Troilus and Cressida
Act 1, Scene 1
Troy. Before Priam’s palace.
- Enter Pandarus and Troilus.
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- 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 Troyan that is master of his heart,
- Let him to field, Troilus, alas, hath none.
- Will this gear ne’er be mended?
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- 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,
- Tamer than sleep, fonder than ignorance,
- Less valiant than the virgin in the night,
- And skilless as unpractic’d infancy.
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- Well, I have told you enough of this. For my part, I’ll not
- meddle nor make no farther. He that will have a cake out of
- the wheat must 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 leavening.
- Still have I tarried.
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- Ay, to the leavening, but here’s yet in the word “hereafter”
- the kneading, the making of the cake, the heating the oven,
- and the baking; nay, you must stay the cooling too, or ye
- may chance burn your lips.
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- Patience herself, what goddess e’er she be,
- Doth lesser blench at suff’rance than I do.
- At Priam’s royal table do I sit,
- And when fair Cressid comes into my thoughts—
- So, traitor, then she comes when she is thence.
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- Well, she look’d yesternight fairer than ever
- I saw her look, or any woman else.
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- I was about to tell thee—when my heart,
- As wedged 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 couch’d in seeming gladness
- Is like that mirth fate turns to sudden sadness.
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- And 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 somebody had heard her talk
- yesterday as I did. I will not dispraise your sister
- Cassandra’s wit, but—
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- O Pandarus! I tell thee, Pandarus—
- When I do tell thee there my hopes lie drown’d,
- Reply not in how many fathoms deep
- They lie indrench’d. I tell thee I am mad
- In Cressid’s love; thou answer’st she is fair,
- Pourest in the open ulcer of my heart
- Her eyes, her hair, her cheek, her gait, her voice,
- Handiest in thy discourse, O, that her hand,
- In 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 ploughman. This thou tell’st me,
- As true thou tell’st me, when I say I love her,
- But saying thus, in stead 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.
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- Faith, I’ll not meddle in it, let her be as she is; if she
- be fair, ’tis the better for her; and she be not, she has
- the mends in her own hands.
- Good Pandarus! How now, Pandarus?
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- I have had my labor for my travail; ill thought on 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?
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- Because she’s kin to me, therefore she’s not so fair as
- Helen. And she were not kin to me, she would be as fair a’
- Friday as Helen is on Sunday. But what care I? I care not
- and she were a blackamoor, ’tis all one to me.
- Say I she is not fair?
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- I do not care whether you do or no. She’s a fool 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—
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- Pray you speak no more to me, I will leave all as I found
- it, and there an end.
- Exit. Sound alarum.
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- Peace, you ungracious clamors! Peace, rude sounds!
- Fools on both sides, Helen must needs be fair,
- When with your blood you daily paint her thus.
- I cannot fight upon this argument;
- It is too starv’d a subject for my sword.
- But Pandarus—O gods! How do you plague me!
- I cannot come to Cressid but by Pandar,
- And he’s as tetchy to be woo’d 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;
- Between our Ilium and where she resides,
- Let it be call’d 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 a-field?
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- 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 returned home and hurt.
- By whom, Aeneas?
- Troilus, by Menelaus.
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- Let Paris bleed, ’tis but a scar to scorn;
- Paris is gor’d with Menelaus’ horn.
- Hark what good sport is out of town today.
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- 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.