List iconTroilus and Cressida:
Entire Play
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Troilus and Cressida
Entire Play



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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text from the Quarto not found in the FolioA never writer to an ever reader: news.

Eternal reader, you have here a new play, never staled
with the stage, never clapperclawed with the palms of
the vulgar, and yet passing full of the palm comical, for
it is a birth of your brain that never undertook anything
comical vainly. And were but the vain names of comedies
changed for the titles of commodities, or of plays
for pleas, you should see all those grand censors, that
now style them such vanities, flock to them for the
main grace of their gravities, especially this author’s
comedies, that are so framed to the life that they serve
for the most common commentaries of all the actions
of our lives, showing such a dexterity and power of wit
that the most displeased with plays are pleased with
his comedies. And all such dull and heavy-witted
worldlings as were never capable of the wit of a comedy,
coming by report of them to his representations,
have found that wit there that they never found in
themselves and have parted better witted than they
came, feeling an edge of wit set upon them more than
ever they dreamed they had brain to grind it on. So
much and such savored salt of wit is in his comedies
that they seem, for their height of pleasure, to be born
in that sea that brought forth Venus. Amongst all there
is none more witty than this; and had I time, I would
comment upon it, though I know it needs not, for so
much as will make you think your testern well
bestowed, but for so much worth as even poor I know
to be stuffed in it. It deserves such a labor as well as the
best comedy in Terence or Plautus. And believe this,
that when he is gone and his comedies out of sale, you
will scramble for them and set up a new English
Troilus and Cressida

Inquisition. Take this for a warning, and at the peril of
your pleasure’s loss, and judgment’s, refuse not nor like
this the less for not being sullied with the smoky breath
of the multitude, but thank fortune for the scape it
hath made amongst you, since by the grand possessors’
wills I believe you should have prayed for them rather
than been prayed. And so I leave all such to be prayed
for, for the states of their wits’ healths, that will not
praise it. Vale.text from the Quarto not found in the Folio

Enter the Prologue in armor.

 In Troy there lies the scene. From isles of Greece
 The princes orgulous, their high blood chafed,
 Have to the port of Athens sent their ships
 Fraught with the ministers and instruments
5 Of cruel war. Sixty and nine, that wore
 Their crownets regal, from th’ Athenian bay
 Put forth toward Phrygia, and their vow is made
 To ransack Troy, within whose strong immures
 The ravished Helen, Menelaus’ queen,
10 With wanton Paris sleeps; and that’s the quarrel.
 To Tenedos they come,
 And the deep-drawing barks do there disgorge
 Their warlike fraughtage. Now on Dardan plains
 The fresh and yet unbruisèd Greeks do pitch
15 Their brave pavilions. Priam’s six-gated city—
 Dardan and Timbria, Helias, Chetas, Troien,
 And Antenorides—with massy staples
 And corresponsive and fulfilling bolts,
 Spar up the sons of Troy.
20 Now expectation, tickling skittish spirits
 On one and other side, Trojan and Greek,
 Sets all on hazard. And hither am I come,
 A prologue armed, but not in confidence
 Of author’s pen or actor’s voice, but suited
25 In like conditions as our argument,
 To tell you, fair beholders, that our play
 Leaps o’er the vaunt and firstlings of those broils,
 Beginning in the middle, starting thence away
 To what may be digested in a play.
30 Like, or find fault; do as your pleasures are.
 Now, good or bad, ’tis but the chance of war.
Prologue exits.
Scene 1
Enter Pandarus and Troilus.

 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 Trojan that is master of his heart,
5 Let him to field; Troilus, alas, hath none.
PANDARUS Will this gear ne’er be mended?
 The Greeks are strong and skilful to their strength,
 Fierce to their skill, and to their fierceness valiant;
 But I am weaker than a woman’s tear,
10 Tamer than sleep, fonder than ignorance,
 Less valiant than the virgin in the night,
 And skilless as unpracticed infancy.
PANDARUS Well, I have told you enough of this. For my
 part, I’ll not meddle nor make no farther. He that will
15 have a cake out of the wheat must tarry the grinding.
TROILUS Have I not tarried?
PANDARUS Ay, the grinding; but you must tarry the
TROILUS Have I not tarried?
PANDARUS 20Ay, the bolting; but you must tarry the

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 1

TROILUS Still have I tarried.
PANDARUS Ay, to the leavening; but here’s yet in the word
 hereafter the kneading, the making of the cake, the
25 heating the oven, and the baking. Nay, you must stay
 the cooling too, or you may chance burn your lips.
 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
30 And when fair Cressid comes into my thoughts—
 So, traitor! “When she comes”? When is she
PANDARUS Well, she looked yesternight fairer than ever
 I saw her look, or any woman else.
35 I was about to tell thee: when my heart,
 As wedgèd 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;
40 But sorrow that is couched in seeming gladness
 Is like that mirth fate turns to sudden sadness.
PANDARUS An 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
45 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—
 O, Pandarus! I tell thee, Pandarus:
50 When I do tell thee there my hopes lie drowned,
 Reply not in how many fathoms deep
 They lie indrenched. I tell thee I am mad
 In Cressid’s love. Thou answer’st she is fair;
 Pourest in the open ulcer of my heart

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 1

55 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
60 Hard as the palm of plowman. This thou tell’st me,
 As true thou tell’st me, when I say I love her.
 But, saying thus, instead of oil and balm
 Thou lay’st in every gash that love hath given me
 The knife that made it.
PANDARUS 65I speak no more than truth.
TROILUS Thou dost not speak so much.
PANDARUS Faith, I’ll not meddle in it. Let her be as she
 is. If she be fair, ’tis the better for her; an she be
 not, she has the mends in her own hands.
TROILUS 70Good Pandarus—how now, Pandarus?
PANDARUS 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.
TROILUS What, art thou angry, Pandarus? What, with
75 me?
PANDARUS Because she’s kin to me, therefore she’s not
 so fair as Helen; an she were not kin to me, she
 would be as fair o’ Friday as Helen is on Sunday.
 But what care I? I care not an she were a blackamoor;
80 ’tis all one to me.
TROILUS Say I she is not fair?
PANDARUS 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
85 part, I’ll meddle nor make no more i’ th’ matter.
TROILUS Pandarus—
TROILUS Sweet Pandarus—
PANDARUS Pray you speak no more to me. I will leave
90 all as I found it, and there an end.He exits.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 1

Sound alarum.
 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;
95 It is too starved 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 wooed to woo
 As she is stubborn-chaste against all suit.
100 Tell me, Apollo, for thy Daphnes 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 called the wild and wand’ring flood,
105 Ourself the merchant, and this sailing Pandar
 Our doubtful hope, our convoy, and our bark.

Alarum. Enter Aeneas.

 How now, Prince Troilus? Wherefore not afield?
 Because not there. This woman’s answer sorts,
 For womanish it is to be from thence.
110 What news, Aeneas, from the field today?
 That Paris is returnèd home, and hurt.
 By whom, Aeneas?
AENEAS  Troilus, by Menelaus.
 Let Paris bleed. ’Tis but a scar to scorn;
115 Paris is gored with Menelaus’ horn.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 2

 Hark what good sport is out of town today!
 Better at home, if “would I might” were “may.”
 But to the sport abroad. Are you bound thither?
 In all swift haste.
TROILUS 120 Come, go we then together.
They exit.

Scene 2
Enter Cressida and her man Alexander.

 Who were those went by?
ALEXANDER  Queen Hecuba and Helen.
 And whither go they?
ALEXANDER  Up to the eastern tower,
5 Whose height commands as subject all the vale,
 To see the battle. Hector, whose patience
 Is as a virtue fixed, today was moved.
 He chid Andromache and struck his armorer;
 And, like as there were husbandry in war,
10 Before the sun rose he was harnessed light,
 And to the field goes he, where every flower
 Did as a prophet weep what it foresaw
 In Hector’s wrath.
CRESSIDA  What was his cause of anger?
15 The noise goes, this: there is among the Greeks
 A lord of Trojan blood, nephew to Hector.
 They call him Ajax.
CRESSIDA  Good; and what of him?

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 2

 They say he is a very man per se
20 And stands alone.
CRESSIDA So do all men unless they are drunk, sick,
 or have no legs.
ALEXANDER This man, lady, hath robbed many beasts
 of their particular additions. He is as valiant as the
25 lion, churlish as the bear, slow as the elephant, a
 man into whom nature hath so crowded humors
 that his valor is crushed into folly, his folly sauced
 with discretion. There is no man hath a virtue that
 he hath not a glimpse of, nor any man an attaint
30 but he carries some stain of it. He is melancholy
 without cause and merry against the hair. He hath
 the joints of everything, but everything so out of
 joint that he is a gouty Briareus, many hands and
 no use, or purblind Argus, all eyes and no sight.
CRESSIDA 35But how should this man that makes me
 smile make Hector angry?
ALEXANDER They say he yesterday coped Hector in the
 battle and struck him down, the disdain and
 shame whereof hath ever since kept Hector fasting
40 and waking.

Enter Pandarus.

CRESSIDA Who comes here?
ALEXANDER Madam, your Uncle Pandarus.
CRESSIDA Hector’s a gallant man.
ALEXANDER As may be in the world, lady.
PANDARUS 45What’s that? What’s that?
CRESSIDA Good morrow, Uncle Pandarus.
PANDARUS Good morrow, Cousin Cressid. What do you
 talk of?— Good morrow, Alexander.—How do you,
 cousin? When were you at Ilium?
CRESSIDA 50This morning, uncle.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 2

PANDARUS What were you talking of when I came?
 Was Hector armed and gone ere you came to
 Ilium? Helen was not up, was she?
CRESSIDA Hector was gone, but Helen was not up.
PANDARUS 55E’en so. Hector was stirring early.
CRESSIDA That were we talking of, and of his anger.
PANDARUS Was he angry?
CRESSIDA So he says here.
PANDARUS True, he was so. I know the cause too. He’ll
60 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.
CRESSIDA What, is he angry too?
PANDARUS Who, Troilus? Troilus is the better man of
65 the two.
CRESSIDA O Jupiter, there’s no comparison.
PANDARUS What, not between Troilus and Hector? Do
 you know a man if you see him?
CRESSIDA Ay, if I ever saw him before and knew him.
PANDARUS 70Well, I say Troilus is Troilus.
CRESSIDA Then you say as I say, for I am sure he is not
PANDARUS No, nor Hector is not Troilus in some degrees.
CRESSIDA ’Tis just to each of them; he is himself.
PANDARUS 75Himself? Alas, poor Troilus, I would he were.
CRESSIDA So he is.
PANDARUS Condition I had gone barefoot to India.
CRESSIDA He is not Hector.
PANDARUS Himself? No, he’s not himself. Would he
80 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.
CRESSIDA Excuse me.
PANDARUS 85He is elder.
CRESSIDA Pardon me, pardon me.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 2

PANDARUS 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.
CRESSIDA 90He shall not need it, if he have his own.
PANDARUS Nor his qualities.
CRESSIDA No matter.
PANDARUS Nor his beauty.
CRESSIDA ’Twould not become him. His own ’s better.
PANDARUS 95You 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—
CRESSIDA No, but brown.
PANDARUS Faith, to say truth, brown and not brown.
CRESSIDA 100To say the truth, true and not true.
PANDARUS She praised his complexion above Paris’.
CRESSIDA Why, Paris hath color enough.
PANDARUS So he has.
CRESSIDA Then Troilus should have too much. If she
105 praised 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.
PANDARUS 110I swear to you, I think Helen loves him better
 than Paris.
CRESSIDA Then she’s a merry Greek indeed.
PANDARUS Nay, I am sure she does. She came to him
 th’ other day into the compassed window—and
115 you know he has not past three or four hairs on his
CRESSIDA Indeed, a tapster’s arithmetic may soon bring
 his particulars therein to a total.
PANDARUS Why, he is very young, and yet will he within
120 three pound lift as much as his brother Hector.
CRESSIDA Is he so young a man and so old a lifter?

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 2

PANDARUS But to prove to you that Helen loves him: she
 came and puts me her white hand to his cloven
CRESSIDA 125Juno have mercy! How came it cloven?
PANDARUS Why, you know ’tis dimpled. I think his
 smiling becomes him better than any man in all
CRESSIDA O, he smiles valiantly.
PANDARUS 130Does he not?
CRESSIDA O yes, an ’twere a cloud in autumn.
PANDARUS Why, go to, then. But to prove to you that
 Helen loves Troilus—
CRESSIDA Troilus will stand to the proof if you’ll
135 prove it so.
PANDARUS Troilus? Why, he esteems her no more than
 I esteem an addle egg.
CRESSIDA If you love an addle egg as well as you love
 an idle head, you would eat chickens i’ th’ shell.
PANDARUS 140I cannot choose but laugh to think how she
 tickled his chin. Indeed, she has a marvellous
 white hand, I must needs confess—
CRESSIDA Without the rack.
PANDARUS And she takes upon her to spy a white hair
145 on his chin.
CRESSIDA Alas, poor chin! Many a wart is richer.
PANDARUS But there was such laughing! Queen Hecuba
 laughed that her eyes ran o’er—
CRESSIDA With millstones.
PANDARUS 150And Cassandra laughed—
CRESSIDA But there was a more temperate fire under
 the pot of her eyes. Did her eyes run o’er too?
PANDARUS And Hector laughed.
CRESSIDA At what was all this laughing?
PANDARUS 155Marry, at the white hair that Helen spied on
 Troilus’ chin.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 2

CRESSIDA An ’t had been a green hair, I should have
 laughed too.
PANDARUS They laughed not so much at the hair as at
160 his pretty answer.
CRESSIDA What was his answer?
PANDARUS Quoth she “Here’s but two-and-fifty hairs
 on your chin, and one of them is white.”
CRESSIDA This is her question.
PANDARUS 165That’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 forked one,” quoth he.
170 “Pluck ’t out, and give it him.” But there was such
 laughing, and Helen so blushed, and Paris so
 chafed, and all the rest so laughed that it passed.
CRESSIDA So let it now, for it has been a great while
 going by.
PANDARUS 175Well, cousin, I told you a thing yesterday.
 Think on ’t.
PANDARUS I’ll be sworn ’tis true. He will weep you an
 ’twere a man born in April.
CRESSIDA 180And I’ll spring up in his tears an ’twere a nettle
 against May.Sound a retreat.
PANDARUS Hark, they are coming from the field. Shall
 we stand up here and see them as they pass toward
 Ilium? Good niece, do, sweet niece Cressida.
CRESSIDA 185At your pleasure.
PANDARUS 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.
They cross the stage; Alexander exits.
CRESSIDA 190Speak not so loud.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 2

Enter Aeneas and crosses the stage.

PANDARUS 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.

Enter Antenor and crosses the stage.

CRESSIDA Who’s that?
PANDARUS 195That’s Antenor. He has a shrewd wit, I can
 tell you, and he’s a man good enough. He’s one o’
 th’ soundest judgments 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
200 him nod at me.
CRESSIDA Will he give you the nod?
PANDARUS You shall see.
CRESSIDA If he do, the rich shall have more.

Enter Hector and crosses the stage.

PANDARUS That’s Hector, that, that, look you, that.
205 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?
CRESSIDA O, a brave man!
PANDARUS Is he not? It does a man’s heart good. Look
210 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.
CRESSIDA Be those with swords?
PANDARUS 215Swords, anything, he cares not. An the devil
 come to him, it’s all one. By God’s lid, it does one’s
 heart good.

Enter Paris and crosses the stage.

 Yonder comes Paris, yonder comes Paris! Look you
 yonder, niece. Is ’t not a gallant man too? Is ’t not?

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 2

220 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.

Enter Helenus and crosses the stage.

CRESSIDA Who’s that?
PANDARUS 225That’s Helenus. I marvel where Troilus is.
 That’s Helenus. I think he went not forth today.
 That’s Helenus.
CRESSIDA Can Helenus fight, uncle?
PANDARUS Helenus? No. Yes, he’ll fight indifferent
230 well. I marvel where Troilus is. Hark, do you not
 hear the people cry “Troilus”? Helenus is a priest.

Enter Troilus and crosses the stage.

CRESSIDA What sneaking fellow comes yonder?
PANDARUS Where? Yonder? That’s Deiphobus. ’Tis
 Troilus! There’s a man, niece. Hem! Brave Troilus,
235 the prince of chivalry!
CRESSIDA Peace, for shame, peace.
PANDARUS Mark him. Note him. O brave Troilus! Look
 well upon him, niece. Look you how his sword is
 bloodied and his helm more hacked than Hector’s,
240 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
245 him; and I warrant Helen, to change, would give
 an eye to boot.

Enter Common Soldiers and cross the stage.

CRESSIDA Here comes more.
PANDARUS Asses, fools, dolts, chaff and bran, chaff and
 bran, porridge after meat. I could live and die in

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 2

250 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.
CRESSIDA There is amongst the Greeks Achilles, a better
255 man than Troilus.
PANDARUS Achilles? A drayman, a porter, a very camel!
CRESSIDA Well, well.
PANDARUS “Well, well”? Why, have you any discretion?
 Have you any eyes? Do you know what a man is? Is
260 not birth, beauty, good shape, discourse, manhood,
 learning, gentleness, virtue, youth, liberality and
 such-like the spice and salt that season a man?
CRESSIDA Ay, a minced man; and then to be baked with
 no date in the pie, for then the man’s date is out.
PANDARUS 265You are such a woman a man knows not at
 what ward you lie.
CRESSIDA 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
270 you to defend all these; and at all these wards I lie,
 at a thousand watches.
PANDARUS Say one of your watches.
CRESSIDA Nay, I’ll watch you for that, and that’s one of
 the chiefest of them too. If I cannot ward what I
275 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.
PANDARUS You are such another!

