Peaceful commerce from dividable shores,
The primogenitive and due of birth,
Prerogative of age, crowns, sceptres, laurels,
But by degree, stand in authentic place ?
Take but degree away, untune that string,
And, hark, what discord follows ! each thing meets
In mere pppugnancy : the bounded waters
Should lift their bosoms higher than the shores
And make a sop of all this solid globe :
Strength should be lord of imbecility,
And the rude son should strike his father dead :
Force should be right ; or rather, right and wrong,
Between whose endless jar justice resides,
Should lose their names, and so should justice too.
Then every thing includes itself in power,
Power into will, will into appetite ;
And appetite, an universal wolf,
So doubly seconded with will and power,
Must make perforce an universal prey,
And last eat up himself. Great Agamemnon,
This chaos, when degree is suffocate,
Follows the choking.
And this neglection of degree it is
That by a pace goes backward, with a purpose
It hath to climb. The general 's disdain'd
By him one step below, he by the next,
That next by him beneath ; so every step,
Exampled bv the first pace that is sick
Of his superior, grows to an envious fever
Of pale and bloodless emulation :
And 'tis this fever that keeps Troy on foot,
Not her own sinews. To end a tale of length,
Troy in our weakness stands, not in her strength.
TROILUS AND CRESSIDA.
ACT I., Sc. 3.
Nes. Most wisely hath Ulysses here discover'd
The fever whereof all our power is sick.
Aga. The nature of the sickness found, Ulysses,
What is the remedy ? _
Uly. The great Achilles, whom opinion crowns
The sinew and the forehand of our host,
Having his ear full of his airy fame,
Grows dainty of his worth and in his tent
Lies mocking our designs : with him Patroclus
Upon a lazy bed the livelong day
Breaks scurril jests,
And with ridiculous and awkward action,
Which, slanderer, he imitation calls,
He page-ants us. Sometime, great Agamemnon,
Thy topless deputation he puts on,
And, like a strutting player, whose conceit
Lies in his hamstring, and doth think it rich
To hear the wooden dialogue and sound
'Twixt his stretch'd footing and the scaffoldage,
Such to-be-pitied and o'er-wrested seeming
He acts thy greatness in : and when he speaks,
"Pis like a chime a-men ding ; with terms unsquared,
Which, from the tongue of roaring Typhon
Would seem hyperboles. At this fusty stuff
The large Achilles, on his press' d bed lolling,
From his deep chest laughs out a loud applause ;
Cries Excellent I 'tis Agamemnon just.
Now play me Nestor ; hem, and stroke thy beard,
As he being drest to some oration.
That 's done, as near as the extremest ends
Of parallels, as like as Vulcan and his wife :
Yet god Achilles still cries Excellent !
'Tis Nestor right. Now play him me, Patroclus,
Arming to answer in a night alarm.
And then, forsooth, the faint defects of age
Must be the scene of mirth ; to cough and spit,
And, with a palsy-fumbling on his gorget,
Shake in and out the rivet : and at this sport
Sir Valour dies; cries 0, enough, Patroclus ;
Or give me ribs of steel ! I shall split all
In pleasure of my spleen. And in this fashion,
All our abilities, gifts, natures, shapes,
Severals and generals of grace exact,
Achievements, plots, orders, preventions,
Excitements to the field, or speech for truce,
Success or loss, what is or is not, serves
As stuff for these two to make paradoxes.
Nes. And in the imitation of these twain
Who, as Ulysses says, opinion crowns
With an imperial voice many are infect.
Ajax is grown self-will'd, and bears his head
In such a rein, in full as proud a place
As broad Achilles ; keeps his tent like him ;
Makes factious feasts ; rails on our state of war,
Bold as an oracle, and sets Thersites,
A slave whose gall coins slanders like a mint,
To match us in comparisons with dirt,
To weaken and discredit our exposure,
How rank soever rounded in with danger.
