Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: William Godshalk
Peer Reviewed

Troilus and Cressida (Modern)

0.1[Enter Speaker of the Prologue in armor.]
1Speaker of the Prologue
In Troy there lies the scene. From isles of Greece,
The princes orgulous, their high blood chafed,
Have to the port of Athens sent their ships
5Fraught with the ministers and instruments
Of cruel war. Sixty and nine that wore
Their crownets regal, from th'Athenian bay
Put forth toward Phrygia, and their vow is made
To ransack Troy, within whose strong immures
10The ravished Helen, Menelaus' queen,
With wanton Paris sleeps, and that's the quarrel.
To Tenedos they come,
And the deep-drawing barks do there disgorge
Their warlike fraughtage. Now on Dardan plains
15The fresh and yet unbruised Greeks do pitch
Their brave pavilions. Priam's six-gated city --
Dardan and Timbria, Helias, Chetas, Troien,
And Antenonidus -- with massy staples
And corresponsive and fulfilling bolts,
20Stir up the sons of Troy.
Now expectation, tickling skittish spirits
On one and other side, Trojan and Greek,
Sets all on hazard. And hither am I come,
A prologue armed, but not in confidence
25Of author's pen, or actor's voice, but suited
In like conditions as our argument,
To tell you (fair beholders) that our play
Leaps o'er the vaunt and firstlings of those broils,
Beginning in the middle, starting thence away
30To what may be digested in a play.
Like, or find fault; do as your pleasures are.
Now good or bad, 'tis but the chance of war.