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 II.

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 II.

Scene II.—The Same. A Street.


Cres. Who were those went by?
Alex. Queen Hecuba and Helen.
Cres. And whither go they?
Alex. Up to the eastern tower,
Whose height commands as subject all the vale,
To see the battle. Hector, whose patience
Is as a virtue fix'd, to-day was mov'd:
He chid Andromache, and struck his armourer;
And, like as there were husbandry in war,
Before the sun rose he was harness'd light,
And to the field goes he; where every flower
Did, as a prophet, weep what it foresaw
In Hector's wrath.
Cres. What was his cause of anger?
Alex. The noise goes, this: there is among
the Greeks
A lord of Trojan blood, nephew to Hector;
They call him Ajax.
Cres. Good; and what of him?
Alex. They say he is a very man per se
And stands alone.
Cres. So do all men, unless they are drunk,
sick, or have no legs.
Alex. This man, lady, hath robbed many
beasts of their particular additions: he is as
valiant as the lion, churlish as the bear, slow as
the elephant: a man into whom nature hath so
crowded humours that his valour is crushed into
folly, his folly sauced with discretion: there is
no man hath a virtue that he hath not a glimpse
of, nor any man an attaint but he carries some
stain of it. He is melancholy without cause, and
merry against the hair; he hath the joints of
every thing, but every thing so out of joint that
he is a gouty Briareus, many hands and no use;
or purblind Argus, all eyes and no sight.
Cres. But how should this man, that makes
me smile, make Hector angry?
Alex. They say he yesterday coped Hector in
the battle and struck him down; the disdain
and shame whereof hath ever since kept Hector
fasting and waking.
Cres. Who comes here?

