Troilus and Cressida


Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Flourish. Enter Agamemnon, Ulysses, Diomedes,

Nestor, Ajax, Menelaus, and Calchas


Now, princes, for the service I have done you,

Th' advantage of the time prompts me aloud
advantage (n.) 1 right moment, favourable opportunity

To call for recompense. Appear it to your mind

That, through the sight I bear in things to come,
bear (v.), past forms bore, borne 14 be endowed with, have, possess

I have abandoned Troy, left my possession,
possession (n.) 2 property, estate, belongings

Incurred a traitor's name, exposed myself,

From certain and possessed conveniences,
convenience (n.) 3 advantage, desirable feature, point of agreement

To doubtful fortunes; sequest'ring from me all
sequester (v.) separate, remove, cut off

That time, acquaintance, custom, and condition
condition (n.) 4 position, social rank, station

Made tame and most familiar to my nature;
tame (adj.) 2 familiar, habitual, customary

And here, to do you service, am become

As new into the world, strange, unacquainted.
strange (adj.) 4 foreign, alien, from abroad

I do beseech you, as in way of taste,

To give me now a little benefit,

Out of those many registered in promise,

Which, you say, live to come in my behalf.


What wouldst thou of us, Trojan? Make demand.


You have a Trojan prisoner, called Antenor,

Yesterday took; Troy holds him very dear.

Oft have you – often have you thanks therefore –
oft (adv.) often See Topics: Frequency count

Desired my Cressid in right great exchange,

Whom Troy hath still denied; but this Antenor,
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

I know, is such a wrest in their affairs
wrest (n.) [music] implement for tuning

That their negotiations all must slack,
slack (v.) 1 slacken, reduce, slow down

Wanting his manage; and they will almost
manage (n.) 2 management, direction, administration
want (v.) 1 lack, need, be without See Topics: Frequency count

Give us a prince of blood, a son of Priam,
blood (n.) 7 nobility, breeding, gentility, good parentage

In change of him. Let him be sent, great princes,
change (n.) 6 exchange, replacement [for]

And he shall buy my daughter; and her presence

Shall quite strike off all service I have done
strike off (v.) cancel [as by a pen-stroke], erase, remove

In most accepted pain.
accepted (adj.) acceptable
bear (v.), past forms bore, borne 13 escort, accompany, go along with
pain (n.) effort, endeavour, exertion, labour


                         Let Diomedes bear him,

And bring us Cressid hither; Calchas shall have

What he requests of us. Good Diomed,

Furnish you fairly for this interchange;
fairly (adv.) 2 neatly, elegantly, handsomely, beautifully
furnish (v.) 3 dress, clothe, equip, fit out

Withal bring word if Hector will tomorrow

Be answered in his challenge. Ajax is ready.


This shall I undertake, and 'tis a burden

Which I am proud to bear.

Exeunt Diomedes and Calchas

Achilles and Patroclus stand in the entrance to their



Achilles stands i'th' entrance of his tent.

Please it our general to pass strangely by him,
strangely (adv.) 1 like a stranger, distantly, in an unfriendly manner

As if he were forgot; and, princes all,

Lay negligent and loose regard upon him.
loose (adj.) 1 casual, lax, careless

I will come last – 'tis like he'll question me
like (adv.) 1 likely, probable / probably See Topics: Frequency count

Why such unplausive eyes are bent, why turned on him;
bend (v.) 1 aim, direct, level, turn
unplausive (adj.) disapproving, displeased, censurious

If so, I have derision medicinable
medicinable (adj.) 1 medicinal, healing, curative, restorative

To use between your strangeness and his pride,
strangeness (n.) estrangement, disaffection, coldness, aloofness

Which his own will shall have desire to drink.

It may do good: pride hath no other glass

To show itself but pride; for supple knees
glass (n.) 1 mirror, looking-glass See Topics: Frequency count

Feed arrogance, and are the proud man's fees.


We'll execute your purpose, and put on
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count

A form of strangeness as we pass along –

So do each lord, and either greet him not,

Or else disdainfully, which shall shake him more

Than if not looked on. I will lead the way.


What, comes the general to speak with me?

You know my mind; I'll fight no more 'gainst Troy.


What says Achilles? Would he aught with us?
aught (n.) anything, [with negative word] nothing See Topics: Frequency count


Would you, my lord, aught with the general?




