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

Act V. Scene III.

Troilus and Cressida

Troy.Before PRIAM’S Palace.


And.When was my lord so much ungently temper’d,

To stop his ears against admonishment?

Unarm, unarm, and do not fight to-day.

Hect.You train me to offend you; get you in:

By all the everlasting gods, I’ll go.

And.My dreams will, sure, prove ominous to the day.

Hect.No more, I say.


Cas.Where is my brother Hector?

And.Here, sister; arm’d, and bloody in intent.

Consort with me in loud and dear petition;

Pursue we him on knees; for I have dream’d

Of bloody turbulence, and this whole night

Hath nothing been but shapes and forms of slaughter.

Cas.O! ’tis true.

Hect.Ho! bid my trumpet sound.

Cas.No notes of sally, for the heavens, sweet brother.

Hect.Be gone, I say: the gods have heard me swear.

Cas.The gods are deaf to hot and peevish vows:

They are polluted offerings, more abhorr’d

Than spotted livers in the sacrifice.

And.O! be persuaded: do not count it holy

To hurt by being just: it is as lawful,

For we would give much, to use violent thefts,

And rob in the behalf of charity.

Cas.It is the purpose that makes strong the vow;

But vows to every purpose must not hold.

Unarm, sweet Hector.

Hect.Hold you still, I say;

Mine honour keeps the weather of my fate:

Life every man holds dear; but the dear man

Holds honour far more precious-dear than life.


How now, young man! mean’st thou to fight to-day?

And.Cassandra, call my father to persuade.[Exit CASSANDRA.

Hect.No, faith, young Troilus; doff thy harness, youth;

I am to-day i’ the vein of chivalry:

Let grow thy sinews till their knots be strong,

And tempt not yet the brushes of the war.

Unarm thee, go, and doubt thou not, brave boy,

I’ll stand to-day for thee and me and Troy.

Tro.Brother, you have a vice of mercy in you,

Which better fits a lion than a man.

Hect.What vice is that, good Troilus? chide me for it.

Tro.When many times the captive Grecian falls,

Even in the fan and wind of your fair sword,

You bid them rise, and live.

Hect.O! ’tis fair play.

Tro.Fool’s play, by heaven, Hector.

Hect.How now! how now!

Tro.For the love of all the gods,

Let’s leave the hermit pity with our mothers,

And when we have our armours buckled on,

The venom’d vengeance ride upon our swords,

Spur them to ruthful work, rein them from ruth.

Hect.Fie, savage, fie!

Tro.Hector, then ’tis wars.

Hect.Troilus, I would not have you fight to-day.

Tro.Who should withhold me?

Not fate, obedience, nor the hand of Mars

Beckoning with fiery truncheon my retire;

Not Priamus and Hecuba on knees,

Their eyes o’ergalled with recourse of tears;

Nor you, my brother, with your true sword drawn,

Oppos’d to hinder me, should stop my way,

But by my ruin.

Re-enter CASSANDRA, with PRIAM.

Cas.Lay hold upon him, Priam, hold him fast:

He is thy crutch; now if thou lose thy stay,

Thou on him leaning, and all Troy on thee,

Fall all together.

Pri.Come, Hector, come; go back:

Thy wife hath dream’d; thy mother hath had visions;

Cassandra doth foresee; and I myself

Am like a prophet suddenly enrapt,

To tell thee that this day is ominous:

Therefore, come back.

Hect.Æneas is a-field;

And I do stand engag’d to many Greeks,

Even in the faith of valour, to appear

This morning to them.

Pri.Ay, but thou shalt not go.

Hect.I must not break my faith.

You know me dutiful; therefore, dear sir,

Let me not shame respect, but give me leave

To take that course by your consent and voice,

Which you do here forbid me, royal Priam.

Cas.O Priam! yield not to him.

And.Do not, dear father.

Hect.Andromache, I am offended with you:

Upon the love you bear me, get you in.[Exit ANDROMACHE.

Tro.This foolish, dreaming, superstitious girl

Makes all these bodements.

Cas.O farewell! dear Hector.

Look! how thou diest; look! how thy eye turns pale;

Look! how thy wounds do bleed at many vents:

Hark! how Troy roars: how Hecuba cries out!

How poor Andromache shrills her dolours forth!

Behold, distraction, frenzy, and amazement,

Like witless anticks, one another meet,

And all cry Hector! Hector’s dead! O Hector!

Tro.Away! Away!

Cas.Farewell. Yet, soft! Hector, I take my leave:

Thou dost thyself and all our Troy deceive.[Exit.

Hect.You are amaz’d, my liege, at her exclaim.

Go in and cheer the town: we’ll forth and fight;

Do deeds worth praise and tell you them at night.

Pri.Farewell: the gods with safety stand about thee![Exeunt severally PRIAM and HECTOR.Alarums.

Tro.They are at it, hark! Proud Diomed, believe,

I come to lose my arm, or win my sleeve.

As TROILUS is going out, enter, from the other side, PANDARUS.

Pan.Do you hear, my lord? do you hear?

Tro.What now?

Pan.Here’s a letter come from yond poor girl.

Tro.Let me read.

Pan.A whoreson tisick, a whoreson rascally tisick so troubles me, and the foolish fortune of this girl; and what one thing, what another, that I shall leave you one o’ these days: and I have a rheum in mine eyes too, and such an ache in my bones that, unless a man were cursed, I cannot tell what to think on ’t. What says she there?

Tro.Words, words, mere words, no matter from the heart;

The effect doth operate another way.[Tearing the letter.

Go, wind to wind, there turn and change together.

My love with words and errors still she feeds,

But edifies another with her deeds.[Exeunt severally.