ACT IV. SCENE 1. Troy. A street

Enter, at one side, AENEAS, and servant with a torch; at another, PARIS, DEIPHOBUS, ANTENOR, DIOMEDES the Grecian, and others, with torches

PARIS. See, ho! Who is that there?

DEIPHOBUS. It is the Lord


AENEAS. Is the Prince there in person? Had I so good occasion to lie long As you, Prince Paris, nothing but heavenly business Should rob my bed-mate of my company.

DIOMEDES. That's my mind too. Good morrow, Lord


PARIS. A valiant Greek, Aeneas -take his hand: Witness the process of your speech, wherein You told how Diomed, a whole week by days, Did haunt you in the field.

AENEAS. Health to you, valiant sir, During all question of the gentle truce; But when I meet you arm'd, as black defiance As heart can think or courage execute.

DIOMEDES. The one and other Diomed embraces. Our bloods are now in calm; and so long health! But when contention and occasion meet, By Jove, I'll play the hunter for thy life With all my force, pursuit, and policy.

AENEAS. And thou shalt hunt a lion, that will fly With his face backward. In humane gentleness, Welcome to Troy! now, by Anchises' life, Welcome indeed! By Venus' hand I swear No man alive can love in such a sort The thing he means to kill, more excellently.

DIOMEDES. We sympathise. Jove let Aeneas live, If to my sword his fate be not the glory, A thousand complete courses of the sun! But in mine emulous honour let him die With every joint a wound, and that to-morrow!

AENEAS. We know each other well.

DIOMEDES. We do; and long to know each other worse.

PARIS. This is the most despiteful'st gentle greeting The noblest hateful love, that e'er I heard of. What business, lord, so early?

AENEAS. I was sent for to the King; but why, I know not.

PARIS. His purpose meets you: 'twas to bring this Greek To Calchas' house, and there to render him, For the enfreed Antenor, the fair Cressid. Let's have your company; or, if you please, Haste there before us. I constantly believe- Or rather call my thought a certain knowledge- My brother Troilus lodges there to-night. Rouse him and give him note of our approach, With the whole quality wherefore; I fear We shall be much unwelcome.

AENEAS. That I assure you: Troilus had rather Troy were borne to Greece Than Cressid borne from Troy.

PARIS. There is no help; The bitter disposition of the time Will have it so. On, lord; we'll follow you.

AENEAS. Good morrow, all.

Exit with servant

PARIS. And tell me, noble Diomed-faith, tell me true, Even in the soul of sound good-fellowship- Who in your thoughts deserves fair Helen best, Myself or Menelaus?

DIOMEDES. Both alike: He merits well to have her that doth seek her, Not making any scruple of her soilure, With such a hell of pain and world of charge; And you as well to keep her that defend her, Not palating the taste of her dishonour, With such a costly loss of wealth and friends. He like a puling cuckold would drink up The lees and dregs of a flat tamed piece; You, like a lecher, out of whorish loins Are pleas'd to breed out your inheritors. Both merits pois'd, each weighs nor less nor more; But he as he, the heavier for a whore.

PARIS. You are too bitter to your country-woman.

DIOMEDES. She's bitter to her country. Hear me, Paris: For every false drop in her bawdy veins A Grecian's life hath sunk; for every scruple Of her contaminated carrion weight A Troyan hath been slain; since she could speak, She hath not given so many good words breath As for her Greeks and Troyans suff'red death.

PARIS. Fair Diomed, you do as chapmen do, Dispraise the thing that you desire to buy; But we in silence hold this virtue well: We'll not commend what we intend to sell. Here lies our way.


William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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