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Act 1, Scene II

SCENE II. The Same. A street.

Enter CRESSIDA and ALEXANDER
CRESSIDA
Who were those went by?

ALEXANDER
Queen Hecuba and Helen.

CRESSIDA
And whither go they?

ALEXANDER
Up to the eastern tower,
Whose height commands as subject all the vale,
To see the battle. Hector, whose patience
Is, as a virtue, fix'd, to-day was moved:
He chid Andromache and struck his armourer,
And, like as there were husbandry in war,
Before the sun rose he was harness'd light,
And to the field goes he; where every flower
Did, as a prophet, weep what it foresaw
In Hector's wrath.

CRESSIDA
What was his cause of anger?

ALEXANDER
The noise goes, this: there is among the Greeks
A lord of Trojan blood, nephew to Hector;
They call him Ajax.

CRESSIDA
Good; and what of him?

ALEXANDER
They say he is a very man per se,
And stands alone.

CRESSIDA
So do all men, unless they are drunk, sick, or have no legs.

ALEXANDER
This man, lady, hath robbed many beasts of their
particular additions; he is as valiant as the lion,
churlish as the bear, slow as the elephant: a man
into whom nature hath so crowded humours that his
valour is crushed into folly, his folly sauced with
discretion: there is no man hath a virtue that he
hath not a glimpse of, nor any man an attaint but he
carries some stain of it: he is melancholy without
cause, and merry against the hair: he hath the
joints of every thing, but everything so out of joint
that he is a gouty Briareus, many hands and no use,
or purblind Argus, all eyes and no sight.

CRESSIDA
But how should this man, that makes
me smile, make Hector angry?

ALEXANDER
They say he yesterday coped Hector in the battle and
struck him down, the disdain and shame whereof hath
ever since kept Hector fasting and waking.

CRESSIDA
Who comes here?

ALEXANDER
Madam, your uncle Pandarus.

Enter PANDARUS

CRESSIDA
Hector's a gallant man.

ALEXANDER
As may be in the world, lady.

PANDARUS
What's that? what's that?

CRESSIDA
Good morrow, uncle Pandarus.

PANDARUS
Good morrow, cousin Cressid: what do you talk of?
Good morrow, Alexander. How do you, cousin? When
were you at Ilium?

CRESSIDA
This morning, uncle.

PANDARUS
What were you talking of when I came? Was Hector
armed and gone ere ye came to Ilium? Helen was not
up, was she?

CRESSIDA
Hector was gone, but Helen was not up.

PANDARUS
Even so: Hector was stirring early.

CRESSIDA
That were we talking of, and of his anger.

PANDARUS
Was he angry?

CRESSIDA
So he says here.

PANDARUS
True, he was so: I know the cause too: he'll lay
about him to-day, I can tell them that: and there's
Troilus will not come far behind him: let them take
heed of Troilus, I can tell them that too.

CRESSIDA
What, is he angry too?

PANDARUS
Who, Troilus? Troilus is the better man of the two.

CRESSIDA
O Jupiter! there's no comparison.

PANDARUS
What, not between Troilus and Hector? Do you know a
man if you see him?

CRESSIDA
Ay, if I ever saw him before and knew him.

PANDARUS
Well, I say Troilus is Troilus.

CRESSIDA
Then you say as I say; for, I am sure, he is not Hector.

PANDARUS
No, nor Hector is not Troilus in some degrees.

CRESSIDA
'Tis just to each of them; he is himself.

PANDARUS
Himself! Alas, poor Troilus! I would he were.

CRESSIDA
So he is.

PANDARUS
Condition, I had gone barefoot to India.

CRESSIDA
He is not Hector.

PANDARUS
Himself! no, he's not himself: would a' were
himself! Well, the gods are above; time must friend
or end: well, Troilus, well: I would my heart were
in her body. No, Hector is not a better man than Troilus.

CRESSIDA
Excuse me.

PANDARUS
He is elder.

CRESSIDA
Pardon me, pardon me.

PANDARUS
Th' other's not come to't; you shall tell me another
tale, when th' other's come to't. Hector shall not
have his wit this year.

CRESSIDA
He shall not need it, if he have his own.

PANDARUS
Nor his qualities.

CRESSIDA
No matter.

PANDARUS
Nor his beauty.

CRESSIDA
'Twould not become him; his own's better.

PANDARUS
You have no judgment, niece: Helen
herself swore th' other day, that Troilus, for
a brown favour--for so 'tis, I must confess,--
not brown neither,--

CRESSIDA
No, but brown.

PANDARUS
'Faith, to say truth, brown and not brown.

CRESSIDA
To say the truth, true and not true.

PANDARUS
She praised his complexion above Paris.

