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Troilus and Cressida
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READ STUDY GUIDE: Act III

 
Act III, Scene ii:
Troy. PANDARUS' orchard
 
[Enter PANDARUS and TROILUS' BOY, meeting.]
PANDARUS.:
How now! Where's thy master? At my cousin Cressida's?
BOY.:
No, sir; he stays for you to conduct him thither.
[Enter TROILUS.]
PANDARUS.:
O, here he comes. How now, how now!
TROILUS.:
Sirrah, walk off.
[Exit Boy.]
PANDARUS.:
Have you seen my cousin?
TROILUS.:
No, Pandarus. I stalk about her door
Like a strange soul upon the Stygian banks
Staying for waftage. O, be thou my Charon,
And give me swift transportance to these fields
Where I may wallow in the lily beds
Propos'd for the deserver! O gentle Pandar,
from Cupid's shoulder pluck his painted wings,
and fly with me to Cressid!
PANDARUS.:
Walk here i' th' orchard, I'll bring her straight.
[Exit.]
TROILUS.:
I am giddy; expectation whirls me round.
Th' imaginary relish is so sweet
That it enchants my sense; what will it be
When that the wat'ry palate tastes indeed
Love's thrice-repured nectar? Death, I fear me;
Swooning destruction; or some joy too fine,
Too subtle-potent, tun'd too sharp in sweetness,
For the capacity of my ruder powers.
I fear it much; and I do fear besides
That I shall lose distinction in my joys;
As doth a battle, when they charge on heaps
The enemy flying.
[Re-enter PANDARUS.]
PANDARUS.:
She's making her ready, she'll come straight; you must be witty
now. She does so blush, and fetches her wind so short, as
if she were fray'd with a sprite. I'll fetch her. It is the
prettiest villain; she fetches her breath as short as a new-ta'en
sparrow.
[Exit.]
TROILUS.:
Even such a passion doth embrace my bosom.
My heart beats thicker than a feverous pulse,
And all my powers do their bestowing lose,
Like vassalage at unawares encount'ring
The eye of majesty.
[Re-enter PANDARUS With CRESSIDA.]
PANDARUS.:
Come, come, what need you blush? Shame's a baby.—Here she
is now; swear the oaths now to her that you have sworn to me.—
What, are you gone again? You must be watch'd ere you be made
tame, must you? Come your ways, come your ways; an you draw
backward, we'll put you i' th' fills.—Why do you not speak to
her?—Come, draw this curtain and let's see your picture.
Alas the day, how loath you are to offend daylight! An 'twere
dark, you'd close sooner. So, so; rub on, and kiss the mistress
How now, a kiss in fee-farm! Build there, carpenter; the air is
sweet. Nay, you shall fight your hearts out ere I part you. The
falcon as the tercel, for all the ducks i' th' river. Go to, go
to.
TROILUS.:
You have bereft me of all words, lady.
PANDARUS.:
Words pay no debts, give her deeds; but she'll bereave
you o' th' deeds too, if she call your activity in question.
What, billing again? Here's 'In witness whereof the parties
interchangeably.' Come in, come in; I'll go get a fire.
[Exit.]
CRESSIDA.:
Will you walk in, my lord?
TROILUS.:
O Cressid, how often have I wish'd me thus!
CRESSIDA.:
Wish'd, my lord! The gods grant—O my lord!
TROILUS.:
What should they grant? What makes this pretty abruption?
What too curious dreg espies my sweet lady in the fountain of our
love?
CRESSIDA.:
More dregs than water, if my fears have eyes.
TROILUS.:
Fears make devils of cherubims; they never see truly.
CRESSIDA.:
Blind fear, that seeing reason leads, finds safer footing
than blind reason stumbling without fear. To fear the worst oft
cures the worse.
TROILUS.:
O, let my lady apprehend no fear! In all Cupid's pageant
there is presented no monster.
CRESSIDA.:
Nor nothing monstrous neither?
TROILUS.:
Nothing, but our undertakings when we vow to weep seas,
live in fire, eat rocks, tame tigers; thinking it harder for our
mistress to devise imposition enough than for us to undergo any
difficulty imposed. This is the monstruosity in love, lady, that
the will is infinite, and the execution confin'd; that the desire
is boundless, and the act a slave to limit.
CRESSIDA.:
They say all lovers swear more performance than they are
able, and yet reserve an ability that they never perform; vowing
more than the perfection of ten, and discharging less than the
tenth part of one. They that have the voice of lions and the act
of hares, are they not monsters?
TROILUS.:
Are there such? Such are not we. Praise us as we are
tasted, allow us as we prove; our head shall go bare till merit
crown it. No perfection in reversion shall have a praise in
present. We will not name desert before his birth; and, being
born, his addition shall be humble. Few words to fair faith:
Troilus shall be such to Cressid as what envy can say worst shall
be a mock for his truth; and what truth can speak truest not
truer than Troilus.
CRESSIDA.:
Will you walk in, my lord?
[Re-enter PANDARUS.]
