| | Search | | E-Mail | | News | | Weather | | Finance | | Directory | | Music | | Lottery Results | | Horoscopes | | Translation | | Games | | E-Cards | | Maps | | Jobs | | Magazines | | DVDs |

Home > Troilus and Cressida > ACT II - SCENE II. Troy. A room in Priam's palace.

Search: Troilus and Cressida

< (Previous) ACT II, SCENE IACT II, SCENE III (Next) >

ACT II - SCENE II. Troy. A room in Priam's palace.

1    After so many hours, lives, speeches spent,
2    Thus once again says Nestor from the Greeks:
3    'Deliver Helen, and all damage else--
4    As honour, loss of time, travail, expense,
5    Wounds, friends, and what else dear that is consumed
6    In hot digestion of this cormorant war--
7    Shall be struck off.' Hector, what say you to't?
8    Though no man lesser fears the Greeks than I
9    As far as toucheth my particular,
10   Yet, dread Priam,
11   There is no lady of more softer bowels,
12   More spongy to suck in the sense of fear,
13   More ready to cry out 'Who knows what follows?'
14   Than Hector is: the wound of peace is surety,
15   Surety secure; but modest doubt is call'd
16   The beacon of the wise, the tent that searches
17   To the bottom of the worst. Let Helen go:
18   Since the first sword was drawn about this question,
19   Every tithe soul, 'mongst many thousand dismes,
20   Hath been as dear as Helen; I mean, of ours:
21   If we have lost so many tenths of ours,
22   To guard a thing not ours nor worth to us,
23   Had it our name, the value of one ten,
24   What merit's in that reason which denies
25   The yielding of her up?
26   Fie, fie, my brother!
27   Weigh you the worth and honour of a king
28   So great as our dread father in a scale
29   Of common ounces? will you with counters sum
30   The past proportion of his infinite?
31   And buckle in a waist most fathomless
32   With spans and inches so diminutive
33   As fears and reasons? fie, for godly shame!
34   No marvel, though you bite so sharp at reasons,
35   You are so empty of them. Should not our father
36   Bear the great sway of his affairs with reasons,
37   Because your speech hath none that tells him so?
38   You are for dreams and slumbers, brother priest;
39   You fur your gloves with reason. Here are
40   your reasons:
41   You know an enemy intends you harm;
42   You know a sword employ'd is perilous,
43   And reason flies the object of all harm:
44   Who marvels then, when Helenus beholds
45   A Grecian and his sword, if he do set
46   The very wings of reason to his heels
47   And fly like chidden Mercury from Jove,
48   Or like a star disorb'd? Nay, if we talk of reason,
49   Let's shut our gates and sleep: manhood and honour
50   Should have hare-hearts, would they but fat
51   their thoughts
52   With this cramm'd reason: reason and respect
53   Make livers pale and lustihood deject.
54   Brother, she is not worth what she doth cost
55   The holding.
56   What is aught, but as 'tis valued?
57   But value dwells not in particular will;
58   It holds his estimate and dignity
59   As well wherein 'tis precious of itself
60   As in the prizer: 'tis mad idolatry
61   To make the service greater than the god
62   And the will dotes that is attributive
63   To what infectiously itself affects,
64   Without some image of the affected merit.
65   I take to-day a wife, and my election
66   Is led on in the conduct of my will;
67   My will enkindled by mine eyes and ears,
68   Two traded pilots 'twixt the dangerous shores
69   Of will and judgment: how may I avoid,
70   Although my will distaste what it elected,
71   The wife I chose? there can be no evasion
72   To blench from this and to stand firm by honour:
73   We turn not back the silks upon the merchant,
74   When we have soil'd them, nor the remainder viands
75   We do not throw in unrespective sieve,
76   Because we now are full. It was thought meet
77   Paris should do some vengeance on the Greeks:
78   Your breath of full consent bellied his sails;
79   The seas and winds, old wranglers, took a truce
80   And did him service: he touch'd the ports desired,
81   And for an old aunt whom the Greeks held captive,
82   He brought a Grecian queen, whose youth and freshness
83   Wrinkles Apollo's, and makes stale the morning.
84   Why keep we her? the Grecians keep our aunt:
85   Is she worth keeping? why, she is a pearl,
86   Whose price hath launch'd above a thousand ships,
87   And turn'd crown'd kings to merchants.
88   If you'll avouch 'twas wisdom Paris went--
89   As you must needs, for you all cried 'Go, go,'--
90   If you'll confess he brought home noble prize--
91   As you must needs, for you all clapp'd your hands
92   And cried 'Inestimable!'--why do you now
93   The issue of your proper wisdoms rate,
94   And do a deed that fortune never did,
95   Beggar the estimation which you prized
96   Richer than sea and land? O, theft most base,
97   That we have stol'n what we do fear to keep!
98   But, thieves, unworthy of a thing so stol'n,
99   That in their country did them that disgrace,
100  We fear to warrant in our native place!
101   Cry, Trojans, cry!
102  What noise? what shriek is this?
103  'Tis our mad sister, I do know her voice.
104   Cry, Trojans!
105  It is Cassandra.
Enter CASSANDRA, raving

106  Cry, Trojans, cry! lend me ten thousand eyes,
107  And I will fill them with prophetic tears.
108  Peace, sister, peace!
109  Virgins and boys, mid-age and wrinkled eld,
110  Soft infancy, that nothing canst but cry,
111  Add to my clamours! let us pay betimes
112  A moiety of that mass of moan to come.
113  Cry, Trojans, cry! practise your eyes with tears!
114  Troy must not be, nor goodly Ilion stand;
115  Our firebrand brother, Paris, burns us all.
116  Cry, Trojans, cry! a Helen and a woe:
117  Cry, cry! Troy burns, or else let Helen go.