Enter Troilus’s Boy.

BOY Sir, my lord would instantly speak with you.
PANDARUS 280Where?
BOY At your own house. There he unarms him.
PANDARUS Good boy, tell him I come.Boy exits.
 I doubt he be hurt.—Fare you well, good niece.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 3

CRESSIDA Adieu, uncle.
PANDARUS 285I will be with you, niece, by and by.
CRESSIDA To bring, uncle?
PANDARUS Ay, a token from Troilus.
CRESSIDA By the same token, you are a bawd.
Pandarus exits.
 Words, vows, gifts, tears, and love’s full sacrifice
290 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.
295 That she beloved knows naught that knows not this:
 Men prize the thing ungained 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:
300 Achievement is command; ungained, beseech.
 Then though my heart’s content firm love doth bear,
 Nothing of that shall from mine eyes appear.
She exits.

Scene 3
Sennet. Enter Agamemnon, Nestor, Ulysses, Diomedes,
Menelaus, with others.

 Princes, what grief hath set the jaundice o’er your
 The ample proposition that hope makes
 In all designs begun on Earth below
5 Fails in the promised largeness. Checks and disasters
 Grow in the veins of actions highest reared,
 As knots, by the conflux of meeting sap,
 Infects the sound pine and diverts his grain

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 3

 Tortive and errant from his course of growth.
10 Nor, princes, is it matter new to us
 That we come short of our suppose so far
 That after seven years’ siege yet Troy walls stand,
 Sith every action that hath gone before,
 Whereof we have record, trial did draw
15 Bias and thwart, not answering the aim
 And that unbodied figure of the thought
 That gave ’t surmisèd shape. Why then, you princes,
 Do you with cheeks abashed behold our works
 And call them shames, which are indeed naught else
20 But the protractive trials of great Jove
 To find persistive constancy in men?
 The fineness of which metal is not found
 In Fortune’s love; for then the bold and coward,
 The wise and fool, the artist and unread,
25 The hard and soft seem all affined and kin.
 But in the wind and tempest of her frown,
 Distinction, with a broad and powerful fan,
 Puffing at all, winnows the light away,
 And what hath mass or matter by itself
30 Lies rich in virtue and unmingled.
 With due observance of thy godlike seat,
 Great Agamemnon, Nestor shall apply
 Thy latest words. In the reproof of chance
 Lies the true proof of men. The sea being smooth,
35 How many shallow bauble boats dare sail
 Upon her patient breast, making their way
 With those of nobler bulk!
 But let the ruffian Boreas once enrage
 The gentle Thetis, and anon behold
40 The strong-ribbed bark through liquid mountains cut,
 Bounding between the two moist elements,
 Like Perseus’ horse. Where’s then the saucy boat
 Whose weak untimbered sides but even now

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 3

 Corrivaled greatness? Either to harbor fled
45 Or made a toast for Neptune. Even so
 Doth valor’s show and valor’s worth divide
 In storms of Fortune. For in her ray and brightness
 The herd hath more annoyance by the breese
 Than by the tiger, but when the splitting wind
50 Makes flexible the knees of knotted oaks,
 And flies flee under shade, why, then the thing of
 As roused with rage, with rage doth sympathize,
 And with an accent tuned in selfsame key
55 Retorts to chiding Fortune.
ULYSSES  Agamemnon,
 Thou great commander, nerves and bone of Greece,
 Heart of our numbers, soul and only sprite,
 In whom the tempers and the minds of all
60 Should be shut up, hear what Ulysses speaks.
 Besides th’ applause and approbation,
 The which, (to Agamemnon) most mighty for thy
 place and sway,
 (To Nestor) And thou most reverend for thy
65 stretched-out life,
 I give to both your speeches, which were such
 As Agamemnon and the hand of Greece
 Should hold up high in brass; and such again
 As venerable Nestor, hatched in silver,
70 Should with a bond of air, strong as the axletree
 On which heaven rides, knit all the Greekish ears
 To his experienced tongue, yet let it please both,
 Thou great, and wise, to hear Ulysses speak.
 Speak, Prince of Ithaca, and be ’t of less expect
75 That matter needless, of importless burden,
 Divide thy lips than we are confident
 When rank Thersites opes his mastic jaws
 We shall hear music, wit, and oracle.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 3

 Troy, yet upon his basis, had been down,
80 And the great Hector’s sword had lacked a master
 But for these instances:
 The specialty of rule hath been neglected,
 And look how many Grecian tents do stand
 Hollow upon this plain, so many hollow factions.
85 When that the general is not like the hive
 To whom the foragers shall all repair,
 What honey is expected? Degree being vizarded,
 Th’ unworthiest shows as fairly in the mask.
 The heavens themselves, the planets, and this center
90 Observe degree, priority, and place,
 Insisture, course, proportion, season, form,
 Office, and custom, in all line of order.
 And therefore is the glorious planet Sol
 In noble eminence enthroned and sphered
95 Amidst the other, whose med’cinable eye
 Corrects the influence of evil planets,
 And posts, like the commandment of a king,
 Sans check, to good and bad. But when the planets
 In evil mixture to disorder wander,
100 What plagues and what portents, what mutiny,
 What raging of the sea, shaking of Earth,
 Commotion in the winds, frights, changes, horrors
 Divert and crack, rend and deracinate
 The unity and married calm of states
105 Quite from their fixture! O, when degree is shaked,
 Which is the ladder of all high designs,
 The enterprise is sick. How could communities,
 Degrees in schools and brotherhoods in cities,
 Peaceful commerce from dividable shores,
110 The primogeneity and due of birth,
 Prerogative of age, crowns, scepters, laurels,
 But by degree stand in authentic place?
 Take but degree away, untune that string,

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 3

 And hark what discord follows. Each thing meets
115 In mere oppugnancy. The bounded waters
 Should lift their bosoms higher than the shores
 And make a sop of all this solid globe;
 Strength should be lord of imbecility,
 And the rude son should strike his father dead;
120 Force should be right, or, rather, right and wrong,
 Between whose endless jar justice resides,
 Should lose their names, and so should justice too.
 Then everything includes itself in power,
 Power into will, will into appetite,
125 And appetite, an universal wolf,
 So doubly seconded with will and power,
 Must make perforce an universal prey
 And last eat up himself. Great Agamemnon,
 This chaos, when degree is suffocate,
130 Follows the choking.
 And this neglection of degree it is
 That by a pace goes backward, with a purpose
 It hath to climb. The General’s disdained
 By him one step below, he by the next,
135 That next by him beneath; so every step,
 Exampled by the first pace that is sick
 Of his superior, grows to an envious fever
 Of pale and bloodless emulation.
 And ’tis this fever that keeps Troy on foot,
140 Not her own sinews. To end a tale of length,
 Troy in our weakness stands, not in her strength.
 Most wisely hath Ulysses here discovered
 The fever whereof all our power is sick.
 The nature of the sickness found, Ulysses,
145 What is the remedy?
 The great Achilles, whom opinion crowns

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 3

 The sinew and the forehand of our host,
 Having his ear full of his airy fame,
 Grows dainty of his worth and in his tent
150 Lies mocking our designs. With him Patroclus,
 Upon a lazy bed, the live-long day
 Breaks scurril jests,
 And with ridiculous and silly action,
 Which, slanderer, he imitation calls,
155 He pageants us. Sometime, great Agamemnon,
 Thy topless deputation he puts on,
 And, like a strutting player whose conceit
 Lies in his hamstring and doth think it rich
 To hear the wooden dialogue and sound
160 ’Twixt his stretched footing and the scaffollage,
 Such to-be-pitied and o’erwrested seeming
 He acts thy greatness in; and when he speaks,
 ’Tis like a chime a-mending, with terms unsquared
 Which from the tongue of roaring Typhon dropped
165 Would seem hyperboles. At this fusty stuff,
 The large Achilles, on his pressed bed lolling,
 From his deep chest laughs out a loud applause,
 Cries “Excellent! ’Tis Agamemnon right.
 Now play me Nestor; hem and stroke thy beard,
170 As he being dressed to some oration.”
 That’s done, as near as the extremest ends
 Of parallels, as like as Vulcan and his wife;
 Yet god Achilles still cries “Excellent!
 ’Tis Nestor right. Now play him me, Patroclus,
175 Arming to answer in a night alarm.”
 And then, forsooth, the faint defects of age
 Must be the scene of mirth—to cough and spit,
 And, with a palsy fumbling on his gorget,
 Shake in and out the rivet. And at this sport
180 Sir Valor dies, cries “O, enough, Patroclus,
 Or give me ribs of steel! I shall split all
 In pleasure of my spleen.” And in this fashion,
 All our abilities, gifts, natures, shapes,

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 3

 Severals and generals of grace exact,
185 Achievements, plots, orders, preventions,
 Excitements to the field, or speech for truce,
 Success or loss, what is or is not, serves
 As stuff for these two to make paradoxes.
 And in the imitation of these twain,
190 Who, as Ulysses says, opinion crowns
 With an imperial voice, many are infect:
 Ajax is grown self-willed and bears his head
 In such a rein, in full as proud a place
 As broad Achilles; keeps his tent like him,
195 Makes factious feasts; rails on our state of war,
 Bold as an oracle, and sets Thersites—
 A slave whose gall coins slanders like a mint—
 To match us in comparisons with dirt,
 To weaken and discredit our exposure,
200 How rank soever rounded in with danger.
 They tax our policy and call it cowardice,
 Count wisdom as no member of the war,
 Forestall prescience, and esteem no act
 But that of hand. The still and mental parts
205 That do contrive how many hands shall strike
 When fitness calls them on and know by measure
 Of their observant toil the enemy’s weight—
 Why, this hath not a fingers dignity.
 They call this bed-work, mapp’ry, closet war;
210 So that the ram that batters down the wall,
 For the great swinge and rudeness of his poise,
 They place before his hand that made the engine
 Or those that with the fineness of their souls
 By reason guide his execution.
215 Let this be granted, and Achilles’ horse
 Makes many Thetis’ sons.Tucket.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 3

AGAMEMNON What trumpet? Look, Menelaus.

Enter Aeneas, with a Trumpeter.

AGAMEMNON What would you ’fore our tent?
220 Is this great Agamemnon’s tent, I pray you?
AGAMEMNON Even this.
 May one that is a herald and a prince
 Do a fair message to his kingly eyes?
 With surety stronger than Achilles’ arm
225 ’Fore all the Greekish host, which with one voice
 Call Agamemnon head and general.
 Fair leave and large security. How may
 A stranger to those most imperial looks
 Know them from eyes of other mortals?
 Ay. I ask that I might waken reverence
 And bid the cheek be ready with a blush
 Modest as morning when she coldly eyes
 The youthful Phoebus.
235 Which is that god in office, guiding men?
 Which is the high and mighty Agamemnon?
 This Trojan scorns us, or the men of Troy
 Are ceremonious courtiers.
 Courtiers as free, as debonair, unarmed,
240 As bending angels—that’s their fame in peace.
 But when they would seem soldiers, they have galls,

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 3

 Good arms, strong joints, true swords, and—great
 Jove’s accord—
 Nothing so full of heart. But peace, Aeneas.
245 Peace, Trojan. Lay thy finger on thy lips.
 The worthiness of praise distains his worth
 If that the praised himself bring the praise forth.
 But what the repining enemy commends,
 That breath fame blows; that praise, sole pure,
250 transcends.
 Sir, you of Troy, call you yourself Aeneas?
AENEAS Ay, Greek, that is my name.
AGAMEMNON What’s your affair, I pray you?
 Sir, pardon. ’Tis for Agamemnon’s ears.
255 He hears naught privately that comes from Troy.
 Nor I from Troy come not to whisper with him.
 I bring a trumpet to awake his ear,
 To set his sense on the attentive bent,
 And then to speak.
AGAMEMNON 260 Speak frankly as the wind;
 It is not Agamemnon’s sleeping hour.
 That thou shalt know, Trojan, he is awake,
 He tells thee so himself.
AENEAS  Trumpet, blow loud!
265 Send thy brass voice through all these lazy tents;
 And every Greek of mettle, let him know
 What Troy means fairly shall be spoke aloud.
Sound trumpet.
 We have, great Agamemnon, here in Troy
 A prince called Hector—Priam is his father—
270 Who in this dull and long-continued truce
 Is resty grown. He bade me take a trumpet
 And to this purpose speak: “Kings, princes, lords,

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 3

 If there be one among the fair’st of Greece
 That holds his honor higher than his ease,
275 That seeks his praise more than he fears his peril,
 That knows his valor and knows not his fear,
 That loves his mistress more than in confession
 With truant vows to her own lips he loves
 And dare avow her beauty and her worth
280 In other arms than hers—to him this challenge.
 Hector, in view of Trojans and of Greeks,
 Shall make it good, or do his best to do it,
 He hath a lady wiser, fairer, truer
 Than ever Greek did couple in his arms
285 And will tomorrow with his trumpet call,
 Midway between your tents and walls of Troy,
 To rouse a Grecian that is true in love.
 If any come, Hector shall honor him;
 If none, he’ll say in Troy when he retires
290 The Grecian dames are sunburnt and not worth
 The splinter of a lance.” Even so much.
 This shall be told our lovers, Lord Aeneas.
 If none of them have soul in such a kind,
 We left them all at home. But we are soldiers,
295 And may that soldier a mere recreant prove
 That means not, hath not, or is not in love!
 If then one is, or hath, or means to be,
 That one meets Hector. If none else, I am he.
NESTOR, to Aeneas 
 Tell him of Nestor, one that was a man
300 When Hector’s grandsire sucked. He is old now,
 But if there be not in our Grecian host
 A noble man that hath one spark of fire
 To answer for his love, tell him from me
 I’ll hide my silver beard in a gold beaver
305 And in my vambrace put my withered brawns
 And, meeting him, will tell him that my lady

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 3

 Was fairer than his grandam and as chaste
 As may be in the world. His youth in flood,
 I’ll prove this troth with my three drops of blood.
310 Now heavens forfend such scarcity of youth!
 Fair Lord Aeneas, let me touch your hand.
 To our pavilion shall I lead you, sir.
 Achilles shall have word of this intent;
315 So shall each lord of Greece from tent to tent.
 Yourself shall feast with us before you go,
 And find the welcome of a noble foe.
All but Ulysses and Nestor exit.
NESTOR What says Ulysses?
320 I have a young conception in my brain;
 Be you my time to bring it to some shape.
NESTOR What is ’t?
ULYSSES This ’tis:
 Blunt wedges rive hard knots; the seeded pride
325 That hath to this maturity blown up
 In rank Achilles must or now be cropped
 Or, shedding, breed a nursery of like evil
 To overbulk us all.
NESTOR Well, and how?
330 This challenge that the gallant Hector sends,
 However it is spread in general name,
 Relates in purpose only to Achilles.
 True. The purpose is perspicuous as substance
 Whose grossness little characters sum up;
335 And, in the publication, make no strain
 But that Achilles, were his brain as barren

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 3

 As banks of Libya—though, Apollo knows,
 ’Tis dry enough—will, with great speed of judgment,
 Ay, with celerity, find Hector’s purpose
340 Pointing on him.
ULYSSES And wake him to the answer, think you?
 Why, ’tis most meet. Who may you else oppose
 That can from Hector bring his honor off
 If not Achilles? Though ’t be a sportful combat,
345 Yet in the trial much opinion dwells,
 For here the Trojans taste our dear’st repute
 With their fin’st palate. And, trust to me, Ulysses,
 Our imputation shall be oddly poised
 In this vile action. For the success,
350 Although particular, shall give a scantling
 Of good or bad unto the general;
 And in such indexes, although small pricks
 To their subsequent volumes, there is seen
 The baby figure of the giant mass
355 Of things to come at large. It is supposed
 He that meets Hector issues from our choice;
 And choice, being mutual act of all our souls,
 Makes merit her election and doth boil,
 As ’twere from forth us all, a man distilled
360 Out of our virtues, who, miscarrying,
 What heart receives from hence a conquering part
 To steel a strong opinion to themselves?—
 Which entertained, limbs are his instruments,
 In no less working than are swords and bows
365 Directive by the limbs.
 Give pardon to my speech: therefore ’tis meet
 Achilles meet not Hector. Let us like merchants
 First show foul wares and think perchance they’ll sell;
 If not, the luster of the better shall exceed
370 By showing the worse first. Do not consent

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 3

 That ever Hector and Achilles meet,
 For both our honor and our shame in this
 Are dogged with two strange followers.
 I see them not with my old eyes. What are they?
375 What glory our Achilles shares from Hector,
 Were he not proud, we all should share with him;
 But he already is too insolent,
 And it were better parch in Afric sun
 Than in the pride and salt scorn of his eyes
380 Should he scape Hector fair. If he were foiled,
 Why then we do our main opinion crush
 In taint of our best man. No, make a lott’ry,
 And, by device, let blockish Ajax draw
 The sort to fight with Hector. Among ourselves
385 Give him allowance for the better man,
 For that will physic the great Myrmidon,
 Who broils in loud applause, and make him fall
 His crest that prouder than blue Iris bends.
 If the dull brainless Ajax come safe off,
390 We’ll dress him up in voices; if he fail,
 Yet go we under our opinion still
 That we have better men. But, hit or miss,
 Our project’s life this shape of sense assumes:
 Ajax employed plucks down Achilles’ plumes.
395 Now, Ulysses, I begin to relish thy advice,
 And I will give a taste thereof forthwith
 To Agamemnon. Go we to him straight.
 Two curs shall tame each other; pride alone
 Must tar the mastiffs on, as ’twere a bone.
They exit.

