Troilus and Cressida - Act 3, scene 3
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Act 3, scene 3
Calchas asks the Greek leaders to demand his daughter Cressida from the Trojans in exchange for Antenor, whom the Greeks have captured. The leaders agree and dispatch Diomedes to conduct the exchange of prisoners. The Greek leaders shun Achilles. After Ulysses and Achilles discuss the briefness of fame, and Ulysses attacks Achilles for loving the Trojan Polyxena, Achilles watches as Thersites and Patroclus perform an impromptu playlet mocking Ajax.⟨Flourish.⟩ Enter Ulysses, Diomedes, Nestor,
Agamemnon, Calchas, ⟨Menelaus,⟩ ⌜and Ajax.⌝
1860 Now, princes, for the service I have done ⟨you,⟩
1861 Th’ advantage of the time prompts me aloud
1862 To call for recompense. Appear it to ⟨your⟩ mind
1864 5 I have abandoned Troy, left my ⌜possessions,⌝
1865 Incurred a traitor’s name, exposed myself,
1866 From certain and possessed conveniences,
1867 To doubtful fortunes, sequest’ring from me all
1868 That time, acquaintance, custom, and condition
1869 10 Made tame and most familiar to my nature,
1870 And here, to do you service, am become
1871 As new into the world, strange, unacquainted.
1872 I do beseech you, as in way of taste,
1873 To give me now a little benefit
1874 15 Out of those many regist’red in promise,
1875 Which you say live to come in my behalf.
1876 What wouldst thou of us, Trojan, make demand?
1877 You have a Trojan prisoner called Antenor
1878 Yesterday took. Troy holds him very dear.
1879 20 Oft have you—often have you thanks therefor—
1880 Desired my Cressid in right great exchange,
1881 Whom Troy hath still denied; but this Antenor,
1882 I know, is such a wrest in their affairs
1883 That their negotiations all must slack,
1884 25 Wanting his manage; and they will almost
1885 Give us a prince of blood, a son of Priam,
1886 In change of him. Let him be sent, great princes,
1887 And he shall buy my daughter; and her presence
1888 Shall quite strike off all service I have done
1889 30 In most accepted pain.
AGAMEMNON 1890 Let Diomedes bear him,
1891 And bring us Cressid hither. Calchas shall have
1892 What he requests of us. Good Diomed,
1893 Furnish you fairly for this interchange.
1894 35 Withal, bring word if Hector will tomorrow
1895 Be answered in his challenge. Ajax is ready.
1896 This shall I undertake, and ’tis a burden
1897 Which I am proud to bear.He exits ⌜with Calchas.⌝
Achilles and Patroclus stand in their tent.
1898 Achilles stands i’ th’ entrance of his tent.
1899 40 Please it our General pass strangely by him
1900 As if he were forgot, and, princes all,
1901 Lay negligent and loose regard upon him.
1902 I will come last. ’Tis like he’ll question me
1903 Why such unplausive eyes are bent, why turned on
1904 45 him.
1905 If so, I have derision medicinable
1906 To use between your strangeness and his pride,
1907 Which his own will shall have desire to drink.
1908 It may do good; pride hath no other glass
1909 50 To show itself but pride, for supple knees
1910 Feed arrogance and are the proud man’s fees.
1911 We’ll execute your purpose and put on
1912 A form of strangeness as we pass along;
1913 So do each lord, and either greet him not
1914 55 Or else disdainfully, which shall shake him more
1915 Than if not looked on. I will lead the way.
⌜They pass before Achilles and Patroclus. Ulysses
remains in place, reading.⌝
1916 What, comes the General to speak with me?
1917 You know my mind: I’ll fight no more ’gainst Troy.
AGAMEMNON, ⌜to Nestor⌝
1918 What says Achilles? Would he aught with us?
NESTOR, ⌜to Achilles⌝
1919 60 Would you, my lord, aught with the General?
ACHILLES 1920 No.
AGAMEMNON 1922 The better.⌜Agamemnon and Nestor exit.⌝
ACHILLES, ⌜to Menelaus⌝ 1923 Good day, good day.
MENELAUS 1924 65How do you? How do you?⌜He exits.⌝
ACHILLES 1925 What, does the cuckold scorn me?
