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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act IV. Scene IV.

Troilus and Cressida

The Same.A Room in PANDARUS’ House.


Pan.Be moderate, be moderate.

Cres.Why tell you me of moderation?

The grief is fine, full, perfect, that I taste,

And violenteth in a sense as strong

As that which causeth it: how can I moderate it?

If I could temporize with my affection,

Or brew it to a weak and colder palate,

The like allayment could I give my grief:

My love admits no qualifying dross;

No more my grief, in such a precious loss.


Pan.Here, here, here he comes. Ah! sweet ducks.

Cres.[Embracing him.]O Troilus! Troilus!

Pan.What a pair of spectacles is here! Let me embrace too. ‘O heart,’ as the goodly saying is,—

  • O heart, heavy heart,
  • Why sigh’st thou without breaking?
  • when he answers again,

  • Because thou canst not ease thy smart
  • By friendship nor by speaking.
  • There was never a truer rime. Let us cast away nothing, for we may live to have need of such a verse: we see it, we see it. How now, lambs!

    Tro.Cressid, I love thee in so strain’d a purity,

    That the bless’d gods, as angry with my fancy,

    More bright in zeal than the devotion which

    Cold lips blow to their deities, take thee from me.

    Cres.Have the gods envy?

    Pan.Ay, ay, ay, ay; ’tis too plain a case.

    Cres.And is it true that I must go from Troy?

    Tro.A hateful truth.

    Cres.What! and from Troilus too?

    Tro.From Troy and Troilus.

    Cres.Is it possible?

    Tro.And suddenly; where injury of chance

    Puts back leave-taking, justles roughly by

    All time of pause, rudely beguiles our lips

    Of all rejoindure, forcibly prevents

    Our lock’d embrasures, strangles our dear vows

    Even in the birth of our own labouring breath.

    We two, that with so many thousand sighs

    Did buy each other, must poorly sell ourselves

    With the rude brevity and discharge of one.

    Injurious time now with a robber’s haste

    Crams his rich thievery up, he knows not how:

    As many farewells as be stars in heaven,

    With distinct breath and consign’d kisses to them,

    He fumbles up into a loose adieu,

    And scants us with a single famish’d kiss,

    Distasted with the salt of broken tears.

    Æne.[Within.]My lord, is the lady ready?

    Tro.Hark! you are call’d: some say the Genius so

    Cries ‘Come!’ to him that instantly must die.

    Bid them have patience; she shall come anon.

    Pan.Where are my tears? rain, to lay this wind, or my heart will be blown up by the root![Exit.

    Cres.I must then to the Grecians?

    Tro.No remedy.

    Cres.A woeful Cressid ’mongst the merry Greeks!

    When shall we see again?

    Tro.Hear me, my love. Be thou but true of heart,—

    Cres.I true! how now! what wicked deem is this?

    Tro.Nay, we must use expostulation kindly,

    For it is parting from us:

    I speak not ‘be thou true,’ as fearing thee,

    For I will throw my glove to Death himself,

    That there’s no maculation in thy heart;

    But, ‘be thou true,’ say I, to fashion in

    My sequent protestation; be thou true,

    And I will see thee.

    Cres.O! you shall be expos’d, my lord, to dangers

    As infinite as imminent; but I’ll be true.

    Tro.And I’ll grow friend with danger. Wear this sleeve.

    Cres.And you this glove. When shall I see you?

    Tro.I will corrupt the Grecian sentinels,

    To give thee nightly visitation.

    But yet, be true.

    Cres.O heavens! ‘be true’ again!

    Tro.Hear why I speak it, love:

    The Grecian youths are full of quality;

    They’re loving, well compos’d, with gifts of nature,

    Flowing and swelling o’er with arts and exercise:

    How novelty may move, and parts with person,

    Alas! a kind of godly jealousy,—

    Which, I beseech you, call a virtuous sin,—

    Makes me afear’d.

    Cres.O heavens! you love me not.

    Tro.Die I a villain, then!

    In this I do not call your faith in question

    So mainly as my merit: I cannot sing,

    Nor heel the high lavolt, nor sweeten talk,

    Nor play at subtle games; fair virtues all,

    To which the Grecians are most prompt and pregnant:

    But I can tell that in each grace of these

    There lurks a still and dumb-discoursive devil

    That tempts most cunningly. But be not tempted.

    Cres.Do you think I will?


    But something may be done that we will not:

    And sometimes we are devils to ourselves

    When we will tempt the frailty of our powers,

    Presuming on their changeful potency.

    Æne.[Within.]Nay, good my lord,—

    Tro.Come, kiss; and let us part.

    Par.[Within.]Brother Troilus!

    Tro.Good brother, come you hither;

    And bring Æneas and the Grecian with you.

    Cres.My lord, will you be true?

    Tro.Who, I? alas, it is my vice, my fault:

    While others fish with craft for great opinion,

    I with great truth catch mere simplicity;

    Whilst some with cunning gild their copper crowns,

    With truth and plainness I do wear mine bare.

    Fear not my truth; the moral of my wit

    Is plain, and true; there’s all the reach of it.


    Welcome, Sir Diomed! Here is the lady

    Which for Antenor we deliver you:

    At the port, lord, I’ll give her to thy hand,

    And by the way possess thee what she is.

    Entreat her fair; and, by my soul, fair Greek,

    If e’er thou stand at mercy of my sword,

    Name Cressid, and thy life shall be as safe

    As Priam is in Ilion.

    Dio.Fair Lady Cressid,

    So please you, save the thanks this prince expects:

    The lustre in your eye, heaven in your cheek,

    Pleads your fair usage; and to Diomed

    You shall be mistress, and command him wholly.

    Tro.Grecian, thou dost not use me courteously,

    To shame the zeal of my petition to thee

    In praising her: I tell thee, lord of Greece,

    She is as far high-soaring o’er thy praises

    As thou unworthy to be call’d her servant.

    I charge thee use her well, even for my charge;

    For, by the dreadful Pluto, if thou dost not,

    Though the great bulk Achilles be thy guard,

    I’ll cut thy throat.

    Dio.O! be not mov’d, Prince Troilus:

    Let me be privileg’d by my place and message

    To be a speaker free; when I am hence,

    I’ll answer to my lust; and know you, lord,

    I’ll nothing do on charge: to her own worth

    She shall be priz’d; but that you say ‘be ’t so,’

    I’ll speak it in my spirit and honour, ‘no.’

    Tro.Come, to the port. I’ll tell thee, Diomed,

    This brave shall oft make thee to hide thy head.

    Lady, give me your hand, and, as you walk,

    To our own selves bend we our needful talk.[Exeunt TROILUS, CRESSIDA, and DIOMEDES.Trumpet sounded.

    Par.Hark! Hector’s trumpet.

    Æne.How have we spent this morning!

    The prince must think me tardy and remiss,

    That swore to ride before him to the field.

    Par.’Tis Troilus’ fault. Come, come, to field with him.

    Dei.Let us make ready straight.

    Æne.Yea, with a bridegroom’s fresh alacrity,

    Let us address to tend on Hector’s heels:

    The glory of our Troy doth this day lie

    On his fair worth and single chivalry.[Exeunt.