Troilus and Cressida (1602-3)


Act V, Scene 3

Troy. Before Priam's palace.

[Enter HECTOR and ANDROMACHE]

Andromache When was my lord so much ungently temper'd,
To stop his ears against admonishment?
Unarm, unarm, and do not fight to-day.

Hector You train me to offend you; get you in:
By all the everlasting gods, I'll go!

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

Hector No more, I say.

[Enter CASSANDRA]

Cassandra Where is my brother Hector?

Andromache 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.

Cassandra O, 'tis true.

Hector Ho! bid my trumpet sound!

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

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

Cassandra The gods are deaf to hot and peevish vows:
They are polluted offerings, more abhorr'd
Than spotted livers in the sacrifice.

Andromache 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.

Cassandra It is the purpose that makes strong the vow;
But vows to every purpose must not hold:
Unarm, sweet Hector.

Hector Hold you still, I say;
Mine honour keeps the weather of my fate:
Lie every man holds dear; but the brave man
Holds honour far more precious-dear than life.
[Enter TROILUS]
How now, young man! mean'st thou to fight to-day?

Andromache Cassandra, call my father to persuade.

[Exit CASSANDRA]

Hector 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.

Troilus Brother, you have a vice of mercy in you,
Which better fits a lion than a man.

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

Troilus When many times the captive Grecian falls,
Even in the fan and wind of your fair sword,
You bid them rise, and live.

Hector O,'tis fair play.

Troilus Fool's play, by heaven, Hector.

Hector How now! how now!

Troilus 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.

Hector Fie, savage, fie!

Troilus Hector, then 'tis wars.

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

Troilus 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;
Not you, my brother, with your true sword drawn,
Opposed to hinder me, should stop my way,
But by my ruin.

[Re-enter CASSANDRA, with PRIAM]

Cassandra 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.

Priam 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.

Hector AEneas is a-field;
And I do stand engaged to many Greeks,
Even in the faith of valour, to appear
This morning to them.

Priam Ay, but thou shalt not go.

Hector 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.

Cassandra O Priam, yield not to him!

Andromache Do not, dear father.

Hector Andromache, I am offended with you:
Upon the love you bear me, get you in.

[Exit ANDROMACHE]

Troilus This foolish, dreaming, superstitious girl
Makes all these bodements.

Cassandra 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 antics, one another meet,
And all cry, Hector! Hector's dead! O Hector!

Troilus Away! away!

Cassandra Farewell: yet, soft! Hector! take my leave:
Thou dost thyself and all our Troy deceive.

[Exit]

Hector You are amazed, 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.

Priam Farewell: the gods with safety stand about thee!

[Exeunt severally PRIAM and HECTOR. Alarums]

Troilus They are at it, hark! Proud Diomed, believe,
I come to lose my arm, or win my sleeve.

[Enter PANDARUS]

Pandarus Do you hear, my lord? do you hear?

Troilus What now?

Pandarus Here's a letter come from yond poor girl.

Troilus Let me read.

Pandarus 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?

Troilus 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]

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