Scene 1
Enter Ajax and Thersites.

AJAX Thersites!
THERSITES Agamemnon—how if he had boils, full, all
 over, generally?
AJAX Thersites!
THERSITES 5And those boils did run? Say so. Did not the
 general run, then? Were not that a botchy core?
THERSITES Then there would come some matter
 from him. I see none now.
AJAX 10Thou bitchwolf’s son, canst thou not hear? Feel,
 then.Strikes him.
THERSITES The plague of Greece upon thee, thou mongrel
 beef-witted lord!
AJAX Speak, then, thou unsalted leaven, speak. I will
15 beat thee into handsomeness.
THERSITES I shall sooner rail thee into wit and holiness,
 but I think thy horse will sooner con an oration
 than thou learn a prayer without book. Thou canst
 strike, canst thou? A red murrain o’ thy jade’s tricks.
AJAX 20Toadstool, learn me the proclamation.
THERSITES Dost thou think I have no sense, thou strikest
 me thus?
AJAX The proclamation!
THERSITES Thou art proclaimed a fool, I think.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 2. SC. 1

AJAX 25Do not, porpentine, do not. My fingers itch.
THERSITES I would thou didst itch from head to foot,
 and I had the scratching of thee; I would make
 thee the loathsomest scab in Greece. [When thou
 art forth in the incursions, thou strikest as slow as
30 another.]
AJAX I say, the proclamation!
THERSITES Thou grumblest and railest every hour on
 Achilles, and thou art as full of envy at his greatness
 as Cerberus is at Proserpina’s beauty, ay, that
35 thou bark’st at him.
AJAX Mistress Thersites!
THERSITES Thou shouldst strike him—
AJAX Cobloaf!
THERSITES He would pound thee into shivers with his
40 fist as a sailor breaks a biscuit.
AJAX You whoreson cur!Strikes him.
AJAX Thou stool for a witch!
THERSITES Ay, do, do, thou sodden-witted lord. Thou
45 hast no more brain than I have in mine elbows; an
 asinego may tutor thee, thou scurvy-valiant ass.
 Thou art here but to thrash Trojans, and thou art
 bought and sold among those of any wit, like a
 barbarian slave. If thou use to beat me, I will begin
50 at thy heel and tell what thou art by inches, thou
 thing of no bowels, thou.
AJAX You dog!
THERSITES You scurvy lord!
AJAX You cur!Strikes him.
THERSITES 55Mars his idiot! Do, rudeness, do, camel, do,

Enter Achilles and Patroclus.

ACHILLES Why, how now, Ajax? Wherefore do you
 thus?—How now, Thersites? What’s the matter,

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 2. SC. 1

THERSITES 60You see him there, do you?
ACHILLES Ay, what’s the matter?
THERSITES Nay, look upon him.
ACHILLES So I do. What’s the matter?
THERSITES Nay, but regard him well.
ACHILLES 65Well, why, so I do.
THERSITES But yet you look not well upon him, for
 whosomever you take him to be, he is Ajax.
ACHILLES I know that, fool.
THERSITES Ay, but that fool knows not himself.
AJAX 70Therefore I beat thee.
THERSITES Lo, lo, lo, lo, what modicums of wit he utters!
 His evasions have ears thus long. I have
 bobbed his brain more than he has beat my bones.
 I will buy nine sparrows for a penny, and his pia
75 mater is not worth the ninth part of a sparrow.
 This lord, Achilles—Ajax, who wears his wit in his
 belly, and his guts in his head—I’ll tell you what I
 say of him.
THERSITES 80I say, this Ajax—Ajax menaces him.
ACHILLES Nay, good Ajax.
THERSITES Has not so much wit—
ACHILLES, to Ajax Nay, I must hold you.
THERSITES As will stop the eye of Helen’s needle, for
85 whom he comes to fight.
ACHILLES Peace, fool!
THERSITES I would have peace and quietness, but the
 fool will not—he there, that he. Look you there.
AJAX O, thou damned cur, I shall—
ACHILLES 90Will you set your wit to a fool’s?
THERSITES No, I warrant you. The fool’s will shame it.
PATROCLUS Good words, Thersites.
ACHILLES, to Ajax What’s the quarrel?
AJAX I bade the vile owl go learn me the tenor of the
95 proclamation, and he rails upon me.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 2. SC. 1

THERSITES I serve thee not.
AJAX Well, go to, go to.
THERSITES I serve here voluntary.
ACHILLES Your last service was suff’rance; ’twas not
100 voluntary. No man is beaten voluntary. Ajax was
 here the voluntary, and you as under an impress.
THERSITES E’en so. A great deal of your wit, too, lies in
 your sinews, or else there be liars. Hector shall
 have a great catch an he knock out either of
105 your brains; he were as good crack a fusty nut with
 no kernel.
ACHILLES What, with me too, Thersites?
THERSITES There’s Ulysses and old Nestor—whose wit
 was moldy ere your grandsires had nails on
110 their toes—yoke you like draft-oxen and make
 you plow up the wars.
ACHILLES What? What?
THERSITES Yes, good sooth. To, Achilles! To, Ajax! To—
AJAX I shall cut out your tongue.
THERSITES 115’Tis no matter. I shall speak as much as
 thou afterwards.
PATROCLUS No more words, Thersites. Peace.
THERSITES I will hold my peace when Achilles’ brach
 bids me, shall I?
ACHILLES 120There’s for you, Patroclus.
THERSITES I will see you hanged like clodpolls ere I
 come any more to your tents. I will keep where
 there is wit stirring and leave the faction of fools.
He exits.
PATROCLUS A good riddance.
ACHILLES, to Ajax 
125 Marry, this, sir, is proclaimed through all our host:
 That Hector, by the fifth hour of the sun,
 Will with a trumpet ’twixt our tents and Troy
 Tomorrow morning call some knight to arms
 That hath a stomach, and such a one that dare
130 Maintain—I know not what; ’tis trash. Farewell.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 2. SC. 2

AJAX Farewell. Who shall answer him?
 I know not. ’Tis put to lott’ry. Otherwise,
 He knew his man.Achilles and Patroclus exit.
AJAX O, meaning you? I will go learn more of it.
He exits.

Scene 2
Enter Priam, Hector, Troilus, Paris and Helenas.

 After so many hours, lives, speeches spent,
 Thus once again says Nestor from the Greeks:
 “Deliver Helen, and all damage else—
 As honor, loss of time, travel, expense,
5 Wounds, friends, and what else dear that is consumed
 In hot digestion of this cormorant war—
 Shall be struck off.”—Hector, what say you to ’t?
 Though no man lesser fears the Greeks than I
 As far as toucheth my particular,
10 Yet, dread Priam,
 There is no lady of more softer bowels,
 More spongy to suck in the sense of fear,
 More ready to cry out “Who knows what follows?”
 Than Hector is. The wound of peace is surety,
15 Surety secure; but modest doubt is called
 The beacon of the wise, the tent that searches
 To th’ bottom of the worst. Let Helen go.
 Since the first sword was drawn about this question,
 Every tithe soul, ’mongst many thousand dismes,
20 Hath been as dear as Helen; I mean, of ours.
 If we have lost so many tenths of ours
 To guard a thing not ours—nor worth to us,
 Had it our name, the value of one ten—

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 2. SC. 2

 What merit’s in that reason which denies
25 The yielding of her up?
TROILUS  Fie, fie, my brother,
 Weigh you the worth and honor of a king
 So great as our dread father’s in a scale
 Of common ounces? Will you with counters sum
30 The past-proportion of his infinite,
 And buckle in a waist most fathomless
 With spans and inches so diminutive
 As fears and reasons? Fie, for godly shame!
 No marvel though you bite so sharp at reasons,
35 You are so empty of them. Should not our father
 Bear the great sway of his affairs with reason,
 Because your speech hath none that tell him so?
 You are for dreams and slumbers, brother priest.
 You fur your gloves with reason. Here are your
40 reasons:
 You know an enemy intends you harm;
 You know a sword employed is perilous,
 And reason flies the object of all harm.
 Who marvels, then, when Helenus beholds
45 A Grecian and his sword, if he do set
 The very wings of reason to his heels
 And fly like chidden Mercury from Jove
 Or like a star disorbed? Nay, if we talk of reason,
 Let’s shut our gates and sleep. Manhood and honor
50 Should have hare hearts, would they but fat their
 With this crammed reason. Reason and respect
 Make livers pale and lustihood deject.
 Brother, she is not worth what she doth cost
55 The keeping.
TROILUS  What’s aught but as ’tis valued?

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 2. SC. 2

 But value dwells not in particular will;
 It holds his estimate and dignity
 As well wherein ’tis precious of itself
60 As in the prizer. ’Tis mad idolatry
 To make the service greater than the god;
 And the will dotes that is attributive
 To what infectiously itself affects
 Without some image of th’ affected merit.
65 I take today a wife, and my election
 Is led on in the conduct of my will—
 My will enkindled by mine eyes and ears,
 Two traded pilots ’twixt the dangerous shores
 Of will and judgment. How may I avoid,
70 Although my will distaste what it elected,
 The wife I choose? There can be no evasion
 To blench from this and to stand firm by honor.
 We turn not back the silks upon the merchant
 When we have soiled them, nor the remainder
75 viands
 We do not throw in unrespective sieve
 Because we now are full. It was thought meet
 Paris should do some vengeance on the Greeks.
 Your breath with full consent bellied his sails;
80 The seas and winds, old wranglers, took a truce
 And did him service. He touched the ports desired,
 And for an old aunt whom the Greeks held captive,
 He brought a Grecian queen, whose youth and
85 Wrinkles Apollo’s and makes pale the morning.
 Why keep we her? The Grecians keep our aunt.
 Is she worth keeping? Why, she is a pearl
 Whose price hath launched above a thousand ships
 And turned crowned kings to merchants.
90 If you’ll avouch ’twas wisdom Paris went—

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 2. SC. 2

 As you must needs, for you all cried “Go, go”—
 If you’ll confess he brought home worthy prize—
 As you must needs, for you all clapped your hands
 And cried “Inestimable”—why do you now
95 The issue of your proper wisdoms rate
 And do a deed that never Fortune did,
 Beggar the estimation which you prized
 Richer than sea and land? O, theft most base,
 That we have stol’n what we do fear to keep!
100 But thieves unworthy of a thing so stol’n,
 That in their country did them that disgrace
 We fear to warrant in our native place.
CASSANDRA, within 
 Cry, Trojans, cry!
PRIAM  What noise? What shriek is this?
105 ’Tis our mad sister. I do know her voice.
CASSANDRA, within Cry, Trojans!
HECTOR It is Cassandra.

Enter Cassandra raving.

 Cry, Trojans, cry! Lend me ten thousand eyes,
 And I will fill them with prophetic tears.
HECTOR 110Peace, sister, peace!
 Virgins and boys, mid-age and wrinkled elders,
 Soft infancy, that nothing canst but cry,
 Add to my clamors. Let us pay betimes
 A moiety of that mass of moan to come.
115 Cry, Trojans, cry! Practice your eyes with tears.
 Troy must not be, nor goodly Ilium stand.
 Our firebrand brother Paris burns us all.
 Cry, Trojans, cry! A Helen and a woe!
 Cry, cry! Troy burns, or else let Helen go.She exits.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 2. SC. 2

120 Now, youthful Troilus, do not these high strains
 Of divination in our sister work
 Some touches of remorse? Or is your blood
 So madly hot that no discourse of reason
 Nor fear of bad success in a bad cause
125 Can qualify the same?
TROILUS  Why, brother Hector,
 We may not think the justness of each act
 Such and no other than event doth form it,
 Nor once deject the courage of our minds
130 Because Cassandra’s mad. Her brainsick raptures
 Cannot distaste the goodness of a quarrel
 Which hath our several honors all engaged
 To make it gracious. For my private part,
 I am no more touched than all Priam’s sons;
135 And Jove forbid there should be done amongst us
 Such things as might offend the weakest spleen
 To fight for and maintain!
 Else might the world convince of levity
 As well my undertakings as your counsels.
140 But I attest the gods, your full consent
 Gave wings to my propension and cut off
 All fears attending on so dire a project.
 For what, alas, can these my single arms?
 What propugnation is in one man’s valor
145 To stand the push and enmity of those
 This quarrel would excite? Yet, I protest,
 Were I alone to pass the difficulties
 And had as ample power as I have will,
 Paris should ne’er retract what he hath done
150 Nor faint in the pursuit.
PRIAM  Paris, you speak
 Like one besotted on your sweet delights.
 You have the honey still, but these the gall.
 So to be valiant is no praise at all.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 2. SC. 2

155 Sir, I propose not merely to myself
 The pleasures such a beauty brings with it,
 But I would have the soil of her fair rape
 Wiped off in honorable keeping her.
 What treason were it to the ransacked queen,
160 Disgrace to your great worths, and shame to me,
 Now to deliver her possession up
 On terms of base compulsion? Can it be
 That so degenerate a strain as this
 Should once set footing in your generous bosoms?
165 There’s not the meanest spirit on our party
 Without a heart to dare or sword to draw
 When Helen is defended, nor none so noble
 Whose life were ill bestowed or death unfamed
 Where Helen is the subject. Then I say,
170 Well may we fight for her whom, we know well,
 The world’s large spaces cannot parallel.
 Paris and Troilus, you have both said well,
 And on the cause and question now in hand
 Have glozed—but superficially, not much
175 Unlike young men, whom Aristotle thought
 Unfit to hear moral philosophy.
 The reasons you allege do more conduce
 To the hot passion of distempered blood
 Than to make up a free determination
180 ’Twixt right and wrong, for pleasure and revenge
 Have ears more deaf than adders to the voice
 Of any true decision. Nature craves
 All dues be rendered to their owners. Now,
 What nearer debt in all humanity
185 Than wife is to the husband? If this law
 Of nature be corrupted through affection,
 And that great minds, of partial indulgence
 To their benumbèd wills, resist the same,

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 2. SC. 2

 There is a law in each well-ordered nation
190 To curb those raging appetites that are
 Most disobedient and refractory.
 If Helen, then, be wife to Sparta’s king,
 As it is known she is, these moral laws
 Of nature and of nations speak aloud
195 To have her back returned. Thus to persist
 In doing wrong extenuates not wrong,
 But makes it much more heavy. Hector’s opinion
 Is this in way of truth; yet, ne’ertheless,
 My sprightly brethren, I propend to you
200 In resolution to keep Helen still,
 For ’tis a cause that hath no mean dependence
 Upon our joint and several dignities.
 Why, there you touched the life of our design!
 Were it not glory that we more affected
205 Than the performance of our heaving spleens,
 I would not wish a drop of Trojan blood
 Spent more in her defense. But, worthy Hector,
 She is a theme of honor and renown,
 A spur to valiant and magnanimous deeds,
210 Whose present courage may beat down our foes,
 And fame in time to come canonize us;
 For I presume brave Hector would not lose
 So rich advantage of a promised glory
 As smiles upon the forehead of this action
215 For the wide world’s revenue.
HECTOR  I am yours,
 You valiant offspring of great Priamus.
 I have a roisting challenge sent amongst
 The dull and factious nobles of the Greeks
220 Will strike amazement to their drowsy spirits.
 I was advertised their great general slept,
 Whilst emulation in the army crept.
 This, I presume, will wake him.
They exit.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 2. SC. 3

Scene 3
Enter Thersites, alone.

THERSITES How now, Thersites? What, lost in the
 labyrinth of thy fury? Shall the elephant Ajax carry
 it thus? He beats me, and I rail at him. O, worthy
 satisfaction! Would it were otherwise, that I could
5 beat him whilst he railed at me. ’Sfoot, I’ll learn to
 conjure and raise devils but I’ll see some issue of
 my spiteful execrations. Then there’s Achilles, a
 rare enginer! If Troy be not taken till these two undermine
 it, the walls will stand till they fall of
10 themselves. O thou great thunder-darter of Olympus,
 forget that thou art Jove, the king of gods;
 and, Mercury, lose all the serpentine craft of thy
 caduceus, if you take not that little, little, less than
 little wit from them that they have, which short-armed
15 ignorance itself knows is so abundant
 scarce it will not in circumvention deliver a fly
 from a spider without drawing their massy irons
 and cutting the web. After this, the vengeance on
 the whole camp! Or rather, the Neapolitan bone-ache!
20 For that, methinks, is the curse depending
 on those that war for a placket. I have said my
 prayers, and devil Envy say “Amen.”—What ho,
 my lord Achilles!
PATROCLUS, within Who’s there? Thersites? Good
25 Thersites, come in and rail.
THERSITES If I could ’a remembered a gilt counterfeit,
 thou couldst not have slipped out of my contemplation.
 But it is no matter. Thyself upon thyself! The
 common curse of mankind, folly and ignorance,
30 be thine in great revenue! Heaven bless thee from
 a tutor, and discipline come not near thee! Let thy
 blood be thy direction till thy death; then if she
 that lays thee out says thou art a fair corse, I’ll be

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 2. SC. 3

 sworn and sworn upon ’t she never shrouded any
35 but lazars. Amen.

