Taken from the Complete Works of William Shakespeare
Troilus and Cressida
ACT III, SCENE I. Troy. Priam’s palace.
Troilus and Cressida
The play by William Shakespeare
A retreat sounded
They’re come from field: let us to Priam’s hall,
To greet the warriors. Sweet Helen, I must woo you
To help unarm our Hector: his stubborn buckles,
With these your white enchanting fingers touch’d,
Shall more obey than to the edge of steel
Or force of Greekish sinews; you shall do more
Than all the island kings,–disarm great Hector.
‘Twill make us proud to be his servant, Paris;
Yea, what he shall receive of us in duty
Gives us more palm in beauty than we have,
Yea, overshines ourself.
Sweet, above thought I love thee.
SCENE II. The same. Pandarus’ orchard.
Enter PANDARUS and Troilus’s Boy, meeting
How now! where’s thy master? at my cousin
No, sir; he stays for you to conduct him thither.
O, here he comes.
How now, how now!
Sirrah, walk off.
Have you seen my cousin?
No, Pandarus: I stalk about her door,
Like a strange soul upon the Stygian banks
Staying for waftage. O, be thou my Charon,
And give me swift transportance to those fields
Where I may wallow in the lily-beds
Proposed for the deserver! O gentle Pandarus,
From Cupid’s shoulder pluck his painted wings
And fly with me to Cressid!
Walk here i’ the orchard, I’ll bring her straight.
I am giddy; expectation whirls me round.
The imaginary relish is so sweet
That it enchants my sense: what will it be,
When that the watery palate tastes indeed
Love’s thrice repured nectar? death, I fear me,
Swooning destruction, or some joy too fine,
Too subtle-potent, tuned too sharp in sweetness,
For the capacity of my ruder powers:
I fear it much; and I do fear besides,
That I shall lose distinction in my joys;
As doth a battle, when they charge on heaps
The enemy flying.
She’s making her ready, she’ll come straight: you
must be witty now. She does so blush, and fetches
her wind so short, as if she were frayed with a
sprite: I’ll fetch her. It is the prettiest
villain: she fetches her breath as short as a
Even such a passion doth embrace my bosom:
My heart beats thicker than a feverous pulse;
And all my powers do their bestowing lose,
Like vassalage at unawares encountering
The eye of majesty.
Re-enter PANDARUS with CRESSIDA
Come, come, what need you blush? shame’s a baby.
Here she is now: swear the oaths now to her that
you have sworn to me. What, are you gone again?
you must be watched ere you be made tame, must you?
Come your ways, come your ways; an you draw backward,
we’ll put you i’ the fills. Why do you not speak to
her? Come, draw this curtain, and let’s see your
picture. Alas the day, how loath you are to offend
daylight! an ’twere dark, you’ld close sooner.
So, so; rub on, and kiss the mistress. How now!
a kiss in fee-farm! build there, carpenter; the air
is sweet. Nay, you shall fight your hearts out ere
I part you. The falcon as the tercel, for all the
ducks i’ the river: go to, go to.
You have bereft me of all words, lady.
Words pay no debts, give her deeds: but she’ll
bereave you o’ the deeds too, if she call your
activity in question. What, billing again? Here’s
‘In witness whereof the parties interchangeably’–
Come in, come in: I’ll go get a fire.
Will you walk in, my lord?
O Cressida, how often have I wished me thus!
Wished, my lord! The gods grant,–O my lord!
What should they grant? what makes this pretty
abruption? What too curious dreg espies my sweet
lady in the fountain of our love?
More dregs than water, if my fears have eyes.
Fears make devils of cherubims; they never see truly.
Blind fear, that seeing reason leads, finds safer
footing than blind reason stumbling without fear: to
fear the worst oft cures the worse.
O, let my lady apprehend no fear: in all Cupid’s
pageant there is presented no monster.
Nor nothing monstrous neither?
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 confined, that the
desire is boundless and the act a slave to limit.
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?
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.
Will you walk in, my lord?
On 7/05/15 – Join me in the continuation of
Shakespeare’s “Troilus and Cressida“