AJAX 1926 How now, Patroclus?
ACHILLES 1927 Good morrow, Ajax.
AJAX 1928 Ha?
ACHILLES 1929 70Good morrow.
AJAX 1930 Ay, and good next day too.⌜He exits.⌝
1931 What mean these fellows? Know they not Achilles?
1932 They pass by strangely. They were used to bend,
1933 To send their smiles before them to Achilles,
1934 75 To come as humbly as they ⌜use⌝ to creep
1935 To holy altars.
ACHILLES 1936 What, am I poor of late?
1937 ’Tis certain, greatness, once fall’n out with Fortune,
1938 Must fall out with men too. What the declined is
1939 80 He shall as soon read in the eyes of others
1940 As feel in his own fall, for men, like butterflies,
1941 Show not their mealy wings but to the summer,
1942 And not a man, for being simply man,
1943 Hath any honor, but honor for those honors
1944 85 That are without him—as place, riches, and favor,
1945 Prizes of accident as oft as merit,
1946 Which, when they fall, as being slippery slanders,
1947 The love that leaned on them, as slippery too,
1948 Doth one pluck down another and together
1949 90 Die in the fall. But ’tis not so with me.
1950 Fortune and I are friends. I do enjoy,
1951 At ample point, all that I did possess,
1952 Save these men’s looks, who do, methinks, find out
1953 Something not worth in me such rich beholding
1955 I’ll interrupt his reading.—How now, Ulysses?
ULYSSES 1956 Now, great Thetis’ son—
ACHILLES 1957 What are you reading?
ULYSSES 1958 A strange fellow here
1959 100 Writes me that man, how dearly ever parted,
1960 How much in having, or without or in,
1961 Cannot make boast to have that which he hath,
1962 Nor feels not what he owes, but by reflection;
1963 As when his virtues, ⟨shining⟩ upon others,
1964 105 Heat them, and they retort that heat again
1965 To the first ⟨giver.⟩
ACHILLES 1966 This is not strange, Ulysses.
1967 The beauty that is borne here in the face
1968 The bearer knows not, but commends itself
1969 110 [To others’ eyes; nor doth the eye itself,
1970 That most pure spirit of sense, behold itself,]
1971 Not going from itself, but eye to eye opposed
1972 Salutes each other with each other’s form.
1973 For speculation turns not to itself
1974 115 Till it hath traveled and is ⌜mirrored⌝ there
1975 Where it may see itself. This is not strange at all.
1976 I do not strain at the position—
1977 It is familiar—but at the author’s drift,
1978 Who in his circumstance expressly proves
1979 120 That no man is the lord of anything—
1980 Though in and of him there be much consisting—
1981 Till he communicate his parts to others;
1982 Nor doth he of himself know them for aught
1983 Till he behold them formed in the applause
1984 125 Where they’re extended; who, like an arch, reverb’rate
1985 The voice again or, like a gate of steel
1986 Fronting the sun, receives and renders back
1987 His figure and his heat. I was much rapt in this
1988 And apprehended here immediately
1990 A very horse, that has he knows not what!
1991 Nature, what things there are
1992 Most ⟨abject⟩ in regard, and dear in use,
1993 What things again most dear in the esteem
1994 135 And poor in worth! Now shall we see tomorrow—
1995 An act that very chance doth throw upon him—
1996 Ajax renowned. O, heavens, what some men do
1997 While some men leave to do!
1998 How some men creep in skittish Fortune’s hall,
1999 140 Whiles others play the idiots in her eyes!
