Troilus and Cressida
Act I, Scene 2
Troy. A street.
- Enter Cressida and her man Alexander.
- Who were those went by?
- Queen Hecuba and Helen.
- And whither go they?
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- Up to the eastern tower,
- Whose height commands as subject all the vale,
- To see the battle. Hector, whose patience
- Is as a virtue fix’d, today was mov’d:
- He chid Andromache and struck his armorer,
- And like as there were husbandry in war,
- Before the sun rose he was harness’d light,
- And to the field goes he; where every flower
- Did as a prophet weep what it foresaw
- In Hector’s wrath.
- What was his cause of anger?
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- The noise goes, this: there is among the Greeks
- A lord of Troyan blood, nephew to Hector,
- They call him Ajax.
- Good; and what of him?
- They say he is a very man per se and stands alone.
- So do all men, unless th’ are drunk, sick, or have no legs.
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- This man, lady, hath robb’d many beasts of their particular
- additions: he is as valiant as the lion, churlish as the
- bear, slow as the elephant; a man into whom nature hath so
- crowded humors that his valor is crush’d into folly, his
- folly sauc’d with discretion. There is no man hath a virtue
- that he hath not a glimpse of, nor any man an attaint but he
- carries some stain of it. He is melancholy without cause,
- and merry against the hair; he hath the joints of every
- thing, but every thing so out of joint that he is a gouty
- Briareus, many hands and no use, or purblind Argus, all eyes
- and no sight.
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- But how should this man, that makes me smile, make Hector
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- They say he yesterday cop’d Hector in the battle and struck
- him down, the disdain and shame whereof hath ever since kept
- Hector fasting and waking.
- Enter Pandarus.
- Who comes here?
- Madam, your uncle Pandarus.
- Hector’s a gallant man.
- As may be in the world, lady.
- What’s that? What’s that?
- Good morrow, uncle Pandarus.
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- Good morrow, cousin Cressid. What do you talk of? Good
- morrow, Alexander. How do you, cousin? When were you at
- This morning, uncle.
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- What were you talking of when I came? Was Hector arm’d and
- gone ere ye came to Ilium? Helen was not up, was she?
- Hector was gone, but Helen was not up.
- E’en so; Hector was stirring early.
- That were we talking of, and of his anger.
- Was he angry?
- So he says here.
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- True, he was so; I know the cause too. He’ll lay about him
- today, I can tell them that, and there’s Troilus will not
- come far behind him. Let them take heed of Troilus; I can
- tell them that too.
- What, is he angry too?
- Who, Troilus? Troilus is the better man of the two.
- O Jupiter, there’s no comparison.
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- What, not between Troilus and Hector? Do you know a man if
- you see him?
- Ay, if I ever saw him before and knew him.
- Well, I say Troilus is Troilus.
- Then you say as I say, for I am sure he is not Hector.
- No, nor Hector is not Troilus in some degrees.
- ’Tis just to each of them; he is himself.
- Himself? Alas, poor Troilus, I would he were!
- So he is.
- Condition I had gone barefoot to India.
- He is not Hector.
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- Himself? No! He’s not himself. Would ’a were himself! Well,
- the gods are above, time must friend or end. Well, Troilus,
- well, I would my heart were in her body. No, Hector is not a
- better man than Troilus.
- Excuse me.
- He is elder.
- Pardon me, pardon me.
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- Th’ other’s not come to’t. You shall tell me another tale
- when th’ other’s come to’t. Hector shall not have his wit
- this year.
- He shall not need it if he have his own.
- Nor his qualities.
- No matter.
- Nor his beauty.
- ’Twould not become him, his own’s better.
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- You have no judgment, niece. Helen herself swore th’ other
- day that Troilus, for a brown favor (for so ’tis, I must
- confess)—not brown neither—
- No, but brown.
- Faith, to say truth, brown and not brown.
- To say the truth, true and not true.
- She prais’d his complexion above Paris.
- Why, Paris hath color enough.
- So he has.
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- Then Troilus should have too much: if she prais’d him above,
- his complexion is higher than his. He having color enough,
- and the other higher, is too flaming a praise for a good
- complexion. I had as lief Helen’s golden tongue had
- commended Troilus for a copper nose.
