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Troilus and Cressida

Troilus and Cressida Translation Act 1, Scene 1

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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 Trojan that is master of his heart, Let him to field; Troilus, alas! hath none.

TROILUS

Come here servant, I'll take off my armour again. Why should I go outside Troy's walls to fight, when I have to fight such a cruel battle within them? Every Trojan that still is in control of his heart should go and fight, but I have lost mine!

PANDARUS

Will this gear ne'er be mended?

PANDARUS

Will this problem never be solved?

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 unpractised infancy.

TROILUS

The Greeks are strong, and they are also skillful, fierce, and brave. I am weaker than the sobbing of a woman, more tame than sleep, more foolish than ignorance, less brave than a virgin in the night, and less skilled than untrained infancy itself.

PANDARUS

Well, I have told you enough of this: for my part, I'll not meddle nor make no further. He that will have a cake out of the wheat must needs tarry the grinding.

PANDARUS

I have given you enough advice on this matter. I will not involve myself any more than I have. If you want to bake a cake you have to be persistent enough to grind the wheat into flour.

TROILUS

Have I not tarried?

TROILUS

Have I not been persistent?

PANDARUS

Ay, the grinding; but you must tarrythe bolting.

PANDARUS

Yes, you've been persistent enough to grind the flour, but you must also be persistent enough to sift the flour.

TROILUS

Have I not tarried?

TROILUS

Have I not been persistent?

PANDARUS

Ay, the bolting, but you must tarry the leavening.

PANDARUS

Yes, you've sifted the flour, but you must also be patient enough to let the the cake rise.

TROILUS

Still have I tarried.

TROILUS

Even this have I endured.

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.

PANDARUS

Yes, up to the rising of the cake. But there is always more to be done, the kneading of the dough, the making of the cake, the heating of the oven, and the baking of the cake itself. You must also wait for the cooling of the cake too, or you may burn your lips.

TROILUS

Patience herself, what goddess e'er she be, Doth lesser blench at sufferance than I do. At Priam's royal table do I sit; And when fair Cressid comes into my thoughts,— So, traitor! 'When she comes!' When is she thence?

TROILUS

Patience personified, whatever kind of goddess she is, is able to endure less suffering than me. I sit at King Priam's royal table, but when beautiful Cressida comes into my thoughts... No! "When Cressida comes" is a treacherous phrase. For when is she not in my thoughts?

PANDARUS

Well, she looked yesternight fairer than ever I sawher look, or any woman else.

PANDARUS

Well, she was prettier last night than I ever saw her or any other woman look.

TROILUS

I was about to tell thee:— when my heart, As wedged with a sigh, would rive in twain, Lest Hector or my father should perceive me, I have, as when the sun doth light a storm, Buried this sigh in wrinkle of a smile: But sorrow, that is couch'd in seeming gladness, Is like that mirth fate turns to sudden sadness.

TROILUS

I was going to tell you this: my heart felt as if it was being forced apart by a sigh, as if it was going to split in two. But in order that Hector or my father did not see what I was feeling, I disguised my sigh with a smile, like when the sun lights up a storm. But the sorrow that is disguised by the appearance of happiness is just as false as the joy that suddenly turns into sadness.

PANDARUS

An her hair were not somewhat darker than Helen's— well, go to—there were no more comparison between the women: but, for my part, she is my kinswoman; I would not, as they term it, praise her: but I would somebody had heard her talk yesterday, as I did. I will not dispraise your sister Cassandra's wit, but—

PANDARUS

If Cressida's hair wasn't quite a bit darker than Helen's... well, never mind... she would be in a different league to Helen. But, as for me, she is family to me. I wouldn't want to, as they say, praise her. But I wish someone else had heard her talk yesterday. And I'm not trying to say your sister Cassandra's not clever, but Cressida is even cleverer...

TROILUS

O Pandarus! I tell thee, Pandarus,— When I do tell thee, there my hopes lie drown'd, Reply not in how many fathoms deep They lie indrench'd. I tell thee I am mad In Cressid's love: thou answer'st 'she is fair;' Pour'st in the open ulcer of my heart Her eyes, her hair, her cheek, her gait, her voice, Handlest in thy discourse , O, that her hand, In whose comparison all whites are ink, Writing their own reproach, to whose soft seizure The cygnet's down is harsh and spirit of sense Hard as the palm of ploughman: this thou tell'st me, As true thou tell'st me, when I say I love her; But, saying thus, instead of oil and balm, Thou lay'st in every gash that love hath given me The knife that made it.

TROILUS

Oh Pandarus! I'm telling you, Pandarus! When I tell you how my hope for success have sunk, do not go on to tell me how deep they are! I tell you I am madly in love with Cressida, and you reply that "she is beautiful". You pour into the open wound of my heart her eyes, her hair, her cheek, her step, her voice, when you talk about them. Oh, that hand of hers, which is so white it makes all other whites seem like ink, ink writing its own failure to be as white as her. Her hand is so soft that it makes a young swan's feathers seem as rough as the hands of a farm laborer. You tell me these things, and no less truly do I say that I love her. Speaking like this you don't heal my wounds with oil and balm, you stick the same knife that made the wounds into every one of them.

PANDARUS

I speak no more than truth.

PANDARUS

I only say what is true.

TROILUS

Thou dost not speak so much.

