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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As, if it can, I will presume in you—
To feed for aye her ramp 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.
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.
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.”
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.