List iconTroilus and CressidaList icon

Troilus and Cressida
Act 4, scene 4

Synopsis:

Contents

Characters in the Play

Entire Play

Set during the Trojan War, Troilus and Cressida recounts the love affair of its title characters. Inside the besieged city of Troy,…

Preface

This preface appears in some copies of the play’s first printing in quarto in 1609.

Prologue

Act 1, scene 1

Troilus refuses to fight because he is too disturbed by his unrequited love for Cressida. Pandarus, her uncle, complains of…

Act 1, scene 2

Cressida gossips with her servant Alexander, and then with Pandarus, who strives to interest her in Troilus. After Pandarus and…

Act 1, scene 3

As the general, Agamemnon, and his councillors Nestor and Ulysses discuss the refusal of their principal warriors, Achilles and Ajax,…

Act 2, scene 1

Ajax beats Thersites for refusing to tell him the terms of the challenge, terms that are provided by Achilles when…

Act 2, scene 2

The Trojan leaders discuss whether to keep Helen and thereby continue the war. They decide to do so in spite…

Act 2, scene 3

Thersites rails against Achilles and Ajax, and then, joined by Achilles and Patroclus, ridicules them to their faces. As Agamemnon…

Act 3, scene 1

Pandarus asks Paris to make excuses for Troilus’s absence from his father Priam’s supper table that night. At Helen’s insistence,…

Act 3, scene 2

Pandarus brings together Troilus and a seemingly reluctant Cressida, who finally acknowledges her love for Troilus.

Act 3, scene 3

Calchas asks the Greek leaders to demand his daughter Cressida from the Trojans in exchange for Antenor, whom the Greeks…

Act 4, scene 1

Aeneas, summoned to Priam’s palace, meets Paris and a deputation from the Greek camp bringing Antenor to be exchanged for…

Act 4, scene 2

As morning breaks after Troilus and Cressida’s night of lovemaking, Troilus, Pandarus, and Cressida each learn in turn that Cressida…

Act 4, scene 3

Paris sends Troilus to bring Cressida to Diomedes.

Act 4, scene 4

As Troilus and Cressida part, he urges her to be faithful to him, and he promises to visit her in…

Act 4, scene 5

The Greek leaders, Menelaus and Ulysses excepted, kiss Cressida as Diomedes brings her to the Greek camp. After Hector and…

Act 5, scene 1

Achilles receives a letter from Queen Hecuba of Troy requiring him to keep an oath he has sworn to seek…

Act 5, scene 2

Diomedes pressures Cressida to keep her promise to have sex with him; they are overheard by an enraged Troilus, an…

Act 5, scene 3

Andromache and Cassandra enlist Priam in their efforts to persuade Hector to refrain from battle. He, in turn, futilely attempts…

Act 5, scene 4

A railing Thersites watches Troilus and Diomedes go off fighting and, surprised by Hector, escapes death only through the Trojan’s…

Act 5, scene 5

Diomedes sends the horse he has won from Troilus to Cressida. Agamemnon and Nestor recount the slaughter of Greeks by…

Act 5, scene 6

Troilus fights both Diomedes and Ajax. Hector bests Achilles but allows him to live, and pursues another Greek in order…

Act 5, scene 7

Achilles, now accompanied by Myrmidons, searches for Hector.

Act 5, scene 8

Thersites comments on the combat between Menelaus and Paris. Then, surprised by Priam’s bastard son, Thersites escapes by refusing to…

Act 5, scene 9

Hector, having killed the Greek in the splendid armor, unarms himself and is surprised by Achilles, who orders his Myrmidons…

Act 5, scene 10

The rest of the Greek forces hear the shouts of the Myrmidons announcing Hector’s death.

Act 5, scene 11

Troilus announces Hector’s death to the Trojans. Marching back to Troy, Troilus meets Pandarus and reviles him.

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Scene 4
Enter Pandarus and Cressida, weeping.

PANDARUS Be moderate, be moderate.
CRESSIDA 
 Why tell you me of moderation?
 The grief is fine, full, perfect that I taste,
 And violenteth in a sense as strong
5 As that which causeth it. How can I moderate it?
 If I could temporize with my affection
 Or brew it to a weak and colder palate,
 The like allayment could I give my grief.
 My love admits no qualifying dross;
10 No more my grief in such a precious loss.

Enter Troilus.

PANDARUS Here, here, here he comes. Ah, sweet
 ducks!
CRESSIDA, embracing Troilus O Troilus, Troilus!
PANDARUS What a pair of spectacles is here! Let me
15 embrace too. “O heart,” as the goodly saying is,
 O heart, heavy heart,
 Why sigh’st thou without breaking?

 where he answers again,
 Because thou canst not ease thy smart
20 By friendship nor by speaking.

 There was never a truer rhyme. Let us cast away
 nothing, for we may live to have need of such a
 verse. We see it, we see it. How now, lambs?
TROILUS 
 Cressid, I love thee in so strained a purity
25 That the blest gods, as angry with my fancy—
 More bright in zeal than the devotion which
 Cold lips blow to their deities—take thee from me.
CRESSIDA Have the gods envy?
PANDARUS Ay, ay, ay, ay, ’tis too plain a case.

