TROILUS. Nothing, but our undertakings when we vow to weep seas, live in fire, eat rocks, tame tigers; thinking it harder for our mistress to devise imposition enough than for us to undergo any difficulty imposed. This is the monstruosity in love, lady, that the will is infinite, and the execution confin'd; that the desire is boundless, and the act a slave to limit.

CRESSIDA. They say all lovers swear more performance than they are able, and yet reserve an ability that they never perform; vowing more than the perfection of ten, and discharging less than the tenth part of one. They that have the voice of lions and the act of hares, are they not monsters?

TROILUS. Are there such? Such are not we. Praise us as we are tasted, allow us as we prove; our head shall go bare till merit crown it. No perfection in reversion shall have a praise in present. We will not name desert before his birth; and, being born, his addition shall be humble. Few words to fair faith: Troilus shall be such to Cressid as what envy can say worst shall be a mock for his truth; and what truth can speak truest not truer than

TROILUS.

CRESSIDA. Will you walk in, my lord?

Re-enter PANDARUS PANDARUS. What, blushing still? Have you not done talking yet?

CRESSIDA. Well, uncle, what folly I commit, I dedicate to you.

PANDARUS. I thank you for that; if my lord get a boy of you, you'll give him me. Be true to my lord; if he flinch, chide me for it.

TROILUS. You know now your hostages: your uncle's word and my firm faith.

PANDARUS. Nay, I'll give my word for her too: our kindred, though they be long ere they are wooed, they are constant being won; they are burs, I can tell you; they'll stick where they are thrown.

CRESSIDA. Boldness comes to me now and brings me heart. Prince Troilus, I have lov'd you night and day For many weary months.

TROILUS. Why was my Cressid then so hard to win?

CRESSIDA. Hard to seem won; but I was won, my lord, With the first glance that ever-pardon me. If I confess much, you will play the tyrant. I love you now; but till now not so much But I might master it. In faith, I lie; My thoughts were like unbridled children, grown Too headstrong for their mother. See, we fools! Why have I blabb'd? Who shall be true to us, When we are so unsecret to ourselves? But, though I lov'd you well, I woo'd you not; And yet, good faith, I wish'd myself a man, Or that we women had men's privilege Of speaking first. Sweet, bid me hold my tongue, For in this rapture I shall surely speak The thing I shall repent. See, see, your silence, Cunning in dumbness, from my weakness draws My very soul of counsel. Stop my mouth.

TROILUS. And shall, albeit sweet music issues thence.

PANDARUS. Pretty, i' faith.

CRESSIDA. My lord, I do beseech you, pardon me; 'Twas not my purpose thus to beg a kiss. I am asham'd. O heavens! what have I done? For this time will I take my leave, my lord.

TROILUS. Your leave, sweet Cressid!

PANDARUS. Leave! An you take leave till to-morrow morning-

CRESSIDA. Pray you, content you.

TROILUS. What offends you, lady?

CRESSIDA. Sir, mine own company.

TROILUS. You cannot shun yourself.

CRESSIDA. Let me go and try. I have a kind of self resides with you; But an unkind self, that itself will leave To be another's fool. I would be gone. Where is my wit? I know not what I speak.

TROILUS. Well know they what they speak that speak so wisely.

CRESSIDA. Perchance, my lord, I show more craft than love; And fell so roundly to a large confession To angle for your thoughts; but you are wise- Or else you love not; for to be wise and love Exceeds man's might; that dwells with gods above.

The History of Troilus and Cressida Page 25

William Shakespeare Plays

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