Nothing, my lord.


The better.

Exeunt Agamemnon and Nestor


Good day, good day.


How do you? How do you?



What, does the cuckold scorn me?
cuckold (n.) [mocking name] man with an unfaithful wife See Topics: Frequency count


How now, Patroclus?


Good morrow, Ajax.
morrow (n.) morning See Topics: Frequency count




Good morrow.


Ay, and good next day too.



What mean these fellows? Know they not Achilles?


They pass by strangely. They were used to bend,
bend (v.) 5 give way, bow, submit
strangely (adv.) 1 like a stranger, distantly, in an unfriendly manner
use (v.) 1 be accustomed, make a habit [of]

To send their smiles before them to Achilles;

To come as humbly as they use to creep

To holy altars.


                         What, am I poor of late?

'Tis certain, greatness, once fallen out with fortune,

Must fall out with men too. What the declined is,
declined (n.) vanquished person, someone brought down

He shall as soon read in the eyes of others

As feel in his own fall; for men, like butterflies,

Show not their mealy wings but to the summer,
mealy (adj.) powdery, scaly, grainy

And not a man, for being simply man,

Hath any honour, but honoured for those honours

That are without him, as place, riches, and favour –
place (n.) 1 position, post, office, rank See Topics: Frequency count

Prizes of accident as oft as merit –
oft (adv.) often See Topics: Frequency count

Which when they fall, as being slippery standers,
stander (n.) supporter, sustainer, prop

The love that leaned on them, as slippery too,

Do one pluck down another, and together
pluck down (v.) 2 pull down, drag down

Die in the fall. But 'tis not so with me:

Fortune and I are friends. I do enjoy

At ample point all that I did possess,
ample (adj.) full, complete, absolute
point (n.) 3 summit, apex, highest point

Save these men's looks; who do, methinks, find out
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count

Something not worth in me such rich beholding
beholding (n.) 1 regard, attention, contemplation

As they have often given. Here is Ulysses:

I'll interrupt his reading –

How now, Ulysses!


                         Now, great Thetis' son.


What are you reading?


                         A strange fellow here

Writes me that man – how dearly ever parted,
parted (adj.) 2 gifted, endowed, accomplished

How much in having, or without or in –
without (adv.) externally, on the outside

Cannot make boast to have that which he hath,

Nor feels not what he owes, but by reflection;
owe (v.) 1 own, possess, have See Topics: Frequency count

As when his virtues shining upon others

Heat them, and they retort that heat again
retort (v.) 1 turn back, return, reflect

To the first giver.


                         This is not strange, Ulysses.

The beauty that is borne here in the face

The bearer knows not, but commends itself
bearer (n.) possessor, owner, holder
commend (v.) 3 present, introduce, bring [for favourable acceptance]

To others' eyes; nor doth the eye itself,

That most pure spirit of sense, behold itself,
sense (n.) 1 senses, sensation, organs of sense
spirit (n.) 3 life-supporting substance thought to be carried by the blood, animating essence

Not going from itself, but eye to eye opposed

Salutes each other with each other's form.

For speculation turns not to itself
speculation (n.) 2 power of sight, vision

Till it hath travelled, and is mirrored there

Where it may see itself. This is not strange at all.


I do not strain at the position –
position (n.) 1 [in logic] affirmation, assertion, hypothesis
strain at (v.) have difficulty in accepting, have a problem with

It is familiar – but at the author's drift,
drift (n.) 2 direction, progress, course

Who in his circumstance expressly proves
circumstance (n.) 3 special argument, detailed explanation

That no man is the lord of any thing,

Though in and of him there is much consisting,

Till he communicate his parts to others;
part (n.) 1 quality, attribute, gift, accomplishment [of mind or body]

Nor doth he of himself know them for aught
aught (n.) anything, [with negative word] nothing See Topics: Frequency count

Till he behold them formed in th' applause

Where they're extended; who like an arch reverb'rate
extend (v.) 5 [unclear meaning] react to; evaluate; enlarge in scope

The voice again; or, like a gate of steel

Fronting the sun, receives and renders back

His figure and his heat. I was much wrapt in this,
figure (n.) 1 form, design, shape, conception
rapt (adj.) 1 absorbed, engrossed, preoccupied

And apprehended here immediately
apprehend (v.) 5 perceive the significance, discern, grasp the matter [of]

The unknown Ajax. Heavens, what a man is there!
unknown (adj.) 1 obscure, little-known

A very horse, that has he knows not what!

