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PREFIXED TO SOME COPIES OF THE EDITION OF 1609, 4to.
A never writer to an ever reader :-News.
ETERNAL reader, you have here a new play, never staled with the stage, never clapper-clawed with the palms of the vulgar, and yet passing full of the palm comical; for it is a birth of your brain that never undertook any thing comical vainly and were but the vain names of comedies changed for the titles of commodities, or of plays for pleas, you should see all those grand censors, that now style them such vanities, flock to them for the main grace of their gravities; especially this author's comedies, that are so framed to the life, that they serve for the most common commentaries of all the actions of our lives, showing such a dexterity and power of wit, that the most displeased with plays are pleased with his comedies. And all such dull and heavy-witted worldlings as were never capable of the wit of a comedy, coming by report of them to his representations, have found that wit there that they never found in themselves, and have parted better-witted than they came; feeling an edge of wit set upon them, more than ever they dreamed they had brain to grind it on. So much and such savoured salt of wit is in his comedies, that they seem, for their height of pleasure, to be born in that sea that brought forth Venus. Amongst all there is none more witty than this: and had I time, I would comment upon it, though I know it needs not,-for so much as will make you think your testern well bestowed,-but for so much worth as even poor I know to be stuffed in it. It deserves such a labour, as well as the best comedy in Terence or Plautus: and believe this, that when he is gone, and his comedies out of sale, you will scramble for them, and set up a new English inquisition. Take this for a warning, and, at the peril of your pleasure's loss and judgment's, refuse not nor like this the less for not being sullied with the smoky breath of the multitude; but thank fortune for the scape it hath made amongst you; since by the grand possessors' wills, I believe, you should have prayed for them, rather than been prayed. And so I leave all such to be prayed for-for the states of their wits' healths-that will not praise it. Vale.
CALCHAS, a Trojan priest, taking part with the Greeks.
PANDARUS, uncle to Cressida.
AGAMEMNON, the Grecian general.
MENELAUS, his brother.
IN Troy, there lies the scene.
From isles of Greece The princes orgulous, their high blood chaf'd, Have to the port of Athens sent their ships, Fraught with the ministers and instruments Of cruel war: sixty and nine, that wore Their crownets regal, from th' Athenian bay Put forth toward Phrygia: and their vow is made To ransack Troy; within whose strong immures The ravish'd Helen, Menelaus' queen,
With wanton Paris sleeps; and that's the quarrel.
And the deep-drawing barks do there disgorge
Now expectation, tickling skittish spirits,
Like, or find fault; do as your pleasures are;
TROILUS AND CRESSIDA.
SCENE I. Troy. Before PRIAM's palace.
Enter TROILUS armed, and PANDARUS.
Tro. Call here my varlet; I'll unarm again:
Tro. 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,
And skilless as unpractis'd infancy.
Pan. 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.
Tro. Have I not tarried?
Pan. Ay, the grinding; but you must tarry the bolting.
Pan. Ay, the bolting; but you must tarry the leavening.
Pan. 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.
Tro. 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 ?(4) Pan. Well, she looked yesternight fairer than ever I saw her look, or any woman else.
Tro. I was about to tell thee,-when my heart,
Pan. 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
Tro. 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;'
Her eyes, her hair, her cheek, her gait, her voice;
Hard as the palm of ploughman !(G)—this thou tell'st me,
Thou lay'st in every gash that love hath given me
Pan. I speak no more than truth.
Tro. Thou dost not speak so much.
Pan. Faith, I'll not meddle in't. Let her be as she is:
if she be fair, 'tis the better for her;
the mends in her own hands.
an she be not, she has