Enter Patroclus.

 Where’s Achilles?
PATROCLUS What, art thou devout? Wast thou in
THERSITES Ay. The heavens hear me!
ACHILLES, within Who’s there?
PATROCLUS Thersites, my lord.
ACHILLES, within Where? Where? O, where?

Enter Achilles.

 To Thersites. Art thou come? Why, my cheese, my
45 digestion, why hast thou not served thyself in to my
 table so many meals? Come, what’s Agamemnon?
THERSITES Thy commander, Achilles.—Then, tell me,
 Patroclus, what’s Achilles?
PATROCLUS Thy lord, Thersites. Then, tell me, I pray
50 thee, what’s Thersites?
THERSITES Thy knower, Patroclus. Then, tell me, Patroclus,
 what art thou?
PATROCLUS Thou must tell that knowest.
ACHILLES O tell, tell.
THERSITES 55I’ll decline the whole question. Agamemnon
 commands Achilles, Achilles is my lord, I am
 Patroclus’ knower, and Patroclus is a fool.
PATROCLUS You rascal!
THERSITES Peace, fool. I have not done.
ACHILLES, to Patroclus 60He is a privileged man.—Proceed,
THERSITES Agamemnon is a fool, Achilles is a fool,
 Thersites is a fool, and, as aforesaid, Patroclus is a
ACHILLES 65Derive this. Come.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 2. SC. 3

THERSITES Agamemnon is a fool to offer to command
 Achilles, Achilles is a fool to be commanded of
 Agamemnon, Thersites is a fool to serve such a fool,
 and this Patroclus is a fool positive.
PATROCLUS 70Why am I a fool?
THERSITES Make that demand of the creator. It suffices
 me thou art.

Enter at a distance Agamemnon, Ulysses, Nestor,
Diomedes, Ajax, and Calchas.

 Look you, who comes here?
ACHILLES Patroclus, I’ll speak with nobody.—Come in
75 with me, Thersites.He exits.
THERSITES Here is such patchery, such juggling, and
 such knavery. All the argument is a whore and a
 cuckold, a good quarrel to draw emulous factions
 and bleed to death upon. Now the dry serpigo on
80 the subject, and war and lechery confound all!
He exits.
AGAMEMNON, to Patroclus Where is Achilles?
 Within his tent, but ill-disposed, my lord.
 Let it be known to him that we are here.
 He shent our messengers, and we lay by
85 Our appertainments, visiting of him.
 Let him be told so, lest perchance he think
 We dare not move the question of our place
 Or know not what we are.
PATROCLUS I shall say so to him.He exits.
90 We saw him at the opening of his tent.
 He is not sick.
AJAX Yes, lion-sick, sick of proud heart. You may call
 it melancholy if you will favor the man, but, by my

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 2. SC. 3

 head, ’tis pride. But, why, why? Let him show us a
95 cause.—A word, my lord.
He and Agamemnon walk aside.
NESTOR What moves Ajax thus to bay at him?
ULYSSES Achilles hath inveigled his fool from him.
NESTOR Who, Thersites?
NESTOR 100Then will Ajax lack matter, if he have lost his
ULYSSES No. You see, he is his argument that has his
 argument: Achilles.
NESTOR All the better. Their fraction is more our wish
105 than their faction. But it was a strong composure a
 fool could disunite.
ULYSSES The amity that wisdom knits not, folly may
 easily untie.

Enter Patroclus.

 Here comes Patroclus.
NESTOR 110No Achilles with him.
ULYSSES The elephant hath joints, but none for courtesy;
 his legs are legs for necessity, not for flexure.
PATROCLUS, to Agamemnon 
 Achilles bids me say he is much sorry
 If anything more than your sport and pleasure
115 Did move your greatness and this noble state
 To call upon him. He hopes it is no other
 But for your health and your digestion sake,
 An after-dinner’s breath.
AGAMEMNON  Hear you, Patroclus:
120 We are too well acquainted with these answers,
 But his evasion, winged thus swift with scorn,
 Cannot outfly our apprehensions.
 Much attribute he hath, and much the reason
 Why we ascribe it to him. Yet all his virtues,
125 Not virtuously on his own part beheld,

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 2. SC. 3

 Do in our eyes begin to lose their gloss,
 Yea, and like fair fruit in an unwholesome dish,
 Are like to rot untasted. Go and tell him
 We come to speak with him; and you shall not sin
130 If you do say we think him overproud
 And underhonest, in self-assumption greater
 Than in the note of judgment; and worthier than
 Here tend the savage strangeness he puts on,
135 Disguise the holy strength of their command,
 And underwrite in an observing kind
 His humorous predominance—yea, watch
 His course and time, his ebbs and flows, as if
 The passage and whole carriage of this action
140 Rode on his tide. Go tell him this, and add
 That, if he overhold his price so much,
 We’ll none of him. But let him, like an engine
 Not portable, lie under this report:
 “Bring action hither; this cannot go to war.”
145 A stirring dwarf we do allowance give
 Before a sleeping giant. Tell him so.
 I shall, and bring his answer presently.
 In second voice we’ll not be satisfied;
 We come to speak with him.—Ulysses, enter you.
Ulysses exits, with Patroclus.
AJAX 150What is he more than another?
AGAMEMNON No more than what he thinks he is.
AJAX Is he so much? Do you not think he thinks himself
 a better man than I am?
AGAMEMNON No question.
AJAX 155Will you subscribe his thought and say he is?
AGAMEMNON No, noble Ajax. You are as strong, as
 valiant, as wise, no less noble, much more gentle,
 and altogether more tractable.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 2. SC. 3

AJAX Why should a man be proud? How doth pride
160 grow? I know not what pride is.
AGAMEMNON Your mind is the clearer, Ajax, and your
 virtues the fairer. He that is proud eats up himself.
 Pride is his own glass, his own trumpet, his own
 chronicle; and whatever praises itself but in the
165 deed devours the deed in the praise.
AJAX I do hate a proud man as I hate the engendering
 of toads.
NESTOR, aside 
 And yet he loves himself. Is ’t not strange?

Enter Ulysses.

 Achilles will not to the field tomorrow.
170 What’s his excuse?
ULYSSES  He doth rely on none,
 But carries on the stream of his dispose,
 Without observance or respect of any,
 In will peculiar and in self-admission.
175 Why, will he not, upon our fair request,
 Untent his person and share th’ air with us?
 Things small as nothing, for request’s sake only,
 He makes important. Possessed he is with greatness
 And speaks not to himself but with a pride
180 That quarrels at self-breath. Imagined worth
 Holds in his blood such swoll’n and hot discourse
 That ’twixt his mental and his active parts
 Kingdomed Achilles in commotion rages
 And batters down himself. What should I say?
185 He is so plaguy proud that the death-tokens of it
 Cry “No recovery.”
AGAMEMNON  Let Ajax go to him.—

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 2. SC. 3

 Dear lord, go you and greet him in his tent.
 ’Tis said he holds you well and will be led
190 At your request a little from himself.
 O Agamemnon, let it not be so!
 We’ll consecrate the steps that Ajax makes
 When they go from Achilles. Shall the proud lord
 That bastes his arrogance with his own seam
195 And never suffers matter of the world
 Enter his thoughts, save such as doth revolve
 And ruminate himself—shall he be worshipped
 Of that we hold an idol more than he?
 No. This thrice-worthy and right valiant lord
200 Shall not so stale his palm, nobly acquired,
 Nor, by my will, assubjugate his merit,
 As amply titled as Achilles is,
 By going to Achilles.
 That were to enlard his fat-already pride
205 And add more coals to Cancer when he burns
 With entertaining great Hyperion.
 This lord go to him? Jupiter forbid
 And say in thunder “Achilles, go to him.”
NESTOR, aside to Diomedes 
 O, this is well; he rubs the vein of him.
DIOMEDES, aside to Nestor 
210 And how his silence drinks up this applause!
 If I go to him, with my armèd fist
 I’ll pash him o’er the face.
AGAMEMNON O, no, you shall not go.
 An he be proud with me, I’ll feeze his pride.
215 Let me go to him.
 Not for the worth that hangs upon our quarrel.
AJAX A paltry, insolent fellow.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 2. SC. 3

NESTOR, aside How he describes himself!
AJAX Can he not be sociable?
ULYSSES, aside 220The raven chides blackness.
AJAX I’ll let his humorous blood.
AGAMEMNON, aside He will be the physician that
 should be the patient.
AJAX An all men were of my mind—
ULYSSES, aside 225Wit would be out of fashion.
AJAX —he should not bear it so; he should eat swords
 first. Shall pride carry it?
NESTOR, aside An ’twould, you’d carry half.
ULYSSES, aside He would have ten shares.
AJAX 230I will knead him; I’ll make him supple.
NESTOR, aside He’s not yet through warm. Force him
 with praises. Pour in, pour in; his ambition is dry.
ULYSSES, to Agamemnon 
 My lord, you feed too much on this dislike.
NESTOR, to Agamemnon 
 Our noble general, do not do so.
DIOMEDES, to Agamemnon 
235 You must prepare to fight without Achilles.
 Why, ’tis this naming of him does him harm.
 Here is a man—but ’tis before his face;
 I will be silent.
NESTOR  Wherefore should you so?
240 He is not emulous, as Achilles is.
 Know the whole world, he is as valiant—
AJAX A whoreson dog, that shall palter with us thus!
 Would he were a Trojan!
NESTOR What a vice were it in Ajax now—
ULYSSES 245If he were proud—
DIOMEDES Or covetous of praise—
ULYSSES Ay, or surly borne—
DIOMEDES Or strange, or self-affected—

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 2. SC. 3

ULYSSES, to Ajax 
 Thank the heavens, lord, thou art of sweet
250 composure.
 Praise him that gat thee, she that gave thee suck;
 Famed be thy tutor, and thy parts of nature
 Thrice famed beyond, beyond thy erudition;
 But he that disciplined thine arms to fight,
255 Let Mars divide eternity in twain
 And give him half; and for thy vigor,
 Bull-bearing Milo his addition yield
 To sinewy Ajax. I will not praise thy wisdom,
 Which like a bourn, a pale, a shore confines
260 Thy spacious and dilated parts. Here’s Nestor,
 Instructed by the antiquary times;
 He must, he is, he cannot but be wise.—
 But pardon, father Nestor, were your days
 As green as Ajax’ and your brain so tempered,
265 You should not have the eminence of him,
 But be as Ajax.
AJAX  Shall I call you father?
 Ay, my good son.
DIOMEDES  Be ruled by him, Lord Ajax.
270 There is no tarrying here; the hart Achilles
 Keeps thicket. Please it our great general
 To call together all his state of war.
 Fresh kings are come to Troy. Tomorrow
 We must with all our main of power stand fast.
275 And here’s a lord—come knights from east to west
 And cull their flower, Ajax shall cope the best.
 Go we to council. Let Achilles sleep.
 Light boats sail swift, though greater hulks draw deep.
They exit.

Scene 1
Music sounds within. Enter Pandarus and Paris’s

PANDARUS Friend, you, pray you, a word. Do you not
 follow the young Lord Paris?
MAN Ay, sir, when he goes before me.
PANDARUS You depend upon him, I mean.
MAN 5Sir, I do depend upon the Lord.
PANDARUS You depend upon a notable gentleman. I
 must needs praise him.
MAN The Lord be praised!
PANDARUS You know me, do you not?
MAN 10Faith, sir, superficially.
PANDARUS Friend, know me better. I am the Lord
MAN I hope I shall know your Honor better.
PANDARUS I do desire it.
MAN 15You are in the state of grace?
PANDARUS Grace? Not so, friend. “Honor” and “Lordship”
 are my titles. What music is this?
MAN I do but partly know, sir. It is music in parts.
PANDARUS Know you the musicians?
MAN 20Wholly, sir.
PANDARUS Who play they to?
MAN To the hearers, sir.
PANDARUS At whose pleasure, friend?

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 3. SC. 1

MAN At mine, sir, and theirs that love music.
PANDARUS 25Command, I mean, friend.
MAN Who shall I command, sir?
PANDARUS Friend, we understand not one another. I
 am too courtly and thou art too cunning. At whose
 request do these men play?
MAN 30That’s to ’t indeed, sir. Marry, sir, at the request of
 Paris my lord, who is there in person; with him the
 mortal Venus, the heart blood of beauty, love’s visible
PANDARUS Who, my cousin Cressida?
MAN 35No, sir, Helen. Could not you find out that by her
PANDARUS It should seem, fellow, that thou hast not
 seen the Lady Cressid. I come to speak with Paris
 from the Prince Troilus. I will make a complimental
40 assault upon him, for my business seethes.
MAN Sodden business! There’s a stewed phrase indeed.

Enter Paris and Helen with Attendants.

PANDARUS Fair be to you, my lord, and to all this fair
 company! Fair desires in all fair measure fairly
 guide them!—Especially to you, fair queen, fair
45 thoughts be your fair pillow!
HELEN Dear lord, you are full of fair words.
PANDARUS You speak your fair pleasure, sweet
 queen.—Fair prince, here is good broken music.
PARIS You have broke it, cousin, and, by my life, you
50 shall make it whole again; you shall piece it out
 with a piece of your performance.
HELEN He is full of harmony.
PANDARUS Truly, lady, no.
HELEN O, sir—
PANDARUS 55Rude, in sooth; in good sooth, very rude.
PARIS Well said, my lord; well, you say so in fits.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 3. SC. 1

PANDARUS I have business to my lord, dear queen.—
 My lord, will you vouchsafe me a word?
HELEN Nay, this shall not hedge us out. We’ll hear you
60 sing, certainly.
PANDARUS Well, sweet queen, you are pleasant with
 me.—But, marry, thus, my lord: my dear lord and
 most esteemed friend, your brother Troilus—
HELEN My Lord Pandarus, honey-sweet lord—
PANDARUS 65Go to, sweet queen, go to—commends himself
 most affectionately to you—
HELEN You shall not bob us out of our melody. If you
 do, our melancholy upon your head!
PANDARUS Sweet queen, sweet queen, that’s a sweet
70 queen, i’ faith—
HELEN And to make a sweet lady sad is a sour offence.
PANDARUS Nay, that shall not serve your turn, that
 shall it not, in truth, la. Nay, I care not for such
 words, no, no.—And, my lord, he desires you that
75 if the King call for him at supper, you will make his
HELEN My Lord Pandarus—
PANDARUS What says my sweet queen, my very, very
 sweet queen?
PARIS 80What exploit’s in hand? Where sups he tonight?
HELEN Nay, but, my lord—
PANDARUS What says my sweet queen? My cousin will
 fall out with you.
HELEN, to Paris You must not know where he sups.
PARIS 85I’ll lay my life, with my disposer Cressida.
PANDARUS No, no, no such matter; you are wide.
 Come, your disposer is sick.
PARIS Well, I’ll make ’s excuse.
PANDARUS Ay, good my lord. Why should you say Cressida?
90 No, your poor disposer’s sick.
PARIS I spy.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 3. SC. 1

PANDARUS You spy? What do you spy?—Come, give me
 an instrument. An Attendant gives him an instrument.
 Now, sweet queen.
HELEN 95Why, this is kindly done.
PANDARUS My niece is horribly in love with a thing you
 have, sweet queen.
HELEN She shall have it, my lord, if it be not my Lord
PANDARUS 100He? No, she’ll none of him. They two are
HELEN Falling in after falling out may make them
PANDARUS Come, come, I’ll hear no more of this. I’ll
105 sing you a song now.
HELEN Ay, ay, prithee. Now, by my troth, sweet lord,
 thou hast a fine forehead.
PANDARUS Ay, you may, you may.
HELEN Let thy song be love. “This love will undo us all.”
110 O Cupid, Cupid, Cupid!
PANDARUS Love? Ay, that it shall, i’ faith.
PARIS Ay, good now, “Love, love, nothing but love.”
PANDARUS In good troth, it begins so.
 Love, love, nothing but love, still love, still more!
115  For, O, love’s bow
  Shoots buck and doe.
  The shaft confounds
  Not that it wounds
 But tickles still the sore.

120 These lovers cry “O ho!” they die,
  Yet that which seems the wound to kill
 Doth turn “O ho!” to “Ha ha he!”
  So dying love lives still.
 “O ho!” awhile, but “Ha ha ha!”
125 “O ho!”groans out for “ha ha ha!”—Hey ho!

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 3. SC. 1

HELEN In love, i’ faith, to the very tip of the nose.
PARIS He eats nothing but doves, love, and that breeds
 hot blood, and hot blood begets hot thoughts, and
 hot thoughts beget hot deeds, and hot deeds is love.
PANDARUS 130Is this the generation of love? Hot blood,
 hot thoughts, and hot deeds? Why, they are vipers.
 Is love a generation of vipers? Sweet lord, who’s
 afield today?
PARIS Hector, Deiphobus, Helenus, Antenor, and all the
135 gallantry of Troy. I would fain have armed today,
 but my Nell would not have it so. How chance my
 brother Troilus went not?
HELEN He hangs the lip at something.—You know all,
 Lord Pandarus.
PANDARUS 140Not I, honey sweet queen. I long to hear how
 they sped today.—You’ll remember your brother’s
PARIS To a hair.
PANDARUS Farewell, sweet queen.
HELEN 145Commend me to your niece.
PANDARUS I will, sweet queen.He exits.
Sound a retreat.
 They’re come from the field. Let us to Priam’s hall
 To greet the warriors. Sweet Helen, I must woo you
 To help unarm our Hector. His stubborn buckles,
150 With these your white enchanting fingers touched,
 Shall more obey than to the edge of steel
 Or force of Greekish sinews. You shall do more
 Than all the island kings: disarm great Hector.
 ’Twill make us proud to be his servant, Paris.
155 Yea, what he shall receive of us in duty
 Gives us more palm in beauty than we have,
 Yea, overshines ourself.
PARIS Sweet, above thought I love thee.
They exit.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 3. SC. 2

Scene 2
Enter Pandarus and Troilus’s Man, meeting.