CRESSIDA
Why, Paris hath colour enough.

PANDARUS
So he has.

CRESSIDA
Then Troilus should have too much: if she praised
him above, his complexion is higher than his; he
having colour enough, and the other higher, is too
flaming a praise for a good complexion. I had as
lief Helen's golden tongue had commended Troilus for
a copper nose.

PANDARUS
I swear to you. I think Helen loves him better than Paris.

CRESSIDA
Then she's a merry Greek indeed.

PANDARUS
Nay, I am sure she does. She came to him th' other
day into the compassed window,--and, you know, he
has not past three or four hairs on his chin,--

CRESSIDA
Indeed, a tapster's arithmetic may soon bring his
particulars therein to a total.

PANDARUS
Why, he is very young: and yet will he, within
three pound, lift as much as his brother Hector.

CRESSIDA
Is he so young a man and so old a lifter?

PANDARUS
But to prove to you that Helen loves him: she came
and puts me her white hand to his cloven chin--

CRESSIDA
Juno have mercy! how came it cloven?

PANDARUS
Why, you know 'tis dimpled: I think his smiling
becomes him better than any man in all Phrygia.

CRESSIDA
O, he smiles valiantly.

PANDARUS
Does he not?

CRESSIDA
O yes, an 'twere a cloud in autumn.

PANDARUS
Why, go to, then: but to prove to you that Helen
loves Troilus,--

CRESSIDA
Troilus will stand to the proof, if you'll
prove it so.

PANDARUS
Troilus! why, he esteems her no more than I esteem
an addle egg.

CRESSIDA
If you love an addle egg as well as you love an idle
head, you would eat chickens i' the shell.

PANDARUS
I cannot choose but laugh, to think how she tickled
his chin: indeed, she has a marvellous white hand, I
must needs confess,--

CRESSIDA
Without the rack.

PANDARUS
And she takes upon her to spy a white hair on his chin.

CRESSIDA
Alas, poor chin! many a wart is richer.

PANDARUS
But there was such laughing! Queen Hecuba laughed
that her eyes ran o'er.

CRESSIDA
With mill-stones.

PANDARUS
And Cassandra laughed.

CRESSIDA
But there was more temperate fire under the pot of
her eyes: did her eyes run o'er too?

PANDARUS
And Hector laughed.

CRESSIDA
At what was all this laughing?

PANDARUS
Marry, at the white hair that Helen spied on Troilus' chin.

CRESSIDA
An't had been a green hair, I should have laughed
too.

PANDARUS
They laughed not so much at the hair as at his pretty answer.

CRESSIDA
What was his answer?

PANDARUS
Quoth she, 'Here's but two and fifty hairs on your
chin, and one of them is white.

CRESSIDA
This is her question.

PANDARUS
That's true; make no question of that. 'Two and
fifty hairs' quoth he, 'and one white: that white
hair is my father, and all the rest are his sons.'
'Jupiter!' quoth she, 'which of these hairs is Paris,
my husband? 'The forked one,' quoth he, 'pluck't
out, and give it him.' But there was such laughing!
and Helen so blushed, an Paris so chafed, and all the
rest so laughed, that it passed.

CRESSIDA
So let it now; for it has been while going by.

PANDARUS
Well, cousin. I told you a thing yesterday; think on't.

CRESSIDA
So I do.

PANDARUS
I'll be sworn 'tis true; he will weep you, an 'twere
a man born in April.

CRESSIDA
And I'll spring up in his tears, an 'twere a nettle
against May.

A retreat sounded

PANDARUS
Hark! they are coming from the field: shall we
stand up here, and see them as they pass toward
Ilium? good niece, do, sweet niece Cressida.

CRESSIDA
At your pleasure.

PANDARUS
Here, here, here's an excellent place; here we may
see most bravely: I'll tell you them all by their
names as they pass by; but mark Troilus above the rest.

CRESSIDA
Speak not so loud.

AENEAS passes

PANDARUS
That's AEneas: is not that a brave man? he's one of
the flowers of Troy, I can tell you: but mark
Troilus; you shall see anon.

ANTENOR passes

CRESSIDA
Who's that?

PANDARUS
That's Antenor: he has a shrewd wit, I can tell you;
and he's a man good enough, he's one o' the soundest
judgments in whosoever, and a proper man of person.
When comes Troilus? I'll show you Troilus anon: if
he see me, you shall see him nod at me.

CRESSIDA
Will he give you the nod?

PANDARUS
You shall see.

CRESSIDA
If he do, the rich shall have more.

HECTOR passes

PANDARUS
That's Hector, that, that, look you, that; there's a
fellow! Go thy way, Hector! There's a brave man,
niece. O brave Hector! Look how he looks! there's
a countenance! is't not a brave man?