2000 How one man eats into another’s pride,
2001 While pride is fasting in his wantonness!
2002 To see these Grecian lords—why, even already
2003 They clap the lubber Ajax on the shoulder
2004 145 As if his foot were on brave Hector’s breast
2005 And great Troy shrieking.
2006 I do believe it, for they passed by me
2007 As misers do by beggars, neither gave to me
2008 Good word nor look. What, are my deeds forgot?
2009 150 Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back
2010 Wherein he puts alms for oblivion,
2011 A great-sized monster of ingratitudes.
2012 Those scraps are good deeds past, which are devoured
2013 As fast as they are made, forgot as soon
2014 155 As done. Perseverance, dear my lord,
2015 Keeps honor bright. To have done is to hang
2016 Quite out of fashion like a rusty ⌜mail⌝
2017 In monumental mock’ry. Take the instant way,
2018 For honor travels in a strait so narrow
2019 160 Where one but goes abreast. Keep, then, the path,
2020 For Emulation hath a thousand sons
2021 That one by one pursue. If you give way
2022 Or turn aside from the direct forthright,
2024 165 And leave you ⟨hindmost;
2025 Or, like a gallant horse fall’n in first rank,
2026 Lie there for pavement to the abject ⌜rear,⌝
2027 O’errun and trampled on.⟩ Then what they do in
2029 170 Though less than yours in ⟨past,⟩ must o’ertop yours;
2030 For Time is like a fashionable host
2031 That slightly shakes his parting guest by th’ hand
2032 And, with his arms outstretched as he would fly,
2033 Grasps in the comer. Welcome ever smiles,
2034 175 And Farewell goes out sighing. Let not virtue seek
2035 Remuneration for the thing it was,
2036 For beauty, wit,
2037 High birth, vigor of bone, desert in service,
2038 Love, friendship, charity are subjects all
2039 180 To envious and calumniating Time.
2040 One touch of nature makes the whole world kin,
2041 That all, with one consent, praise newborn gauds,
2042 Though they are made and molded of things past,
2043 And ⌜give⌝ to dust that is a little gilt
2044 185 More laud than gilt o’erdusted.
2045 The present eye praises the present object.
2046 Then marvel not, thou great and complete man,
2047 That all the Greeks begin to worship Ajax,
2048 Since things in motion sooner catch the eye
2049 190 ⟨Than⟩ what stirs not. The cry went once on thee,
2050 And still it might, and yet it may again,
2051 If thou wouldst not entomb thyself alive
2052 And case thy reputation in thy tent,
2053 Whose glorious deeds but in these fields of late
2054 195 Made emulous missions ’mongst the gods themselves
2055 And drave great Mars to faction.
ACHILLES 2056 Of this my privacy,
2057 I have strong reasons.
ULYSSES 2058 But ’gainst your privacy
2060 ’Tis known, Achilles, that you are in love
2061 With one of Priam’s daughters.
ACHILLES 2062 Ha? Known?
ULYSSES 2063 Is that a wonder?
2064 205 The providence that’s in a watchful state
2065 Knows almost every ⟨grain of Pluto’s gold,⟩
2066 Finds bottom in the uncomprehensive ⌜deep,⌝
2067 Keeps place with thought and almost, like the gods,
2068 Do thoughts unveil in their dumb cradles.
2069 210 There is a mystery—with whom relation
2070 Durst never meddle—in the soul of state,
2071 Which hath an operation more divine
2072 Than breath or pen can give expressure to.
2073 All the commerce that you have had with Troy
2074 215 As perfectly is ours as yours, my lord;
2075 And better would it fit Achilles much
2076 To throw down Hector than Polyxena.
2077 But it must grieve young Pyrrhus now at home
2078 When Fame shall in our islands sound her trump,
2079 220 And all the Greekish girls shall tripping sing
2080 “Great Hector’s sister did Achilles win,
2081 But our great Ajax bravely beat down him.”
2082 Farewell, my lord. I as your lover speak.
2083 The fool slides o’er the ice that you should break.
2084 225 To this effect, Achilles, have I moved you.
2085 A woman impudent and mannish grown
2086 Is not more loathed than an effeminate man
2087 In time of action. I stand condemned for this.
2088 They think my little stomach to the war,
2089 230 And your great love to me, restrains you thus.
2090 Sweet, rouse yourself, and the weak wanton Cupid
2091 Shall from your neck unloose his amorous fold
2093 Be shook to air.
ACHILLES 2094 235 Shall Ajax fight with Hector?
2095 Ay, and perhaps receive much honor by him.
2096 I see my reputation is at stake;
2097 My fame is shrewdly gored.
PATROCLUS 2098 O, then, beware!
2099 240 Those wounds heal ill that men do give themselves.
2100 Omission to do what is necessary
2101 Seals a commission to a blank of danger,
2102 And danger, like an ague, subtly taints
2103 Even then when they sit idly in the sun.
2104 245 Go call Thersites hither, sweet Patroclus.
