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Troilus and Cressida

Troilus and Cressida Translation Act 3, Scene 2

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Enter PANDARUS and Troilus's Boy, meeting

PANDARUS

How now! where's thy master? at my cousinCressida's?

PANDARUS

Hey! Where's your master? Is he at my cousin Cressida's house?

BOY

No, sir; he stays for you to conduct him thither.

BOY

No sir, he is waiting for you to take him there.

PANDARUS

O, here he comes.

PANDARUS

Oh, here he comes.

Enter TROILUS

PANDARUS

How now, how now!

PANDARUS

Hi, how's it going?

TROILUS

Sirrah, walk off.

TROILUS

Servant, you may leave.

Exit Boy

PANDARUS

Have you seen my cousin?

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 those fields Where I may wallow in the lily-beds Proposed for the deserver! O gentle Pandarus, From Cupid's shoulder pluck his painted wings And fly with me to Cressid!

TROILUS

No, Pandarus. I wait outside her door like a lost soul waiting to be taken across the river Styx. Oh, be my Charon, and take me to the paradise where deserving people lie on beds of lilies. Oh gentle Pandarus, carry me like Cupid to Cressida!

PANDARUS

Walk here i' the orchard, I'll bring her straight.

PANDARUS

Wait here in this orchard, I'll bring her over soon.

Exit

TROILUS

I am giddy; expectation whirls me round. The imaginary relish is so sweet That it enchants my sense: what will it be, When that the watery palate tastes indeed Love's thrice repured nectar? death, I fear me, Swooning destruction, or some joy too fine, Too subtle-potent, tuned 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.

TROILUS

I am giddy, and dizzy with excitement. Thoughts of her enchant my senses. What is it going to be like to taste love? I fear it would kill me or knock me out, or that some great joy, whose strength and sweetness I couldn't handle, would overpower me. I worry that all the things that make me happy will become totally indistinguishable, like a heap of bodies in a battle.

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 frayed with a sprite: I'll fetch her. It is the prettiest villain: she fetches her breath as short as a new-ta'en sparrow.

PANDARUS

She's getting ready, she will soon come here, so pull yourself together. She's flustered and blushing and doesn't know how to feel, I'll bring her out. She's a pretty sight, she is short of breath, like a bird that has just been caught.

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 encountering The eye of majesty.

TROILUS

I feel the same. My heart is beating like a drum, and I can barely contain myself, I feel so unprepared.

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 watched ere you be made tame, must you? Come your ways, come your ways; an you draw backward, we'll put you i' the 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'ld 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' the river: go to, go to.

PANDARUS

Hey now, why are you blushing? Shame is for children. [To Troilus] Here she is, tell her all those feelings you told me. [Cressida moves away] What's this, are you going away? Do I have to guard over you while you're tamed? Come along, come along, if you try and run off, I'll have to hold you still. [To Troilus] Why aren't you saying anything? Come, let's take off this veil and see your face. [PANDARUS unveils CRESSIDA] Oh my, you shouldn't hide your face from the sun, I'm sure you'd be more open in the dark. Go on, go on, start the game, kiss her. [TROILUS and CRESSIDA kiss] Woah there, a kiss without an end. This is going well and love is in the air. You'll soon be a couple. She is as keen as he is, go on, go on.

TROILUS

You have bereft me of all words, lady.

TROILUS

You've left me speechless, lady.

PANDARUS

Words pay no debts, give her deeds: but she'll bereave you o' the 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.

PANDARUS

Actions speak louder than words, and she'll have your actions too, given half a chance. [TROILUS and CRESSIDA kiss] Hah, kissing again? The debate seems to be going well with both sides in agreement... come on in, I'll get a fire going.

Exit

CRESSIDA

Will you walk in, my lord?

CRESSIDA

Will you go inside, my lord?

TROILUS

O Cressida, how often have I wished me thus!

TROILUS

Oh Cressida, I have so often wished you would call me that!

CRESSIDA

Wished, my lord! The gods grant,—O my lord!

CRESSIDA

You have, my lord? Well may the gods grant... oh my lord!

TROILUS

What should they grant? what makes this prettyabruption? What too curious dreg espies my sweetlady in the fountain of our love?

