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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.

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CALCHAS, a Trojan priest, taking part with the Greeks.

PANDARUS, uncle to Cressida.

AGAMEMNON, the Grecian general.

MENELAUS, his brother.

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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.
To Tenedos they come;

And the deep-drawing barks do there disgorge
Their warlike fraughtage: now on Dardan plains
The fresh and yet unbruised Greeks do pitch
Their brave pavilions: Priam's six-gated city,
Dardan, and Tymbria, Helias, Chetas, Troien,
And Antenorides,(1) with massy staples,
And corresponsive and fulfilling bolts,
Sperr(2) up the sons of Troy.

Now expectation, tickling skittish spirits,
On one and other side, Trojan and Greek,
Sets all on hazard :—and hither am I come
A prologue arm'd,-but not in confidence.
Of author's pen or actor's voice; but suited
In like conditions as our argument,-
To tell you, fair beholders, that our play
Leaps o'er the vaunt and firstlings of those broils,
Beginning in the middle; starting (3) thence away
To what may be digested in a play.

Like, or find fault; do as your pleasures are;
Now good or bad, 'tis but the chance of war.



SCENE I. Troy. Before PRIAM's palace.

Enter TROILUS armed, and PANDARUS.

Tro. 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!
Pan. Will this gear ne'er be mended?

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,
Less valiant than the virgin in the night,

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.
Tro. Have I not tarried?

Pan. Ay, the bolting; but you must tarry the leavening.
Tro. Still have I tarried.

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,
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—(5)
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.

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;'
Pour'st in the open ulcer of my heart

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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 !(G)—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.

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

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