A line-by-line translation

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

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TROILUS

Have I not tarried?

TROILUS

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PANDARUS

Ay, the grinding; but you must tarrythe bolting.

PANDARUS

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TROILUS

Have I not tarried?

TROILUS

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PANDARUS

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

PANDARUS

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TROILUS

Still have I tarried.

TROILUS

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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

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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

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PANDARUS

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

PANDARUS

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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

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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

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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

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PANDARUS

I speak no more than truth.

PANDARUS

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TROILUS

Thou dost not speak so much.

TROILUS

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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

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TROILUS

Good Pandarus, how now, Pandarus!

TROILUS

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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

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TROILUS

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

TROILUS

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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

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TROILUS

Say I she is not fair?

TROILUS

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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

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TROILUS

Pandarus,—

TROILUS

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PANDARUS

Not I.

PANDARUS

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TROILUS

Sweet Pandarus,—

TROILUS

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PANDARUS

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

PANDARUS

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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

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Alarum. Enter AENEAS

AENEAS

How now, Prince Troilus! wherefore not afield?

AENEAS

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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

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AENEAS

That Paris is returned home and hurt.

AENEAS

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TROILUS

By whom, AEneas?

TROILUS

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AENEAS

Troilus, by Menelaus.

AENEAS

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TROILUS

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

TROILUS

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Alarum

AENEAS

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

AENEAS

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TROILUS

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

TROILUS

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AENEAS

In all swift haste.

AENEAS

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TROILUS

Come, go we then together.

TROILUS

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Exeunt

Troilus and cressida
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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.