Uly. They tax our policy, and call it cowardice,
Count wisdom as no member of the war,
forestall prescience and esteem no act
But that of hand : the still and mental parts,
That do contrive how many hands shall strike,
When fitness calls them on, and know by measure
Of their observant toil the enemies' weight,
Why, this hath not a finger's dignity :
They call this bed-work, mappery, closet- war ;
So that the ram that batters down the wall,
For the great swing and rudeness of this poise,
They place before his hand that made the engine,
Or those that with the fineness of their souls
By reason guide his execution.
Nes. Let this be granted, and Achilles' horse
Makes many Thetis' sons. A tucket.
Aga. What trumpet? look, Menelaus.
Men. From Troy.
Aga. What would you 'fore our tent ?
JEne. Is this the great Agamemnon's tent, I
pray you ?
Aga. Even this.
JEne. May one, that is a herald and a prince,
Do a fair message to his kingly ears ?
Aga. With surety stronger than Achilles' arm
'Fore all the Greekish heads, which with one voice
Call Agamemnon head and general.
Mne. Fair leave and large security. How may
A stranger to those most imperial looks
Know them from eyes of other mortals ?
Aga. How ?
I ask, that I might waken reverence,
And bid the cheek be ready with a blush
Modest as morning when she coldly eyes
The youthful Phoebus :
Which is that god in office, guiding men ?
Which is the high and mighty Agamemnon ?
Aga. This Trojan scorns us ; or the men of Troy
Are ceremonious courtiers.
Mne. Courtiers as free, as debonair, unarm'd,
As bending angels ; that 's their fame in peace :
But when they would seem soldiers, they have galls,
Good arms, strong joints, true swords ; and,
Nothing so full of heart. But peace, ^neas,
Peace, Trojan ; lay thy finger on thy lips !
The worthiness of praise distains his worth,
If that the praised himself bring the praise forth :
But what the repining enemy commends,
That breath fame blows ; that praise, sole pure,
Aga. Sir, you of Troy, call you yourself JEneas ?
JEne. Ay, Greek, that is my name.
Aga. What 's your affair, I pray you ?
JEne. Sir, pardon ; 'tis for Agamemnon's ears.
Aga. He hears nought privately that comes
JEn e. Nor I from Troy come not to whisper him :
I bring a trumpet to awake his ear,
To set his sense on the attentive bent,
And then to speak.
Aga. Speak frankly as the wind ;
It is not Agamemnon's sleeping hour :
That thou shalt know, Trojan, he is awake,
He tells thee so himself.
Mne. Trumpet, blow loud,
Send thy brass voice through all these lazy tents ;
And every Greek of mettle, let him know,
What Troy means fairly shall be spoke aloud.
We have, great Agamemnon, here in Troy
A prince call'd Hector, Priam is his father,
Who in this dull and long-continued truce
Is rusty grown : he bade me take a trumpet,
And to this purpose speak. Kings, princes, lords !
ACT L, Sc. 3.
TROILUS AND CRESSIDA.
If there be one among the fair'st of Greece
That holds his honour higher than his ease,
That seeks his praise more than he fears his peril,
That Imows his valour, and knows not his fear,
That loves his mistress more than in confession,
With truant vows to her own lips he loves,
And dare avow her beauty and her worth
In other arms than hers, to him this challenge.
Hector, in view of Trojans and of Greeks,
Shall make it good, or do his best to do it,
He hath a lady, wiser, fairer, truer,
Than ever Greek did compass in his arms,
And will to-morrow with his trumpet call
Midway between your tents and walls of Troy,
To rouse a Grecian that is true in love :
If any come, Hector shall honour him ;
If none, he '11 say in Troy when he retires,
The Grecian dames are sunburnt and not worth
The splinter of a lance. Even so much.
Aga. This shall be told our lovers, Lord JEneas ;
If none of them have soul in such a kind,
We left them all at home : but we are soldiers ;
And may that soldier a mere recreant prove,
That means uot, hath not, or is not in love !
If then one is, or hath, or means to be,
That one meets Hector ; if none else, I am he.
