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
(Although my will distaste what it elected)
The wife I chose? 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 soil’d them, nor the remainder 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;
The seas and winds, old wranglers, took a truce,
And did him service; he touch’d the ports desir’d,
And for an old aunt whom the Greeks held captive,
He brought a Grecian queen, whose youth and freshness
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 turn’d crown’d kings to merchants.
If You’ll avouch ’twas wisdom Paris went—
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 clapp’d your hands,
And cried “Inestimable!”—why do you now
The issue of your proper wisdoms rate,
And do a deed that never Fortune did,
Beggar the estimation which you priz’d
Richer than sea and land? O theft most base,
That we have stol’n what we do fear to keep!
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!