List iconTroilus and Cressida:
Act 4, scene 5
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Troilus and Cressida
Act 4, scene 5



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,…


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


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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Quill icon
Scene 5
Enter Ajax, armed, Achilles, Patroclus, Agamemnon,
Menelaus, Ulysses, Nestor, etc. and Trumpeter.

 Here art thou in appointment fresh and fair,
 Anticipating time with starting courage.
 Give with thy trumpet a loud note to Troy,
 Thou dreadful Ajax, that the appallèd air
5 May pierce the head of the great combatant
 And hale him hither.
AJAX  Thou, trumpet, there’s my purse.
He gives money to Trumpeter.
 Now crack thy lungs and split thy brazen pipe.
 Blow, villain, till thy spherèd bias cheek
10 Outswell the colic of puffed Aquilon.
 Come, stretch thy chest, and let thy eyes spout blood.
 Thou blowest for Hector.Sound trumpet.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 5

 No trumpet answers.
ACHILLES  ’Tis but early days.

Enter Cressida and Diomedes.

15 Is not yond Diomed with Calchas’ daughter?
 ’Tis he. I ken the manner of his gait.
 He rises on the toe; that spirit of his
 In aspiration lifts him from the earth.
 Is this the Lady Cressid?
DIOMEDES 20 Even she.
 Most dearly welcome to the Greeks, sweet lady.
He kisses her.
 Our general doth salute you with a kiss.
 Yet is the kindness but particular.
 ’Twere better she were kissed in general.
25 And very courtly counsel. I’ll begin.He kisses her.
 So much for Nestor.
 I’ll take that winter from your lips, fair lady.
 Achilles bids you welcome.He kisses her.
 I had good argument for kissing once.
PATROCLUS, stepping between Menelaus and Cressida 
30 But that’s no argument for kissing now,
 For thus popped Paris in his hardiment
 [And parted thus you and your argument.]
He kisses her.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 5

 O deadly gall and theme of all our scorns,
 For which we lose our heads to gild his horns!
35 The first was Menelaus’ kiss; this mine.
 Patroclus kisses you.He kisses her again.
MENELAUS  O, this is trim!
 Paris and I kiss evermore for him.
 I’ll have my kiss, sir.—Lady, by your leave.
40 In kissing, do you render or receive?
 Both take and give.
CRESSIDA  I’ll make my match to live,
 The kiss you take is better than you give.
 Therefore no kiss.
45 I’ll give you boot: I’ll give you three for one.
 You are an odd man. Give even, or give none.
 An odd man, lady? Every man is odd.
 No, Paris is not, for you know ’tis true
 That you are odd, and he is even with you.
50 You fillip me o’ th’ head.
CRESSIDA  No, I’ll be sworn.
 It were no match, your nail against his horn.
 May I, sweet lady, beg a kiss of you?
 You may.
ULYSSES 55 I do desire it.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 5

CRESSIDA  Why, beg two.
 Why, then, for Venus’ sake, give me a kiss
 When Helen is a maid again and his.
 I am your debtor; claim it when ’tis due.
60 Never’s my day, and then a kiss of you.
 Lady, a word. I’ll bring you to your father.
Diomedes and Cressida talk aside.
 A woman of quick sense.
ULYSSES  Fie, fie upon her!
 There’s language in her eye, her cheek, her lip;
65 Nay, her foot speaks. Her wanton spirits look out
 At every joint and motive of her body.
 O, these encounterers, so glib of tongue,
 That give accosting welcome ere it comes
 And wide unclasp the tables of their thoughts
70 To every tickling reader! Set them down
 For sluttish spoils of opportunity
 And daughters of the game.
Diomedes and Cressida exit.
 The Trojan’s trumpet.

Enter all of Troy: Hector, armed, Paris, Aeneas,
Helenus, Troilus, and Attendants.

AGAMEMNON  Yonder comes the troop.
75 Hail, all the state of Greece! What shall be done
 To him that victory commands? Or do you purpose
 A victor shall be known? Will you the knights
 Shall to the edge of all extremity

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 5

 Pursue each other, or shall they be divided
80 By any voice or order of the field?
 Hector bade ask.
AGAMEMNON  Which way would Hector have it?
 He cares not; he’ll obey conditions.
 ’Tis done like Hector.
ACHILLES 85 But securely done,
 A little proudly, and great deal misprizing
 The knight opposed.
AENEAS  If not Achilles, sir,
 What is your name?
ACHILLES 90 If not Achilles, nothing.
 Therefore Achilles. But whate’er, know this:
 In the extremity of great and little,
 Valor and pride excel themselves in Hector,
 The one almost as infinite as all,
95 The other blank as nothing. Weigh him well,
 And that which looks like pride is courtesy.
 This Ajax is half made of Hector’s blood,
 In love whereof half Hector stays at home;
 Half heart, half hand, half Hector comes to seek
100 This blended knight, half Trojan and half Greek.
 A maiden battle, then? O, I perceive you.

Enter Diomedes.