118  Now, youthful Troilus, do not these high strains
119  Of divination in our sister work
120  Some touches of remorse? or is your blood
121  So madly hot that no discourse of reason,
122  Nor fear of bad success in a bad cause,
123  Can qualify the same?
124  Why, brother Hector,
125  We may not think the justness of each act
126  Such and no other than event doth form it,
127  Nor once deject the courage of our minds,
128  Because Cassandra's mad: her brain-sick raptures
129  Cannot distaste the goodness of a quarrel
130  Which hath our several honours all engaged
131  To make it gracious. For my private part,
132  I am no more touch'd than all Priam's sons:
133  And Jove forbid there should be done amongst us
134  Such things as might offend the weakest spleen
135  To fight for and maintain!
136  Else might the world convince of levity
137  As well my undertakings as your counsels:
138  But I attest the gods, your full consent
139  Gave wings to my propension and cut off
140  All fears attending on so dire a project.
141  For what, alas, can these my single arms?
142  What Propugnation is in one man's valour,
143  To stand the push and enmity of those
144  This quarrel would excite? Yet, I protest,
145  Were I alone to pass the difficulties
146  And had as ample power as I have will,
147  Paris should ne'er retract what he hath done,
148  Nor faint in the pursuit.
149  Paris, you speak
150  Like one besotted on your sweet delights:
151  You have the honey still, but these the gall;
152  So to be valiant is no praise at all.
153  Sir, I propose not merely to myself
154  The pleasures such a beauty brings with it;
155  But I would have the soil of her fair rape
156  Wiped off, in honourable keeping her.
157  What treason were it to the ransack'd queen,
158  Disgrace to your great worths and shame to me,
159  Now to deliver her possession up
160  On terms of base compulsion! Can it be
161  That so degenerate a strain as this
162  Should once set footing in your generous bosoms?
163  There's not the meanest spirit on our party
164  Without a heart to dare or sword to draw
165  When Helen is defended, nor none so noble
166  Whose life were ill bestow'd or death unfamed
167  Where Helen is the subject; then, I say,
168  Well may we fight for her whom, we know well,
169  The world's large spaces cannot parallel.
170  Paris and Troilus, you have both said well,
171  And on the cause and question now in hand
172  Have glozed, but superficially: not much
173  Unlike young men, whom Aristotle thought
174  Unfit to hear moral philosophy:
175  The reasons you allege do more conduce
176  To the hot passion of distemper'd blood
177  Than to make up a free determination
178  'Twixt right and wrong, for pleasure and revenge
179  Have ears more deaf than adders to the voice
180  Of any true decision. Nature craves
181  All dues be render'd to their owners: now,
182  What nearer debt in all humanity
183  Than wife is to the husband? If this law
184  Of nature be corrupted through affection,
185  And that great minds, of partial indulgence
186  To their benumbed wills, resist the same,
187  There is a law in each well-order'd nation
188  To curb those raging appetites that are
189  Most disobedient and refractory.
190  If Helen then be wife to Sparta's king,
191  As it is known she is, these moral laws
192  Of nature and of nations speak aloud
193  To have her back return'd: thus to persist
194  In doing wrong extenuates not wrong,
195  But makes it much more heavy. Hector's opinion
196  Is this in way of truth; yet ne'ertheless,
197  My spritely brethren, I propend to you
198  In resolution to keep Helen still,
199  For 'tis a cause that hath no mean dependance
200  Upon our joint and several dignities.
201  Why, there you touch'd the life of our design:
202  Were it not glory that we more affected
203  Than the performance of our heaving spleens,
204  I would not wish a drop of Trojan blood
205  Spent more in her defence. But, worthy Hector,
206  She is a theme of honour and renown,
207  A spur to valiant and magnanimous deeds,
208  Whose present courage may beat down our foes,
209  And fame in time to come canonize us;
210  For, I presume, brave Hector would not lose
211  So rich advantage of a promised glory
212  As smiles upon the forehead of this action
213  For the wide world's revenue.
214  I am yours,
215  You valiant offspring of great Priamus.
216  I have a roisting challenge sent amongst
217  The dun and factious nobles of the Greeks
218  Will strike amazement to their drowsy spirits:
219  I was advertised their great general slept,
220  Whilst emulation in the army crept:
221  This, I presume, will wake him.

< (Previous) ACT II, SCENE IACT II, SCENE III (Next) >
Scene Index

  • ACT I

  • ACT II


  • ACT IV

  • ACT V

  • ©1999-. All rights reserved.Contact
    Part of the Network.Add Bookmark