Nature, what things there are

Most abject in regard, and dear in use!
abject (adj.) mean-spirited, despicable, contemptible
dear (adj.) 3 of great worth, valuable, precious
regard (n.) 3 respect, repute, esteem

What things again most dear in the esteem,

And poor in worth! Now shall we see tomorrow –

An act that very chance doth throw upon him –
chance (n.) 5 fortune, lot, destiny
very (adj.) 3 mere, alone

Ajax renowned. O heavens, what some men do,

While some men leave to do!

How some men creep in skittish Fortune's hall,
skittish (adj.) changeable, fickle, inconstant

Whiles others play the idiots in her eyes!

How one man eats into another's pride,

While pride is fasting in his wantonness!
wantonness (n.) 1 foolish behaviour, caprice, whims

To see these Grecian lords! – Why, even already

They clap the lubber Ajax on the shoulder,
lubber (n.) clumsy dolt, blundering lout

As if his foot were on brave Hector's breast,
brave (adj.) 2 noble, worthy, excellent

And great Troy shrinking.
shrink (v.) 1 shiver, recoil, draw back


I do believe it; for they passed by me

As misers do by beggars, neither gave to me

Good word nor look. What, are my deeds forgot?


Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back,
wallet (n.) 2 bag, knapsack

Wherein he puts alms for oblivion,

A great-sized monster of ingratitudes:
ingratitude (n.) act of ingratitude, ungrateful response

Those scraps are good deeds past, which are devoured

As fast as they are made, forgot as soon

As done. Perseverance, dear my lord,

Keeps honour bright: to have done is to hang

Quite out of fashion, like a rusty mail
mail (n.) 1 armour, chain mail, piece of armour See Topics: Body-armour

In monumental mockery. Take the instant way;
instant (adj.) 1 immediate, direct
monumental (adj.) 1 serving as a monument, providing a memorial

For honour travels in a strait so narrow,
strait (n.) cramped passage, confined path

Where one but goes abreast. Keep then the path,

For emulation hath a thousand sons,
emulation (n.) 1 ambitious rivalry, contention, conflict

That one by one pursue; if you give way,

Or hedge aside from the direct forthright,
forthright (n.) straight path, direct course
hedge (v.) 1 deviate from a straight path, shift direction

Like to an entered tide, they all rush by

And leave you hindmost;

Or, like a gallant horse fallen in first rank,

Lie there for pavement to the abject rear,
abject (adj.) mean-spirited, despicable, contemptible
pavement (n.) paved surface, thoroughfare

O'er-run and trampled on. Then what they do in present,

Though less than yours in past, must o'ertop yours;
overtop (v.) excel, surpass, go beyond the (normal) level of

For time is like a fashionable host,

That slightly shakes his parting guest by th' hand,
slightly (adv.) 1 without much attention, neglectfully

And with his arms outstretched, as he would fly,

Grasps in the comer: the welcome ever smiles,
comer (n.) newcomer, arrival, new visitor
grasp in (v.) embrace, clasp in the arms

And farewell goes out sighing. O, let not virtue seek
virtue (n.) 8 virtuous self, honour, excellency

Remuneration for the thing it was;

For beauty, wit,
wit (n.) 1 intelligence, wisdom, good sense, mental ability See Topics: Frequency count

High birth, vigour of bone, desert in service,
bone (n.) 1 body, physique, bodily frame
desert, desart (n.) 3 worthy deed, meritorious action

Love, friendship, charity, are subjects all
envious (adj.) malicious, spiteful, vindictive, full of enmity See Topics: Frequency count

To envious and calumniating time.
calumniating (adj.) slandering, defaming, reviling

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin,
nature (n.) 3 human nature
touch (n.) 1 trait, quality, feature

That all, with one consent, praise new-born gauds,
gaud (n.) gaudy toy, showy plaything, trinket

Though they are made and moulded of things past,

And give to dust that is a little gilt

More laud than gilt o'er-dusted.
laud (n.) 1 praise, homage, honour
over-dusted (adj.) covered over with dust

The present eye praises the present object:

Then marvel not, thou great and complete man,
complete, compleat (adj.) 1 accomplished, consummate, thorough
complete, compleat (adj.) 2 fully equipped, with everything present

