|ACT II SCENE II
|Troy. A room in Priam's palace.
|[Enter PRIAM, HECTOR, TROILUS, PARIS, and HELENUS]
|After so many hours, lives, speeches spent,
|Thus once again says Nestor from the Greeks:
|'Deliver Helen, and all damage else--
|As honour, loss of time, travail, expense,
|Wounds, friends, and what else dear that is consumed
|In hot digestion of this cormorant war--
|Shall be struck off.' Hector, what say you to't?
|Though no man lesser fears the Greeks than I
|As far as toucheth my particular,
|Yet, dread Priam,
|There is no lady of more softer bowels,
|More spongy to suck in the sense of fear,
|More ready to cry out 'Who knows what follows?'
|Than Hector is: the wound of peace is surety,
|Surety secure; but modest doubt is call'd
|The beacon of the wise, the tent that searches
|To the bottom of the worst. Let Helen go:
|Since the first sword was drawn about this question,
|Every tithe soul, 'mongst many thousand dismes,
|Hath been as dear as Helen; I mean, of ours:
|If we have lost so many tenths of ours,
|To guard a thing not ours nor worth to us,
|Had it our name, the value of one ten,
|What merit's in that reason which denies
|The yielding of her up?
|Fie, fie, my brother!
|Weigh you the worth and honour of a king
|So great as our dread father in a scale
|Of common ounces? will you with counters sum
|The past proportion of his infinite?
|And buckle in a waist most fathomless
|With spans and inches so diminutive
|As fears and reasons? fie, for godly shame!
|No marvel, though you bite so sharp at reasons,
|You are so empty of them. Should not our father
|Bear the great sway of his affairs with reasons,
|Because your speech hath none that tells him so?
|You are for dreams and slumbers, brother priest;
|You fur your gloves with reason. Here are
|You know an enemy intends you harm;
|You know a sword employ'd is perilous,
|And reason flies the object of all harm:
|Who marvels then, when Helenus beholds
|A Grecian and his sword, if he do set
|The very wings of reason to his heels
|And fly like chidden Mercury from Jove,
|Or like a star disorb'd? Nay, if we talk of reason,
|Let's shut our gates and sleep: manhood and honour
|Should have hare-hearts, would they but fat
|With this cramm'd reason: reason and respect
|Make livers pale and lustihood deject.
|Brother, she is not worth what she doth cost
|What is aught, but as 'tis valued?
|But value dwells not in particular will;
|It holds his estimate and dignity
|As well wherein 'tis precious of itself
|As in the prizer: 'tis mad idolatry
|To make the service greater than the god
|And the will dotes that is attributive
|To what infectiously itself affects,
|Without some image of the affected merit.
|I take to-day a wife, and my election
|Is led on in the conduct of my will;
|My will enkindled by mine eyes and ears,
|Two traded pilots 'twixt the dangerous shores
|Of will and judgment: how may I avoid,
|Although my will distaste what it elected,
|The wife I chose? there can be no evasion
|To blench from this and to stand firm by honour:
|We turn not back the silks upon the merchant,
|When we have soil'd them, nor the remainder viands
|We do not throw in unrespective sieve,
|Because we now are full. It was thought meet
|Paris should do some vengeance on the Greeks:
|Your breath of full consent bellied his sails;
|The seas and winds, old wranglers, took a truce
|And did him service: he touch'd the ports desired,
|And for an old aunt whom the Greeks held captive,
|He brought a Grecian queen, whose youth and freshness
|Wrinkles Apollo's, and makes stale the morning.
|Why keep we her? the Grecians keep our aunt:
|Is she worth keeping? why, she is a pearl,
|Whose price hath launch'd above a thousand ships,
|And turn'd crown'd kings to merchants.
|If you'll avouch 'twas wisdom Paris went--
|As you must needs, for you all cried 'Go, go,'--
|If you'll confess he brought home noble prize--
|As you must needs, for you all clapp'd your hands
|And cried 'Inestimable!'--why do you now
|The issue of your proper wisdoms rate,
|And do a deed that fortune never did,
|Beggar the estimation which you prized
|Richer than sea and land? O, theft most base,
|That we have stol'n what we do fear to keep!
|But, thieves, unworthy of a thing so stol'n,
|That in their country did them that disgrace,
|We fear to warrant in our native place!
|[Within] Cry, Trojans, cry!