PANDARUS How now? Where’s thy master? At my
 cousin Cressida’s?
MAN No, sir, he stays for you to conduct him thither.

Enter Troilus.

PANDARUS O, here he comes.—How now, how now?
TROILUS, to his Man 5Sirrah, walk off.Man exits.
PANDARUS Have you seen my cousin?
 No, Pandarus. I stalk about her door
 Like a strange soul upon the Stygian banks
 Staying for waftage. O, be thou my Charon,
10 And give me swift transportance to those fields
 Where I may wallow in the lily beds
 Proposed for the deserver! O, gentle Pandar,
 From Cupid’s shoulder pluck his painted wings
 And fly with me to Cressid!
PANDARUS 15Walk here i’ th’ orchard. I’ll bring her
Pandarus exits.
 I am giddy; expectation whirls me round.
 Th’ imaginary relish is so sweet
 That it enchants my sense. What will it be
20 When that the wat’ry palate taste indeed
 Love’s thrice-repurèd nectar? Death, I fear me,
 Swooning destruction, or some joy too fine,
 Too subtle-potent, tuned too sharp in sweetness
 For the capacity of my ruder powers.
25 I fear it much; and I do fear besides
 That I shall lose distinction in my joys,
 As doth a battle when they charge on heaps
 The enemy flying.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 3. SC. 2

Enter Pandarus.

PANDARUS She’s making her ready; she’ll come straight.
30 You must be witty now. She does so blush and
 fetches her wind so short as if she were frayed with
 a spirit. I’ll fetch her. It is the prettiest villain. She
 fetches her breath as short as a new-ta’en sparrow.
Pandarus exits.
 Even such a passion doth embrace my bosom.
35 My heart beats thicker than a feverous pulse,
 And all my powers do their bestowing lose,
 Like vassalage at unawares encount’ring
 The eye of majesty.

Enter Pandarus, and Cressida veiled.

PANDARUS, to Cressida Come, come, what need you
40 blush? Shame’s a baby.—Here she is now. Swear
 the oaths now to her that you have sworn to me.
 Cressida offers to leave. What, are you gone again?
 You must be watched ere you be made tame, must
 you? Come your ways; come your ways. An you
45 draw backward, we’ll put you i’ th’ thills.—Why
 do you not speak to her?—Come, draw this curtain
 and let’s see your picture. He draws back her veil.
 Alas the day, how loath you are to offend daylight!
 An ’twere dark, you’d close sooner.—So, so, rub on,
50 and kiss the mistress. (They kiss.) How now? A
 kiss in fee-farm? Build there, carpenter; the air is
 sweet. Nay, you shall fight your hearts out ere I
 part you. The falcon as the tercel, for all the ducks
 i’ th’ river. Go to, go to.
TROILUS 55You have bereft me of all words, lady.
PANDARUS Words pay no debts; give her deeds. But
 she’ll bereave you o’ th’ deeds too, if she call your
 activity in question. (They kiss.) What, billing

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 3. SC. 2

 again? Here’s “In witness whereof the parties
60 interchangeably—.” Come in, come in. I’ll go get a fire.
Pandarus exits.
CRESSIDA Will you walk in, my lord?
TROILUS O Cressid, how often have I wished me thus!
CRESSIDA “Wished,” my lord? The gods grant—O, my
TROILUS 65What should they grant? What makes this
 pretty abruption? What too-curious dreg espies
 my sweet lady in the fountain of our love?
CRESSIDA More dregs than water, if my fears have eyes.
TROILUS Fears make devils of cherubins; they never
70 see truly.
CRESSIDA Blind fear, that seeing reason leads, finds
 safer footing than blind reason, stumbling without
 fear. To fear the worst oft cures the worse.
TROILUS O, let my lady apprehend no fear. In all
75 Cupid’s pageant there is presented no monster.
CRESSIDA Nor nothing monstrous neither?
TROILUS Nothing but our undertakings, when we vow
 to weep seas, live in fire, eat rocks, tame tigers,
 thinking it harder for our mistress to devise imposition
80 enough than for us to undergo any difficulty
 imposed. This is the monstruosity in love, lady, that
 the will is infinite and the execution confined, that
 the desire is boundless and the act a slave to limit.
CRESSIDA They say all lovers swear more performance
85 than they are able and yet reserve an ability that
 they never perform, vowing more than the perfection
 of ten and discharging less than the tenth part
 of one. They that have the voice of lions and the
 act of hares, are they not monsters?
TROILUS 90Are there such? Such are not we. Praise us as
 we are tasted, allow us as we prove; our head shall
 go bare till merit crown it. No perfection in reversion
 shall have a praise in present. We will not

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 3. SC. 2

 name desert before his birth, and, being born, his
95 addition shall be humble. Few words to fair faith.
 Troilus shall be such to Cressid as what envy can
 say worst shall be a mock for his truth, and what
 truth can speak truest not truer than Troilus.
CRESSIDA Will you walk in, my lord?

Enter Pandarus.

PANDARUS 100What, blushing still? Have you not done
 talking yet?
CRESSIDA Well, uncle, what folly I commit I dedicate
 to you.
PANDARUS I thank you for that. If my lord get a boy of
105 you, you’ll give him me. Be true to my lord. If he
 flinch, chide me for it.
TROILUS, to Cressida You know now your hostages:
 your uncle’s word and my firm faith.
PANDARUS Nay, I’ll give my word for her too. Our kindred,
110 though they be long ere they be wooed, they
 are constant being won. They are burrs, I can tell
 you; they’ll stick where they are thrown.
 Boldness comes to me now and brings me heart.
 Prince Troilus, I have loved you night and day
115 For many weary months.
 Why was my Cressid then so hard to win?
 Hard to seem won; but I was won, my lord,
 With the first glance that ever—pardon me;
 If I confess much, you will play the tyrant.
120 I love you now, but till now not so much
 But I might master it. In faith, I lie;
 My thoughts were like unbridled children grown
 Too headstrong for their mother. See, we fools!
 Why have I blabbed? Who shall be true to us

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 3. SC. 2

125 When we are so unsecret to ourselves?
 But though I loved you well, I wooed you not;
 And yet, good faith, I wished myself a man;
 Or that we women had men’s privilege
 Of speaking first. Sweet, bid me hold my tongue,
130 For in this rapture I shall surely speak
 The thing I shall repent. See, see, your silence,
 Cunning in dumbness, from my weakness draws
 My very soul of counsel! Stop my mouth.
 And shall, albeit sweet music issues thence.
They kiss.
PANDARUS 135Pretty, i’ faith!
CRESSIDA, to Troilus 
 My lord, I do beseech you pardon me.
 ’Twas not my purpose thus to beg a kiss.
 I am ashamed. O heavens, what have I done!
 For this time will I take my leave, my lord.
TROILUS 140Your leave, sweet Cressid?
PANDARUS Leave? An you take leave till tomorrow
CRESSIDA Pray you, content you.
TROILUS What offends you, lady?
CRESSIDA 145Sir, mine own company.
TROILUS You cannot shun yourself.
CRESSIDA Let me go and try.
 I have a kind of self resides with you,
 But an unkind self that itself will leave
150 To be another’s fool. I would be gone.
 Where is my wit? I know not what I speak.
 Well know they what they speak that speak so wisely.
 Perchance, my lord, I show more craft than love
 And fell so roundly to a large confession
155 To angle for your thoughts. But you are wise,

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 3. SC. 2

 Or else you love not; for to be wise and love
 Exceeds man’s might. That dwells with gods above.
 O, that I thought it could be in a woman—
 As, if it can, I will presume in you—
160 To feed for aye her lamp and flames of love,
 To keep her constancy in plight and youth,
 Outliving beauty’s outward, with a mind
 That doth renew swifter than blood decays!
 Or that persuasion could but thus convince me
165 That my integrity and truth to you
 Might be affronted with the match and weight
 Of such a winnowed purity in love;
 How were I then uplifted! But, alas,
 I am as true as truth’s simplicity
170 And simpler than the infancy of truth.
 In that I’ll war with you.
TROILUS  O virtuous fight,
 When right with right wars who shall be most right!
 True swains in love shall in the world to come
175 Approve their truth by Troilus. When their rhymes,
 Full of protest, of oath and big compare,
 Wants similes, truth tired with iteration—
 “As true as steel, as plantage to the moon,
 As sun to day, as turtle to her mate,
180 As iron to adamant, as Earth to th’ center”—
 Yet, after all comparisons of truth,
 As truth’s authentic author to be cited,
 “As true as Troilus” shall crown up the verse
 And sanctify the numbers.
CRESSIDA 185 Prophet may you be!
 If I be false or swerve a hair from truth,
 When time is old and hath forgot itself,
 When water drops have worn the stones of Troy
 And blind oblivion swallowed cities up,

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 3. SC. 3

190 And mighty states characterless are grated
 To dusty nothing, yet let memory,
 From false to false, among false maids in love,
 Upbraid my falsehood! When they’ve said “as false
 As air, as water, wind or sandy earth,
195 As fox to lamb, or wolf to heifer’s calf,
 Pard to the hind, or stepdame to her son,”
 Yea, let them say, to stick the heart of falsehood,
 “As false as Cressid.”
PANDARUS Go to, a bargain made. Seal it, seal it. I’ll be
200 the witness. Here I hold your hand, here my
 cousin’s. If ever you prove false one to another, since
 I have taken such pains to bring you together, let
 all pitiful goers-between be called to the world’s
 end after my name: call them all panders. Let all
205 constant men be Troiluses, all false women Cressids,
 and all brokers-between panders. Say “Amen.”
PANDARUS Amen. Whereupon I will show you a chamber
210 with a bed, which bed, because it shall not
 speak of your pretty encounters, press it to death.
 Away.Troilus and Cressida exit.
 And Cupid grant all tongue-tied maidens here
 Bed, chamber, pander to provide this gear.
He exits.

Scene 3
Flourish. Enter Ulysses, Diomedes, Nestor,
Agamemnon, Calchas, Menelaus, and Ajax.

 Now, princes, for the service I have done you,
 Th’ advantage of the time prompts me aloud
 To call for recompense. Appear it to your mind

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 3. SC. 3

 That, through the sight I bear in things to come,
5 I have abandoned Troy, left my possessions,
 Incurred a traitor’s name, exposed myself,
 From certain and possessed conveniences,
 To doubtful fortunes, sequest’ring from me all
 That time, acquaintance, custom, and condition
10 Made tame and most familiar to my nature,
 And here, to do you service, am become
 As new into the world, strange, unacquainted.
 I do beseech you, as in way of taste,
 To give me now a little benefit
15 Out of those many regist’red in promise,
 Which you say live to come in my behalf.
 What wouldst thou of us, Trojan, make demand?
 You have a Trojan prisoner called Antenor
 Yesterday took. Troy holds him very dear.
20 Oft have you—often have you thanks therefor—
 Desired my Cressid in right great exchange,
 Whom Troy hath still denied; but this Antenor,
 I know, is such a wrest in their affairs
 That their negotiations all must slack,
25 Wanting his manage; and they will almost
 Give us a prince of blood, a son of Priam,
 In change of him. Let him be sent, great princes,
 And he shall buy my daughter; and her presence
 Shall quite strike off all service I have done
30 In most accepted pain.
AGAMEMNON  Let Diomedes bear him,
 And bring us Cressid hither. Calchas shall have
 What he requests of us. Good Diomed,
 Furnish you fairly for this interchange.
35 Withal, bring word if Hector will tomorrow
 Be answered in his challenge. Ajax is ready.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 3. SC. 3

 This shall I undertake, and ’tis a burden
 Which I am proud to bear.He exits with Calchas.

Achilles and Patroclus stand in their tent.
 Achilles stands i’ th’ entrance of his tent.
40 Please it our General pass strangely by him
 As if he were forgot, and, princes all,
 Lay negligent and loose regard upon him.
 I will come last. ’Tis like he’ll question me
 Why such unplausive eyes are bent, why turned on
45 him.
 If so, I have derision medicinable
 To use between your strangeness and his pride,
 Which his own will shall have desire to drink.
 It may do good; pride hath no other glass
50 To show itself but pride, for supple knees
 Feed arrogance and are the proud man’s fees.
 We’ll execute your purpose and put on
 A form of strangeness as we pass along;
 So do each lord, and either greet him not
55 Or else disdainfully, which shall shake him more
 Than if not looked on. I will lead the way.

They pass before Achilles and Patroclus. Ulysses
remains in place, reading.

 What, comes the General to speak with me?
 You know my mind: I’ll fight no more ’gainst Troy.
AGAMEMNON, to Nestor 
 What says Achilles? Would he aught with us?
NESTOR, to Achilles 
60 Would you, my lord, aught with the General?

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 3. SC. 3

NESTOR Nothing, my lord.
AGAMEMNON The better.Agamemnon and Nestor exit.
ACHILLES, to Menelaus Good day, good day.
MENELAUS 65How do you? How do you?He exits.
ACHILLES What, does the cuckold scorn me?
AJAX How now, Patroclus?
ACHILLES Good morrow, Ajax.
ACHILLES 70Good morrow.
AJAX Ay, and good next day too.He exits.
 What mean these fellows? Know they not Achilles?
 They pass by strangely. They were used to bend,
 To send their smiles before them to Achilles,
75 To come as humbly as they use to creep
 To holy altars.
ACHILLES  What, am I poor of late?
 ’Tis certain, greatness, once fall’n out with Fortune,
 Must fall out with men too. What the declined is
80 He shall as soon read in the eyes of others
 As feel in his own fall, for men, like butterflies,
 Show not their mealy wings but to the summer,
 And not a man, for being simply man,
 Hath any honor, but honor for those honors
85 That are without him—as place, riches, and favor,
 Prizes of accident as oft as merit,
 Which, when they fall, as being slippery slanders,
 The love that leaned on them, as slippery too,
 Doth one pluck down another and together
90 Die in the fall. But ’tis not so with me.
 Fortune and I are friends. I do enjoy,
 At ample point, all that I did possess,
 Save these men’s looks, who do, methinks, find out
 Something not worth in me such rich beholding

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 3. SC. 3

95 As they have often given. Here is Ulysses.
 I’ll interrupt his reading.—How now, Ulysses?
ULYSSES Now, great Thetis’ son—
ACHILLES What are you reading?
ULYSSES A strange fellow here
100 Writes me that man, how dearly ever parted,
 How much in having, or without or in,
 Cannot make boast to have that which he hath,
 Nor feels not what he owes, but by reflection;
 As when his virtues, shining upon others,
105 Heat them, and they retort that heat again
 To the first giver.
ACHILLES  This is not strange, Ulysses.
 The beauty that is borne here in the face
 The bearer knows not, but commends itself
110 [To others’ eyes; nor doth the eye itself,
 That most pure spirit of sense, behold itself,]
 Not going from itself, but eye to eye opposed
 Salutes each other with each other’s form.
 For speculation turns not to itself
115 Till it hath traveled and is mirrored there
 Where it may see itself. This is not strange at all.
 I do not strain at the position—
 It is familiar—but at the author’s drift,
 Who in his circumstance expressly proves
120 That no man is the lord of anything—
 Though in and of him there be much consisting—
 Till he communicate his parts to others;
 Nor doth he of himself know them for aught
 Till he behold them formed in the applause
125 Where they’re extended; who, like an arch, reverb’rate
 The voice again or, like a gate of steel
 Fronting the sun, receives and renders back
 His figure and his heat. I was much rapt in this
 And apprehended here immediately

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 3. SC. 3

130 Th’ unknown Ajax. Heavens, what a man is there!
 A very horse, that has he knows not what!
 Nature, what things there are
 Most abject in regard, and dear in use,
 What things again most dear in the esteem
135 And poor in worth! Now shall we see tomorrow—
 An act that very chance doth throw upon him—
 Ajax renowned. O, heavens, what some men do
 While some men leave to do!
 How some men creep in skittish Fortune’s hall,
140 Whiles others play the idiots in her eyes!
 How one man eats into another’s pride,
 While pride is fasting in his wantonness!
 To see these Grecian lords—why, even already
 They clap the lubber Ajax on the shoulder
145 As if his foot were on brave Hector’s breast
 And great Troy shrieking.
 I do believe it, for they passed by me
 As misers do by beggars, neither gave to me
 Good word nor look. What, are my deeds forgot?
150 Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back
 Wherein he puts alms for oblivion,
 A great-sized monster of ingratitudes.
 Those scraps are good deeds past, which are devoured
 As fast as they are made, forgot as soon
155 As done. Perseverance, dear my lord,
 Keeps honor bright. To have done is to hang
 Quite out of fashion like a rusty mail
 In monumental mock’ry. Take the instant way,
 For honor travels in a strait so narrow
160 Where one but goes abreast. Keep, then, the path,
 For Emulation hath a thousand sons
 That one by one pursue. If you give way
 Or turn aside from the direct forthright,