That all the Greeks begin to worship Ajax,

Since things in motion sooner catch the eye

Than what stirs not. The cry went once on thee,
cry (n.) 3 acclaim, shout of approval

And still it might, and yet it may again,
still (adv.) 2 ever, now [as before]

If thou wouldst not entomb thyself alive,

And case thy reputation in thy tent;
case (v.) 2 hide, conceal, cover up

Whose glorious deeds but in these fields of late
field (n.) 1 field of battle, battleground, field of combat See Topics: Frequency count

Made emulous missions 'mongst the gods themselves,
emulous (adj.) 1 envious, filled with rivalry, greedy for praise

And drave great Mars to faction.
faction (n.) 3 quarrel, squabble, dissension


                         Of this my privacy

I have strong reasons.


                         But 'gainst your privacy

The reasons are more potent and heroical.
heroical (adj.) 2 appropriate to the character of a hero

'Tis known, Achilles, that you are in love

With one of Priam's daughters –


                         Ha? Known?


Is that a wonder?

The providence that's in a watchful state
providence (n.) 1 foresight, forethought
state (n.) 10 government, ruling body, administration

Knows almost every grain of Pluto's gold,

Finds bottom in th' uncomprehensive deeps,
uncomprehensive (adj.) fathomless, boundless, immeasurable

Keeps place with thought, and almost, like the gods,
place (n.) 6 way, room

Does thoughts unveil in their dumb cradles.

There is a mystery – with whom relation
mystery (n.) 4 secret matter, inexplicable essence
relation (n.) 1 report, account, narration

Durst never meddle – in the soul of state,

Which hath an operation more divine

Than breath or pen can give expressure to.
expressure (n.) 1 expression., picture, image

All the commerce that you have had with Troy
commerce (n.) dealings, transactions, intercourse

As perfectly is ours as yours, my lord;

And better would it fit Achilles much

To throw down Hector than Polyxena.

But it must grieve young Pyrrhus now at home,

When fame shall in our islands sound her trump,
trump (n.) 1 trumpet

And all the Greekish girls shall tripping sing:
Greekish (adj.) Greek, Grecian
tripping (adv.) light-footedly, with nimble dance-steps

‘ Great Hector's sister did Achilles win,

But our great Ajax bravely beat down him.’
bravely (adv.) 2 showily, with great display, with a fine flourish

Farewell, my lord: I as your lover speak;
lover (n.) companion, comrade, dear friend

The fool slides o'er the ice that you should break.



To this effect, Achilles, have I moved you.
effect (n.) 2 purpose, end, intended deed
move (v.) 4 appeal to, urge, exhort

A woman impudent and mannish grown
impudent (adj.) shameless, immodest, unblushing

Is not more loathed than an effeminate man
effeminate (adj.) 1 feeble, soft, unmanly

In time of action. I stand condemned for this;

They think my little stomach to the war,
stomach (n.) 2 wish, inclination, desire

And your great love to me, restrains you thus.

Sweet, rouse yourself, and the weak wanton Cupid
wanton (adj.) 5 sexually hot, passionate, sportive

Shall from your neck unloose his amorous fold,

And, like a dew-drop from the lion's mane,

Be shook to air.


                         Shall Ajax fight with Hector?


Ay, and perhaps receive much honour by him.


I see my reputation is at stake.

My fame is shrewdly gored.
gored (adj.) deeply wounded, bleeding
shrewdly (adv.) 1 seriously, mightily, very much


                         O, then, beware;

Those wounds heal ill that men do give themselves.
ill (adv.) 2 imperfectly, poorly, to ill effect

Omission to do what is necessary

Seals a commission to a blank of danger,
blank charter, blank (n.) promisory document with the amount to pay left open
commission (n.) 1 warrant, authority [to act]
seal (v.) 1 confirm, ratify, approve

And danger, like an ague, subtly taints
ague (n.) fever, sickness, shaking [as caused by a fever]
subtly, subtilly (adv.) deceitfully, treacherously, deceptively
taint (v.) 1 sully, infect, stain

Even then when we sit idly in the sun.


Go call Thersites hither, sweet Patroclus.