Nes. Tell him. of Nestor, one that was a man
When Hector's grandsire suck'd : he is old now ;
But if there be not in our Grecian host
One noble man that hath one spark of fire,
To answer for his love, tell him from me
I '11 hide my silver beard in a gold beaver
And in my vantbrace put this wither'd brawn,
And meeting him will tell him that my la.dy
Was fairer than his grandam and as chaste
As may be in the world : his youth in flood,
I '11 prove this truth with my three drops of blood.
Miie. Now heavens forbid such scarcity of youth !
Aga. Fair Lord ^neas, let me touch your hand ;
To our pavilion shall I lead you, sir.
Achilles shall have word of this intent;
So shall each lord of Greece, from tent to tent :
Yourself shall feast with us before you go
And find the welcome of a noble foe.
Exeunt all but Ulysses and Nestor.
Nes. What says Ulysses ?
Uly. I have a young conception in my brain ;
Be you my time to bring it to some shape.
Nes. What is 't?
Uly. This 'tis :
Blunt wedges rive hard knots : the seeded pride
That hath to this maturity blown up
In rank Achilles must or now be cropp'd,
Or, shedding, breed a nursery of like evil,
To overbulk us all.
Nes. Well, and how?
Uly . Thi s challen ge that the gallant Hector sends ,
However it is spread in general name,
Relates in purpose only to Achilles.
Nes. The purpose is perspicuous even as sub-
Whose grossness little characters sum up :
And, in the publication, make no strain,
But that Achilles, were his brain as barren
As banks of Libya, though, Apollo knows,
'Tis dry enough, will, with great speed of judg-
Ay, with celerity, find Hector's purpose
Pointing on him.
Uly. And wake him to the answer, think
Nes. Yes, 'tis most meet : whom may you else
That can from Hector bring his honour off,
If not Achilles ? Though 't be a sportful combat,
Yet in the trial much opinion dwells ;
For here the Trojans taste our dear'st repute
With their finest palate : and trust to me, Ulysses,
Our imputation shall be oddly poised
In this wild action ; for the success,
Although particular, shall give a scantling
Of good or bad unto the general ;
And in such indexes, although small pricks
To their subsequent volumes, there is seen
The baby figure of the giant mass
Of things to come at large. It is supposed
He that meets Hector issues from our choice ;
And choice, being mutual act of all our souls,
Makes merit her election, and doth boil,
As 'twere from forth us all, a man distill' d
Out of our virtues ; who miscarrying,
What heart receives from hence the conquering
To steel a strong opinion to themselves ?
Which entertain' d, limbs are his instruments,
In no less working than are swords and bows
Directive by the limbs.
Uly. Give pardon to my speech :
Therefore 'tis meet Achilles meet not Hector.
Let us, like merchants, show our foulest wares,
And think, perchance, they '11 sell ; if not,
The lustre of the better yet to show,
Shall show the better. Do not consent
That ever Hector and Achilles meet ;
For both our honour and our shame in this
Are dogg'd with two strange followers.
Nes. I see them not with my old eyes : what
are they ?
Uly. What glory our Achilles shares from
Were he not proud, we all should share with him :
But he already is too insolent ;
A nd we were better parch in Afric sun
Than in the pride and salt scorn of his eyes,
Should he 'scape Hector fair : if he were foil'd,
Why then, we did our main opinion crush
In taint of our best man. No, make a lottery ;
And, by device, let blockish Ajax draw
The sort to fight with Hector : among ourselves
Give him allowance for the better man ;
For that will physic the great Myrmidon
Who broils in loud applause, and make him fall
His crest that prouder than blue Iris bends.
If the dull brainless Ajax come safe off,
We '11 dress him up in voices : if he fail,
Yet go we under our opinion still
That we have better men. But, hit or miss,
Our project's life this shape of sense assumes :
Ajax employ' d plucks down Achilles' plumes.
Now I begin to relish thy advice ;
And I will give a taste of it forthwith
To Agamemnon : go we to him straight.
Two curs shall tame each other : pride alone
Must tarre the mastiffs on, as 'twere their bone.
TROILUS AND CRESSIDA.