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 3. SC. 3

 Like to an entered tide they all rush by
165 And leave you hindmost;
 Or, like a gallant horse fall’n in first rank,
 Lie there for pavement to the abject rear,
 O’errun and trampled on. Then what they do in
170 Though less than yours in past, must o’ertop yours;
 For Time is like a fashionable host
 That slightly shakes his parting guest by th’ hand
 And, with his arms outstretched as he would fly,
 Grasps in the comer. Welcome ever smiles,
175 And Farewell goes out sighing. Let not virtue seek
 Remuneration for the thing it was,
 For beauty, wit,
 High birth, vigor of bone, desert in service,
 Love, friendship, charity are subjects all
180 To envious and calumniating Time.
 One touch of nature makes the whole world kin,
 That all, with one consent, praise newborn gauds,
 Though they are made and molded of things past,
 And give to dust that is a little gilt
185 More laud than gilt o’erdusted.
 The present eye praises the present object.
 Then marvel not, thou great and complete man,
 That all the Greeks begin to worship Ajax,
 Since things in motion sooner catch the eye
190 Than what stirs not. The cry went once on thee,
 And still it might, and yet it may again,
 If thou wouldst not entomb thyself alive
 And case thy reputation in thy tent,
 Whose glorious deeds but in these fields of late
195 Made emulous missions ’mongst the gods themselves
 And drave great Mars to faction.
ACHILLES  Of this my privacy,
 I have strong reasons.
ULYSSES  But ’gainst your privacy

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 3. SC. 3

200 The reasons are more potent and heroical.
 ’Tis known, Achilles, that you are in love
 With one of Priam’s daughters.
ACHILLES  Ha? Known?
ULYSSES Is that a wonder?
205 The providence that’s in a watchful state
 Knows almost every grain of Pluto’s gold,
 Finds bottom in the uncomprehensive deep,
 Keeps place with thought and almost, like the gods,
 Do thoughts unveil in their dumb cradles.
210 There is a mystery—with whom relation
 Durst never meddle—in the soul of state,
 Which hath an operation more divine
 Than breath or pen can give expressure to.
 All the commerce that you have had with Troy
215 As perfectly is ours as yours, my lord;
 And better would it fit Achilles much
 To throw down Hector than Polyxena.
 But it must grieve young Pyrrhus now at home
 When Fame shall in our islands sound her trump,
220 And all the Greekish girls shall tripping sing
 “Great Hector’s sister did Achilles win,
 But our great Ajax bravely beat down him.”
 Farewell, my lord. I as your lover speak.
 The fool slides o’er the ice that you should break.
He exits.
225 To this effect, Achilles, have I moved you.
 A woman impudent and mannish grown
 Is not more loathed than an effeminate man
 In time of action. I stand condemned for this.
 They think my little stomach to the war,
230 And your great love to me, restrains you thus.
 Sweet, rouse yourself, and the weak wanton Cupid
 Shall from your neck unloose his amorous fold

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 3. SC. 3

 And, like a dewdrop from the lion’s mane,
 Be shook to air.
ACHILLES 235 Shall Ajax fight with Hector?
 Ay, and perhaps receive much honor by him.
 I see my reputation is at stake;
 My fame is shrewdly gored.
PATROCLUS  O, then, beware!
240 Those wounds heal ill that men do give themselves.
 Omission to do what is necessary
 Seals a commission to a blank of danger,
 And danger, like an ague, subtly taints
 Even then when they sit idly in the sun.
245 Go call Thersites hither, sweet Patroclus.
 I’ll send the fool to Ajax and desire him
 T’ invite the Trojan lords after the combat
 To see us here unarmed. I have a woman’s longing,
 An appetite that I am sick withal,
250 To see great Hector in his weeds of peace,
 To talk with him, and to behold his visage,
 Even to my full of view.

Enter Thersites.

 A labor saved.
THERSITES Ajax goes up and down the field, asking for
THERSITES He must fight singly tomorrow with Hector
260 and is so prophetically proud of an heroical cudgeling
 that he raves in saying nothing.
ACHILLES How can that be?

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 3. SC. 3

THERSITES Why, he stalks up and down like a peacock—
 a stride and a stand; ruminates like an hostess
265 that hath no arithmetic but her brain to set
 down her reckoning; bites his lip with a politic regard,
 as who should say “There were wit in this
 head an ’twould out”—and so there is, but it lies
 as coldly in him as fire in a flint, which will not
270 show without knocking. The man’s undone forever,
 for if Hector break not his neck i’ th’ combat,
 he’ll break ’t himself in vainglory. He knows not
 me. I said “Good morrow, Ajax,” and he replies
 “Thanks, Agamemnon.” What think you of this
275 man that takes me for the General? He’s grown a
 very land-fish, languageless, a monster. A plague of
 opinion! A man may wear it on both sides, like a
 leather jerkin.
ACHILLES Thou must be my ambassador to him,
280 Thersites.
THERSITES Who, I? Why, he’ll answer nobody. He professes
 not answering; speaking is for beggars; he
 wears his tongue in ’s arms. I will put on his presence.
 Let Patroclus make his demands to me. You
285 shall see the pageant of Ajax.
ACHILLES To him, Patroclus. Tell him I humbly desire
 the valiant Ajax to invite the most valorous Hector
 to come unarmed to my tent, and to procure safe-conduct
 for his person of the magnanimous and
290 most illustrious, six-or-seven-times-honored captain
 general of the Grecian army, Agamemnon,
 et cetera. Do this.
PATROCLUS, to Thersites, who is playing Ajax Jove
 bless great Ajax.
PATROCLUS I come from the worthy Achilles—

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 3. SC. 3

PATROCLUS Who most humbly desires you to invite
 Hector to his tent—
PATROCLUS And to procure safe-conduct from
THERSITES Agamemnon?
PATROCLUS Ay, my lord.
PATROCLUS What say you to ’t?
THERSITES God b’ wi’ you, with all my heart.
PATROCLUS Your answer, sir.
THERSITES If tomorrow be a fair day, by eleven of the
310 clock it will go one way or other. Howsoever, he
 shall pay for me ere he has me.
PATROCLUS Your answer, sir.
THERSITES Fare you well with all my heart.
He pretends to exit.
ACHILLES Why, but he is not in this tune, is he?
THERSITES 315No, but he’s out of tune thus. What music
 will be in him when Hector has knocked out his
 brains I know not. But I am sure none, unless the
 fiddler Apollo get his sinews to make catlings on.
ACHILLES Come, thou shalt bear a letter to him
320 straight.
THERSITES Let me bear another to his horse, for that’s
 the more capable creature.
 My mind is troubled, like a fountain stirred,
 And I myself see not the bottom of it.
Achilles and Patroclus exit.
THERSITES 325Would the fountain of your mind were clear
 again, that I might water an ass at it. I had rather
 be a tick in a sheep than such a valiant ignorance.
He exits.

Scene 1
Enter at one door Aeneas with a Torchbearer, at
another Paris, Deiphobus, Antenor, Diomedes and
Grecians with torches.

PARIS See, ho! Who is that there?
DEIPHOBUS It is the Lord Aeneas.
AENEAS Is the Prince there in person?—
 Had I so good occasion to lie long
5 As you, Prince Paris, nothing but heavenly business
 Should rob my bedmate of my company.
 That’s my mind too.—Good morrow, Lord Aeneas.
 A valiant Greek, Aeneas; take his hand.
 Witness the process of your speech, wherein
10 You told how Diomed a whole week by days
 Did haunt you in the field.
AENEAS Health to you, valiant sir,
 During all question of the gentle truce;
 But when I meet you armed, as black defiance
15 As heart can think or courage execute.
 The one and other Diomed embraces.
 Our bloods are now in calm, and, so long, health;
 But when contention and occasion meet,

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 1

 By Jove, I’ll play the hunter for thy life
20 With all my force, pursuit, and policy.
 And thou shalt hunt a lion that will fly
 With his face backward. In human gentleness,
 Welcome to Troy. Now, by Anchises’ life,
 Welcome indeed. By Venus’ hand I swear
25 No man alive can love in such a sort
 The thing he means to kill more excellently.
 We sympathize. Jove, let Aeneas live,
 If to my sword his fate be not the glory,
 A thousand complete courses of the sun!
30 But in mine emulous honor let him die
 With every joint a wound and that tomorrow.
AENEAS We know each other well.
 We do, and long to know each other worse.
 This is the most despiteful gentle greeting,
35 The noblest hateful love, that e’er I heard of.
 To Aeneas. What business, lord, so early?
 I was sent for to the King, but why I know not.
 His purpose meets you. ’Twas to bring this Greek
 To Calchas’ house, and there to render him,
40 For the enfreed Antenor, the fair Cressid.
 Let’s have your company, or, if you please,
 Haste there before us. (Aside to Aeneas.) I constantly
 Or, rather, call my thought a certain knowledge—
45 My brother Troilus lodges there tonight.
 Rouse him, and give him note of our approach,
 With the whole quality whereof. I fear
 We shall be much unwelcome.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 1

AENEAS, aside to Paris That I assure you.
50 Troilus had rather Troy were borne to Greece
 Than Cressid borne from Troy.
PARIS, aside to Aeneas  There is no help.
 The bitter disposition of the time
 Will have it so.—On, lord, we’ll follow you.
AENEAS 55Good morrow, all.
Aeneas exits with the Torchbearer.
 And tell me, noble Diomed, faith, tell me true,
 Even in the soul of sound good-fellowship,
 Who, in your thoughts, deserves fair Helen best,
 Myself or Menelaus?
DIOMEDES 60 Both alike.
 He merits well to have her that doth seek her,
 Not making any scruple of her soilure,
 With such a hell of pain and world of charge;
 And you as well to keep her that defend her,
65 Not palating the taste of her dishonor,
 With such a costly loss of wealth and friends.
 He, like a puling cuckold, would drink up
 The lees and dregs of a flat tamèd piece;
 You, like a lecher, out of whorish loins
70 Are pleased to breed out your inheritors.
 Both merits poised, each weighs nor less nor more;
 But he as he, the heavier for a whore.
 You are too bitter to your countrywoman.
 She’s bitter to her country. Hear me, Paris:
75 For every false drop in her bawdy veins
 A Grecian’s life hath sunk; for every scruple
 Of her contaminated carrion weight
 A Trojan hath been slain. Since she could speak,
 She hath not given so many good words breath
80 As for her Greeks and Trojans suffered death.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 2

 Fair Diomed, you do as chapmen do,
 Dispraise the thing that they desire to buy.
 But we in silence hold this virtue well:
 We’ll not commend that not intend to sell.
85 Here lies our way.
They exit.

Scene 2
Enter Troilus and Cressida.

 Dear, trouble not yourself. The morn is cold.
 Then, sweet my lord, I’ll call mine uncle down.
 He shall unbolt the gates.
TROILUS  Trouble him not.
5 To bed, to bed! Sleep kill those pretty eyes
 And give as soft attachment to thy senses
 As infants’ empty of all thought!
 Good morrow, then.
TROILUS  I prithee now, to bed.
CRESSIDA 10Are you aweary of me?
 O Cressida! But that the busy day,
 Waked by the lark, hath roused the ribald crows,
 And dreaming night will hide our joys no longer,
 I would not from thee.
CRESSIDA 15 Night hath been too brief.
 Beshrew the witch! With venomous wights she stays
 As tediously as hell, but flies the grasps of love
 With wings more momentary-swift than thought.
 You will catch cold and curse me.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 2

20 Prithee, tarry. You men will never tarry.
 O foolish Cressid! I might have still held off,
 And then you would have tarried. Hark, there’s one up.
PANDARUS, within What’s all the doors open here?
TROILUS It is your uncle.
25 A pestilence on him! Now will he be mocking.
 I shall have such a life!

Enter Pandarus.

PANDARUS How now, how now? How go maidenheads?
 Here, you maid! Where’s my Cousin Cressid?
 Go hang yourself, you naughty mocking uncle.
30 You bring me to do—and then you flout me too.
PANDARUS To do what, to do what?—Let her say
 what.—What have I brought you to do?
 Come, come, beshrew your heart! You’ll ne’er be good
 Nor suffer others.
PANDARUS 35Ha, ha! Alas, poor wretch! Ah, poor capocchia!
 Has ’t not slept tonight? Would he not—a
 naughty man—let it sleep? A bugbear take him!
CRESSIDA, to Troilus 
 Did not I tell you? Would he were knocked i’ th’ head!
One knocks.
 Who’s that at door?—Good uncle, go and see.—
40 My lord, come you again into my chamber.
 You smile and mock me, as if I meant naughtily.
 Come, you are deceived. I think of no such thing.
 How earnestly they knock! Pray you, come in.
45 I would not for half Troy have you seen here.
Troilus and Cressida exit.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 2

PANDARUS Who’s there? What’s the matter? Will you
 beat down the door?

Enter Aeneas.

 How now? What’s the matter?
AENEAS Good morrow, lord, good morrow.
PANDARUS 50Who’s there? My Lord Aeneas? By my troth,
 I knew you not. What news with you so early?
AENEAS Is not Prince Troilus here?
PANDARUS Here? What should he do here?
 Come, he is here, my lord. Do not deny him.
55 It doth import him much to speak with me.
PANDARUS Is he here, say you? It’s more than I know,
 I’ll be sworn. For my own part, I came in late.
 What should he do here?
AENEAS Ho, nay, then! Come, come, you’ll do him
60 wrong ere you are ware. You’ll be so true to him to
 be false to him. Do not you know of him, but yet go
 fetch him hither. Go.

Enter Troilus.

TROILUS How now? What’s the matter?
 My lord, I scarce have leisure to salute you,
65 My matter is so rash. There is at hand
 Paris your brother and Deiphobus,
 The Grecian Diomed, and our Antenor
 Delivered to us; and for him forthwith,
 Ere the first sacrifice, within this hour,
70 We must give up to Diomedes’ hand
 The Lady Cressida.
TROILUS  Is it so concluded?
 By Priam and the general state of Troy.
 They are at hand and ready to effect it.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 2

TROILUS 75How my achievements mock me!
 I will go meet them. And, my Lord Aeneas,
 We met by chance; you did not find me here.
 Good, good, my lord; the secrets of nature
 Have not more gift in taciturnity.
Troilus and Aeneas exit.
PANDARUS 80Is ’t possible? No sooner got but lost? The
 devil take Antenor! The young prince will go mad.
 A plague upon Antenor! I would they had broke ’s

Enter Cressida.

 How now? What’s the matter? Who was here?
PANDARUS 85Ah, ah!
 Why sigh you so profoundly? Where’s my lord?
 Gone? Tell me, sweet uncle, what’s the matter?
PANDARUS Would I were as deep under the earth as I
 am above!
CRESSIDA 90O the gods! What’s the matter?
PANDARUS Pray thee, get thee in. Would thou hadst
 ne’er been born! I knew thou wouldst be his death.
 O, poor gentleman! A plague upon Antenor!
CRESSIDA Good uncle, I beseech you, on my knees I
95 beseech you, what’s the matter?
PANDARUS Thou must be gone, wench; thou must be
 gone. Thou art changed for Antenor. Thou must to
 thy father and be gone from Troilus. ’Twill be his
 death; ’twill be his bane. He cannot bear it.
100 O you immortal gods! I will not go.
PANDARUS Thou must.
 I will not, uncle. I have forgot my father.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 3

 I know no touch of consanguinity,
 No kin, no love, no blood, no soul so near me
105 As the sweet Troilus. O you gods divine,
 Make Cressid’s name the very crown of falsehood
 If ever she leave Troilus! Time, force, and death
 Do to this body what extremes you can,
 But the strong base and building of my love
110 Is as the very center of the Earth,
 Drawing all things to it. I’ll go in and weep—
 Tear my bright hair, and scratch my praisèd cheeks,
 Crack my clear voice with sobs, and break my heart
115 With sounding “Troilus.” I will not go from Troy.
They exit.

Scene 3
Enter Paris, Troilus, Aeneas, Deiphobus, Antenor,
and Diomedes.

 It is great morning, and the hour prefixed
 For her delivery to this valiant Greek
 Comes fast upon. Good my brother Troilus,
 Tell you the lady what she is to do
5 And haste her to the purpose.
TROILUS  Walk into her house.
 I’ll bring her to the Grecian presently;
 And to his hand when I deliver her,
 Think it an altar and thy brother Troilus
10 A priest there off’ring to it his own heart.He exits.
PARIS I know what ’tis to love,
 And would, as I shall pity, I could help.—
 Please you walk in, my lords?
They exit.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 4

Scene 4
Enter Pandarus and Cressida, weeping.

PANDARUS Be moderate, be moderate.
 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
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?
 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.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 4

30 And is it true that I must go from Troy?
 A hateful truth.
CRESSIDA  What, and from Troilus too?
TROILUS From Troy and Troilus.
CRESSIDA Is ’t possible?
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?
 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.
 I must, then, to the Grecians?
TROILUS  No remedy.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 4

 A woeful Cressid ’mongst the merry Greeks.
60 When shall we see again?
 Hear me, my love. Be thou but true of heart—
 I true? How now, what wicked deem is this?
 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.”
 O, you shall be exposed, my lord, to dangers
 As infinite as imminent! But I’ll be true.
 And I’ll grow friend with danger. Wear this sleeve.
CRESSIDA And you this glove. When shall I see you?
They exchange love-tokens.
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
 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.