 Here is Sir Diomed.—Go, gentle knight;
 Stand by our Ajax. As you and Lord Aeneas
 Consent upon the order of their fight,
105 So be it, either to the uttermost
 Or else a breath. The combatants being kin
 Half stints their strife before their strokes begin.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 5

Hector and Ajax enter the lists.
ULYSSES They are opposed already.
 What Trojan is that same that looks so heavy?
110 The youngest son of Priam, a true knight,
 Not yet mature, yet matchless firm of word,
 Speaking in deeds, and deedless in his tongue,
 Not soon provoked, nor being provoked soon calmed,
 His heart and hand both open and both free.
115 For what he has, he gives; what thinks, he shows;
 Yet gives he not till judgment guide his bounty,
 Nor dignifies an impair thought with breath;
 Manly as Hector, but more dangerous,
 For Hector in his blaze of wrath subscribes
120 To tender objects, but he in heat of action
 Is more vindicative than jealous love.
 They call him Troilus, and on him erect
 A second hope, as fairly built as Hector.
 Thus says Aeneas, one that knows the youth
125 Even to his inches, and with private soul
 Did in great Ilium thus translate him to me.
Alarum. The fight begins.
AGAMEMNON They are in action.
NESTOR Now, Ajax, hold thine own!
TROILUS Hector, thou sleep’st. Awake thee!
130 His blows are well disposed.—There, Ajax!
Trumpets cease.
 You must no more.
AENEAS  Princes, enough, so please you.
 I am not warm yet. Let us fight again.
 As Hector pleases.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 5

HECTOR 135 Why, then, will I no more.—
 Thou art, great lord, my father’s sister’s son,
 A cousin-german to great Priam’s seed.
 The obligation of our blood forbids
 A gory emulation ’twixt us twain.
140 Were thy commixtion Greek and Trojan so
 That thou couldst say “This hand is Grecian all,
 And this is Trojan; the sinews of this leg
 All Greek, and this all Troy; my mother’s blood
 Runs on the dexter cheek, and this sinister
145 Bounds in my father’s,” by Jove multipotent,
 Thou shouldst not bear from me a Greekish member
 Wherein my sword had not impressure made
 Of our rank feud. But the just gods gainsay
 That any drop thou borrowd’st from thy mother,
150 My sacred aunt, should by my mortal sword
 Be drained. Let me embrace thee, Ajax.
 By him that thunders, thou hast lusty arms!
 Hector would have them fall upon him thus.
 Cousin, all honor to thee!They embrace.
AJAX 155 I thank thee, Hector.
 Thou art too gentle and too free a man.
 I came to kill thee, cousin, and bear hence
 A great addition earnèd in thy death.
 Not Neoptolemus so mirable—
160 On whose bright crest Fame with her loud’st “Oyez”
 Cries “This is he”—could promise to himself
 A thought of added honor torn from Hector.
 There is expectance here from both the sides
 What further you will do.
HECTOR 165 We’ll answer it;
 The issue is embracement.—Ajax, farewell.
They embrace again.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 5

 If I might in entreaties find success,
 As seld I have the chance, I would desire
 My famous cousin to our Grecian tents.
170 ’Tis Agamemnon’s wish; and great Achilles
 Doth long to see unarmed the valiant Hector.
 Aeneas, call my brother Troilus to me,
 And signify this loving interview
 To the expecters of our Trojan part;
175 Desire them home.
Aeneas speaks to Trojans, who exit; he then
returns with Troilus.

 To Ajax. Give me thy hand, my cousin.
 I will go eat with thee and see your knights.
Agamemnon and the rest come forward.
 Great Agamemnon comes to meet us here.
HECTOR, to Aeneas 
 The worthiest of them tell me name by name;
180 But for Achilles, my own searching eyes
 Shall find him by his large and portly size.
 Worthy all arms! As welcome as to one
 That would be rid of such an enemy—
 But that’s no welcome. Understand more clear:
185 What’s past and what’s to come is strewed with husks
 And formless ruin of oblivion;
 But in this extant moment, faith and troth,
 Strained purely from all hollow bias-drawing,
 Bids thee, with most divine integrity,
190 From heart of very heart, great Hector, welcome.
 I thank thee, most imperious Agamemnon.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 5

AGAMEMNON, to Troilus 
 My well-famed lord of Troy, no less to you.
 Let me confirm my princely brother’s greeting:
 You brace of warlike brothers, welcome hither.
HECTOR, to Aeneas 
195 Who must we answer?
AENEAS  The noble Menelaus.
 O, you, my lord? By Mars his gauntlet, thanks!
 Mock not that I affect th’ untraded oath;
 Your quondam wife swears still by Venus’ glove.
200 She’s well, but bade me not commend her to you.
 Name her not now, sir; she’s a deadly theme.
HECTOR O, pardon! I offend.
 I have, thou gallant Trojan, seen thee oft,
 Laboring for destiny, make cruel way
205 Through ranks of Greekish youth; and I have seen
 As hot as Perseus, spur thy Phrygian steed,
 Despising many forfeits and subduments,
 When thou hast hung thy advanced sword i’ th’ air,
210 Not letting it decline on the declined,
 That I have said to some my standers-by
 “Lo, Jupiter is yonder, dealing life!”
 And I have seen thee pause and take thy breath
 When that a ring of Greeks have hemmed thee in,
215 Like an Olympian wrestling. This have I seen.
 But this thy countenance, still locked in steel,
 I never saw till now. I knew thy grandsire
 And once fought with him; he was a soldier good,
 But, by great Mars, the captain of us all,
220 Never like thee! O, let an old man embrace thee;
 And, worthy warrior, welcome to our tents.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 5