ACT II., Sc. 1.
Scene I. The Grecian Camp.
Enter Ajax and Thersiies.
Ajax. Ther sites !
The. Agamemnon, how if he had boils ? full,
all over, generally ?
Ajax. Thersites !
The. And those boils did run ? say so : did not
the general run then ? were not that a botchy core ?
The. Then would come some matter from him ;
I see none now.
Ajax. Thou bitch-wolf's son, canst thou not
hear ? [Beating him.'] Feel, then.
The. The plague of Greece upon thee, thou
mongrel beef-witted lord !
Ajax. Speak then, thou vinewedst leaven, speak :
I will beat thee into handsomeness.
The. I shall sooner rail thee into wit and holi-
ness : but, I think, thy horse will sooner con an
oration than thou learn a prayer without book.
Thou canst strike, canst thou ? a red murrain o'
thy jade's tricks !
Ajax. Toadstool, learn me the proclamation.
The. Dost thou think I have no sense, thou
gtrikest me thus ?
Ajax. The proclamation !
The. Thou art proclaimed a fool, I think.
Ajax. Do not, porpentine, do not : my fingers
The. I would thou didst itch from head to foot
and I had the scratching of thee ; I would make
thee the loathsomest scab in Greece. When thou
art forth in the incursions, thou strikest as slow
Ajax. I say, the proclamation !
The. Thou grumblest and railest every hour on
Achilles, and thou art as full of envy at his great-
ness as Cerberus is at Proserpina's beauty, ay,
that thou barkest at him.
Ajax. Mistress Thersites !
The. Thou shouldst strike him.
Ajax. Cobloaf !
The. He would pun thee into shivers with his
fist, as a sailor breaks a biscuit.
Ajax. [Beating him.'] You whoreson cur !
The. Do, do.
Ajax. Thou stool for a witch !
The. Ay, do, do ; thou sodden- witted lord ! thou
hast no more brain than I have in mine elbows ;
an assinego may tutor thee : thou scurvy-valiant
ass ! thou art here but to thrash Trojans ; and
thou art bought and sold among those of any wit,
like a barbarian slave. If thou use to beat me, I
will begin at thy heel, and tell what thou art by
inches, thou thing of no bowels, thou !
Ajax. You dog !
The. You scurvy lord !
Ajax. [Heating^ him.] You cur !
The. Mars his idiot ! do, rudeness ; do, camel ;
Enter Achilles and Patroclus.
Ach. Why, how now, Ajax ! wherefore do you
thus ? How now, Thersites ! what 's the matter,
The. You see him there, do you ?
Ach. Ay ; what 's the matter ?
The. Nay, look upon him.
Ach. So do I : what 's the matter?
The. Nay, but regard him well.
Ach. Well! why, I do so.
The. But yet you look not well upon him ; for,
whosoever you take him to be, he is Ajax.
Ach. I know that, fool.
The. Ay, but that fool knows not himself.
Ajax. Therefore I beat thee.
The. Lo, lo, lo, lo, what modicums of wit he
utters ! his evasions have ears thus long. I have
bobbed his brain more than he has beat my bones :
I will buy nine sparrows for a penny, and his pia
mater is not worth the ninth part of a sparrow.
This lord, Achilles, Ajax, who wears his wit in
his belly and his guts in his head, I'll tell you
what I say of him.
The. I say, this Ajax
Ajax offers to beat him.
Ach. Nay, good Ajax.
The. Has not so much wit
Ach. Nay, I must hold you.
The. As will stop the eye of Helen's needle, for
whom he comes to fight.
Ach. Peace, fool !
The. I would have peace and quietness, but the
fool will not : he there : that he : look you there.
Ajax. thou damned cur ! I shall
Ach. Will you set your wit to a fool's ?
The. No, I warrant you ; for a fool's will
Pat. Good words, Thersites.
Ach. What 's the quarrel ?
Ajax. I bade the vile owl go learn me the tenour
of the proclamation, and he rails upon me.
The. I serve thee not.
Ajax. Well, go to, go to.