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?
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?
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

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.
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.”
 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.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 5

Sound trumpet within.
150 Hark, Hector’s trumpet.
AENEAS  How have we spent this
 The Prince must think me tardy and remiss
 That swore to ride before him to the field.
155 ’Tis Troilus’ fault. Come, come to field with him.
DEIPHOBUS Let us make ready straight.
 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.

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.

Scene 1
Enter Achilles and Patroclus.

 I’ll heat his blood with Greekish wine tonight,
 Which with my scimitar I’ll cool tomorrow.
 Patroclus, let us feast him to the height.
 Here comes Thersites.

Enter Thersites.

ACHILLES 5 How now, thou core of envy?
 Thou crusty botch of nature, what’s the news?
THERSITES Why, thou picture of what thou seemest and
 idol of idiot-worshippers, here’s a letter for thee.
ACHILLES From whence, fragment?
THERSITES 10Why, thou full dish of fool, from Troy.
Achilles takes the letter and moves aside to read it.
PATROCLUS Who keeps the tent now?
THERSITES The surgeon’s box or the patient’s wound.
PATROCLUS Well said, adversity. And what need these
THERSITES 15Prithee, be silent, boy. I profit not by thy
 talk. Thou art said to be Achilles’ male varlet.
PATROCLUS “Male varlet,” you rogue! What’s that?
THERSITES Why, his masculine whore. Now the rotten
 diseases of the south, the guts-griping, ruptures,

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 5. SC. 1

20 catarrhs, loads o’ gravel in the back, lethargies,
 cold palsies, [raw eyes, dirt-rotten livers, whissing
 lungs, bladders full of impostume, sciaticas,
 limekilns i’ th’ palm, incurable bone-ache, and the
 rivelled fee-simple of the tetter,] take and take
25 again such preposterous discoveries.
PATROCLUS Why, thou damnable box of envy, thou,
 what means thou to curse thus?
THERSITES Do I curse thee?
PATROCLUS Why, no, you ruinous butt, you whoreson
30 indistinguishable cur, no.
THERSITES No? Why art thou then exasperate, thou idle
 immaterial skein of sleave-silk, thou green sarsenet
 flap for a sore eye, thou tassel of a prodigal’s purse,
 thou? Ah, how the poor world is pestered with such
35 waterflies, diminutives of nature!
PATROCLUS Out, gall!
THERSITES Finch egg!
ACHILLES, coming forward 
 My sweet Patroclus, I am thwarted quite
 From my great purpose in tomorrow’s battle.
40 Here is a letter from Queen Hecuba,
 A token from her daughter, my fair love,
 Both taxing me and gaging me to keep
 An oath that I have sworn. I will not break it.
 Fall, Greeks; fail, fame; honor, or go or stay;
45 My major vow lies here; this I’ll obey.
 Come, come, Thersites, help to trim my tent.
 This night in banqueting must all be spent.
 Away, Patroclus.He exits with Patroclus.
THERSITES With too much blood and too little brain,
50 these two may run mad; but if with too much brain
 and too little blood they do, I’ll be a curer of madmen.
 Here’s Agamemnon, an honest fellow enough
 and one that loves quails, but he has not so much
 brain as earwax. And the goodly transformation

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 5. SC. 1

55 of Jupiter there, his brother, the bull—the primitive
 statue and oblique memorial of cuckolds, a
 thrifty shoeing-horn in a chain, hanging at his
 brother’s leg—to what form but that he is should
 wit larded with malice and malice forced with
60 wit turn him to? To an ass were nothing; he is both
 ass and ox. To an ox were nothing; he is both ox
 and ass. To be a dog, a mule, a cat, a fitchew, a
 toad, a lizard, an owl, a puttock, or a herring without
 a roe, I would not care; but to be Menelaus! I
65 would conspire against destiny. Ask me not what I
 would be, if I were not Thersites, for I care not to be
 the louse of a lazar so I were not Menelaus.

Enter Hector, Troilus, Ajax, Agamemnon, Ulysses,
Nestor, Menelaus, and Diomedes, with lights.

 Heyday! Sprites and fires!
AGAMEMNON We go wrong, we go wrong.
70 No, yonder—’tis there, where we see the lights.
HECTOR I trouble you.
AJAX No, not a whit.

Enter Achilles.

ULYSSES, to Hector Here comes himself to guide you.
 Welcome, brave Hector. Welcome, princes all.
AGAMEMNON, to Hector 
75 So now, fair prince of Troy, I bid good night.
 Ajax commands the guard to tend on you.
 Thanks, and good night to the Greeks’ general.
 Good night, my lord.
HECTOR  Good night, sweet lord
80 Menelaus.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 5. SC. 1

THERSITES, aside Sweet draught. “Sweet,” quoth he?
 Sweet sink, sweet sewer.
 Good night and welcome, both at once, to those
 That go or tarry.
AGAMEMNON 85Good night.
Agamemnon and Menelaus exit.
 Old Nestor tarries, and you too, Diomed.
 Keep Hector company an hour or two.
 I cannot, lord. I have important business,
 The tide whereof is now.—Good night, great Hector.
HECTOR 90Give me your hand.
ULYSSES, aside to Troilus 
 Follow his torch; he goes to Calchas’ tent.
 I’ll keep you company.
TROILUS  Sweet sir, you honor me.
 And so, good night.
Diomedes exits, followed by Troilus and Ulysses.
ACHILLES 95 Come, come, enter my tent.
Achilles, Ajax, Nestor, and Hector exit.
THERSITES That same Diomed’s a false-hearted rogue,
 a most unjust knave. I will no more trust him when
 he leers than I will a serpent when he hisses. He
 will spend his mouth and promise like Brabbler
100 the hound, but when he performs, astronomers
 foretell it; it is prodigious, there will come some
 change. The sun borrows of the moon when
 Diomed keeps his word. I will rather leave to see
 Hector than not to dog him. They say he keeps a
105 Trojan drab and uses the traitor Calchas his tent.
 I’ll after. Nothing but lechery! All incontinent varlets!
He exits.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 5. SC. 2

Scene 2
Enter Diomedes.

DIOMEDES What, are you up here, ho? Speak.
CALCHAS, within Who calls?
DIOMEDES Diomed. Calchas, I think? Where’s your
CALCHAS, within 5She comes to you.

Enter Troilus and Ulysses, at a distance, and then,
apart from them, Thersites.

ULYSSES, aside to Troilus 
 Stand where the torch may not discover us.

Enter Cressida.

TROILUS, aside to Ulysses 
 Cressid comes forth to him.
DIOMEDES  How now, my charge?
 Now, my sweet guardian. Hark, a word with you.
She whispers to him.
TROILUS, aside 10Yea, so familiar?
ULYSSES, aside to Troilus She will sing any man at
 first sight.
THERSITES, aside And any man may sing her, if he
 can take her clef. She’s noted.
DIOMEDES 15Will you remember?
CRESSIDA Remember? Yes.
DIOMEDES Nay, but do, then, and let your mind be
 coupled with your words.
TROILUS, aside What should she remember?
ULYSSES, aside to Troilus 20List!
 Sweet honey Greek, tempt me no more to folly.
THERSITES, aside Roguery!
DIOMEDES Nay, then—

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 5. SC. 2

CRESSIDA I’ll tell you what—
25 Foh, foh, come, tell a pin! You are forsworn.
 In faith, I cannot. What would you have me do?
THERSITES, aside A juggling trick: to be secretly open!
 What did you swear you would bestow on me?
 I prithee, do not hold me to mine oath.
30 Bid me do anything but that, sweet Greek.
DIOMEDES Good night.
TROILUS, aside Hold, patience!
ULYSSES, aside to Troilus How now, Trojan?
35 No, no, good night. I’ll be your fool no more.
TROILUS, aside Thy better must.
CRESSIDA Hark, a word in your ear.
She whispers to him.
TROILUS, aside O plague and madness!
ULYSSES, aside to Troilus 
 You are moved, prince. Let us depart, I pray you,
40 Lest your displeasure should enlarge itself
 To wrathful terms. This place is dangerous;
 The time right deadly. I beseech you, go.
TROILUS, aside to Ulysses 
 Behold, I pray you.
ULYSSES, aside to Troilus  Nay, good my lord, go off.
45 You flow to great distraction. Come, my lord.
TROILUS, aside to Ulysses 
 I prithee, stay.
ULYSSES, aside to Troilus  You have not patience. Come.
TROILUS, aside to Ulysses 
 I pray you, stay. By hell and all hell’s torments,
 I will not speak a word.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 5. SC. 2

50 And so good night.He starts to leave.
CRESSIDA  Nay, but you part in anger.
TROILUS, aside Doth that grieve thee? O withered
ULYSSES, aside to Troilus 
 How now, my lord?
TROILUS, aside to Ulysses 55 By Jove, I will be patient.
 Guardian! Why, Greek!
DIOMEDES  Foh foh! Adieu. You palter.
 In faith, I do not. Come hither once again.
ULYSSES, aside to Troilus 
 You shake, my lord, at something. Will you go?
60 You will break out.
TROILUS, aside  She strokes his cheek!
ULYSSES, aside to Troilus  Come, come.
TROILUS, aside to Ulysses 
 Nay, stay. By Jove, I will not speak a word.
 There is between my will and all offenses
65 A guard of patience. Stay a little while.
THERSITES, aside How the devil Luxury, with his fat
 rump and potato finger, tickles these together.
 Fry, lechery, fry!
DIOMEDES But will you, then?
70 In faith, I will, la. Never trust me else.
 Give me some token for the surety of it.
CRESSIDA I’ll fetch you one.She exits.
ULYSSES, aside to Troilus 
 You have sworn patience.
TROILUS, aside to Ulysses  Fear me not, my lord.
75 I will not be myself nor have cognition
 Of what I feel. I am all patience.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 5. SC. 2

Enter Cressida with Troilus’s sleeve.

THERSITES, aside Now the pledge, now, now, now!
CRESSIDA, giving the sleeve Here, Diomed. Keep this
TROILUS, aside 80O beauty, where is thy faith?
ULYSSES, aside to Troilus My lord—
TROILUS, aside to Ulysses 
 I will be patient; outwardly I will.
 You look upon that sleeve? Behold it well.
 He loved me—O false wench!—Give ’t me again.
She snatches the sleeve from Diomedes.
DIOMEDES 85Whose was ’t?
 It is no matter, now I ha ’t again.
 I will not meet with you tomorrow night.
 I prithee, Diomed, visit me no more.
THERSITES, aside Now she sharpens. Well said,
90 whetstone.
DIOMEDES I shall have it.
CRESSIDA What, this?
DIOMEDES Ay, that.
 O all you gods!—O pretty, pretty pledge!
95 Thy master now lies thinking on his bed
 Of thee and me, and sighs, and takes my glove,
 And gives memorial dainty kisses to it
 As I kiss thee.
He grabs the sleeve, and she tries to retrieve it.
DIOMEDES  Nay, do not snatch it from me.
100 He that takes that doth take my heart withal.
 I had your heart before. This follows it.
TROILUS, aside I did swear patience.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 5. SC. 2

 You shall not have it, Diomed, faith, you shall not.
 I’ll give you something else.
DIOMEDES 105I will have this. Whose was it?
CRESSIDA It is no matter.
DIOMEDES Come, tell me whose it was.
 ’Twas one’s that loved me better than you will.
 But now you have it, take it.
DIOMEDES 110 Whose was it?
 By all Diana’s waiting-women yond,
 And by herself, I will not tell you whose.
 Tomorrow will I wear it on my helm
 And grieve his spirit that dares not challenge it.
TROILUS, aside 
115 Wert thou the devil and wor’st it on thy horn,
 It should be challenged.
 Well, well, ’tis done, ’tis past. And yet it is not.
 I will not keep my word.
DIOMEDES  Why, then, farewell.
120 Thou never shalt mock Diomed again.
He starts to leave.
 You shall not go. One cannot speak a word
 But it straight starts you.
DIOMEDES  I do not like this fooling.
TROILUS, aside 
 Nor I, by Pluto! But that that likes not you
125 Pleases me best.
DIOMEDES  What, shall I come? The hour?
 Ay, come.—O Jove!—Do, come.—I shall be plagued.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 5. SC. 2

 Farewell, till then.
CRESSIDA  Good night. I prithee, come.—
He exits.
130 Troilus, farewell. One eye yet looks on thee,
 But with my heart the other eye doth see.
 Ah, poor our sex! This fault in us I find:
 The error of our eye directs our mind.
 What error leads must err. O, then conclude:
135 Minds swayed by eyes are full of turpitude.She exits.
 A proof of strength she could not publish more,
 Unless she said “My mind is now turned whore.”
 All’s done, my lord.
ULYSSES 140 Why stay we then?
 To make a recordation to my soul
 Of every syllable that here was spoke.
 But if I tell how these two did co-act,
 Shall I not lie in publishing a truth?
145 Sith yet there is a credence in my heart,
 An esperance so obstinately strong.
 That doth invert th’ attest of eyes and ears,
 As if those organs had deceptious functions,
 Created only to calumniate.
150 Was Cressid here?
ULYSSES  I cannot conjure, Trojan.
TROILUS She was not, sure.
ULYSSES Most sure she was.
 Why, my negation hath no taste of madness.
155 Nor mine, my lord. Cressid was here but now.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 5. SC. 2

 Let it not be believed for womanhood!
 Think, we had mothers. Do not give advantage
 To stubborn critics, apt, without a theme
 For depravation, to square the general sex
160 By Cressid’s rule. Rather, think this not Cressid.
 What hath she done, prince, that can soil our
 Nothing at all, unless that this were she.
THERSITES, aside Will he swagger himself out on ’s
165 own eyes?
 This she? No, this is Diomed’s Cressida.
 If beauty have a soul, this is not she;
 If souls guide vows, if vows be sanctimonies,
 If sanctimony be the gods’ delight,
170 If there be rule in unity itself,
 This is not she. O madness of discourse,
 That cause sets up with and against itself!
 Bifold authority, where reason can revolt
 Without perdition, and loss assume all reason
175 Without revolt. This is and is not Cressid.
 Within my soul there doth conduce a fight
 Of this strange nature, that a thing inseparate
 Divides more wider than the sky and Earth,
 And yet the spacious breadth of this division
180 Admits no orifex for a point as subtle
 As Ariachne’s broken woof to enter.
 Instance, O instance, strong as Pluto’s gates,
 Cressid is mine, tied with the bonds of heaven;
 Instance, O instance, strong as heaven itself,
185 The bonds of heaven are slipped, dissolved, and
 And with another knot, five-finger-tied,

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 5. SC. 2

 The fractions of her faith, orts of her love,
 The fragments, scraps, the bits and greasy relics
190 Of her o’er-eaten faith are given to Diomed.
 May worthy Troilus be half attached
 With that which here his passion doth express?
 Ay, Greek, and that shall be divulgèd well
 In characters as red as Mars his heart
195 Inflamed with Venus. Never did young man fancy
 With so eternal and so fixed a soul.
 Hark, Greek: as much as I do Cressid love,
 So much by weight hate I her Diomed.
 That sleeve is mine that he’ll bear on his helm.
200 Were it a casque composed by Vulcan’s skill,
 My sword should bite it. Not the dreadful spout
 Which shipmen do the hurricano call,
 Constringed in mass by the almighty sun,
 Shall dizzy with more clamor Neptune’s ear
205 In his descent than shall my prompted sword
 Falling on Diomed.
THERSITES, aside He’ll tickle it for his concupy.
 O Cressid! O false Cressid! False, false, false!
 Let all untruths stand by thy stainèd name,
210 And they’ll seem glorious.
ULYSSES  O, contain yourself.
 Your passion draws ears hither.

Enter Aeneas.

AENEAS, to Troilus 
 I have been seeking you this hour, my lord.
 Hector, by this, is arming him in Troy.
215 Ajax, your guard, stays to conduct you home.
 Have with you, prince.—My courteous lord, adieu.—

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 5. SC. 3

 Farewell, revolted fair!—And, Diomed,
 Stand fast, and wear a castle on thy head!
ULYSSES I’ll bring you to the gates.
TROILUS 220Accept distracted thanks.
Troilus, Aeneas, and Ulysses exit.
THERSITES Would I could meet that rogue Diomed! I
 would croak like a raven; I would bode, I would
 bode. Patroclus will give me anything for the intelligence
 of this whore. The parrot will not do more
225 for an almond than he for a commodious drab.
 Lechery, lechery, still wars and lechery! Nothing
 else holds fashion. A burning devil take them!
He exits.

Scene 3
Enter Hector, armed, and Andromache.

 When was my lord so much ungently tempered
 To stop his ears against admonishment?
 Unarm, unarm, and do not fight today.
 You train me to offend you. Get you in.
5 By all the everlasting gods, I’ll go!
 My dreams will sure prove ominous to the day.
 No more, I say.

Enter Cassandra.

CASSANDRA  Where is my brother Hector?
 Here, sister, armed and bloody in intent.
10 Consort with me in loud and dear petition;
 Pursue we him on knees. For I have dreamt

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 5. SC. 3

 Of bloody turbulence, and this whole night
 Hath nothing been but shapes and forms of slaughter.
 O, ’tis true!
HECTOR, calling out 15 Ho! Bid my trumpet sound!
 No notes of sally, for the heavens, sweet brother!
 Begone, I say. The gods have heard me swear.
 The gods are deaf to hot and peevish vows.
 They are polluted off’rings more abhorred
20 Than spotted livers in the sacrifice.
ANDROMACHE, to Hector 
 O, be persuaded! Do not count it holy
 To hurt by being just. It is as lawful,
 For we would give much, to use violent thefts
 And rob in the behalf of charity.
25 It is the purpose that makes strong the vow,
 But vows to every purpose must not hold.
 Unarm, sweet Hector.
HECTOR  Hold you still, I say.
 Mine honor keeps the weather of my fate.
30 Life every man holds dear, but the dear man
 Holds honor far more precious-dear than life.

