The History of Troilus and Cressida
SCENE II. The Same. A street.
Enter CRESSIDA and ALEXANDER
Who were those went by?
Queen Hecuba and Helen.
And whither go they?
Up to the eastern tower,
Whose height commands as subject all the vale,
To see the battle. Hector, whose patience
Is, as a virtue, fix'd, to-day was moved:
He chid Andromache and struck his armourer,
And, like as there were husbandry in war,
Before the sun rose he was harness'd light,
And to the field goes he; where every flower
Did, as a prophet, weep what it foresaw
In Hector's wrath.
What was his cause of anger?
The noise goes, this: there is among the Greeks
A lord of Trojan blood, nephew to Hector;
They call him Ajax.
Good; and what of him?
They say he is a very man per se,
And stands alone.
So do all men, unless they are drunk, sick, or have no legs.
This man, lady, hath robbed many beasts of their
particular additions; he is as valiant as the lion,
churlish as the bear, slow as the elephant: a man
into whom nature hath so crowded humours that his
valour is crushed into folly, his folly sauced with
discretion: there is no man hath a virtue that he
hath not a glimpse of, nor any man an attaint but he
carries some stain of it: he is melancholy without
cause, and merry against the hair: he hath the
joints of every thing, but everything so out of joint
that he is a gouty Briareus, many hands and no use,
or purblind Argus, all eyes and no sight.
But how should this man, that makes
me smile, make Hector angry?
They say he yesterday coped Hector in the battle and
struck him down, the disdain and shame whereof hath
ever since kept Hector fasting and waking.
Madam, your uncle Pandarus.
Hector's a gallant man.
As may be in the world, lady.
What's that? what's that?
Good morrow, uncle Pandarus.
Good morrow, cousin Cressid: what do you talk of?
Good morrow, Alexander. How do you, cousin? When
were you at Ilium?
This morning, uncle.
What were you talking of when I came? Was Hector
armed and gone ere ye came to Ilium? Helen was not
up, was she?
Hector was gone, but Helen was not up.
Even so: Hector was stirring early.
That were we talking of, and of his anger.
So he says here.
True, he was so: I know the cause too: he'll lay
about him to-day, I can tell them that: and there's
Troilus will not come far behind him: let them take
heed of Troilus, I can tell them that too.
What, is he angry too?
Who, Troilus? Troilus is the better man of the two.
O Jupiter! there's no comparison.
What, not between Troilus and Hector? Do you know a
man if you see him?
Ay, if I ever saw him before and knew him.
Well, I say Troilus is Troilus.
Then you say as I say; for, I am sure, he is not Hector.
No, nor Hector is not Troilus in some degrees.
'Tis just to each of them; he is himself.
Himself! Alas, poor Troilus! I would he were.
Condition, I had gone barefoot to India.
He is not Hector.
Himself! no, he's not himself: would a' were
himself! Well, the gods are above; time must friend
or end: well, Troilus, well: I would my heart were
in her body. No, Hector is not a better man than Troilus.
Pardon me, pardon me.
Th' other's not come to't; you shall tell me another
tale, when th' other's come to't. Hector shall not
have his wit this year.
He shall not need it, if he have his own.
Nor his qualities.
'Twould not become him; his own's better.
You have no judgment, niece: Helen
herself swore th' other day, that Troilus, for
a brown favour--for so 'tis, I must confess,--
not brown neither,--
'Faith, to say truth, brown and not brown.
To say the truth, true and not true.
She praised his complexion above Paris.
Why, Paris hath colour enough.
Then Troilus should have too much: if she praised
him above, his complexion is higher than his; he
having colour enough, and the other higher, is too
flaming a praise for a good complexion. I had as
lief Helen's golden tongue had commended Troilus for
a copper nose.
I swear to you. I think Helen loves him better than Paris.
Then she's a merry Greek indeed.
Nay, I am sure she does. She came to him th' other
day into the compassed window,--and, you know, he
has not past three or four hairs on his chin,--
Indeed, a tapster's arithmetic may soon bring his
particulars therein to a total.
Why, he is very young: and yet will he, within
three pound, lift as much as his brother Hector.
Is he so young a man and so old a lifter?
But to prove to you that Helen loves him: she came
and puts me her white hand to his cloven chin--
Juno have mercy! how came it cloven?
Why, you know 'tis dimpled: I think his smiling
becomes him better than any man in all Phrygia.
O, he smiles valiantly.
O yes, an 'twere a cloud in autumn.
Why, go to, then: but to prove to you that Helen
Troilus will stand to the proof, if you'll
prove it so.
Troilus! why, he esteems her no more than I esteem
an addle egg.
If you love an addle egg as well as you love an idle
head, you would eat chickens i' the shell.
I cannot choose but laugh, to think how she tickled
his chin: indeed, she has a marvellous white hand, I
must needs confess,--
Without the rack.
And she takes upon her to spy a white hair on his chin.
Alas, poor chin! many a wart is richer.
But there was such laughing! Queen Hecuba laughed
that her eyes ran o'er.
And Cassandra laughed.
But there was more temperate fire under the pot of
her eyes: did her eyes run o'er too?
And Hector laughed.
At what was all this laughing?
Marry, at the white hair that Helen spied on Troilus' chin.
An't had been a green hair, I should have laughed
They laughed not so much at the hair as at his pretty answer.
What was his answer?