TROILUS?

What have the gods done? Why do you suddenly seem so startled? Is there something wrong with the fountain of our love?

CRESSIDA

More dregs than water, if my fears have eyes.

CRESSIDA

There's more dirt than water, if my fears are correct.

TROILUS

Fears make devils of cherubims; they never see truly.

TROILUS

Fear makes good things seem bad, it hides the truth.

CRESSIDA

Blind fear, that seeing reason leads, finds saferfooting than blind reason stumbling without fear: tofear the worst oft cures the worse.

CRESSIDA

Blind fear, following reason, takes a safer path than blind reason stumbling ahead without fear. Expecting the worst often prevents it from happening.

TROILUS

O, let my lady apprehend no fear: in all Cupid'spageant there is presented no monster.

TROILUS

Oh, don't worry my lady. In Cupid's pageant there are no monsters.

CRESSIDA

Nor nothing monstrous neither?

CRESSIDA

Not only no monsters, but nothing monstrous at all?

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 confined, that the desire is boundless and the act a slave to limit.

TROILUS

Nothing is monstrous except for our promises: when we claim that we could weep seas, live in fire, eat rocks or tame tigers, because we assume that it would be more difficult for our mistresses to ask something that we would not do. This is the thing that is monstrous about love, my lady, that our will-power is greater than our abilities. Our desire is great but our abilities are limited.

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 often 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?

CRESSIDA

They say that all lovers promise more than they can do but don't do everything that they can, promising ten times what they can do and doing only a tenth of it. Isn't it monstrous that they can speak like lions but only act like hares?

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.

TROILUS

Do such people exist? We are not like that. Speak of us as you find us, let us prove ourselves. We won't congratulate ourselves until we deserve it. Nor will we promise things that will happen in the future, but only look to the here and now. We won't claim a virtue before it is demonstrated, and when it has been we will admit it humbly. A few words are enough to swear loyalty. Troilus will be so true to Cressida that Envy itself will not be able to mock him, except for being true. Troilus will be as true as Truth itself.

CRESSIDA

Will you walk in, my lord?

CRESSIDA

Will you go inside, my lord?

Re-enter PANDARUS

PANDARUS re-enters.

PANDARUS

What, blushing still? have you not done talking yet?

PANDARUS

You're still blushing? Have you not finished talking?

CRESSIDA

Well, uncle, what folly I commit, I dedicate to you.

CRESSIDA

Uncle, if I talk too much I must have learnt that from 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 heflinch, chide me for it.

PANDARUS

Thank you for the offer! If you do become pregnant by Troilus, you can "dedicate" it to me. Stay faithful to Troilus. If he pulls away from you, blame me for it.

TROILUS

You know now your hostages; your uncle's word and myfirm faith.

TROILUS

Well now you have two hostages: your uncle's promise and my oath of loyalty.

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.

PANDARUS

No, I'll vouch for her to you as well. Members of my family, although they take a lot of time to be seduced, are faithful when they are won. Like a dart they stick where they land, I swear.

CRESSIDA

Boldness comes to me now, and brings me heart.Prince Troilus, I have loved you night and dayFor many weary months.

CRESSIDA

I feel bold and confident now. Prince Troilus, I have loved you desperately for many long months.

TROILUS

Why was my Cressid then so hard to win?

TROILUS

Why were you so hard to win over then?

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 not, till now, 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 loved 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.

CRESSIDA

Hard to be won over only in appearance. I was won, my lord, by the first glance that I ever ... I'm sorry. If I say too much you'll be able to take advantage of me. I love you now. But before now I loved you and was able to control it. Oh, that's not true, my thoughts about you were like naughty children that had become too confident to obey their mother. Oh we are such idiots! Why have I spoken so openly? Who would be honest to someone who is so bad at keeping their own secrets? Even though I loved you, I didn't pursue you. But I did wish that I were a man, or that women had the male privilege of being able to approach the men that they liked. Sweetheart, tell me to be quiet, because in this elated state of mind I will say something I'll regret. Oh you aren't saying anything, it is a trick to make me talk so that in my weakness I give up all of my judgment. Kiss me to stop me talking!