The. I serve here voluntary.
Ach. Your last service was sufferance, 'twas
not voluntary : no man is beaten voluntary :
Ajax was here the voluntary, and you as under
The. E'en so ; a great deal of your wit, too, lies,
in your sinews, or else there be liars. Hector
shall have a great catch, if he knock out either of
your brains : a' were as good crack a fusty nut
with no kernel.
Ach. What, with me too, Thersites ?
The. There 's Ulysses and old Nestor, whose
wit was mouldy ere* your grandsires had nails on
their toes, yoke you like draught-oxen and make
you plough up the wars.
Ach. What, what ?
The. Yes, good sooth : to, Achilles ! to, Ajax ! to!
Ajax. I shall cut out your tongue.
The. 'Tis no matter; I shall speak as much as
Pat. No more words, Thersites ; peace !
The. I will hold my peace when Achilles' brach
bids me, shall I ?
Ach. There 's for you, Patroclus.
The. I will see you hanged, like clotpoles, ere
I come any more to your tents : I will keep where
there is wit stirring and leave the faction of
fools. E *rt'
Pat. A good riddance.
ACT II., Sc. 2.
TROILUS AND CRESSIDA.
Ach. Marry, this, sir, is proclaim'd througla all
our host :
That Hector, by the fifth hour of the sun,
Will with a trumpet 'twixt our tents and Troy
To-morrow morning call some knight to arms
That hath a stomach ; and such a one that dare
Maintain I know not what : 'tis trash. Farewell.
Ajax. Farewell. Who shall answer him ?
Ach. I know not : 'tis put to lottery ; otherwise
He knew his man.
Ajax. O, meaning you. I will go learn more
of it. Exeunt.
Scene II. Troy. A Room in Priam's Palace.
Enter Priam, Hector, Troilus, Paris and Helenus.
Pri. After so many hours, lives, speeches spent,
Thus once again says Nestor from the Greeks :
Deliver Helen, and ail damage else
As honour, loss of time, travail, expense,
Wounds, friends, and what else dear that is con-
In hot digestion of this cormorant war
Shall be struck off. Hector, what say you to 't ?
Hec. Though no man lesser fears the Greeks
As far as toncheth my particular,
Yet, dread Priam,
There is no lady of more softer bowels,
More spongy to suck in the sense of fear,
More ready to cry out Who Jcnows what follows ?
Than Hector is : the wound of peace is surety,
Surety secure ; but modest doubt is call'd
The beacon of the wise, the tent that searches
To the bottom of the worst. Let Helen go :
Since the first sword was drawn about this ques-
Every tithe soul, 'mongst many thousand dismes,
Hath been as dear as Helen ; I mean, of ours :
If we have lost so many tenths of ours,
To guard a thing not ours nor worth to us,
Had it our name, the value of one ten,
What merit 's in that reason which denies
The yielding of her up ?
Tro. Fie, fie, my brother !
Weigh you the worth and honour of a king
So great as our dread father in a scale
Of common ounces ? will you with counters sum
The past proportion of his infinite ?
And buckle in a waist most fathomless
With spans and inches so diminutive
As fears and reasons ? fie, for godly shame !
Hel. No marvel, though you bite so sharp at
You are so empty of them. Should not our father
Bear the great sway of his affairs with reasons,
Because your speech hath none that tells him so ?
Tro. You are for dreams and slumbers, brother
You fur your gloves with reason. Here are your
You know an enemy intends you harm ;
You know a sword employ'd is perilous,
And reason flies the object of all harm :
Who marvels then, when Helenus heholds
A Grecian and his sword, if he do set
The very wings of reason to his heels
And fly like chidden Mercury from Jove,
Or like a star disorb' d ? Nay , if we talk of reason,
Let 's shut our gates and sleep : manhood and
Should have hare-hearts, would they but fat their
With this cramm'd reason : reason and respect
Make livers pale and lustihood deject.
Hec. Brother, she is not worth what she doth
Tro. What is aught, but as 'tis valued ?
