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History of Troilus and Cressida   By: (1564-1616)

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by William Shakespeare


PRIAM, King of Troy


MARGARELON, a bastard son of Priam

Trojan commanders: AENEAS ANTENOR

CALCHAS, a Trojan priest, taking part with the Greeks PANDARUS, uncle to Cressida AGAMEMNON, the Greek general MENELAUS, his brother Greek commanders: ACHILLES AJAX ULYSSES NESTOR DIOMEDES PATROCLUS

THERSITES, a deformed and scurrilous Greek ALEXANDER, servant to Cressida SERVANT to Troilus SERVANT to Paris SERVANT to Diomedes

HELEN, wife to Menelaus ANDROMACHE, wife to Hector CASSANDRA, daughter to Priam, a prophetess CRESSIDA, daughter to Calchas

Trojan and Greek Soldiers, and Attendants

SCENE: Troy and the Greek camp before it


In Troy, there lies the scene. From isles of Greece The princes orgillous, their high blood chaf'd, Have to the port of Athens sent their ships Fraught with the ministers and instruments Of cruel war. Sixty and nine that wore Their crownets regal from th' Athenian bay Put forth toward Phrygia; and their vow is made To ransack Troy, within whose strong immures The ravish'd Helen, Menelaus' queen, With wanton Paris sleeps and that's the quarrel. To Tenedos they come, And the deep drawing barks do there disgorge Their war like fraughtage. Now on Dardan plains The fresh and yet unbruised Greeks do pitch Their brave pavilions: Priam's six gated city, Dardan, and Tymbria, Helias, Chetas, Troien, And Antenorides, with massy staples And corresponsive and fulfilling bolts, Sperr up the sons of Troy. Now expectation, tickling skittish spirits On one and other side, Troyan and Greek, Sets all on hazard and hither am I come A Prologue arm'd, but not in confidence Of author's pen or actor's voice, but suited In like conditions as our argument, To tell you, fair beholders, that our play Leaps o'er the vaunt and firstlings of those broils, Beginning in the middle; starting thence away, To what may be digested in a play. Like or find fault; do as your pleasures are; Now good or bad, 'tis but the chance of war.

ACT I. SCENE 1. Troy. Before PRIAM'S palace

Enter TROILUS armed, and PANDARUS

TROILUS. Call here my varlet; I'll unarm again. Why should I war without the walls of Troy That find such cruel battle here within? Each Troyan that is master of his heart, Let him to field; Troilus, alas, hath none! PANDARUS. Will this gear ne'er be mended? TROILUS. The Greeks are strong, and skilful to their strength, Fierce to their skill, and to their fierceness valiant; But I am weaker than a woman's tear, Tamer than sleep, fonder than ignorance, Less valiant than the virgin in the night, And skilless as unpractis'd infancy. PANDARUS. Well, I have told you enough of this; for my part, I'll not meddle nor make no farther. He that will have a cake out of the wheat must needs tarry the grinding. TROILUS. Have I not tarried? PANDARUS. Ay, the grinding; but you must tarry the bolting. TROILUS. Have I not tarried? PANDARUS. Ay, the bolting; but you must tarry the leavening. TROILUS. Still have I tarried. PANDARUS. Ay, to the leavening; but here's yet in the word 'hereafter' the kneading, the making of the cake, the heating of the oven, and the baking; nay, you must stay the cooling too, or you may chance to burn your lips. TROILUS. Patience herself, what goddess e'er she be, Doth lesser blench at suff'rance than I do. At Priam's royal table do I sit; And when fair Cressid comes into my thoughts So, traitor, then she comes when she is thence. PANDARUS. Well, she look'd yesternight fairer than ever I saw her look, or any woman else... Continue reading book >>

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