PANDARUS.:
What, blushing still? Have you not done talking yet?
CRESSIDA.:
Well, uncle, what folly I commit, I dedicate to you.
PANDARUS.:
I thank you for that; if my lord get a boy of you, you'll
give him me. Be true to my lord; if he flinch, chide me for it.
TROILUS.:
You know now your hostages: your uncle's word and my firm
faith.
PANDARUS.:
Nay, I'll give my word for her too: our kindred, though
they be long ere they are wooed, they are constant being won;
they are burs, I can tell you; they'll stick where they are
thrown.
CRESSIDA.:
Boldness comes to me now and brings me heart.
Prince Troilus, I have lov'd you night and day
For many weary months.
TROILUS.:
Why was my Cressid then so hard to win?
CRESSIDA.:
Hard to seem won; but I was won, my lord,
With the first glance that ever-pardon me.
If I confess much, you will play the tyrant.
I love you now; but till now not so much
But I might master it. In faith, I lie;
My thoughts were like unbridled children, grown
Too headstrong for their mother. See, we fools!
Why have I blabb'd? Who shall be true to us,
When we are so unsecret to ourselves?
But, though I lov'd you well, I woo'd you not;
And yet, good faith, I wish'd myself a man,
Or that we women had men's privilege
Of speaking first. Sweet, bid me hold my tongue,
For in this rapture I shall surely speak
The thing I shall repent. See, see, your silence,
Cunning in dumbness, from my weakness draws
My very soul of counsel. Stop my mouth.
TROILUS.:
And shall, albeit sweet music issues thence.
PANDARUS.:
Pretty, i' faith.
CRESSIDA.:
My lord, I do beseech you, pardon me;
'Twas not my purpose thus to beg a kiss.
I am asham'd. O heavens! what have I done?
For this time will I take my leave, my lord.
TROILUS.:
Your leave, sweet Cressid!
PANDARUS.:
Leave! An you take leave till to-morrow morning—
CRESSIDA.:
Pray you, content you.
TROILUS.:
What offends you, lady?
CRESSIDA.:
Sir, mine own company.
TROILUS.:
You cannot shun yourself.
CRESSIDA.:
Let me go and try.
I have a kind of self resides with you;
But an unkind self, that itself will leave
To be another's fool. I would be gone.
Where is my wit? I know not what I speak.
TROILUS.:
Well know they what they speak that speak so wisely.
CRESSIDA.:
Perchance, my lord, I show more craft than love;
And fell so roundly to a large confession
To angle for your thoughts; but you are wise—
Or else you love not; for to be wise and love
Exceeds man's might; that dwells with gods above.
TROILUS.:
O that I thought it could be in a woman—
As, if it can, I will presume in you—
To feed for aye her lamp and flames of love;
To keep her constancy in plight and youth,
Outliving beauty's outward, with a mind
That doth renew swifter than blood decays!
Or that persuasion could but thus convince me
That my integrity and truth to you
Might be affronted with the match and weight
Of such a winnowed purity in love.
How were I then uplifted! but, alas,
I am as true as truth's simplicity,
And simpler than the infancy of truth.
CRESSIDA.:
In that I'll war with you.
TROILUS.:
O virtuous fight,
When right with right wars who shall be most right!
True swains in love shall in the world to come
Approve their truth by Troilus, when their rhymes,
Full of protest, of oath, and big compare,
Want similes, truth tir'd with iteration—
As true as steel, as plantage to the moon,
As sun to day, as turtle to her mate,
As iron to adamant, as earth to th' centre—
Yet, after all comparisons of truth,
As truth's authentic author to be cited,
'As true as Troilus' shall crown up the verse
And sanctify the numbers.
CRESSIDA.:
Prophet may you be!
If I be false, or swerve a hair from truth,
When time is old and hath forgot itself,
When waterdrops have worn the stones of Troy,
And blind oblivion swallow'd cities up,
And mighty states characterless are grated
To dusty nothing—yet let memory
From false to false, among false maids in love,
Upbraid my falsehood when th' have said 'As false
As air, as water, wind, or sandy earth,
As fox to lamb, or wolf to heifer's calf,
Pard to the hind, or stepdame to her son'—
Yea, let them say, to stick the heart of falsehood,
'As false as Cressid.'
PANDARUS.:
Go to, a bargain made; seal it, seal it; I'll be the
witness. Here I hold your hand; here my cousin's. If ever you
prove false one to another, since I have taken such pains to
bring you together, let all pitiful goers-between be call'd to
the world's end after my name—call them all Pandars; let all
constant men be Troiluses, all false women Cressids, and all
brokers between Pandars. Say 'Amen.'
TROILUS.:
Amen.
CRESSIDA.:
Amen.
PANDARUS.:
Amen. Whereupon I will show you a chamber and a bed; which bed,
because it shall not speak of your pretty encounters, press it to
death.
Away! And Cupid grant all tongue-tied maidens here,
Bed, chamber, pander, to provide this gear!
[Exeunt.]
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