
    Or may I never --
    Do not chafe thee, cousin,
    And you, Achilles, let these threats alone
    2835Till accident or purpose bring you to't.
    You may every day enough of Hector,
    If you have stomach. The general state, I fear,
    Can scarce entreat you to be odd with him.
    [To Achilles] I pray you, let us see you in the field;
    2840We have had pelting wars, since you refused
    The Grecians' cause.
    Dost thou entreat me, Hector?
    Tomorrow do I meet thee, fell as death;
    Tonight, all friends.
    Thy hand upon that match.
    First, all you peers of Greece, go to my tent;
    There, in the full, convive you. Afterwards,
    As Hector's leisure and your bounties shall
    Concur together, severally entreat him.
    2850Beat loud the taborins; let the trumpets blow
    That this great soldier may his welcome know.
    Exeunt [all but Ulysses and Troilus.]s
    My lord Ulysses, tell me, I beseech you,
    In what place of the field doth Calchas keep?
    At Menelaus' tent, most princely Troilus.
    2855There Diomed doth feast with him tonight,
    Who neither looks on heaven nor on earth,
    But gives all gaze and bent of amorous view
    On the fair Cressid.
    Shall I, sweet lord, be bound to thee so much,
    2860After we part from Agamemnon's tent,
    To bring me thither?
    You shall command me, sir.
    As gentle, tell me of what honor was
    This Cressida in Troy? Had she no lover there
    2865That wails her absence?
    O sir, to such as boasting show their scars
    A mock is due. Will you walk on, my lord?
    She was belov'd; she loved; she is, and doth,
    But still sweet love is food for fortune's tooth.