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

Act V. Scene II.

Troilus and Cressida

The Same.Before CALCHAS’ Tent.


Dio.What, are you up here, ho! speak.

Cal.[Within.]Who calls?

Dio.Diomed. Calchas, I think. Where’s your daughter?

Cal.[Within.]She comes to you.

Enter TROILUS and ULYSSES, at a distance; after them THERSITES.

Ulyss.Stand where the torch may not discover us.


Tro.Cressid comes forth to him.

Dio.How now, my charge!

Cres.Now, my sweet guardian! Hark! a word with you.[Whispers.

Tro.Yea, so familiar!

Ulyss.She will sing any man at first sight.

Ther.And any man may sing her, if he can take her cliff; she’s noted.

Dio.Will you remember?

Cres.Remember! yes.

Dio.Nay, but do, then;

And let your mind be coupled with your words.

Tro.What should she remember?


Cres.Sweet honey Greek, tempt me no more to folly.


Dio.Nay, then,—

Cres.I’ll tell you what,—

Dio.Foh, foh! come, tell a pin: you are forsworn.

Cres.In faith, I cannot. What would you have me do?

Ther.A juggling trick,—to be secretly open.

Dio.What did you swear you would bestow on me?

Cres.I prithee, do not hold me to mine oath;

Bid me do anything but that, sweet Greek.


Tro.Hold, patience!

Ulyss.How now, Trojan?


Dio.No, no, good-night; I’ll be your fool no more.

Tro.Thy better must.

Cres.Hark! one word in your ear.

Tro.O plague and madness!

Ulyss.You are mov’d, prince; let us depart, I pray you,

Lest your displeasure should enlarge itself

To wrathful terms. This place is dangerous;

The time right deadly. I beseech you, go.

Tro.Behold, I pray you!

Ulyss.Nay, good my lord, go off:

You flow to great distraction; come, my lord.

Tro.I pray thee, stay.

Ulyss.You have not patience; come.

Tro.I pray you, stay. By hell, and all hell’s torments,

I will not speak a word!

Dio.And so, good-night.

Cres.Nay, but you part in anger.

Tro.Doth that grieve thee?

O wither’d truth!

Ulyss.Why, how now, lord!

Tro.By Jove,

I will be patient.

Cres.Guardian!—why, Greek!

Dio.Foh, foh! adieu; you palter.

Cres.In faith, I do not: come hither once again.

Ulyss.You shake, my lord, at something: will you go?

You will break out.

Tro.She strokes his cheek!

Ulyss.Come, come.

Tro.Nay, stay; by Jove, I will not speak a word:

There is between my will and all offences

A guard of patience: stay a little while.

Ther.How the devil Luxury, with his fat rump and potato finger, tickles these together! Fry, lechery, fry!

Dio.But will you, then?

Cres.In faith, I will, la; never trust me else.

Dio.Give me some token for the surety of it.

Cres.I’ll fetch you one.[Exit.

Ulyss.You have sworn patience.

Tro.Fear me not, sweet lord;

I will not be myself, nor have cognition

Of what I feel: I am all patience.

Re-enter CRESSIDA.

Ther.Now the pledge! now, now, now!

Cres.Here, Diomed, keep this sleeve.

Tro.O beauty! where is thy faith?

Ulyss.My lord,—

Tro.I will be patient; outwardly I will.

Cres.You look upon that sleeve; behold it well.

He lov’d me—O false wench!—Give ’t to me again.

Dio.Whose was ’t?

Cres.It is no matter, now I have ’t again.

I will not meet with you to-morrow night.

I prithee, Diomed, visit me no more.

Ther.Now she sharpens: well said, whetstone!

Dio.I shall have it.

Cres.What, this?

Dio.Ay, that.

Cres.O! all you gods. O pretty, pretty pledge!

Thy master now lies thinking in his bed

Of thee and me; and sighs, and takes my glove,

And gives memorial dainty kisses to it,

As I kiss thee. Nay, do not snatch it from me;

He that takes that doth take my heart withal.

Dio.I had your heart before; this follows it.

Tro.I did swear patience.

Cres.You shall not have it, Diomed; faith you shall not;

I’ll give you something else.

Dio.I will have this. Whose was it?

Cres.’Tis no matter.

Dio.Come, tell me whose it was.

Cres.’Twas one’s that loved me better than you will.

But, now you have it, take it.

Dio.Whose was it?

Cres.By all Diana’s waiting-women yond,

And by herself, I will not tell you whose.

Dio.To-morrow will I wear it on my helm,

And grieve his spirit that dares not challenge it.

Tro.Wert thou the devil, and wor’st it on thy horn,

It should be challeng’d.

Cres.Well, well, ’tis done, ’tis past: and yet it is not:

I will not keep my word.

