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Troilus and Cressida Scenes

Scene 1

Troy. Before Priam’s palace.

(Pandarus; Troilus; Aeneas)

Troilus, lovesick for Cressida, has no desire to go fighting. Her uncle Pandarus, his go-between, advises patience, but Troilus thinks he has been patient for much too long. Pandarus threatens to no longer help him. Aeneas comes by and is curious as to why Troilus isn’t fighting. Troilus hides the real reason and asks how the battle is going. (93 lines)

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 Troyan that is master of his heart,

Let him to field, Troilus, alas, hath none.


Will this gear ne’er be mended?


The Greeks are strong, and skillful to their strength,

Fierce to their skill, and to their fierceness valiant,

But I am weaker than a woman’s tear,

Tamer than sleep, fonder than ignorance,

Less valiant than the virgin in the night,

And skilless as unpractic’d infancy.


Well, I have told you enough of this. For my part, I’ll not meddle nor make no farther. He that will have a cake out of the wheat must tarry the grinding.


Have I not tarried?


Ay, the grinding; but you must tarry the bolting.


Have I not tarried?


Ay, the bolting; but you must tarry the leavening.


Still have I tarried.


Ay, to the leavening, but here’s yet in the word “hereafter” the kneading, the making of the cake, the heating the oven, and the baking; nay, you must stay the cooling too, or ye 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,

And when fair Cressid comes into my thoughts—

So, traitor, then she comes when she is thence.


Well, she look’d yesternight fairer than ever

I saw her look, or any woman else.


I was about to tell thee—when my heart,

As wedged 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,

But sorrow that is couch’d in seeming gladness

Is like that mirth fate turns to sudden sadness.


And 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 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—

When I do tell thee there my hopes lie drown’d,

Reply not in how many fathoms deep

They lie indrench’d. I tell thee I am mad

In Cressid’s love; thou answer’st she is fair,

Pourest in the open ulcer of my heart

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

Hard as the palm of ploughman. This thou tell’st me,

As true thou tell’st me, when I say I love her,

But saying thus, in stead of oil and balm,

Thou lay’st in every gash that love hath given me

The knife that made it.


I speak no more than truth.


Thou dost not speak so much.


Faith, I’ll not meddle in it, let her be as she is; if she be fair, ’tis the better for her; and she be not, she has the mends in her own hands.


Good Pandarus! How now, 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.


What, art thou angry, Pandarus? What, with me?


Because she’s kin to me, therefore she’s not so fair as Helen. And she were not kin to me, she would be as fair a’ Friday as Helen is on Sunday. But what care I? I care not and she were a blackamoor, ’tis all one to me.


Say I she is not fair?


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 part, I’ll meddle nor make no more i’ th’ matter.




Not I.


Sweet Pandarus—


Pray you speak no more to me, I will leave all as I found it, and there an end.

Exit. 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;

It is too starv’d 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 woo’d to woo,

As she is stubborn-chaste against all suit.

Tell me, Apollo, for thy Daphne’s 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 call’d the wild and wand’ring flood,

Ourself the merchant, and this sailing Pandar

Our doubtful hope, our convoy, and our bark.

Alarum. Enter Aeneas.


How now, Prince Troilus, wherefore not a-field?


Because not there. This woman’s answer sorts,

For womanish it is to be from thence.

What news, Aeneas, from the field today?


That Paris is returned home and hurt.


By whom, Aeneas?


Troilus, by Menelaus.


Let Paris bleed, ’tis but a scar to scorn;

Paris is gor’d with Menelaus’ horn.



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.


Come go we then together.



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