I'll send the fool to Ajax, and desire him

T' invite the Trojan lords after the combat

To see us here unarmed. I have a woman's longing,

An appetite that I am sick withal,
appetite (n.) 1 desire, longing, inclination, fancy

To see great Hector in his weeds of peace,
weed (n.) 1 (plural) garments, dress, clothes

(Enter Thersites)
visage (n.) 1 face, countenance See Topics: Frequency count

To talk with him, and to behold his visage

Even to my full of view. – A labour saved!
full (n.) fullness, entire range, complete scope
save (v.) 2 prevent, avoid, avert
view (n.) 2 inspection, examination
view (n.) 1 sight, range of vision


A wonder!
wonder (n.) 2 object of fascination, target of astonishment




Ajax goes up and down the field, asking for
field (n.) 2 duelling place



How so?


He must fight singly tomorrow with Hector,

and is so prophetically proud of an heroical cudgelling
heroical (adj.) 2 appropriate to the character of a hero

that he raves in saying nothing.


How can that be?


Why, he stalks up and down like a peacock, a

stride and a stand; ruminates like an hostess that hath
stand (n.) 3 stop, pause, standing still

no arithmetic but her brain to set down her reckoning;
reckoning (n.) 1 counting up, enumeration, calculation

bites his lip with a politic regard, as who should say
politic (adj.) 1 prudent, cautious, discreet, shrewd
regard (n.) 4 look, glance, gaze

there were wit in his head, an 'twould out – and so
wit (n.) 1 intelligence, wisdom, good sense, mental ability See Topics: Frequency count

there is; but it lies as coldly in him as fire in a flint,

which will not show without knocking. The man's

undone for ever, for if Hector break not his neck
undone (adj.) ruined, destroyed, brought down See Topics: Frequency count

i'th' combat, he'll break't himself in vainglory. He
vainglory, vain-glory (n.) 2 showy event, ostentatious activity

knows not me: I said ‘ Good morrow, Ajax ’ and he

replies ‘ Thanks, Agamemnon.’ – What think you of

this man, that takes me for the general? He's grown a

very land-fish, languageless, a monster. A plague of
land-fish (n.) fish living on land; unnatural being

opinion! A man may wear it on both sides, like a leather
opinion (n.) 5 arrogance, self-conceit, hubris

jerkin (n.) male upper garment, close-fitting jacket [often made of leather] See Topics: Clothing


Thou must be my ambassador to him,



Who, I? Why, he'll answer nobody, he

professes not answering; speaking is for beggars; he
profess (v.) 3 practise, pursue, claim knowledge of

wears his tongue in's arms. I will put on his presence:
arms (n.) 1 weapons, armaments
presence (n.) 5 appearance, bearing, demeanour
put on (v.) 3 show, manifest, exhibit

let Patroclus make demands to me, you shall see
demand (n.) 1 question, enquiry, request

the pageant of Ajax.
pageant (n.) show, scene, spectacle, tableau


To him, Patroclus. Tell him I humbly desire

the valiant Ajax to invite the most valorous Hector to

come unarmed to my tent, and to procure safe-conduct

for his person of the magnanimous and most

illustrious six-or-seven-times-honoured captain-general
captain-general (n.) commander-in-chief

of the Grecian army, Agamemnon, et cetera.

Do this.


Jove bless great Ajax.




I come from the worthy Achilles –




Who most humbly desires you to invite

Hector to his tent –




And to procure safe-conduct from





Ay, my lord.




What say you to't?


God buy you, with all my heart.


Your answer, sir.


If tomorrow be a fair day, by eleven o'clock it

will go one way or other; howsoever, he shall pay for

me ere he has me.


Your answer, sir.


Fare you well, with all my heart.


Why, but he is not in this tune, is he?
tune (n.) 1 state of mind, mood


No, but he's out o' tune thus. What music

will be in him when Hector has knocked out his brains,

I know not; but I am sure, none, unless the fiddler

Apollo get his sinews to make catlings on.
catling (n.) catgut string
sinew (n.) 2 nerve


Come, thou shalt bear a letter to him straight.
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count


Let me carry another to his horse, for that's

the more capable creature.
capable (adj.) 1 sensitive, receptive, responsive


My mind is troubled, like a fountain stirred,

And I myself see not the bottom of it.

Exeunt Achilles and Patroclus


Would the fountain of your mind were clear

again, that I might water an ass at it! I had rather be a

tick in a sheep than such a valiant ignorance.
ignorance (n.) 2 ignoramus, example of ignorance


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