- I swear to you, I think Helen loves him better than Paris.
- Then she’s a merry Greek indeed.
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- Nay, I am sure she does. She came to him th’ other day into
- the compass’d window—and you know he has not past three or
- four hairs on his chin—
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- Indeed a tapster’s arithmetic may soon bring his particulars
- therein to a total.
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- Why, he is very young, and yet will he, within three pound,
- lift as much as his brother Hector.
- Is he so young a man and so old a lifter?
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- But to prove to you that Helen loves him: she came and puts
- me her white hand to his cloven chin—
- Juno have mercy! How came it cloven?
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- Why, you know ’tis dimpled. I think his smiling becomes him
- better than any man in all Phrygia.
- O, he smiles valiantly.
- Does he not?
- O yes, and ’twere a cloud in autumn.
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- Why, go to then. But to prove to you that Helen loves
- Troilus will stand to the proof, if you’ll prove it so.
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- Troilus! Why, he esteems her no more than I esteem an addle
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- If you love an addle egg as well as you love an idle head,
- you would eat chickens i’ th’ shell.
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- I cannot choose but laugh to think how she tickled his chin.
- Indeed she has a marvel’s white hand, I must needs confess.
- Without the rack.
- And she takes upon her to spy a white hair on his chin.
- Alas, poor chin! Many a wart is richer.
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- But there was such laughing! Queen Hecuba laugh’d that her
- eyes ran o’er.
- With millstones.
- And Cassandra laugh’d.
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- But there was a more temperate fire under the pot of her
- eyes. Did her eyes run o’er too?
- And Hector laugh’d.
- At what was all this laughing?
- Marry, at the white hair that Helen spied on Troilus’ chin.
- And’t had been a green hair, I should have laugh’d too.
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- They laugh’d not so much at the hair as at his pretty
- What was his answer?
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- Quoth she, “Here’s but two and fifty hairs on your chin—and
- one of them is white.”
- This is her question.
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- That’s true, make no question of that. “Two and fifty
- hairs,” quoth he, “and one white. That white hair is my
- father, and all the rest are his sons.” “Jupiter,” quoth
- she, “which of these hairs is Paris my husband?” “The fork’d
- one,” quoth he, “pluck’t out, and give it him.” But there
- was such laughing! And Helen so blush’d, and Paris so
- chaf’d, and all the rest so laugh’d, that it pass’d.
- So let it now, for it has been a great while going by.
- Well, cousin, I told you a thing yesterday, think on’t.
- So I do.
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- I’ll be sworn ’tis true; he will weep you an’ ’twere a man
- born in April.
- Sound a retreat.
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- And I’ll spring up in his tears an’ ’twere a nettle against
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- Hark, they are coming from the field. Shall we stand up here
- and see them as they pass toward Ilion? Good niece, do,
- sweet niece Cressida.
- At your pleasure.
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- Here, here, here’s an excellent place, here we may see most
- bravely. I’ll tell you them all by their names as they pass
- by, but mark Troilus above the rest.
- Enter Aeneas and passes over the stage.
- Speak not so loud.
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- That’s Aeneas; is not that a brave man? He’s one of the
- flowers of Troy, I can tell you. But mark Troilus; you shall
- see anon.
- Who’s that?
- Enter Antenor and passes over the stage.
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- That’s Antenor. He has a shrewd wit, I can tell you, and
- he’s man good enough. He’s one o’ th’ soundest judgements in
- Troy, whosoever, and a proper man of person. When comes
- Troilus? I’ll show you Troilus anon. If he see me, you shall
- see him nod at me.
- Will he give you the nod?
- You shall see.
- If he do, the rich shall have more.
- Enter Hector and passes over the stage.
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- That’s Hector, that, that, look you, that; there’s a fellow!
- Go thy way. Hector! There’s a brave man, niece. O brave
- Hector! Look how he looks! There’s a countenance! Is’t not a
- brave man?
- O, a brave man!
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- Is ’a not? It does a man’s heart good. Look you what hacks
- are on his helmet! Look you yonder, do you see? Look you
- there, there’s no jesting; there’s laying on, take’t off who
- will, as they say. There be hacks!