TROILUS

And shall, albeit sweet music issues thence.

TROILUS

As you wish. [He kisses her]

PANDARUS

Pretty, i' faith.

PANDARUS

How cute.

CRESSIDA

My lord, I do beseech you, pardon me; 'Twas not my purpose, thus to beg a kiss: I am ashamed. O heavens! what have I done? For this time will I take my leave, my lord.

CRESSIDA

My lord, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to seem like I was begging for a kiss. Oh I am ashamed of myself. Oh heavens! What have I done? I think I should leave for now, my lord.

TROILUS

Your leave, sweet Cressid!

TROILUS

You have to leave, sweet Cressida?

PANDARUS

Leave! an you take leave till to-morrow morning,—

PANDARUS

Leave? If you go anywhere before tomorrow morning...

CRESSIDA

Pray you, content you.

CRESSIDA

Please, don't argue.

TROILUS

What offends you, lady?

TROILUS

What is upsetting you, lady?

CRESSIDA

Sir, mine own company.

CRESSIDA

My own behavior, sir.

TROILUS

You cannot shun yourself.

TROILUS

You can't leave 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.

CRESSIDA

Let me try to. I have a kind of self that lives with you, and an unnatural self that will betray itself and become someone else's fool. I want to leave. Where has my mind gone? I don't know what I'm saying.

TROILUS

Well know they what they speak that speak so wisely.

TROILUS

No one speaks as well as you without knowing what they are saying.

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.

CRESSIDA

Maybe I am just pretending to be in love, my lord. And faked my confession of love to lower your guard. But I couldn't fool you, or you can't truly love me, because to be wise and in love at the same time is more than a man is capable of. Only the gods can do that.

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 winnow'd 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.

TROILUS

If I believed that a woman could keep her love burning forever, and to remain faithful, and to maintain a clear mind after the end of her beauty, then I would believe that you were capable of it. Or if I could be convinced that my own integrity and truth could be matched with another equal to it, I would be overjoyed! But alas, I am as true as truth, and I am more straightforward than truth in its own infancy.

CRESSIDA

In that I'll war with you.

CRESSIDA

I'd argue against that.

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 truths by Troilus: when their rhymes, Full of protest, of oath and big compare, Want similes, truth tired 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 the 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.

TROILUS

Well it would be a virtuous argument, when one truthful person argues with another about who is most true. In the future when young men want to prove their honesty they will call themselves Troilus. When they write poems about love, full of claims, promises and grand comparisons, and run out of imagery after using every trick in the book they will say at last that they are "as true as Troilus," a phrase that will prove their love.

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 they've said 'as false As air, as water, wind, or sandy earth, As fox to lamb, as 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.'

CRESSIDA

I hope that you will be shown to be a prophet! If I am unfaithful, or in any way stray from loyalty, I hope that future generations, when the rain has worn away the stones of Troy, and entire cities have been forgotten, and whole states disappear into nothing, still use my name for those women who are unfaithful in love! When they've said "as false as air, as water, the wind, or the sandy earth, as false a fox is to a lamb, or as a wolf is to a cow, or hunter to a deer, or step mother to her son," at that point let them get right to the heart of falseness and say they are "as false as Cressida."

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 called 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.

PANDARUS

Go for it, that sounds like a deal. Seal the deal, and I will be your witness. [PANDARUS holds the hand of TROILUS and CRESSIDA] Now I am holding your hand, and yours. If you are ever unfaithful to each other, let all go-betweens be forever called by my name. Call them Pandars. Let all faithful men be called Troilus, all unfaithful women be called Cressida, and all match-makers be called Pander! Say, amen!

TROILUS

Amen.

TROILUS

Amen.

CRESSIDA

Amen.

CRESSIDA

Amen.

PANDARUS

Amen. Whereupon I will show you a chamber with 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, Pandar to provide this gear!

PANDARUS

Amen. Now we have agreed that I will show you to a room with a bed. Don't worry about the bed, which it can't tell anyone what it sees, smother it until it dies. Go! May Cupid give all confused young women the gifts of a bed, a room, and a pander to help them along!

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.