ACT I. SCENE 1. Troy. Before PRIAM'S palace

Enter TROILUS armed, and PANDARUS

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!

PANDARUS. Will this gear ne'er be mended?

TROILUS. The Greeks are strong, and skilful 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 unpractis'd infancy.

PANDARUS. 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 needs tarry the grinding.

TROILUS. Have I not tarried?

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

TROILUS. Have I not tarried?

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

TROILUS. Still have I tarried.

PANDARUS. Ay, to the leavening; but here's yet in the word 'hereafter' the kneading, the making of the cake, the heating of the oven, and the baking; nay, you must stay the cooling too, or you may chance to burn your lips.

TROILUS. 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.

PANDARUS. Well, she look'd yesternight fairer than ever I saw her look, or any woman else.

TROILUS. 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 storm, 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.

PANDARUS. An 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-

TROILUS. 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, Handlest 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, instead of oil and balm, Thou lay'st in every gash that love hath given me The knife that made it.

PANDARUS. I speak no more than truth.

TROILUS. Thou dost not speak so much.

PANDARUS. Faith, I'll not meddle in it. Let her be as she is: if she be fair, 'tis the better for her; an she be not, she has the mends in her own hands.

TROILUS. Good Pandarus! How now, Pandarus!

PANDARUS. I have had my labour for my travail, ill thought on of her and ill thought on of you; gone between and between, but small thanks for my labour.

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

PANDARUS. Because she's kin to me, therefore she's not so fair as

HELEN. An 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 an she were a blackamoor; 'tis all one to me.

TROILUS. Say I she is not fair?

The History of Troilus and Cressida Page 03

William Shakespeare Plays

Free Books in the public domain from the Classic Literature Library ©

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

All Pages of This Book
The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eight