TROILUS

You can't describe all of her virtues.

PANDARUS

Faith, I'll not meddle in't. Let her be as she is:if she be fair, 'tis the better for her; an she benot, she has the mends in her own hands.

PANDARUS

Honestly, I will not meddle in your problem anymore. Leave her alone, I say. If she is beautiful, good for her. If she isn't, she can sort it out herself.

TROILUS

Good Pandarus, how now, Pandarus!

TROILUS

Don't be so hasty, good Pandarus!

PANDARUS

I have had my labour for my travail; ill-thought on of her and ill-thought on of you; gone between and between, but small thanks for my labour.

PANDARUS

I have had no reward for my hard work, which makes both you and her think badly of me. I have gone between and between you two, but nothing for my hard work.

TROILUS

What, art thou angry, Pandarus? what, with me?

TROILUS

Are you angry with me, Pandarus? Surely not with me?

PANDARUS

Because she's kin to me, therefore she's not so fair as Helen: an she were not kin to me, she would be as fair on Friday as Helen is on Sunday. But what care I? I care not an she were a black-a-moor; 'tis all one to me.

PANDARUS

I say she's not as beautiful as Helen out of modesty, because Cressida is family to me. If she weren't my relative, she'd beat Helen any day of the week. But why should I care? I don't care if she is an African, it's all the same to me.

TROILUS

Say I she is not fair?

TROILUS

Don't I say she is fair?

PANDARUS

I do not care whether you do or no. She's a fool to stay behind her father; let her to the Greeks; and so I'll tell her the next time I see her: for my part, I'll meddle nor make no more i' the matter.

PANDARUS

I don't care if you do or not. She's a fool to wait behind her father. Send her to the Greeks I say, and that's what I'll say to her next time I see her. I'm finished with this whole affair.

TROILUS

Pandarus,—

TROILUS

Pandarus...

PANDARUS

Not I.

PANDARUS

It's nothing to do with me.

TROILUS

Sweet Pandarus,—

TROILUS

Sweet Pandarus...

PANDARUS

Pray you, speak no more to me: I will leave all as Ifound it, and there an end.

PANDARUS

I beg you, speak no more about it to me. I will leave you two as I found you, and that's that.

Exit PANDARUS. An alarum

TROILUS

Peace, you ungracious clamours! peace, rude sounds! Fools on both sides! Helen must needs be fair, When with your blood you daily paint her thus. I cannot fight upon this argument; It is too starved a subject for my sword. But Pandarus,—O gods, how do you plague me! I cannot come to Cressid but by Pandar; And he's as tetchy to be woo'd to woo. As she is stubborn-chaste against all suit. Tell me, Apollo, for thy Daphne's love, What Cressid is, what Pandar, and what we? Her bed is India; there she lies, a pearl: Between our Ilium and where she resides, Let it be call'd the wild and wandering flood, Ourself the merchant, and this sailing Pandar Our doubtful hope, our convoy and our bark.

TROILUS

Be quiet, awful noises! Be quiet, unpleasant sounds! Both sides of this war are fools! Helen has to have a beautiful face if her blush is painted on with your blood. I cannot fight for this cause, it is a weak reason for me to draw my sword. But Pandarus... Oh gods, you disturb me! I cannot meet Cressida without Pandarus's help, but he is as difficult to persuade to court Cressida as she is difficult to be courted. Tell me, Apollo, how should I understand Cressida, Pandarus and myself? Cressida's bed is like India, and she is like its jewel. The distance between my home and hers is like a vast ocean, and like a merchant I must invest my wealth in a risky venture, with Pandarus as my ship.

Alarum. Enter AENEAS

AENEAS

How now, Prince Troilus! wherefore not afield?

AENEAS

Hello, Prince Troilus! Why haven't you gone to battle?

TROILUS

Because not there: this woman's answer sorts,For womanish it is to be from thence.What news, AEneas, from the field to-day?

TROILUS

Because I haven't. I only have a womanly answer like this, and will always be womanly from this moment on. What news has come from the battlefield today, Aeneas?

AENEAS

That Paris is returned home and hurt.

AENEAS

That Paris has come back with an injury.

TROILUS

By whom, AEneas?

TROILUS

Who injured him, Aeneas?

AENEAS

Troilus, by Menelaus.

AENEAS

Menelaus, Troilus.

TROILUS

Let Paris bleed; 'tis but a scar to scorn;Paris is gored with Menelaus' horn.

TROILUS

Let Paris bleed, it's only a laughable injury when Paris is injured with Menelaus's horn.

Alarum

AENEAS

Hark, what good sport is out of town to-day!

AENEAS

Listen, there is good sport outside the city walls today.

TROILUS

Better at home, if 'would I might' were 'may.'But to the sport abroad: are you bound thither?

TROILUS

There would be sport inside the walls if I had what I wanted. But talking about the sport outside, are you going out to fight?

AENEAS

In all swift haste.

AENEAS

As quickly as I can.

TROILUS

Come, go we then together.

TROILUS

Come, let's both go.

Exeunt

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Tom hill
About the Translator: Tom Hill

Tom Hill lives in his native London where he has just finished studying for an MA in Shakespeare Studies at King's College London and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. He has worked in education both in the UK and in Asia. His favorite Shakespeare play is The Merchant of Venice.