William Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida in the complete original text.
William Shakespeare's plays, sonnets and poems at AbsoluteShakespeare.com
Home Plays Sonnets Poems Quotes Summaries Essays Glossary Links Help

HOME > Plays > Troilus and Cressida > Act I. Scene I.

Troilus and Cressida

Study Guides
Julius Caesar
King Henry IV
King Lear
Merchant of Venice
Romeo and Juliet
The Tempest
Twelfth Night

Bard Facts
Globe Theatre

Act I. Scene I.

Act I. Scene I.—Troy. Before PRIAM'S Palace.

Enter TROILUS armed, and PANDARUS.

Tro. 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 Trojan that is master of his heart,
Let him to field; Troilus, alas! has none.
Pan. Will this gear ne'er be mended?
Tro. The Greeks are strong, and skilful to
their strength,
Fierce to their skill, and to their fierceness
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.
Pan. Well, I have told you enough of this:
for my part, I'll not meddle nor make no further.
He that will have a cake out of the wheat must
tarry the grinding.
Tro. Have I not tarried?
Pan. Ay, the grinding; but you must tarry
the bolting.
Tro. Have I not tarried?
Pan. Ay, the bolting; but you must tarry the
Tro. Still have I tamed.
Pan. 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.
Tro. Patience herself, what goddess e'er she
Doth lesser blench at sufferance than I do.
At Priam's royal table do I sit;
And when fair Cressid comes into my thoughts,—
So, traitor! 'when she comes'!—When is she
Pan. Well, she looked yesternight fairer than
ever I saw her look, or any woman else.
Tro. I was about to tell thee: when my heart,
As wedged with a sigh, would rive in twain, 37
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 glad-
Is like that mirth fate turns to sudden sadness.
Pan. 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—
Tro. 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;
Pour'st in the open ulcer of my heart
Her eyes, her hair, her cheek, her gait, her voice;
Handiest in thy discourse, O! that her hand,
In whose comparison all whites are ink,
Writing their own reproach; to whose soft
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
The knife that made it.
Pan. I speak no more than truth.
Tro. Thou dost not speak so much.
Pan. Faith, I'll not meddle in't. 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
Tro. Good Pandarus, how now, Pandarus!
Pan. 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.
Tro. What! art thou angry, Pandarus? what!
with me?
Pan. 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 on Friday as Helen is on
Sunday. But what care I? I care not an she
were a black-a-moor; 'tis all one to me.
Tro. Say I she is not fair?
Pan. I do not care whether you do or no
She's a fool to stay behind her father: let her
to the Greeks; and so I'll tell her the next time
I see her. For my part, I'll meddle nor make
no more i' the matter.
Tro. Pandarus,—
Pan. Not I.
Tro. Sweet Pandarus,—
Pan. Pray you, speak no more to me! I will
leave all as I found it, and there an end.
[Exit PANDARUS. An alarum.
Tro, Peace, you ungracious clamours! peace,
rude sounds!
Fools on both sides! Helen must needs be fair,
When with your blood you daily paint her thus.
I cannot fight upon this argument;
It is too starv'd a subject for my sword.
But Pandarus,—O gods! how do you plague me.
I cannot come to Cressid but by Pandar;
And he's as tetchy to be woo'd to woo
As she is stubborn-chaste against all suit.
Tell me, Apollo, for thy Daphne's love,
What Cressid is, what Pandar, and what we?
Her bed is India; there she lies, a pearl:
Between our Ilium and where she resides
Let it be call'd the wild and wandering flood;
Ourself the merchant, and this sailing Pandar
Our doubtful hope, our convoy and our bark.

Alarum. Enter ÆNEAS.
Æne. How now, Prince Troilus! wherefore
not afield?
Tro. Because not there: this woman's answer
For womanish it is to be from thence.
What news, Æneas, from the field to-day?
Æne. That Paris is returned home, and hurt.
Tro. By whom, Æneas?
Æne. Troilus, by Menelaus.
Tro. Let Paris bleed: 'tis but a scar to scorn;
Paris is gor'd with Menelaus' horn. [Alarum.
Æne. Hark, what good sport is out of town
Tro. Better at home, if 'would I might' were
But to the sport abroad: are you bound thither?
Æne. In all swift haste.
Tro. Come, go we then together.
Copyright 2000-2005 AbsoluteShakespeare.com. All rights reserved.  Contact Us  Privacy  Awards