Enter Troilus, armed.

 How now, young man? Meanest thou to fight today?
 Cassandra, call my father to persuade.
Cassandra exits.
 No, faith, young Troilus, doff thy harness, youth.
35 I am today i’ th’ vein of chivalry.
 Let grow thy sinews till their knots be strong,

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 5. SC. 3

 And tempt not yet the brushes of the war.
 Unarm thee, go, and doubt thou not, brave boy,
 I’ll stand today for thee and me and Troy.
40 Brother, you have a vice of mercy in you
 Which better fits a lion than a man.
 What vice is that? Good Troilus, chide me for it.
 When many times the captive Grecian falls,
 Even in the fan and wind of your fair sword,
45 You bid them rise and live.
 O, ’tis fair play.
TROILUS  Fool’s play, by heaven. Hector.
 How now? How now?
TROILUS  For th’ love of all the gods,
50 Let’s leave the hermit Pity with our mother,
 And when we have our armors buckled on,
 The venomed Vengeance ride upon our swords,
 Spur them to ruthful work, rein them from ruth.
 Fie, savage, fie!
TROILUS 55 Hector, then ’tis wars.
 Troilus, I would not have you fight today.
TROILUS Who should withhold me?
 Not fate, obedience, nor the hand of Mars,
 Beck’ning with fiery truncheon my retire;
60 Not Priamus and Hecuba on knees,
 Their eyes o’er-gallèd with recourse of tears;
 Nor you, my brother, with your true sword drawn
 Opposed to hinder me, should stop my way,
 But by my ruin.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 5. SC. 3

Enter Priam and Cassandra.

CASSANDRA, indicating Hector 
65 Lay hold upon him, Priam; hold him fast.
 He is thy crutch. Now if thou loose thy stay,
 Thou on him leaning, and all Troy on thee,
 Fall all together.
PRIAM  Come, Hector, come. Go back.
70 Thy wife hath dreamt, thy mother hath had visions,
 Cassandra doth foresee, and I myself
 Am like a prophet suddenly enrapt
 To tell thee that this day is ominous.
 Therefore, come back.
HECTOR 75 Aeneas is afield,
 And I do stand engaged to many Greeks,
 Even in the faith of valor, to appear
 This morning to them.
PRIAM  Ay, but thou shalt not go.
HECTOR 80I must not break my faith.
 You know me dutiful; therefore, dear sir,
 Let me not shame respect, but give me leave
 To take that course by your consent and voice
 Which you do here forbid me, royal Priam.
85 O Priam, yield not to him!
ANDROMACHE  Do not, dear father.
 Andromache, I am offended with you.
 Upon the love you bear me, get you in.
Andromache exits.
 This foolish, dreaming, superstitious girl
90 Makes all these bodements.
CASSANDRA  O farewell, dear Hector.
 Look how thou diest! Look how thy eye turns pale!
 Look how thy wounds do bleed at many vents!

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 5. SC. 3

 Hark, how Troy roars, how Hecuba cries out,
95 How poor Andromache shrills her dolor forth!
 Behold, distraction, frenzy, and amazement,
 Like witless antics, one another meet,
 And all cry “Hector! Hector’s dead! O, Hector!”
TROILUS Away, away!
100 Farewell.—Yet soft! Hector, I take my leave.
 Thou dost thyself and all our Troy deceive.She exits.
 You are amazed, my liege, at her exclaim.
 Go in and cheer the town. We’ll forth and fight,
 Do deeds worth praise, and tell you them at night.
105 Farewell. The gods with safety stand about thee!
Hector and Priam exit at separate doors.
 They are at it, hark! Proud Diomed, believe,
 I come to lose my arm or win my sleeve.

Enter Pandarus, with a paper.

PANDARUS Do you hear, my lord? Do you hear?
TROILUS What now?
PANDARUS 110Here’s a letter come from yond poor girl.
TROILUS Let me read.He reads.
PANDARUS A whoreson phthisic, a whoreson rascally
 phthisic so troubles me, and the foolish fortune of
 this girl, and what one thing, what another, that I
115 shall leave you one o’ these days. And I have a
 rheum in mine eyes too, and such an ache in my
 bones that, unless a man were cursed, I cannot tell
 what to think on ’t.—What says she there?
 Words, words, mere words, no matter from the heart.
120 Th’ effect doth operate another way.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 5. SC. 4

 Go, wind, to wind! There turn and change together.
He tears up the paper and throws the pieces in the air.
 My love with words and errors still she feeds,
 But edifies another with her deeds.
They exit.

Scene 4
Alarum. Excursions. Enter Thersites.

THERSITES Now they are clapper-clawing one another.
 I’ll go look on. That dissembling abominable varlet,
 Diomed, has got that same scurvy doting foolish
 young knave’s sleeve of Troy there in his helm.
5 I would fain see them meet, that that same young
 Trojan ass that loves the whore there might send
 that Greekish whoremasterly villain with the sleeve
 back to the dissembling luxurious drab, of a sleeveless
 errand. O’ th’ t’other side, the policy of those
10 crafty swearing rascals—that stale old mouse-eaten
 dry cheese, Nestor, and that same dog-fox,
 Ulysses—is proved not worth a blackberry. They
 set me up, in policy, that mongrel cur, Ajax, against
 that dog of as bad a kind, Achilles. And now is the
15 cur Ajax prouder than the cur Achilles, and will
 not arm today, whereupon the Grecians begin to
 proclaim barbarism, and policy grows into an ill

Enter Diomedes, and Troilus pursuing him.

 Soft! Here comes sleeve and t’ other.
Thersites moves aside.
TROILUS, to Diomedes 
20 Fly not, for shouldst thou take the river Styx
 I would swim after.
DIOMEDES  Thou dost miscall retire.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 5. SC. 5

 I do not fly, but advantageous care
 Withdrew me from the odds of multitude.
25 Have at thee!They fight.
THERSITES Hold thy whore, Grecian! Now for thy
 whore, Trojan! Now the sleeve, now the sleeve!
Diomedes and Troilus exit fighting.

Enter Hector.

 What art thou, Greek? Art thou for Hector’s match?
 Art thou of blood and honor?
THERSITES 30No, no, I am a rascal, a scurvy railing
 knave, a very filthy rogue.
HECTOR I do believe thee. Live.He exits.
THERSITES God-a-mercy, that thou wilt believe me!
 But a plague break thy neck for frighting me!
35 What’s become of the wenching rogues? I think
 they have swallowed one another. I would laugh at
 that miracle—yet, in a sort, lechery eats itself. I’ll
 seek them.
He exits.

Scene 5
Enter Diomedes and Servingman.

 Go, go, my servant, take thou Troilus’ horse;
 Present the fair steed to my Lady Cressid.
 Fellow, commend my service to her beauty.
 Tell her I have chastised the amorous Trojan
5 And am her knight by proof.
MAN  I go, my lord.He exits.

Enter Agamemnon.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 5. SC. 5

 Renew, renew! The fierce Polydamas
 Hath beat down Menon; bastard Margareton
 Hath Doreus prisoner,
10 And stands colossus-wise, waving his beam
 Upon the pashèd corses of the kings
 Epistrophus and Cedius. Polyxenes is slain,
 Amphimachus and Thoas deadly hurt,
 Patroclus ta’en or slain, and Palamedes
15 Sore hurt and bruised. The dreadful Sagittary
 Appals our numbers. Haste we, Diomed,
 To reinforcement, or we perish all.

Enter Nestor, with Soldiers bearing the body of

 Go, bear Patroclus’ body to Achilles,
 And bid the snail-paced Ajax arm for shame.
Soldiers exit with Patroclus’s body.
20 There is a thousand Hectors in the field.
 Now here he fights on Galathe his horse,
 And here lacks work; anon he’s there afoot
 And there they fly or die, like scalèd schools
 Before the belching whale; then is he yonder,
25 And there the strawy Greeks, ripe for his edge,
 Fall down before him like a mower’s swath.
 Here, there, and everywhere he leaves and takes,
 Dexterity so obeying appetite
 That what he will he does, and does so much
30 That proof is called impossibility.

Enter Ulysses.

 O, courage, courage, princes! Great Achilles
 Is arming, weeping, cursing, vowing vengeance.
 Patroclus’ wounds have roused his drowsy blood,
 Together with his mangled Myrmidons,

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 5. SC. 6

35 That noseless, handless, hacked and chipped, come
 to him,
 Crying on Hector. Ajax hath lost a friend
 And foams at mouth, and he is armed and at it,
 Roaring for Troilus, who hath done today
40 Mad and fantastic execution,
 Engaging and redeeming of himself
 With such a careless force and forceless care
 As if that luck, in very spite of cunning,
 Bade him win all.

Enter Ajax.

AJAX 45Troilus, thou coward Troilus!He exits.
DIOMEDES Ay, there, there!He exits.
NESTOR So, so, we draw together.

Enter Achilles.

ACHILLES Where is this Hector?—
 Come, come, thou boy-queller, show thy face!
50 Know what it is to meet Achilles angry.
 Hector! Where’s Hector? I will none but Hector.
He exits, with the others.

Scene 6
Enter Ajax.

 Troilus, thou coward Troilus, show thy head!

Enter Diomedes.

DIOMEDES Troilus, I say! Where’s Troilus?
AJAX What wouldst thou?
DIOMEDES I would correct him.
5 Were I the General, thou shouldst have my office
 Ere that correction.—Troilus, I say! What, Troilus!

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 5. SC. 6

Enter Troilus.

 O traitor Diomed! Turn thy false face, thou traitor,
 And pay the life thou owest me for my horse!
DIOMEDES Ha! Art thou there?
10 I’ll fight with him alone. Stand, Diomed.
 He is my prize. I will not look upon.
 Come, both you cogging Greeks. Have at you both!

Enter Hector.

Troilus exits, fighting Diomedes and Ajax.
 Yea, Troilus? O, well fought, my youngest brother!

Enter Achilles.

 Now do I see thee. Ha! Have at thee, Hector!
They fight.
HECTOR 15Pause if thou wilt.
 I do disdain thy courtesy, proud Trojan.
 Be happy that my arms are out of use.
 My rest and negligence befriends thee now,
 But thou anon shalt hear of me again;
20 Till when, go seek thy fortune.He exits.
HECTOR  Fare thee well.
 I would have been much more a fresher man
 Had I expected thee.

Enter Troilus.

 How now, my brother?

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 5. SC. 7

25 Ajax hath ta’en Aeneas. Shall it be?
 No, by the flame of yonder glorious heaven,
 He shall not carry him. I’ll be ta’en too
 Or bring him off. Fate, hear me what I say!
 I reck not though I end my life today.
He exits.

Enter one in Greek armor.

30 Stand, stand, thou Greek! Thou art a goodly mark.
 No? Wilt thou not? I like thy armor well.
 I’ll frush it and unlock the rivets all,
 But I’ll be master of it.The Greek exits.
 Wilt thou not, beast, abide?
35 Why then, fly on. I’ll hunt thee for thy hide.
He exits.

Scene 7
Enter Achilles, with Myrmidons.

 Come here about me, you my Myrmidons.
 Mark what I say. Attend me where I wheel.
 Strike not a stroke, but keep yourselves in breath,
 And, when I have the bloody Hector found,
5 Empale him with your weapons round about.
 In fellest manner execute your arms.
 Follow me, sirs, and my proceedings eye.
 It is decreed Hector the great must die.
They exit.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 5. SC. 9

Scene 8
Enter Thersites; then Menelaus fighting Paris.

THERSITES The cuckold and the cuckold-maker are at
 it. Now, bull! Now, dog! Loo, Paris, loo! Now, my
 double-horned Spartan! Loo, Paris, loo! The bull
 has the game. Ware horns, ho!
Paris and Menelaus exit, fighting.

Enter Bastard.

BASTARD 5Turn, slave, and fight.
THERSITES What art thou?
BASTARD A bastard son of Priam’s.
THERSITES I am a bastard too. I love bastards. I am
 bastard begot, bastard instructed, bastard in mind,
10 bastard in valor, in everything illegitimate. One
 bear will not bite another, and wherefore should
 one bastard? Take heed: the quarrel’s most ominous
 to us. If the son of a whore fight for a whore,
 he tempts judgment. Farewell, bastard.He exits.
BASTARD 15The devil take thee, coward!
He exits.

Scene 9
Enter Hector, with the body of the Greek in armor.

 Most putrefied core, so fair without,
 Thy goodly armor thus hath cost thy life.
 Now is my day’s work done. I’ll take my breath.
 Rest, sword; thou hast thy fill of blood and death.
He begins to disarm.

Enter Achilles and his Myrmidons.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 5. SC. 10

5 Look, Hector, how the sun begins to set,
 How ugly night comes breathing at his heels.
 Even with the vail and dark’ning of the sun
 To close the day up, Hector’s life is done.
 I am unarmed. Forgo this vantage, Greek.
10 Strike, fellows, strike! This is the man I seek.
The Myrmidons kill Hector.
 So, Ilium, fall thou next! Come, Troy, sink down!
 Here lies thy heart, thy sinews, and thy bone.
 On, Myrmidons, and cry you all amain
 “Achilles hath the mighty Hector slain.”
Retreat sounded from both armies.
15 Hark! A retire upon our Grecian part.
 The Trojan trumpets sound the like, my lord.
 The dragon wing of night o’erspreads the Earth
 And, stickler-like, the armies separates.
 My half-supped sword, that frankly would have fed,
20 Pleased with this dainty bait, thus goes to bed.
He sheathes his sword.
 Come, tie his body to my horse’s tail;
 Along the field I will the Trojan trail.
They exit with the bodies.

Scene 10
Sound retreat. Enter Agamemnon, Ajax, Menelaus,
Nestor, Diomedes, and the rest, marching to the beat of
 Shout within.

AGAMEMNON Hark, hark, what shout is this?
NESTOR Peace, drums!The drums cease.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 5. SC. 11

SOLDIERS, within 
 Achilles! Achilles! Hector’s slain! Achilles!
 The bruit is Hector’s slain, and by Achilles.
5 If it be so, yet bragless let it be.
 Great Hector was as good a man as he.
 March patiently along. Let one be sent
 To pray Achilles see us at our tent.
 If in his death the gods have us befriended,
10 Great Troy is ours, and our sharp wars are ended.
They exit, marching.

Scene 11
Enter Aeneas, Paris, Antenor, Deiphobus, and Trojan

 Stand, ho! Yet are we masters of the field.
 Never go home; here starve we out the night.

Enter Troilus.

 Hector is slain.
ALL  Hector! The gods forbid!
5 He’s dead, and at the murderer’s horse’s tail,
 In beastly sort, dragged through the shameful field.
 Frown on, you heavens; effect your rage with speed.
 Sit, gods, upon your thrones, and smite at Troy!
 I say at once: let your brief plagues be mercy,
10 And linger not our sure destructions on!
 My lord, you do discomfort all the host.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 5. SC. 11

 You understand me not that tell me so.
 I do not speak of flight, of fear, of death,
 But dare all imminence that gods and men
15 Address their dangers in. Hector is gone.
 Who shall tell Priam so, or Hecuba?
 Let him that will a screech-owl aye be called
 Go into Troy and say their Hector’s dead.
 There is a word will Priam turn to stone,
20 Make wells and Niobes of the maids and wives,
 Cold statues of the youth and, in a word,
 Scare Troy out of itself. But march away.
 Hector is dead. There is no more to say.
 Stay yet. You vile abominable tents,
25 Thus proudly pitched upon our Phrygian plains,
 Let Titan rise as early as he dare,
 I’ll through and through you! And, thou great-sized
 No space of earth shall sunder our two hates.
30 I’ll haunt thee like a wicked conscience still,
 That moldeth goblins swift as frenzy’s thoughts.
 Strike a free march to Troy! With comfort go.
 Hope of revenge shall hide our inward woe.

Enter Pandarus.

PANDARUS But hear you, hear you!
35 Hence, broker, lackey! Ignomy and shame
 Pursue thy life, and live aye with thy name!
All but Pandarus exit.
PANDARUS A goodly medicine for my aching bones! O
 world, world, world! Thus is the poor agent despised.
 O traitors and bawds, how earnestly are
40 you set a-work, and how ill requited! Why should
 our endeavor be so loved and the performance so
 loathed? What verse for it? What instance for it?

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 5. SC. 11

 Let me see:
 Full merrily the humble-bee doth sing,
45 Till he hath lost his honey and his sting;
 And being once subdued in armèd tail,
 Sweet honey and sweet notes together fail.

 Good traders in the flesh, set this in your painted
50 As many as be here of panders’ hall,
 Your eyes, half out, weep out at Pandar’s fall;
 Or if you cannot weep, yet give some groans,
 Though not for me, yet for your aching bones.
 Brethren and sisters of the hold-door trade,
55 Some two months hence my will shall here be made.
 It should be now, but that my fear is this:
 Some gallèd goose of Winchester would hiss.
 Till then I’ll sweat and seek about for eases,
 And at that time bequeath you my diseases.
He exits.