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Troilus and Cressida Scenes

Scene 3

Troy. Before Priam’s palace.

(Hector; Andromache; Cassandra; Troilus; Priam; Pandar)

Hector’s wife Andromache has suffered from evil dreams prophesying danger to him, and begs him not to go to the battle. Cassandra too comes to plead for the same purpose, but he insists. Troilus comes in armed, and ready for battle. At first Hector tries to have him stay him for his own honor, but as Troilus raves and looks forward to slaughter, he becomes even more concerned, not wanting his brother to go out in such a bloody mood. Priam comes in, and tells Hector that he and Hecuba too have had premonitory dreams; he too asks Hector to remain in Troy. But Hector points out that he has promised to fight with many of the Greeks today, and insists that he will not fail them. Troilus blames Cassandra for all these bad dreams, and the poor mad creature bids Hector a final farewell, knowing that he is going to die. Pandarus brings Troilus a letter from Cressida, but the young man says it is meaningless, and tears it to pieces. (117 lines)

Enter Hector and Andromache.


When was my lord so much ungently temper’d

To stop his ears against admonishment?

Unarm, unarm, and do not fight today.


You train me to offend you, get you in.

By all the everlasting gods, I’ll go!


My dreams will sure prove ominous to the day.


No more, I say.

Enter Cassandra.


Where is my brother Hector?


Here, sister, arm’d, and bloody in intent.

Consort with me in loud and dear petition,

Pursue we him on knees; for I have dreamt

Of bloody turbulence, and this whole night

Hath nothing been but shapes and forms of slaughter.


O, ’tis true.


Ho! Bid my trumpet sound!


No notes of sally, for the heavens, sweet brother.


Be gone, I say, the gods have heard me swear.


The gods are deaf to hot and peevish vows;

They are polluted off’rings, more abhorr’d

Than spotted livers in the sacrifice.


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.


It is the purpose that makes strong the vow,

But vows to every purpose must not hold;

Unarm, sweet Hector.


Hold you still, I say;

Mine honor keeps the weather of my fate.

Life every man holds dear, but the dear man

Holds honor far more precious-dear than life.

Enter Troilus.

How now, young man, meanest thou to fight today?


Cassandra, call my father to persuade.

Exit Cassandra.


No, faith, young Troilus, doff thy harness, youth,

I am today i’ th’ vein of chivalry.

Let grow thy sinews till their knots be strong,

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.


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,

You bid them rise and live.


O, ’tis fair play.


Fool’s play, by heaven, Hector.


How now? How now?


For th’ love of all the gods,

Let’s leave the hermit pity with our mother,

And when we have our armors buckled on,

The venom’d vengeance ride upon our swords,

Spur them to ruthful work, rein them from ruth.


Fie, savage, fie!


Hector, then ’tis wars.


Troilus, I would not have you fight today.


Who should withhold me?

Not fate, obedience, nor the hand of Mars

Beck’ning with fiery truncheon my retire,

Not Priamus and Hecuba on knees,

Their eyes o’ergalled with recourse of tears,

Nor you, my brother, with your true sword drawn,

Oppos’d to hinder me, should stop my way,

But by my ruin.

Enter Priam and Cassandra.


Lay hold upon him, Priam, hold him fast,

He is thy crutch. Now if thou lose thy stay,

Thou on him leaning, and all Troy on thee,

Fall all together.


Come, Hector, come, go back.

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.


Aeneas is a-field,

And I do stand engag’d to many Greeks,

Even in the faith of valor, to appear

This morning to them.


Ay, but thou shalt not go.


I 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.


O Priam, yield not to him.


Do not, dear father.


Andromache, I am offended with you,

Upon the love you bear me, get you in.

Exit Andromache.


This foolish, dreaming, superstitious girl

Makes all these bodements.


O, farewell, dear Hector.

Look how thou diest, look how thy eye turns pale.

Look how thy wounds do bleed at many vents,

Hark how Troy roars, how Hecuba cries out,

How poor Andromache shrills her dolors forth.

Behold, distraction, frenzy, and amazement,

Like witless antics, one another meet,

And all cry, Hector! Hector’s dead! O Hector!


Away, away.


Farewell; yet soft: Hector, I take my leave.

Thou dost thyself and all our Troy deceive.



You are amaz’d, 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.


Farewell, the gods with safety stand about thee!

Exeunt severally Priam and Hector. Alarum.


They are at it, hark! Proud Diomed, believe,

I come to lose my arm, or win my sleeve.

Enter Pandar.


Do you hear, my lord? Do you hear?


What now?


Here’s a letter come from yond poor girl.


Let me read.


A whoreson tisick, a whoreson rascally tisick so troubles me, and the foolish fortune of this girl, and what one thing, what another, that I shall leave you one a’ th’s days; and I have a rheum in mine eyes too, and such an ache in my bones, that unless a man were curs’d, I cannot tell what to think on’t. What says she there?


Words, words, mere words, no matter from the heart;

Th’ effect doth operate another way.

Tearing the letter.

Go, wind, to wind, there turn and change together.

My love with words and errors still she feeds,

But edifies another with her deeds.

Exeunt severally.


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