The Grecian camp.
(Ajax; Achilles; Patroclus; Agamemnon; Menelaus; Ulysses; Nestor; Cressida; Hector; Paris; Aeneas; Helenus; Troilus; Attendants; Diomedes)
The Greeks arrive at the lists where the fight is to take place, waiting for the Trojans to show up. Diomedes arrives with Cressida, and the Greek leaders, rather taken with her, insist on greeting her by each kissing her. After the first few, she begins to talk back and makes them work for it. Diomedes takes her to Calchas and Ulysses rails against her as a common tart. The Trojans arrive, and the fight between Hector and Ajax gets under way. Agamemnon wonders who the depressed young Trojan is, and Ulysses tells him that it’s Troilus, one of Troy’s best warriors after Hector. The fight ends with no clear victor, and Hector refuses to carry on, on the grounds that he and Ajax are related. Invited to feast with the Greeks, Hector accepts and sends the other Trojans home. Hector is introduced to all the Greek leaders, whom he compliments and who compliment him, until he arrives at Achilles, who announces that he is sizing Hector up like a butcher, deciding exactly how to kill him. Hector berates him for his pride, and the two of them are soon swearing to seek each other out in the battle the next day and fight to the death. Troilus convinces Ulysses to lead him to Calchas’s tent, where Diomedes is having his own feast, to drool over Cressida. (322 lines)
Enter Ajax armed, Achilles, Patroclus, Agamemnon, Menelaus, Ulysses, Nestor, Greek Trumpeter, etc.
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 appalled air
May pierce the head of the great combatant,
And hale him hither.
Thou, trumpet, there’s my purse.
Now crack thy lungs, and split thy brazen pipe.
Blow, villain, till thy sphered bias cheek
Outswell the colic of puff’d Aquilon;
Come, stretch thy chest, and let thy eyes spout blood;
Thou blowest for Hector.
No trumpet answers.
’Tis but early days.
Enter Diomedes and Cressida.
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?
Most dearly welcome to the Greeks, sweet lady.
Our general doth salute you with a kiss.
Yet is the kindness but particular,
’Twere better she were kiss’d in general.
And very courtly counsel. I’ll begin.
So much for Nestor.
I’ll take that winter from your lips, fair lady;
Achilles bids you welcome.
I had good argument for kissing once.
But that’s no argument for kissing now,
For thus popp’d Paris in his hardiment,
And parted thus you and your argument.
O deadly gall, and theme of all our scorns,
For which we lose our heads to gild his horns!
The first was Menelaus’ kiss, this, mine;
Patroclus kisses you.
Kisses her again.
O, this is trim!
Paris and I kiss evermore for him.
I’ll have my kiss, sir. Lady, by your leave.
In kissing, do you render or receive?
Both take and give.
I’ll make my match to live,
The kiss you take is better than you give;
Therefore no kiss.
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.
You fillip me a’ th’ head.
No, I’ll be sworn.
It were no match, your nail against his horn.
May I, sweet lady, beg a kiss of you?
I do desire it.
Why, beg then.
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.
Never’s my day, and then a kiss of you.
Lady, a word. I’ll bring you to your father.
Exit with Cressida.
A woman of quick sense.
Fie, fie upon her!
There’s language in her eye, her cheek, her lip,
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 a coasting welcome ere it comes,
And wide unclasp the tables of their thoughts
To every ticklish reader! Set them down
For sluttish spoils of opportunity,
And daughters of the game.
The Troyans’ trumpet.
Enter all of Troy: Hector armed, Paris, Aeneas, Helenus, Troilus, and Attendants.
Yonder comes the troop.
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
Pursue each other, or shall they be divided
By any voice or order of the field?
Hector bade ask.
Which way would Hector have it?
He cares not, he’ll obey conditions.
’Tis done like Hector.
But securely done,
A little proudly, and great deal misprising
The knight oppos’d.
If not Achilles, sir,
What is your name?
If not Achilles, nothing.
Therefore Achilles, but what e’er, know this:
In the extremity of great and little,
Valor and pride excel themselves in Hector,
The one almost as infinite as all,
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
This blended knight, half Troyan and half Greek.
A maiden battle then? O, I perceive you.
Here is Sir Diomed. Go, gentle knight,
Stand by our Ajax. As you and Lord Aeneas
Consent upon the order of their fight,
So be it, either to the uttermost,
Or else a breath. The combatants being kin
Half stints their strife before their strokes begin.
Ajax and Hector enter the lists.
They are oppos’d already.
What Troyan is that same that looks so heavy?
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 provok’d, nor being provok’d soon calm’d;
His heart and hand both open and both free,
For what he has he gives, what thinks he shows,
Yet gives he not till judgment guide his bounty,
Nor dignifies an impare thought with breath;
Manly as Hector, but more dangerous,
For Hector in his blaze of wrath subscribes
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
Even to his inches, and with private soul
Did in great Ilion thus translate him to me.
