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Troilus and Cressida: Act 2, Scene 2

Troilus and Cressida
Act 2, Scene 2

Troy. A room in Priam’s palace.

  1. Enter Priam, Hector, Troilus, Paris, and Helenus.

Priam

2 - 8
  1. After so many hours, lives, speeches spent,
  2. Thus once again says Nestor from the Greeks;
  3. Deliver Helen, and all damage else
  4. As honor, loss of time, travail, expense,
  5. Wounds, friends, and what else dear that is consum’d
  6. In hot digestion of this cormorant war
  7. Shall be struck off.” Hector, what say you to’t?

Hector

9 - 26
  1. Though no man lesser fears the Greeks than I
  2. As far as toucheth my particular,
  3. Yet, dread Priam,
  4. There is no lady of more softer bowels,
  5. More spungy to suck in the sense of fear,
  6. More ready to cry out, Who knows what follows?”
  7. Than Hector is. The wound of peace is surety,
  8. Surety secure, but modest doubt is call’d
  9. The beacon of the wise, the tent that searches
  10. To th’ bottom of the worst. Let Helen go.
  11. Since the first sword was drawn about this question,
  12. Every tithe soul, ’mongst many thousand dismes,
  13. Hath been as dear as Helen; I mean, of ours.
  14. If we have lost so many tenths of ours,
  15. To guard a thing not ours nor worth to us
  16. (Had it our name) the value of one ten,
  17. What merit’s in that reason which denies
  18. The yielding of her up?

Troilus

27 - 34
  1.                         Fie, fie, my brother!
  2. Weigh you the worth and honor of a king
  3. So great as our dread father’s in a scale
  4. Of common ounces? Will you with compters sum
  5. The past-proportion of his infinite,
  6. And buckle in a waist most fathomless
  7. With spans and inches so diminutive
  8. As fears and reasons? Fie, for godly shame!

Helenus

35 - 38
  1. No marvel though you bite so sharp at reasons,
  2. You are so empty of them. Should not our father
  3. Bear the great sway of his affairs with reason,
  4. Because your speech hath none that tell him so?

Troilus

39 - 52
  1. You are for dreams and slumbers, brother priest,
  2. You fur your gloves with reason. Here are your reasons:
  3. You know an enemy intends you harm;
  4. You know a sword employ’d is perilous,
  5. And reason flies the object of all harm.
  6. Who marvels then, when Helenus beholds
  7. A Grecian and his sword, if he do set
  8. The very wings of reason to his heels
  9. And fly like chidden Mercury from Jove,
  10. Or like a star disorb’d? Nay, if we talk of reason,
  11. Let’s shut our gates and sleep. Manhood and honor
  12. Should have hare hearts, would they but fat their thoughts
  13. With this cramm’d reason; reason and respect
  14. Make livers pale and lustihood deject.

Hector

53 - 54
  1. Brother, she is not worth what she doth cost
  2. The keeping.

Troilus

55
  1.              What’s aught but as ’tis valued?

Hector

56 - 63
  1. But value dwells not in particular will,
  2. It holds his estimate and dignity
  3. As well wherein ’tis precious of itself
  4. As in the prizer. ’Tis mad idolatry
  5. To make the service greater than the god,
  6. And the will dotes that is attributive
  7. To what infectiously itself affects,
  8. Without some image of th’ affected merit.

Troilus

64 - 99
  1. I take today a wife, and my election
  2. Is led on in the conduct of my will,
  3. My will enkindled by mine eyes and ears,
  4. Two traded pilots ’twixt the dangerous shores
  5. Of will and judgment: how may I avoid
  6. (Although my will distaste what it elected)
  7. The wife I chose? There can be no evasion
  8. To blench from this and to stand firm by honor.
  9. We turn not back the silks upon the merchant
  10. When we have soil’d them, nor the remainder viands
  11. We do not throw in unrespective sieve,
  12. Because we now are full. It was thought meet
  13. Paris should do some vengeance on the Greeks.
  14. Your breath with full consent bellied his sails;
  15. The seas and winds, old wranglers, took a truce,
  16. And did him service; he touch’d the ports desir’d,
  17. And for an old aunt whom the Greeks held captive,
  18. He brought a Grecian queen, whose youth and freshness
  19. Wrinkles Apollo’s, and makes pale the morning.
  20. Why keep we her? The Grecians keep our aunt.
  21. Is she worth keeping? Why, she is a pearl,
  22. Whose price hath launched above a thousand ships,
  23. And turn’d crown’d kings to merchants.
  24. If you’ll avouch ’twas wisdom Paris went
  25. As you must needs, for you all cried Go, go”—
  26. If you’ll confess he brought home worthy prize
  27. As you must needs, for you all clapp’d your hands,
  28. And cried Inestimable!”—why do you now
  29. The issue of your proper wisdoms rate,
  30. And do a deed that never Fortune did,
  31. Beggar the estimation which you priz’d
  32. Richer than sea and land? O theft most base,
  33. That we have stol’n what we do fear to keep!
  34. But thieves unworthy of a thing so stol’n,
  35. That in their country did them that disgrace
  36. We fear to warrant in our native place!

Cassandra

100 - 101
  1. Within.
  2. Cry, Troyans, cry!

Priam

102
  1.                    What noise? What shrike is this?

Troilus

103
  1. ’Tis our mad sister, I do know her voice.

Cassandra

104 - 105
  1. Within.
  2. Cry, Troyans!

Hector

106
  1. It is Cassandra.
  1. Enter Cassandra raving with her hair about her ears.

