Act I, Scene 1

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Act I, Prologue

Enter Chorus

CHORUS In Troy, there lies the scene. From isles of Greece
The princes orgulous, their high blood chafed,
Have to the port of Athens sent their ships,
Fraught with the ministers and instruments
Of cruel war: sixty and nine, that wore
Their crownets regal, from the Athenian bay
Put forth toward Phrygia; and their vow is made
To ransack Troy, within whose strong immures
The ravish'd Helen, Menelaus' queen,
With wanton Paris sleeps; and that's the quarrel.
To Tenedos they come;
And the deep-drawing barks do there disgorge
Their warlike fraughtage: now on Dardan plains
The fresh and yet unbruised Greeks do pitch
Their brave pavilions: Priam's six-gated city,
Dardan, and Tymbria, Helias, Chetas, Troien,
And Antenorides, with massy staples
And corresponsive and fulfilling bolts,
Sperr up the sons of Troy.
Now expectation, tickling skittish spirits,
On one and other side, Trojan and Greek,
Sets all on hazard: and hither am I come
A prologue arm'd, but not in confidence
Of author's pen or actor's voice, but suited
In like conditions as our argument,
To tell you, fair beholders, that our play
Leaps o'er the vaunt and firstlings of those broils,
Beginning in the middle, starting thence away
To what may be digested in a play.
Like or find fault; do as your pleasures are:
Now good or bad, 'tis but the chance of war.

 

Act I, Scene 1 Troy. Before Priam's palace.

Enter TROILUS armed, and PANDARUS

 

TROILUS Call here my varlet; I'll unarm again:
Why should I war without the walls of Troy,
That find such cruel battle here within?
Each Trojan that is master of his heart,
Let him to field; Troilus, alas! hath none.
PANDARUS Will this gear ne'er be mended?
TROILUS The Greeks are strong and skilful to their strength,
Fierce to their skill and to their fierceness valiant;
But I am weaker than a woman's tear,
Tamer than sleep, fonder than ignorance,
Less valiant than the virgin in the night
And skilless as unpractised infancy.
PANDARUS Well, I have told you enough of this: for my part,
I'll not meddle nor make no further. He that will
have a cake out of the wheat must needs tarry the grinding.
TROILUS Have I not tarried?
PANDARUS Ay, the grinding; but you must tarry
the bolting.
TROILUS Have I not tarried?
PANDARUS Ay, the bolting, but you must tarry the leavening.
TROILUS Still have I tarried.
PANDARUS Ay, to the leavening; but here's yet in the word
'hereafter' the kneading, the making of the cake, the
heating of the oven and the baking; nay, you must
stay the cooling too, or you may chance to burn your lips.
TROILUS Patience herself, what goddess e'er she be,
Doth lesser blench at sufferance than I do.
At Priam's royal table do I sit;
And when fair Cressid comes into my thoughts,--
So, traitor! 'When she comes!' When is she thence?
PANDARUS Well, she looked yesternight fairer than ever I saw
her look, or any woman else.
TROILUS I was about to tell thee:--when my heart,
As wedged with a sigh, would rive in twain,
Lest Hector or my father should perceive me,
I have, as when the sun doth light a storm,
Buried this sigh in wrinkle of a smile:
But sorrow, that is couch'd in seeming gladness,
Is like that mirth fate turns to sudden sadness.
PANDARUS An her hair were not somewhat darker than Helen's--
well, go to--there were no more comparison between
the women: but, for my part, she is my kinswoman; I
would not, as they term it, praise her: but I would
somebody had heard her talk yesterday, as I did. I
will not dispraise your sister Cassandra's wit, but--
TROILUS O Pandarus! I tell thee, Pandarus,--
When I do tell thee, there my hopes lie drown'd,
Reply not in how many fathoms deep
They lie indrench'd. I tell thee I am mad
In Cressid's love: thou answer'st 'she is fair;'
Pour'st in the open ulcer of my heart
Her eyes, her hair, her cheek, her gait, her voice,
Handlest in thy discourse, O, that her hand,
In whose comparison all whites are ink,
Writing their own reproach, to whose soft seizure
The cygnet's down is harsh and spirit of sense
Hard as the palm of ploughman: this thou tell'st me,
As true thou tell'st me, when I say I love her;
But, saying thus, instead of oil and balm,
Thou lay'st in every gash that love hath given me
The knife that made it.
PANDARUS I speak no more than truth.
TROILUS Thou dost not speak so much.
PANDARUS Faith, I'll not meddle in't. Let her be as she is:
if she be fair, 'tis the better for her; an she be
not, she has the mends in her own hands.
TROILUS Good Pandarus, how now, Pandarus!
PANDARUS I have had my labour for my travail; ill-thought on of
her and ill-thought on of you; gone between and
between, but small thanks for my labour.
TROILUS What, art thou angry, Pandarus? what, with me?
PANDARUS Because she's kin to me, therefore she's not so fair
as Helen: an she were not kin to me, she would be as
fair on Friday as Helen is on Sunday. But what care
I? I care not an she were a black-a-moor; 'tis all one to me.
TROILUS Say I she is not fair?
PANDARUS I do not care whether you do or no. She's a fool to
stay behind her father; let her to the Greeks; and so
I'll tell her the next time I see her: for my part,
I'll meddle nor make no more i' the matter.
TROILUS Pandarus,--
PANDARUS Not I.
TROILUS Sweet Pandarus,--
PANDARUS Pray you, speak no more to me: I will leave all as I
found it, and there an end.
  [Exit PANDARUS. An alarum]
TROILUS Peace, you ungracious clamours! peace, rude sounds!
Fools on both sides! Helen must needs be fair,
When with your blood you daily paint her thus.
I cannot fight upon this argument;
It is too starved a subject for my sword.
But Pandarus,--O gods, how do you plague me!
I cannot come to Cressid but by Pandar;
And he's as tetchy to be woo'd to woo.
As she is stubborn-chaste against all suit.
Tell me, Apollo, for thy Daphne's love,
What Cressid is, what Pandar, and what we?
Her bed is India; there she lies, a pearl:
Between our Ilium and where she resides,
Let it be call'd the wild and wandering flood,
Ourself the merchant, and this sailing Pandar
Our doubtful hope, our convoy and our bark.
  [Alarum. Enter AENEAS]
AENEAS How now, Prince Troilus! wherefore not afield?
TROILUS Because not there: this woman's answer sorts,
For womanish it is to be from thence.
What news, AEneas, from the field to-day?
AENEAS That Paris is returned home and hurt.
TROILUS By whom, AEneas?
AENEAS Troilus, by Menelaus.
TROILUS Let Paris bleed; 'tis but a scar to scorn;
Paris is gored with Menelaus' horn.
  [Alarum]
AENEAS Hark, what good sport is out of town to-day!
TROILUS Better at home, if 'would I might' were 'may.'
But to the sport abroad: are you bound thither?
AENEAS In all swift haste.
TROILUS Come, go we then together.
  [Exeunt]