- Be those with swords?
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- Swords! Any thing, he cares not; and the devil come to him,
- it’s all one. By God’s lid, it does one’s heart good. Yonder
- comes Paris, yonder comes Paris.
- Enter Paris and passes over the stage.
- Look ye yonder, niece; is’t not a gallant man too, is’t not?
- Why, this is brave now. Who said he came hurt home today?
- He’s not hurt. Why, this will do Helen’s heart good now, ha?
- Would I could see Troilus now! You shall see Troilus anon.
- Who’s that?
- Enter Helenus and passes over the stage.
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- That’s Helenus. I marvel where Troilus is. That’s Helenus. I
- think he went not forth today. That’s Helenus.
- Can Helenus fight, uncle?
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- Helenus? No. Yes, he’ll fight indifferent well. I marvel
- where Troilus is. Hark, do you not hear the people cry
- “Troilus”? Helenus is a priest.
- What sneaking fellow comes yonder?
- Enter Troilus and passes over the stage.
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- Where? Yonder? That’s Deiphobus. ’Tis Troilus! There’s a
- man, niece! Hem! Brave Troilus, the prince of chivalry!
- Peace, for shame, peace!
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- Mark him, note him. O brave Troilus! Look well upon him,
- niece. Look you how his sword is bloodied, and his helm more
- hack’d than Hector’s, and how he looks, and how he goes! O
- admirable youth! He never saw three and twenty. Go thy way,
- Troilus, go thy way! Had I a sister were a grace, or a
- daughter a goddess, he should take his choice. O admirable
- man! Paris? Paris is dirt to him, and I warrant Helen, to
- change, would give an eye to boot.
- Enter Trojan Soldiers and pass over the stage.
- Here comes more.
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- Asses, fools, dolts! Chaff and bran, chaff and bran!
- Porridge after meat! I could live and die in the eyes of
- Troilus. Ne’er look, ne’er look, the eagles are gone; crows
- and daws, crows and daws! I had rather be such a man as
- Troilus than Agamemnon and all Greece.
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- There is amongst the Greeks Achilles, a better man than
- Achilles! A drayman, a porter, a very camel.
- Well, well,
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- Well, well! Why, have you any discretion? Have you any eyes?
- Do you know what a man is? Is not birth, beauty, good shape,
- discourse, manhood, learning, gentleness, virtue, youth,
- liberality, and suchlike, the spice and salt that season a
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- Ay, a minc’d man, and then to be bak’d with no date in the
- pie, for then the man’s date is out.
- You are such a woman, a man knows not at what ward you lie.
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- Upon my back, to defend my belly, upon my wit, to defend my
- wiles, upon my secrecy, to defend mine honesty, my mask, to
- defend my beauty, and you, to defend all these; and at all
- these wards I lie, at a thousand watches.
- Say one of your watches.
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- Nay, I’ll watch you for that; and that’s one of the chiefest
- of them too. If I cannot ward what I would not have hit, I
- can watch you for telling how I took the blow—unless it
- swell past hiding, and then it’s past watching.
- You are such another!
- Enter Troilus’ Boy.
- Sir, my lord would instantly speak with you.
- At your own house, there he unarms him.
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- Good boy, tell him I come.
- Exit Troilus’s Boy.
- I doubt he be hurt. Fare ye well, good niece.
- Adieu, uncle.
- I will be with you, niece, by and by.
- To bring, uncle?
- Ay, a token from Troilus.
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- By the same token, you are a bawd.
- Exit Pandarus.
- Words, vows, gifts, tears, and love’s full sacrifice,
- He offers in another’s enterprise,
- But more in Troilus thousandfold I see
- Than in the glass of Pandar’s praise may be;
- Yet hold I off. Women are angels, wooing:
- Things won are done, joy’s soul lies in the doing.
- That she belov’d knows nought that knows not this:
- Men prize the thing ungain’d more than it is.
- That she was never yet that ever knew
- Love got so sweet as when desire did sue.
- Therefore this maxim out of love I teach:
- Achievement is command; ungain’d, beseech;
- Then though my heart’s content firm love doth bear,
- Nothing of that shall from mine eyes appear.
- Exit with Alexander.