The Grecian camp. Before Calchas’s tent.
(Diomedes; Troilus; Ulysses; Thersites; Cressida; Aeneas)
Ulysses and Troilus hide and spy on Diomedes and Cressida, while Thersites hides even further back and snoops on them all. Cressida speaks kindly enough to Diomedes, who is clearly taken with her, and Troilus is furious, to the extent that Ulysses tries to get him to leave. Despite apparent misgivings Cressida is soon stroking Diomedes’s cheek, and though she has begged him not to make her, she goes to fetch a token for him. She hands him over the sleeve that Troilus gave her as a remembrance, to the Trojan’s horror. She tries to take it back, but Diomedes insists on it. She refuses to tell him who gave it to her, but he swears to wear it on his helmet in the battle the next time as a challenge to her former lover. She is forced to accept to herself that she has given Troilus up. Troilus tries to deny what he has seen, but cannot. Ulysses has little sympathy for the almost-maddened youth, who’s making rather a lot of noise. Aeneas arrives, points out that it’s almost time for battle to begin, and suggests that Troilus take himself home. Thersites, who has commented throughout, dismisses all this talk of love as nothing but lust. (210 lines)
What, are you up here, ho? Speak!
Diomed. Calchas, I think. Where’s your daughter?
She comes to you.
Enter Troilus and Ulysses at a distance; after them, Thersites.
Stand where the torch may not discover us.
Cressid comes forth to him.
How now, my charge?
Now, my sweet guardian, hark, a word with you.
Yea, so familiar?
She will sing any man at first sight.
And any man may sing her, if he can take her cliff; she’s noted.
Will you remember?
Nay, but do then,
And let your mind be coupled with your words.
What shall she remember?
Sweet honey Greek, tempt me no more to folly.
I’ll tell you what—
Fo, fo, come, tell a pin. You are forsworn.
In faith, I cannot. What would you have me do?
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,
Bid me do any thing but that, sweet Greek.
How now, Troyan?
No, no, good night, I’ll be your fool no more.
Thy better must.
Hark a word in your ear.
O plague and madness!
You are moved, Prince, let us depart, I pray,
Lest your displeasure should enlarge itself
To wrathful terms. This place is dangerous,
The time right deadly. I beseech you go.
Behold, I pray you.
Now, good my lord, go off;
You flow to great distraction. Come, my lord.
I prithee stay.
You have not patience, come.
I pray you stay. By hell and all hell’s torments,
I will not speak a word.
And so good night.
Nay, but you part in anger.
Doth that grieve thee?
O withered truth!
How now, my lord?
I will be patient.
Guardian! Why, Greek!
Fo, fo, adieu, you palter.
In faith, I do not. Come hither once again.
You shake, my lord, at something; will you go?
You will break out.
She strokes his cheek.
Nay, stay; by Jove I will not speak a word.
There is between my will and all offenses
A guard of patience. Stay a little while.
How the devil Luxury, with his fat rump and potato finger, tickles these together! Fry, lechery, fry!
But will you then?
In faith I will lo, never trust me else.
Give me some token for the surety of it.
I’ll fetch you one.
You have sworn patience.
Fear me not, my lord.
I will not be myself, nor have cognition
Of what I feel; I am all patience.
Now the pledge, now, now, now!
Here, Diomed, keep this sleeve.
O beauty, where is thy faith?
I will be patient, outwardly I will.
You look upon that sleeve, behold it well.
He lov’d me—O false wench!—Give’t me again.
It is no matter now I ha’t again.
I will not meet with you tomorrow night.
I prithee, Diomed, visit me no more.
Now she sharpens. Well said, whetstone!
I shall have it.
O all you gods! O pretty, pretty pledge!
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. Nay, do not snatch it from me.
He that takes that doth take my heart withal.
I had your heart before, this follows it.
I did swear patience.
You shall not have it, Diomed, faith, you shall not.
I’ll give you something else.
I will have this. Whose was it?
It is no matter.
Come, tell me whose it was.
’Twas one’s that lov’d me better than you will.
But now you have it, take it.
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.
Wert thou the devil, and wor’st it on thy horn,
It should be challeng’d.
Well, well, ’tis done, ’tis past. And yet it is not;
I will not keep my word.
Why then farewell,
Thou never shalt mock Diomed again.
You shall not go. One cannot speak a word
But it straight starts you.
I do not like this fooling.
Nor I, by Pluto; but that that likes not you pleases me best.
What, shall I come? The hour—
Ay, come—O Jove!—do come.—I shall be plagued.
Farewell till then.
Good night. I prithee come.
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,
Minds sway’d by eyes are full of turpitude.
A proof of strength she could not publish more,
Unless she said, “My mind is now turn’d whore.”
All’s done, my lord.
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?
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.
Was Cressid here?
I cannot conjure, Troyan.
She was not, sure.
Most sure she was.
Why, my negation hath no taste of madness.
Nor mine, my lord; Cressid was here but now.
Let it not be believ’d for womanhood!
Think we had mothers, do not give advantage
To stubborn critics, apt without a theme
For depravation, to square the general sex
By Cressid’s rule. Rather think this not Cressid.
What hath she done, Prince, that can soil our mothers?
Nothing at all, unless that this were she.
Will ’a swagger himself out on ’s 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,
If there be rule in unity itself,
This was not she. O madness of discourse,
That cause sets up with and against itself!
Bi-fold authority, where reason can revolt
Without perdition, and loss assume all reason
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
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,
The bonds of heaven are slipp’d, dissolv’d, and loos’d,
And with another knot, five-finger-tied,
The fractions of her faith, orts of her love,
The fragments, scraps, the bits and greasy relics
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 divulged well
In characters as red as Mars his heart
Inflam’d with Venus. Never did young man fancy
With so eternal and so fix’d 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.
Were it a casque compos’d by Vulcan’s skill,
My sword should bite it. Not the dreadful spout
Which shipmen do the hurricano call,
Constring’d in mass by the almighty sun,
Shall dizzy with more clamor Neptune’s ear,
In his descent, than shall my prompted sword
Falling on Diomed.
He’ll tickle it for his concupy.
O Cressid! O false Cressid! False, false, false!
Let all untruths stand by thy stained name,
And they’ll seem glorious.
O, contain yourself;
Your passion draws ears hither.
I have been seeking you this hour, my lord.
Hector by this is arming him in Troy;
Ajax, your guard, stays to conduct you home.
Have with you, Prince. My courteous lord, adieu.
Farewell, revolted fair! And, Diomed,
Stand fast, and wear a castle on thy head!
I’ll bring you to the gates.
Accept distracted thanks.
Exeunt Troilus, Aeneas, and Ulysses.
Would I could meet that rogue Diomed! I would croak like a raven, I would bode, I would bode. Patroclus will give me any thing for the intelligence of this whore. The parrot will not do more for an almond than he for a commodious drab. Lechery, lechery, still wars and lechery, nothing else holds fashion. A burning devil take them!