Alarum. Hector and Ajax fight.
They are in action.
Now, Ajax, hold thine own!
Hector, thou sleep’st,
His blows are well dispos’d. There, Ajax!
You must no more.
Princes, enough, so please you.
I am not warm yet, let us fight again.
As Hector pleases.
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.
Were thy commixtion Greek and Troyan so
That thou couldst say, “This hand is Grecian all,
And this is Troyan; the sinews of this leg
All Greek, and this all Troy; my mother’s blood
Runs on the dexter cheek, and this sinister
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 borrow’dst from thy mother,
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!
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 earned in thy death.
Not Neoptolemus so mirable,
On whose bright crest Fame with her loud’st Oyes
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.
We’ll answer it:
The issue is embracement. Ajax, farewell.
If I might in entreaties find success,
As seld I have the chance, I would desire
My famous cousin to our Grecian tents.
’Tis Agamemnon’s wish, and great Achilles
Doth long to see unarm’d the valiant Hector.
Aeneas, call my brother Troilus to me,
And signify this loving interview
To the expecters of our Troyan part;
Desire them home. 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.
The worthiest of them tell me name by name;
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,
What’s past and what’s to come is strew’d with husks
And formless ruin of oblivion;
But in this extant moment, faith and troth,
Strain’d purely from all hollow bias-drawing,
Bids thee, with most divine integrity,
From heart of very heart, great Hector, welcome.
I thank thee, most imperious Agamemnon.
My well-fam’d lord of Troy, no less to you.
Let me confirm my princely brother’s greeting:
You brace of warlike brothers, welcome hither.
Who must we answer?
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.
She’s well, but bade me not commend her to you.
Name her not now, sir, she’s a deadly theme.
O, pardon, I offend.
I have, thou gallant Troyan, seen thee oft,
Laboring for destiny, make cruel way
Through ranks of Greekish youth, and I have seen thee,
As hot as Perseus, spur thy Phrygian steed,
Despising many forfeits and subduements,
When thou hast hung thy advanced sword i’ th’ air,
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 hemm’d thee in,
Like an Olympian wrastling. This have I seen,
But this thy countenance, still lock’d 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,
Never like thee. O, let an old man embrace thee,
And, worthy warrior, welcome to our tents.
’Tis the old Nestor.
Let me embrace thee, good old chronicle,
That hast so long walk’d hand in hand with time.
Most reverend Nestor, I am glad to clasp thee.
I would my arms could match thee in contention,
As they contend with thee in courtesy.
I would they could.
By this white beard, I’d fight with thee tomorrow.
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 Troyan dead
Since first I saw yourself and Diomed
In Ilion, 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,
Yon towers, whose wanton tops do buss the clouds,
Must kiss their own feet.
I must not believe you.
There they stand yet, and modestly I think
The fall of every Phrygian stone will cost
A drop of Grecian blood. The end crowns all,
And that old common arbitrator, Time,
Will one day end it.
So to him we leave it.
Most gentle and most valiant Hector, welcome!
After the general, I beseech you next
To feast with me and see me at my tent.
I shall forestall thee, Lord Ulysses, thou!
Now, Hector, I have fed mine eyes on thee;
I have with exact view perus’d thee, Hector,
And quoted joint by joint.
Is this Achilles?
I am Achilles.
Stand fair, I pray thee, let me look on thee.
Behold thy fill.
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.
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 there?—
That I may give the local wound a name,
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
As to prenominate in nice conjecture
Where thou wilt hit me dead?
I tell thee, yea.
Wert thou an oracle to tell me so,
I’d not believe thee. Henceforth guard thee well,
For I’ll not kill thee there, nor there, nor there,
But by the forge that stithied Mars his helm,
I’ll kill thee every where, yea, o’er and o’er.
You wisest Grecians, pardon me this brag.
His insolence draws folly from my lips,
But I’ll endeavor deeds to match these words,
Or may I never—
Do not chafe thee, cousin,
And you, Achilles, let these threats alone,
Till accident or purpose bring you to’t.
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.
I pray you let us see you in the field;
We have had pelting wars since you refus’d
The Grecians’ cause.
Dost thou entreat me, Hector?
Tomorrow do I meet thee, fell as death;
Tonight all friends.
Thy hand upon that match.
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,
That this great soldier may his welcome know.
Exeunt all but Troilus and Ulysses.
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,
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,
To bring me thither?
You shall command me, sir.
But gentle tell me, of what honor was
This Cressida in Troy? Had she no lover there
That wails her absence?
O, sir, to such as boasting show their scars
A mock is due. Will you walk on, my lord?
She was belov’d, she lov’d; she is, and doth:
But still sweet love is food for fortune’s tooth.