Alex. Madam, your uncle Pandarus.
Cres. Hector's a gallant man.
Alex. As may be in the world, lady.
Pan. what's that? what's that?
Cres. Good morrow, uncle Pandarus.
Pan. Good morrow, cousin Cressid. What
do you talk of? Good morrow, Alexander.
How do you, cousin? When were you at Ilium?
Cres. This morning, uncle.
Pan. What were you talking of when I came?
Was Hector armed and gone ere ye came to
Ilium? Helen was not up, was she?
Cres. Hector was gone, but Helen was not up
Pan. E'en so: Hector was stirring early.
Cres. That were we talking of, and of his anger.
Pan. Was he angry?
Cres. So he says here.
Pan. True, he was so; I know the cause too:
he'll lay about him to-day, I can tell them that:
and there's Troilus will not come far behind
him; let them take heed of Troilus, I can tell
them that too.
Cres. What! is he angry too?
Pan. Who, Troilus? Troilus is the better
man of the two.
Cres. O Jupiter! there's no comparison.
Pan. What! not between Troilus and Hector?
Do you know a man if you see him?
Cres. Ay, if I ever saw him before and knew
Pan. Well, I say Troilus is Troilus.
Cres. Then you say as I say; for I am sure
he is not Hector.
Pan. No, nor Hector is not Troilus in some
Cres. 'Tis just to each of them; he is himself.
Pan. Himself! Alas, poor Troilus, I would
be were.
Cres. So he is.
Pan. Condition, I had gone bare-foot to India.
Cres. He is not Hector.
Pan. Himself! no, he's not himself. Would
a' were himself: well, the gods are above;
time must friend or end: well, Troilus, well, I
would my heart were in her body. No, Hector
is not a better man than Troilus.
Cres. Excuse me.
Pan. He is elder.
Cres. Pardon me, pardon me.
Pan. Th' other's not come to't; you shall tell
me another tale when the other's come to't.
Hector shall not have his wit this year.
Cres. He shall not need it if he have his own.
Pan. Nor his qualities.
Cres. No matter.
Pan. Nor his beauty.
Cres. 'Twould not become him; his own's
Pan. You have no judgment, niece: Helen
herself swore th' other day, that Troilus, for a
brown favour,—for so 'tis I must confess,—not
brown neither,—
Cres. No, but brown.
Pan. Faith; to say truth, brown and not
Cres. To say the truth, true and not true.
Pan. She prais'd his complexion above Paris.
Cres. Why, Paris hath colour enough.
Pan. So he has.
Cres. Then Troilus should have too much: if
she praised him above, his complexion is higher
than his: he having colour enough, and the
other higher, is too flaming a praise for a good
complexion. I had as lief Helen's golden tongue
had commended Troilus for a copper nose.
Pan. I swear to you, I think Helen loves him
better than Paris.
Cres. Then she's a merry Greek indeed.
Pan. Nay, I am sure she does. She came to
him th' other day into the compassed window,
and, you know, he has not past three or four
hairs on his chin,—
Cres. Indeed, a tapster's arithmetic may soon
bring his particulars therein to a total.
Pan. Why, he is very young; and yet will he,
within three pound, lift as much as his brother
Cres. Is he so young a man, and so old a
Pan. But to prove to you that Helen loves
him: she came and puts me her white hand to
his cloven chin,—
Cres. Juno have mercy! how came it cloven?
Pan. Why, you know, 'tis dimpled. I think
his smiling becomes him better than any man in
all Phrygia.
Cres. O! he smiles valiantly.
Pan. Does he not?
Cres. O! yes, an't were a cloud in autumn.
Pan. Why, go to, then. But to prove to you
that Helen loves Troilus,—
Cres. Troilus will stand to the proof, if you'll
prove it so.
Pan. Troilus! why he esteems her no more
than I esteem an addle egg.
Cres. If you love an addle egg as well as you
love an idle head, you would eat chickens i' the
Pan. I cannot choose but laugh, to think
how she tickled his chin: indeed, she has a
marvell's white hand, I must needs confess,—
Cres. Without the rack.
Pan. And she takes upon her to spy a white
hair on his chin.
Cres. Alas! poor chin! many a wart is richer.
Pan. But there was such laughing: Queen
Hecuba laughed that her eyes ran o'er.
Cres. With millstones.
Pan. And Cassandra laughed.
Cres. But there was more temperate fire under
the pot of her eyes: did her eyes run o'er too?
Pan. And Hector laughed.
Cres. At what was all this laughing?
Pan. Marry, at the white hair that Helen
spied on Troilus' chin.
Cres. An't had been a green hair, I should
have laughed too.
Pan. They laughed not so much at the hair
as at his pretty answer.
Cres. What was his answer?
Pan. Quoth she, 'Here's but one-and-fifty
hairs on your chin, and one of them is white.'
Cres. This is her question.
Pan. That's true; make no question of that.
'One-and-fifty hairs,' quoth he, 'and one white:
that white hair is my father, and all the rest are
his sons.' 'Jupiter!' quoth she,' which of these
hairs is Paris, my husband?' 'The forked one,'
quoth he; 'pluck't out, and give it him.' But
there was such laughing, and Helen so blushed,
and Paris so chafed, and all the rest so laughed,
that it passed.
Cres. So let it now, for it has been a great
while going by.
Pan. Well, cousin, I told you a thing yester-
day; think on't.
Cres. So I do.
Pan. I'll be sworn 'tis true: he will weep you,
an't were a man born in April.
Cres. And I'll spring up in his tears, an
'twere a nettle against May. [A retreat sounded,