Hec. But value dwells not in particular will ;
It holds his estimate and dignity
As well wherein 'tis precious of itself
As in the prizer : 'tis mad idolatry
To make the service greater than the god ;
And the will dotes that is attributive
To what infectiously itself affects,
Without some image of the affected merit.
Tro. I take to-day a wife, and my election
Is led on in the conduct of my will ;
My will enkindled by mine eyes and ears,
Two traded pilots 'twixt the dangerous shores
Of will and judgment : how may I avoid,
Although my will distaste what it elected,
The wife I chose ? there can be no evasion
To blench from this and to stand firm by honour :
We turn not back the silks upon the merchant,
When we have soil'd them, nor the remainder
We do not throw in unrespective sieve,
Because we now are full. It was thought meet
Paris should do some vengeance on the Greeks :
Your breath of full consent bellied his sails ;
The seas and winds, old wranglers, took a truce
And did him service : he touch'd the ports desired,
And for an old aunt whom the Greeks held captive,
He brought a Grecian queen, whose youth and
Wrinkles Apollo's, and makes stale the morning.
Why keep we her ? the Grecians keep our aunt :
Is she worth keeping ? why, she is a pearl,
Whose price hath launch' d above a thousand ships,
And turn'd crown'd kings to merchants.
If you '11 avouch 'twas wisdom Paris went
As you must needs, for you all cried Go, go,
If you '11 confess he brought home noble prize
As you must needs, for you all clapp'd your hands,
And cried Inestimable ! why do you now
The issue of your proper wisdoms rate,
And do a deed that fortune never did.
Beggar the estimation which you prized
Bioher than sea and land ? theft most base,
That we have stolen what we do fear to keep !
But, thieves, unworthy of a thing so stolen,
That in their country did them that disgrace,
We fear to warrant in our native place !
Cas. '[Within.'] Cry, Trojans, cry !
Pri. What noise ? what shriek is this ?
Tro. 'Tis our mad sister, I do know her voice.
Cas. [Within.] Cry, Trojans !
Hec. It is Cassandra.
Enter Cassandra with her hair about her ears.
Cas. Cry, Trojans, cry ! lend me ten thousand
And I will fill them with prophetic tears.
Hec. Peace, sister, peace !
Cas. Virgins and boys, mid-age andwrinkledeld,
Soft infancy, that nothing canst but cry,
TROILUS AND CRESSIDA.
ACT II., Sc. 3.
Add to my clamours ! let us pay betimes
A moiety of that mass of moan to come.
Cry, Trojans, cry ! practise your eyes with tears !
Troy must not be, nor goodly Ilion stand ;
Our firebrand brother, Paris, burns us all.
Cry, Trojans, cry ! a Helen and a woe :
Cry, cry ! Troy burns, or else let Helen go. Exit.
Hec. Now, youthful Troilus, do not these high
Of divination in our sister work
Some touches of remorse ? or is your blood
So madly hot that no discourse of reason,
Nor fear of bad success in a bad cause,
Can qualify the same ?
Tro. Why, brother Hector,
We may not think the justness of each act
Such and no other than event doth form it,
Nor once deject the courage of our minds,
Because Cassandra's mad : her brain-sick raptures
Cannot distaste the goodness of a quarrel
Which hath our several honours all engaged
To make it gracious. For my private part,
I am no more touch'd than all Priam's sons :
And Jove forbid there should be done amongst us
Such things as might offend the weakest spleen
To fight for and maintain !
Par. Else might the world convince of levity
As well my undertakings as your counsels :
But I attest the gods, your full consent
Gave wings to my propension and cut off
All fears attending on so dire a project.
For what, alas, can these my single arms ?
What propugnation is in one man's valour,
To stand the push and enmity of those
This quarrel would excite ? Yet, I protest,
Were I alone to pass the difficulties
And had as ample power as I have will,
Paris should ne'er retract what he hath done,
Nor faint in the pursuit.
Pri. Paris, you speak
Like one besotted on your sweet delights :
You have the honey still, but these the gall ;
So to be valiant is no praise at all.