 

To see other scenes from the show:

Full Text Act IV, Scene 1 A street.
Act I, Scene 1 Troy. Before Priam's palace. Act IV, Scene 2 Court of Pandarus' house
Act I, Scene 2 The same. A street. Act IV, Scene 3 Street before Pandarus' house./Act IV, Scene 4 Pandarus' house.
Act I, Scene 3 The Grecian Camp. Before Agamemnon's tent. Act IV, Scene 5 The Grecian camp.
Act II, Scene 1 A part of the Grecian camp. Act V, Scene 1 Before Achilles' tent.
Act II, Scene 2 A room in Priam's palace. Act V, Scene 2 Before Calchas' tent.
Act II, Scene 3 Before Achilles' tent. Act V, Scene 3 Before Priam's tent.
Act III, Scene 1 Priam's palace Act V, Scene 4 Plains between Troy and the Grecian camp./Act V, Scene 5 Another part of the plains.
Act III, Scene 2 Pandarus' orchard. Act V, Scene 6 Another part of the plains./Act V, Scene 7 Another part of the plains./Act V, Scene 8 Another part of the plains.
Act III, Scene 3 Before Achilles' tent. Act V, Scene 9 Another part of the plains./Act V, Scene 10 Another part of the plains.

 

To view other Troilus and Cressida sections:

Main Play Page     Play Text     Scene by Scene Synopsis      Character Directory     Commentary  

 

To view the other Plays click below:

By  Comedies    Histories    Romances    Tragedies

All's Well the Ends Well Antony & Cleopatra As You Like It Cardenio Comedy of Errors Coriolanus
Cymbeline Edward III Hamlet Henry IV, Part 1 Henry IV, Part 2 Henry V
Henry VI, Part 1 Henry VI, Part 2 Henry VI, Part 3 Henry VIII Julius Caesar King John
King Lear Love's Labours Lost Love's Labours Wonne Macbeth Measure for Measure Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor A Mid Summer Night's Dream  Much Ado About Nothing Othello Pericles Richard II
Richard III Romeo & Juliet Sir Thomas More Taming of the Shrew The Tempest Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus Troilus & Cressida Twelfth Night Two Gentlemen of Verona The Two Noble Kinsman The Winter's Tale

 

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