Cassandra

108 - 109
  1. Cry, Troyans, cry! Lend me ten thousand eyes,
  2. And I will fill them with prophetic tears.

Hector

110
  1. Peace, sister, peace!

Cassandra

111 - 119
  1. Virgins and boys, mid-age and wrinkled eld,
  2. Soft infancy, that nothing canst but cry,
  3. Add to my clamors! Let us pay betimes
  4. A moi’ty of that mass of moan to come.
  5. Cry, Troyans, cry! Practice your eyes with tears!
  6. Troy must not be, nor goodly Ilion stand.
  7. Our fire-brand brother Paris burns us all.
  8. Cry, Troyans, cry! A Helen and a woe!
  9. Cry, cry! Troy burns, or else let Helen go.
  1. Exit.

Hector

121 - 126
  1. Now, youthful Troilus, do not these high strains
  2. Of divination in our sister work
  3. Some touches of remorse? Or is your blood
  4. So madly hot that no discourse of reason,
  5. Nor fear of bad success in a bad cause,
  6. Can qualify the same?

Troilus

127 - 138
  1.                       Why, brother Hector,
  2. We may not think the justness of each act
  3. Such and no other than event doth form it,
  4. Nor once deject the courage of our minds
  5. Because Cassandra’s mad. Her brain-sick raptures
  6. Cannot distaste the goodness of a quarrel
  7. Which hath our several honors all engag’d
  8. To make it gracious. For my private part,
  9. I am no more touch’d than all Priam’s sons;
  10. And Jove forbid there should be done amongst us
  11. Such things as might offend the weakest spleen
  12. To fight for and maintain.

Paris

139 - 151
  1. Else might the world convince of levity
  2. As well my undertakings as your counsels,
  3. But I attest the gods, your full consent
  4. Gave wings to my propension, and cut off
  5. All fears attending on so dire a project.
  6. For what, alas, can these my single arms?
  7. What propugnation is in one man’s valor
  8. To stand the push and enmity of those
  9. This quarrel would excite? Yet I protest,
  10. Were I alone to pass the difficulties,
  11. And had as ample power as I have will,
  12. Paris should ne’er retract what he hath done,
  13. Nor faint in the pursuit.

Priam

152 - 155
  1.                           Paris, you speak
  2. Like one besotted on your sweet delights.
  3. You have the honey still, but these the gall;
  4. So to be valiant, is no praise at all.

Paris

156 - 172
  1. Sir, I propose not merely to myself
  2. The pleasures such a beauty brings with it,
  3. But I would have the soil of her fair rape
  4. Wip’d off, in honorable keeping her.
  5. What treason were it to the ransack’d queen,
  6. Disgrace to your great worths, and shame to me,
  7. Now to deliver her possession up
  8. On terms of base compulsion! Can it be
  9. That so degenerate a strain as this
  10. Should once set footing in your generous bosoms?
  11. There’s not the meanest spirit on our party
  12. Without a heart to dare, or sword to draw,
  13. When Helen is defended; nor none so noble
  14. Whose life were ill bestow’d, or death unfam’d,
  15. Where Helen is the subject. Then I say,
  16. Well may we fight for her whom we know well
  17. The world’s large spaces cannot parallel.

Hector

173 - 203
  1. Paris and Troilus, you have both said well,
  2. And on the cause and question now in hand
  3. Have gloz’d, but superficially, not much
  4. Unlike young men, whom Aristotle thought
  5. Unfit to hear moral philosophy.
  6. The reasons you allege do more conduce
  7. To the hot passion of distemp’red blood
  8. Than to make up a free determination
  9. ’Twixt right and wrong; for pleasure and revenge
  10. Have ears more deaf than adders to the voice
  11. Of any true decision. Nature craves
  12. All dues be rend’red to their owners: now,
  13. What nearer debt in all humanity
  14. Than wife is to the husband? If this law
  15. Of nature be corrupted through affection,
  16. And that great minds, of partial indulgence
  17. To their benumbed wills, resist the same,
  18. There is a law in each well-order’d nation
  19. To curb those raging appetites that are
  20. Most disobedient and refractory.
  21. If Helen then be wife to Sparta’s king,
  22. As it is known she is, these moral laws
  23. Of nature and of nations speak aloud
  24. To have her back return’d. Thus to persist
  25. In doing wrong extenuates not wrong,
  26. But makes it much more heavy. Hector’s opinion
  27. Is this in way of truth; yet ne’er the less,
  28. My spritely brethren, I propend to you
  29. In resolution to keep Helen still,
  30. For ’tis a cause that hath no mean dependance
  31. Upon our joint and several dignities.

Troilus

204 - 216
  1. Why, there you touch’d the life of our design!
  2. Were it not glory that we more affected
  3. Than the performance of our heaving spleens,
  4. I would not wish a drop of Troyan blood
  5. Spent more in her defense. But, worthy Hector,
  6. She is a theme of honor and renown,
  7. A spur to valiant and magnanimous deeds,
  8. Whose present courage may beat down our foes,
  9. And fame in time to come canonize us,
  10. For I presume brave Hector would not lose
  11. So rich advantage of a promis’d glory
  12. As smiles upon the forehead of this action
  13. For the wide world’s revenue.

Hector

217 - 224
  1.                               I am yours,
  2. You valiant offspring of great Priamus.
  3. I have a roisting challenge sent amongst
  4. The dull and factious nobles of the Greeks
  5. Will strike amazement to their drowsy spirits.
  6. I was advertis’d their great general slept,
  7. Whilst emulation in the army crept:
  8. This I presume will wake him.
  1. Exeunt.
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