2105 I’ll send the fool to Ajax and desire him
2106 T’ invite the Trojan lords after the combat
2107 To see us here unarmed. I have a woman’s longing,
2108 An appetite that I am sick withal,
2109 250 To see great Hector in his weeds of peace,
2110 To talk with him, and to behold his visage,
2111 Even to my full of view.
2112 A labor saved.
THERSITES 2113 A wonder!
ACHILLES 2114 255What?
THERSITES 2115 Ajax goes up and down the field, asking for
ACHILLES 2117 How so?
THERSITES 2118 He must fight singly tomorrow with Hector
2119 260 and is so prophetically proud of an heroical cudgeling
2120 that he raves in saying nothing.
ACHILLES 2121 How can that be?
2123 a stride and a stand; ruminates like an hostess
2124 265 that hath no arithmetic but her brain to set
2125 down her reckoning; bites his lip with a politic regard,
2126 as who should say “There were wit in this
2127 head an ’twould out”—and so there is, but it lies
2128 as coldly in him as fire in a flint, which will not
2129 270 show without knocking. The man’s undone forever,
2130 for if Hector break not his neck i’ th’ combat,
2131 he’ll break ’t himself in vainglory. He knows not
2132 me. I said “Good morrow, Ajax,” and he replies
2133 “Thanks, Agamemnon.” What think you of this
2134 275 man that takes me for the General? He’s grown a
2135 very land-fish, languageless, a monster. A plague of
2136 opinion! A man may wear it on both sides, like a
2137 leather jerkin.
ACHILLES 2138 Thou must be my ambassador ⟨to him,⟩
2139 280 Thersites.
THERSITES 2140 Who, I? Why, he’ll answer nobody. He professes
2141 not answering; speaking is for beggars; he
2142 wears his tongue in ’s arms. I will put on his presence.
2143 Let Patroclus make ⟨his⟩ demands to me. You
2144 285 shall see the pageant of Ajax.
ACHILLES 2145 To him, Patroclus. Tell him I humbly desire
2146 the valiant Ajax to invite the ⟨most⟩ valorous Hector
2147 to come unarmed to my tent, and to procure safe-conduct
2148 for his person of the magnanimous and
2149 290 most illustrious, six-or-seven-times-honored captain
2150 general of the ⟨Grecian⟩ army, Agamemnon,
2151 ⟨et cetera.⟩ Do this.
PATROCLUS, ⌜to Thersites, who is playing Ajax⌝ 2152 Jove
2153 bless great Ajax.
THERSITES 2154 295Hum!
PATROCLUS 2155 I come from the worthy Achilles—
THERSITES 2156 Ha?
2158 Hector to his tent—
THERSITES 2159 300Hum!
PATROCLUS 2160 And to procure safe-conduct from
THERSITES 2162 Agamemnon?
PATROCLUS 2163 Ay, my lord.
THERSITES 2164 305Ha!
PATROCLUS 2165 What say you to ’t?
THERSITES 2166 God b’ wi’ you, with all my heart.
PATROCLUS 2167 Your answer, sir.
THERSITES 2168 If tomorrow be a fair day, by eleven of the
2169 310 clock it will go one way or other. Howsoever, he
2170 shall pay for me ere he has me.
PATROCLUS 2171 Your answer, sir.
THERSITES 2172 Fare you well with all my heart.
⌜He pretends to exit.⌝
ACHILLES 2173 Why, but he is not in this tune, is he?
THERSITES 2174 315No, but ⟨he’s⟩ out of tune thus. What music
2175 will be in him when Hector has knocked out his
2176 brains I know not. But I am sure none, unless the
2177 fiddler Apollo get his sinews to make catlings on.
ACHILLES 2178 Come, thou shalt bear a letter to him
2179 320 straight.
THERSITES 2180 Let me bear another to his horse, for that’s
2181 the more capable creature.
2182 My mind is troubled, like a fountain stirred,
2183 And I myself see not the bottom of it.
⌜Achilles and Patroclus exit.⌝
THERSITES 2184 325Would the fountain of your mind were clear
2185 again, that I might water an ass at it. I had rather
2186 be a tick in a sheep than such a valiant ignorance.