AENEAS, to Hector ’Tis the old Nestor.
 Let me embrace thee, good old chronicle
 That hast so long walked hand in hand with time.
225 Most reverend Nestor, I am glad to clasp thee.
They embrace.
 I would my arms could match thee in contention
 As they contend with thee in courtesy.
HECTOR I would they could.
 Ha! By this white beard, I’d fight with thee tomorrow.
230 Well, welcome, welcome. I have seen the time!
 I wonder now how yonder city stands
 When we have here her base and pillar by us.
 I know your favor, Lord Ulysses, well.
 Ah, sir, there’s many a Greek and Trojan dead
235 Since first I saw yourself and Diomed
 In Ilium, on your Greekish embassy.
 Sir, I foretold you then what would ensue.
 My prophecy is but half his journey yet,
 For yonder walls, that pertly front your town,
240 Yon towers, whose wanton tops do buss the clouds,
 Must kiss their own feet.
HECTOR  I must not believe you.
 There they stand yet, and modestly I think
 The fall of every Phrygian stone will cost
245 A drop of Grecian blood. The end crowns all,
 And that old common arbitrator, Time,
 Will one day end it.
ULYSSES  So to him we leave it.
 Most gentle and most valiant Hector, welcome.
250 After the General, I beseech you next
 To feast with me and see me at my tent.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 5

 I shall forestall thee, Lord Ulysses, thou!—
 Now, Hector, I have fed mine eyes on thee;
 I have with exact view perused thee, Hector,
255 And quoted joint by joint.
HECTOR  Is this Achilles?
ACHILLES I am Achilles.
 Stand fair, I pray thee. Let me look on thee.
 Behold thy fill.
HECTOR 260 Nay, I have done already.
 Thou art too brief. I will the second time,
 As I would buy thee, view thee limb by limb.
 O, like a book of sport thou ’lt read me o’er;
 But there’s more in me than thou understand’st.
265 Why dost thou so oppress me with thine eye?
 Tell me, you heavens, in which part of his body
 Shall I destroy him—whether there, or there, or
 That I may give the local wound a name
270 And make distinct the very breach whereout
 Hector’s great spirit flew. Answer me, heavens!
 It would discredit the blest gods, proud man,
 To answer such a question. Stand again.
 Think’st thou to catch my life so pleasantly
275 As to prenominate in nice conjecture
 Where thou wilt hit me dead?
ACHILLES  I tell thee, yea.
 Wert thou an oracle to tell me so,
 I’d not believe thee. Henceforth guard thee well,

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 5

280 For I’ll not kill thee there, nor there, nor there,
 But, by the forge that stithied Mars his helm,
 I’ll kill thee everywhere, yea, o’er and o’er.—
 You wisest Grecians, pardon me this brag;
 His insolence draws folly from my lips.
285 But I’ll endeavor deeds to match these words,
 Or may I never—
AJAX  Do not chafe thee, cousin.—
 And you, Achilles, let these threats alone
 Till accident or purpose bring you to ’t.
290 You may have every day enough of Hector
 If you have stomach. The general state, I fear,
 Can scarce entreat you to be odd with him.
HECTOR, to Achilles 
 I pray you, let us see you in the field.
 We have had pelting wars since you refused
295 The Grecians’ cause.
ACHILLES  Dost thou entreat me, Hector?
 Tomorrow do I meet thee, fell as death;
 Tonight all friends.
HECTOR  Thy hand upon that match.
300 First, all you peers of Greece, go to my tent;
 There in the full convive we. Afterwards,
 As Hector’s leisure and your bounties shall
 Concur together, severally entreat him.
 Beat loud the taborins; let the trumpets blow,
305 That this great soldier may his welcome know.
All but Troilus and Ulysses exit.
 My Lord Ulysses, tell me, I beseech you,
 In what place of the field doth Calchas keep?
 At Menelaus’ tent, most princely Troilus.
 There Diomed doth feast with him tonight,

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 5

310 Who neither looks upon the heaven nor Earth,
 But gives all gaze and bent of amorous view
 On the fair Cressid.
 Shall I, sweet lord, be bound to you so much,
 After we part from Agamemnon’s tent,
315 To bring me thither?
ULYSSES  You shall command me, sir.
 As gentle tell me, of what honor was
 This Cressida in Troy? Had she no lover there
 That wails her absence?
320 O sir, to such as boasting show their scars
 A mock is due. Will you walk on, my lord?
 She was beloved, she loved; she is, and doth;
 But still sweet love is food for Fortune’s tooth.
They exit.