Pan. Hark! they are coming from the field.
Shall we stand up here, and see them as they pass
toward Ilium? good niece, do; sweet niece,Cressida
Cres. At your pleasure.
Pan. Here, here; here's an excellent place:
here we may see most bravely. I'll tell you them
all by their names as they pass by, but mark
Troilus above the rest.
Cres. Speak not so loud.
ÆNEAS passes over the stage.
Pan. That's Æneas: is not that a brave
man? he's one of the flowers of Troy, I can tell
you: but mark Troilus; you shall see anon.
ANTENOR passes over.
Cres. Who's that?
Pan. That's Antenor: he has a shrewd wit,
I can tell you; and he's a man good enough;
he's one o' the soundest judgments in Troy,
whosoever, and a proper man of person. When
comes Troilus? I'll show you Troilus anon:
if he see me, you shall see him nod at me.
Cres. Will he give you the nod?
Pan. You shall see.
Cres. If he do, the rich shall have more.
HECTOR passes over.
Pan. That's Hector, that, that, look you, that;
there's a fellow! Go thy way, Hector! There's
a brave man, niece. O brave Hector! Look
how he looks! there's a countenance! Is't not a
brave man?
Cres. O! a brave man.
pan. Is a' not?' It does a man's heart good.
Look you what hacks are on his helmet! look
you yonder, do you see? look you there: there's
no jesting; there's laying on, take't off who will,
as they say: there be hacks!
Cres. Be those with swords?
Pan. Swords? any thing, he cares not; an
the devil come to him, it's all one: by God's lid,
it does one's heart good. Yonder comes Paris,
yonder comes Paris.
PARIS crosses over.
Look ye yonder, niece: is't not a gallant man
too, is't not? Why, this is brave now. Who
said he came hurt home to-day? he's not hurt:
why, this will do Helen's heart good now, ha!
Would I could see Troilus now! You shall see
Troilus anon.
Cres. Who's that?
HELENUS passes over.
Pan. That's Helenus. I marvel where Troilus
is. That's Helenus. I think he went not forth
to-day. That's Helenus.
Cres. Can Helenus fight, uncle?
Pan. Helenus? no, yes, he'll fight indifferent
well. I marvel where Troilus is. Hark I do you
not hear the people cry, 'Troilus?' Helenus is
a priest.
Cres. What sneaking fellow comes yonder?
TROILUS passes over.
Pan. Where? yonder? that's Deiphobus.
'Tis Troilus! there's a man, niece! Hem! Brave
Troilus! the prince of chivalry!
Cres. Peace! for shame, peace!
Pan. Mark him; note him: O brave Troilus!
look well upon him, niece: look you how his
sword is bloodied, and his helmet more hacked
than Hector's; and how he looks, and how he
goes! O admirable youth! he ne'er saw three-
and-twenty. Go thy way, Troilus, go thy way!
Had I a sister were a grace, or a daughter a
goddess, he should take his choice. O admirable
man! Paris? Paris is dirt to him; and, I
warrant, Helen, to change, would give an eye to
Cres. Here come more.
Soldiers pass over.
Pan. Asses, fools, dolts! chaff and bran, chaff
and bran! porridge after meat! I could live
and die i' the eyes of Troilus. Ne'er look, ne'er
look; the eagles are gone: crows and daws,
wows and daws! I had rather be such a man as
Troilus than Agamemnon and all Greece.
Cres. There is among the Greeks Achilles, a
better man than Troilus.
Pan. Achilles! a drayman, a porter, a very
Cres. Well, well.
Pan. 'Well, well!' Why, have you any dis-
cretion? have you any eyes? Do you know
what a man is? Is not birth, beauty, good
shape, discourse, manhood, learning, gentleness,
virtue, youth, liberality, and so forth, the spice
and salt that season a man?
Cres. Ay, a minced man: and then to be
baked with no date in the pie, for then the man's
date's out.
Pan. You are such a woman! one knows not
at what ward you lie.
Cres. Upon my back, to defend my belly;
upon my wit, to defend my wiles; upon my
secrecy, to defend mine honesty; my mask, to
defend my beauty; and you, to defend all these:
and at all these wards I lie, at a thousand
Pan. Say one of your watches.
Cres. Nay, I'll watch you for that; and that's
one of the chiefest of them too: if I cannot
ward what I would not have hit, I can watch you
for telling how I took the blow; unless it swell
past hiding, and then it's past watching.
Pan. You are such another!

Enter TROILUS' Boy.
Boy. Sir, my lord would instantly speak with
Pan. Where?
Boy. At your own house; there he unarms
Pan. Good boy, tell him I come. [Exit Boy.]
I doubt he be hurt. Fare ye well, good niece.
Cres. Adieu, uncle.
Pan. I'll be with you, niece, by and by.
Cres. To bring, uncle?
Pan. Ay, a token from Troilus.
Cres. By the same token, you are a bawd.
Words, vows, gifts, tears, and love's full sacrifice
He offers in another's enterprise;
But more in Troilus thousand-fold I see
Than in the glass of Pandar's praise may be.
Yet hold I off. Women are angels, wooing:
Things won are done; joy's soul lies in the doing:
That she belov'd knows nought that knows not
Men prize the thing ungain'd more than it is:
That she was never yet, that ever knew
Love got so sweet as when desire did sue.
Therefore this maxim out of love I teach:
Achievement is command; ungain'd, beseech:
Then though my heart's content firm love doth
Nothing of that shall from mine eyes appear.
Copyright 2000-2005 AbsoluteShakespeare.com. All rights reserved.  Contact Us  Privacy  Awards