Dio.Why then, farewell;

Thou never shalt mock Diomed again.

Cres.You shall not go: one cannot speak a word,

But it straight starts you.

Dio.I do not like this fooling.

Ther.Nor I, by Pluto: but that that likes not me

Pleases me best.

Dio.What, shall I come? the hour?

Cres.Ay, come:—O Jove!—

Do come:—I shall be plagu’d.

Dio.Farewell till then.

Cres.Good-night: I prithee, come.—[Exit DIOMEDES.

Troilus, farewell! one eye yet looks on thee,

But with my heart the other eye doth see.

Ah! poor our sex; this fault in us I find,

The error of our eye directs our mind.

What error leads must err. O! then conclude

Minds sway’d by eyes are full of trupitude.[Exit.

Ther.A proof of strength she could not publish more,

Unless she said, ‘My mind is now turn’d whore.’

Ulyss.All’s done, my lord.

Tro.It is.

Ulyss.Why stay we, then?

Tro.To make a recordation to my soul

Of every syllable that here was spoke.

But if I tell how these two did co-act,

Shall I not lie in publishing a truth?

Sith yet there is a credence in my heart,

An esperance so obstinately strong,

That doth invert the attest of eyes and ears,

As if those organs had deceptious functions,

Created only to calumniate.

Was Cressid here?

Ulyss.I cannot conjure, Trojan.

Tro.She was not, sure.

Ulyss.Most sure she was.

Tro.Why, my negation hath no taste of madness.

Ulyss.Nor mine, my lord: Cressid was here but now.

Tro.Let it not be believ’d for womanhood!

Think we had mothers; do not give advantage

To stubborn critics, apt, without a theme,

For depravation, to square the general sex

By Cressid’s rule: rather think this not Cressid.

Ulyss.What hath she done, prince, that can soil our mothers?

Tro.Nothing at all, unless that this were she.

Ther.Will he swagger himself out on ’s own eyes?

Tro.This she? no, this is Diomed’s Cressida.

If beauty have a soul. this is not she;

If souls guide vows, if vows be sanctimony,

If sanctimony be the gods’ delight,

If there be rule in unity itself,

This is not she. O madness of discourse,

That cause sets up with and against itself;

Bi-fold authority! where reason can revolt

Without perdition, and loss assume all reason

Without revolt: this is, and is not, Cressid.

Within my soul there doth conduce a fight

Of this strange nature that a thing inseparate

Divides more wider than the sky and earth;

And yet the spacious breadth of this division

Admits no orifice for a point as subtle

As Ariachne’s broken woof to enter.

Instance, O instance! strong as Pluto’s gates;

Cressid is mine, tied with the bonds of heaven:

Instance, O instance! strong as heaven itself;

The bonds of heaven are slipp’d, dissolv’d, and loos’d;

And with another knot, five-finger-tied,

The fractions of her faith, orts of her love,

The fragments, scraps, the bits, and greasy reliques

Of her o’er-eaten faith, are bound to Diomed.

Ulyss.May worthy Troilus be half attach’d

With that which here his passion doth express?

Tro.Ay, Greek; and that shall be divulged well

In characters as red as Mars his heart

Inflam’d with Venus: never did young man fancy

With so eternal and so fix’d a soul.

Hark, Greek: as much as I do Cressid love,

So much by weight hate I her Diomed;

That sleeve is mine that he’ll bear on his helm;

Were it a casque compos’d by Vulcan’s skill,

My sword should bite it. Not the dreadful spout

Which shipmen do the hurricano call,

Constring’d in mass by the almighty sun,

Shall dizzy with more clamour Neptune’s ear

In his descent than shall my prompted sword

Falling on Diomed.

Ther.He’ll tickle it for his concupy.

Tro.O Cressid! O false Cressid! false, false, false!

Let all untruths stand by thy stained name,

And they’ll seem glorious.

Ulyss.O! contain yourself;

Your passion draws ears hither.

Enter ÆNEAS.

Æne.I have been seeking you this hour, my lord.

Hector, by this, is arming him in Troy:

Ajax, your guard, stays to conduct you home.

Tro.Have with you, prince. My courteous lord, adieu.

Farewell, revolted fair! and Diomed,

Stand fast, and wear a castle on thy head!

Ulyss.I’ll bring you to the gates.

Tro.Accept distracted thanks.[Exeunt TROILUS, ÆNEAS, and ULYSSES.

Ther.Would I could meet that rogue Diomed! I would croak like a raven; I would bode, I would bode. Patroclus would give me any thing for the intelligence of this whore: the parrot will not do more for an almond than he for a commodious drab. Lechery, lechery; still, wars and lechery: nothing else holds fashion. A burning devil take them![Exit.