175
Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 4

CRESSIDA 
30 And is it true that I must go from Troy?
TROILUS 
 A hateful truth.
CRESSIDA  What, and from Troilus too?
TROILUS From Troy and Troilus.
CRESSIDA Is ’t possible?
TROILUS 
35 And suddenly, where injury of chance
 Puts back leave-taking, jostles roughly by
 All time of pause, rudely beguiles our lips
 Of all rejoindure, forcibly prevents
 Our locked embrasures, strangles our dear vows
40 Even in the birth of our own laboring breath.
 We two, that with so many thousand sighs
 Did buy each other, must poorly sell ourselves
 With the rude brevity and discharge of one.
 Injurious Time now with a robber’s haste
45 Crams his rich thiev’ry up, he knows not how.
 As many farewells as be stars in heaven,
 With distinct breath and consigned kisses to them,
 He fumbles up into a loose adieu
 And scants us with a single famished kiss,
50 Distasted with the salt of broken tears.
AENEAS, within My lord, is the lady ready?
TROILUS 
 Hark, you are called. Some say the genius
 Cries so to him that instantly must die.—
 Bid them have patience. She shall come anon.
PANDARUS 55Where are my tears? Rain, to lay this wind,
 or my heart will be blown up by the root.
He exits.
CRESSIDA 
 I must, then, to the Grecians?
TROILUS  No remedy.

177
Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 4

CRESSIDA 
 A woeful Cressid ’mongst the merry Greeks.
60 When shall we see again?
TROILUS 
 Hear me, my love. Be thou but true of heart—
CRESSIDA 
 I true? How now, what wicked deem is this?
TROILUS 
 Nay, we must use expostulation kindly,
 For it is parting from us.
65 I speak not “Be thou true” as fearing thee,
 For I will throw my glove to Death himself
 That there is no maculation in thy heart;
 But “Be thou true,” say I, to fashion in
 My sequent protestation: “Be thou true,
70 And I will see thee.”
CRESSIDA 
 O, you shall be exposed, my lord, to dangers
 As infinite as imminent! But I’ll be true.
TROILUS 
 And I’ll grow friend with danger. Wear this sleeve.
CRESSIDA And you this glove. When shall I see you?
They exchange love-tokens.
TROILUS 
75 I will corrupt the Grecian sentinels,
 To give thee nightly visitation.
 But yet, be true.
CRESSIDA  O heavens! “Be true” again?
TROILUS Hear why I speak it, love.
80 The Grecian youths are full of quality,
 Their loving well composed, with gift of nature
 flowing,
 And swelling o’er with arts and exercise.
 How novelty may move, and parts with person,
85 Alas, a kind of godly jealousy—
 Which I beseech you call a virtuous sin—
 Makes me afeard.

179
Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 4

CRESSIDA  O heavens, you love me not!
TROILUS Die I a villain then!
90 In this I do not call your faith in question
 So mainly as my merit. I cannot sing,
 Nor heel the high lavolt, nor sweeten talk,
 Nor play at subtle games—fair virtues all,
 To which the Grecians are most prompt and pregnant.
95 But I can tell that in each grace of these
 There lurks a still and dumb-discursive devil
 That tempts most cunningly. But be not tempted.
CRESSIDA Do you think I will?
TROILUS No.
100 But something may be done that we will not,
 And sometimes we are devils to ourselves
 When we will tempt the frailty of our powers,
 Presuming on their changeful potency.
AENEAS, within 
 Nay, good my lord—
TROILUS 105 Come, kiss, and let us part.
They kiss.
PARIS, within 
 Brother Troilus!
TROILUS, calling  Good brother, come you hither,
 And bring Aeneas and the Grecian with you.
CRESSIDA My lord, will you be true?
TROILUS 
110 Who, I? Alas, it is my vice, my fault.
 Whiles others fish with craft for great opinion,
 I with great truth catch mere simplicity.
 Whilst some with cunning gild their copper crowns,
 With truth and plainness I do wear mine bare.
115 Fear not my truth. The moral of my wit
 Is “plain and true”; there’s all the reach of it.

Enter Aeneas, Paris, Antenor, Deiphobus, and
Diomedes.



181
Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 4

 Welcome, Sir Diomed. Here is the lady
 Which for Antenor we deliver you.
 At the port, lord, I’ll give her to thy hand
120 And by the way possess thee what she is.
 Entreat her fair and, by my soul, fair Greek,
 If e’er thou stand at mercy of my sword,
 Name Cressid, and thy life shall be as safe
 As Priam is in Ilium.
DIOMEDES 125 Fair Lady Cressid,
 So please you, save the thanks this prince expects.
 The luster in your eye, heaven in your cheek,
 Pleads your fair usage, and to Diomed
 You shall be mistress and command him wholly.
TROILUS 
130 Grecian, thou dost not use me courteously,
 To shame the zeal of my petition to thee
 In praising her. I tell thee, lord of Greece,
 She is as far high-soaring o’er thy praises
 As thou unworthy to be called her servant.
135 I charge thee use her well, even for my charge,
 For, by the dreadful Pluto, if thou dost not,
 Though the great bulk Achilles be thy guard,
 I’ll cut thy throat.
DIOMEDES  O, be not moved, Prince Troilus.
140 Let me be privileged by my place and message
 To be a speaker free. When I am hence,
 I’ll answer to my lust, and know you, lord,
 I’ll nothing do on charge. To her own worth
 She shall be prized; but that you say “Be ’t so,”
145 I speak it in my spirit and honor: “no.”
TROILUS 
 Come, to the port. I’ll tell thee, Diomed,
 This brave shall oft make thee to hide thy head.—
 Lady, give me your hand, and, as we walk,
 To our own selves bend we our needful talk.
Cressida, Diomedes, and Troilus exit.

183
Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 5

Sound trumpet within.
PARIS 
150 Hark, Hector’s trumpet.
AENEAS  How have we spent this
 morning!
 The Prince must think me tardy and remiss
 That swore to ride before him to the field.
PARIS 
155 ’Tis Troilus’ fault. Come, come to field with him.
DEIPHOBUS Let us make ready straight.
AENEAS 
 Yea, with a bridegroom’s fresh alacrity
 Let us address to tend on Hector’s heels.
 The glory of our Troy doth this day lie
160 On his fair worth and single chivalry.
They exit.