Quoth she, 'Here's but two and fifty hairs on your
chin, and one of them is white.
This is her question.
That's true; make no question of that. 'Two and
fifty hairs' quoth he, 'and one white: that white
hair is my father, and all the rest are his sons.'
'Jupiter!' quoth she, 'which of these hairs is Paris,
my husband? 'The forked one,' quoth he, 'pluck't
out, and give it him.' But there was such laughing!
and Helen so blushed, an Paris so chafed, and all the
rest so laughed, that it passed.
So let it now; for it has been while going by.
Well, cousin. I told you a thing yesterday; think on't.
I'll be sworn 'tis true; he will weep you, an 'twere
a man born in April.
And I'll spring up in his tears, an 'twere a nettle
A retreat sounded
Hark! they are coming from the field: shall we
stand up here, and see them as they pass toward
Ilium? good niece, do, sweet niece Cressida.
At your pleasure.
Here, here, here's an excellent place; here we may
see most bravely: I'll tell you them all by their
names as they pass by; but mark Troilus above the rest.
Speak not so loud.
That's AEneas: is not that a brave man? he's one of
the flowers of Troy, I can tell you: but mark
Troilus; you shall see anon.
That's Antenor: he has a shrewd wit, I can tell you;
and he's a man good enough, he's one o' the soundest
judgments in whosoever, and a proper man of person.
When comes Troilus? I'll show you Troilus anon: if
he see me, you shall see him nod at me.
Will he give you the nod?
If he do, the rich shall have more.
That's Hector, that, that, look you, that; there's a
fellow! Go thy way, Hector! There's a brave man,
niece. O brave Hector! Look how he looks! there's
a countenance! is't not a brave man?
Is a' not? it does a man's heart good. Look you
what hacks are on his helmet! look you yonder, do
you see? look you there: there's no jesting;
there's laying on, take't off who will, as they say:
there be hacks!
Be those with swords?
Swords! any thing, he cares not; an the devil come
to him, it's all one: by God's lid, it does one's
heart good. Yonder comes Paris, yonder comes Paris.
Look ye yonder, niece; is't not a gallant man too,
is't not? Why, this is brave now. Who said he came
hurt home to-day? he's not hurt: why, this will do
Helen's heart good now, ha! Would I could see
Troilus now! You shall see Troilus anon.
That's Helenus. I marvel where Troilus is. That's
Helenus. I think he went not forth to-day. That's Helenus.
Can Helenus fight, uncle?
Helenus? no. Yes, he'll fight indifferent well. I
marvel where Troilus is. Hark! do you not hear the
people cry 'Troilus'? Helenus is a priest.
What sneaking fellow comes yonder?
Where? yonder? that's Deiphobus. 'Tis Troilus!
there's a man, niece! Hem! Brave Troilus! the
prince of chivalry!
Peace, for shame, peace!
Mark him; note him. O brave Troilus! Look well upon
him, niece: look you how his sword is bloodied, and
his helm more hacked than Hector's, and how he looks,
and how he goes! O admirable youth! he ne'er saw
three and twenty. Go thy way, Troilus, go thy way!
Had I a sister were a grace, or a daughter a goddess,
he should take his choice. O admirable man! Paris?
Paris is dirt to him; and, I warrant, Helen, to
change, would give an eye to boot.
Asses, fools, dolts! chaff and bran, chaff and bran!
porridge after meat! I could live and die i' the
eyes of Troilus. Ne'er look, ne'er look: the eagles
are gone: crows and daws, crows and daws! I had
rather be such a man as Troilus than Agamemnon and
There is among the Greeks Achilles, a better man than Troilus.
Achilles! a drayman, a porter, a very camel.
'Well, well!' why, have you any discretion? have
you any eyes? Do you know what a man is? Is not
birth, beauty, good shape, discourse, manhood,
learning, gentleness, virtue, youth, liberality,
and such like, the spice and salt that season a man?
Ay, a minced man: and then to be baked with no date
in the pie, for then the man's date's out.
You are such a woman! one knows not at what ward you
Upon my back, to defend my belly; upon my wit, to
defend my wiles; upon my secrecy, to defend mine
honesty; my mask, to defend my beauty; and you, to
defend all these: and at all these wards I lie, at a
Say one of your watches.
Nay, I'll watch you for that; and that's one of the
chiefest of them too: if I cannot ward what I would
not have hit, I can watch you for telling how I took
the blow; unless it swell past hiding, and then it's
You are such another!
Enter Troilus's Boy
Sir, my lord would instantly speak with you.
At your own house; there he unarms him.
Good boy, tell him I come.
I doubt he be hurt. Fare ye well, good niece.
I'll be with you, niece, by and by.
To bring, uncle?
Ay, a token from Troilus.
By the same token, you are a bawd.
Words, vows, gifts, tears, and love's full sacrifice,
He offers in another's enterprise;
But more in Troilus thousand fold I see
Than in the glass of Pandar's praise may be;
Yet hold I off. Women are angels, wooing:
Things won are done; joy's soul lies in the doing.
That she beloved knows nought that knows not this:
Men prize the thing ungain'd more than it is:
That she was never yet that ever knew
Love got so sweet as when desire did sue.
Therefore this maxim out of love I teach:
Achievement is command; ungain'd, beseech:
Then though my heart's content firm love doth bear,
Nothing of that shall from mine eyes appear.
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Thursday 4 June 2020