CRESSIDA
O, a brave man!

PANDARUS
Is a' not? it does a man's heart good. Look you
what hacks are on his helmet! look you yonder, do
you see? look you there: there's no jesting;
there's laying on, take't off who will, as they say:
there be hacks!

CRESSIDA
Be those with swords?

PANDARUS
Swords! any thing, he cares not; an the devil come
to him, it's all one: by God's lid, it does one's
heart good. Yonder comes Paris, yonder comes Paris.

PARIS passes

Look ye yonder, niece; is't not a gallant man too,
is't not? Why, this is brave now. Who said he came
hurt home to-day? he's not hurt: why, this will do
Helen's heart good now, ha! Would I could see
Troilus now! You shall see Troilus anon.

HELENUS passes

CRESSIDA
Who's that?

PANDARUS
That's Helenus. I marvel where Troilus is. That's
Helenus. I think he went not forth to-day. That's Helenus.

CRESSIDA
Can Helenus fight, uncle?

PANDARUS
Helenus? no. Yes, he'll fight indifferent well. I
marvel where Troilus is. Hark! do you not hear the
people cry 'Troilus'? Helenus is a priest.

CRESSIDA
What sneaking fellow comes yonder?

TROILUS passes

PANDARUS
Where? yonder? that's Deiphobus. 'Tis Troilus!
there's a man, niece! Hem! Brave Troilus! the
prince of chivalry!

CRESSIDA
Peace, for shame, peace!

PANDARUS
Mark him; note him. O brave Troilus! Look well upon
him, niece: look you how his sword is bloodied, and
his helm more hacked than Hector's, and how he looks,
and how he goes! O admirable youth! he ne'er saw
three and twenty. Go thy way, Troilus, go thy way!
Had I a sister were a grace, or a daughter a goddess,
he should take his choice. O admirable man! Paris?
Paris is dirt to him; and, I warrant, Helen, to
change, would give an eye to boot.

CRESSIDA
Here come more.

Forces pass

PANDARUS
Asses, fools, dolts! chaff and bran, chaff and bran!
porridge after meat! I could live and die i' the
eyes of Troilus. Ne'er look, ne'er look: the eagles
are gone: crows and daws, crows and daws! I had
rather be such a man as Troilus than Agamemnon and
all Greece.

CRESSIDA
There is among the Greeks Achilles, a better man than Troilus.

PANDARUS
Achilles! a drayman, a porter, a very camel.

CRESSIDA
Well, well.

PANDARUS
'Well, well!' why, have you any discretion? have
you any eyes? Do you know what a man is? Is not
birth, beauty, good shape, discourse, manhood,
learning, gentleness, virtue, youth, liberality,
and such like, the spice and salt that season a man?

CRESSIDA
Ay, a minced man: and then to be baked with no date
in the pie, for then the man's date's out.

PANDARUS
You are such a woman! one knows not at what ward you
lie.

CRESSIDA
Upon my back, to defend my belly; upon my wit, to
defend my wiles; upon my secrecy, to defend mine
honesty; my mask, to defend my beauty; and you, to
defend all these: and at all these wards I lie, at a
thousand watches.

PANDARUS
Say one of your watches.

CRESSIDA
Nay, I'll watch you for that; and that's one of the
chiefest of them too: if I cannot ward what I would
not have hit, I can watch you for telling how I took
the blow; unless it swell past hiding, and then it's
past watching.

PANDARUS
You are such another!

Enter Troilus's Boy

Boy
Sir, my lord would instantly speak with you.

PANDARUS
Where?

Boy
At your own house; there he unarms him.

PANDARUS
Good boy, tell him I come.

Exit boy

I doubt he be hurt. Fare ye well, good niece.

CRESSIDA
Adieu, uncle.

PANDARUS
I'll be with you, niece, by and by.

CRESSIDA
To bring, uncle?

PANDARUS
Ay, a token from Troilus.

CRESSIDA
By the same token, you are a bawd.

Exit PANDARUS

Words, vows, gifts, tears, and love's full sacrifice,
He offers in another's enterprise;
But more in Troilus thousand fold I see
Than in the glass of Pandar's praise may be;
Yet hold I off. Women are angels, wooing:
Things won are done; joy's soul lies in the doing.
That she beloved knows nought that knows not this:
Men prize the thing ungain'd more than it is:
That she was never yet that ever knew
Love got so sweet as when desire did sue.
Therefore this maxim out of love I teach:
Achievement is command; ungain'd, beseech:
Then though my heart's content firm love doth bear,
Nothing of that shall from mine eyes appear.

Exeunt

William Shakespeare