|What noise? what shriek is this?
|'Tis our mad sister, I do know her voice.
|[Within] Cry, Trojans!
|It is Cassandra.
|[Enter CASSANDRA, raving]
|Cry, Trojans, cry! lend me ten thousand eyes,
|And I will fill them with prophetic tears.
|Peace, sister, peace!
|Virgins and boys, mid-age and wrinkled eld,
|Soft infancy, that nothing canst but cry,
|Add to my clamours! let us pay betimes
|A moiety of that mass of moan to come.
|Cry, Trojans, cry! practise your eyes with tears!
|Troy must not be, nor goodly Ilion stand;
|Our firebrand brother, Paris, burns us all.
|Cry, Trojans, cry! a Helen and a woe:
|Cry, cry! Troy burns, or else let Helen go.
|Now, youthful Troilus, do not these high strains
|Of divination in our sister work
|Some touches of remorse? or is your blood
|So madly hot that no discourse of reason,
|Nor fear of bad success in a bad cause,
|Can qualify the same?
|Why, brother Hector,
|We may not think the justness of each act
|Such and no other than event doth form it,
|Nor once deject the courage of our minds,
|Because Cassandra's mad: her brain-sick raptures
|Cannot distaste the goodness of a quarrel
|Which hath our several honours all engaged
|To make it gracious. For my private part,
|I am no more touch'd than all Priam's sons:
|And Jove forbid there should be done amongst us
|Such things as might offend the weakest spleen
|To fight for and maintain!
|Else might the world convince of levity
|As well my undertakings as your counsels:
|But I attest the gods, your full consent
|Gave wings to my propension and cut off
|All fears attending on so dire a project.
|For what, alas, can these my single arms?
|What Propugnation is in one man's valour,
|To stand the push and enmity of those
|This quarrel would excite? Yet, I protest,
|Were I alone to pass the difficulties
|And had as ample power as I have will,
|Paris should ne'er retract what he hath done,
|Nor faint in the pursuit.
|Paris, you speak
|Like one besotted on your sweet delights:
|You have the honey still, but these the gall;
|So to be valiant is no praise at all.
|Sir, I propose not merely to myself
|The pleasures such a beauty brings with it;
|But I would have the soil of her fair rape
|Wiped off, in honourable keeping her.
|What treason were it to the ransack'd queen,
|Disgrace to your great worths and shame to me,
|Now to deliver her possession up
|On terms of base compulsion! Can it be
|That so degenerate a strain as this
|Should once set footing in your generous bosoms?
|There's not the meanest spirit on our party
|Without a heart to dare or sword to draw
|When Helen is defended, nor none so noble
|Whose life were ill bestow'd or death unfamed
|Where Helen is the subject; then, I say,
|Well may we fight for her whom, we know well,
|The world's large spaces cannot parallel.
|Paris and Troilus, you have both said well,
|And on the cause and question now in hand
|Have glozed, but superficially: not much
|Unlike young men, whom Aristotle thought
|Unfit to hear moral philosophy:
|The reasons you allege do more conduce
|To the hot passion of distemper'd blood
|Than to make up a free determination
|'Twixt right and wrong, for pleasure and revenge
|Have ears more deaf than adders to the voice
|Of any true decision. Nature craves
|All dues be render'd to their owners: now,
|What nearer debt in all humanity
|Than wife is to the husband? If this law
|Of nature be corrupted through affection,
|And that great minds, of partial indulgence
|To their benumbed wills, resist the same,
|There is a law in each well-order'd nation
|To curb those raging appetites that are
|Most disobedient and refractory.
|If Helen then be wife to Sparta's king,
|As it is known she is, these moral laws
|Of nature and of nations speak aloud
|To have her back return'd: thus to persist
|In doing wrong extenuates not wrong,
|But makes it much more heavy. Hector's opinion
|Is this in way of truth; yet ne'ertheless,
|My spritely brethren, I propend to you
|In resolution to keep Helen still,
|For 'tis a cause that hath no mean dependance
|Upon our joint and several dignities.
|Why, there you touch'd the life of our design:
|Were it not glory that we more affected
|Than the performance of our heaving spleens,
|I would not wish a drop of Trojan blood
|Spent more in her defence. But, worthy Hector,
|She is a theme of honour and renown,
|A spur to valiant and magnanimous deeds,
|Whose present courage may beat down our foes,
|And fame in time to come canonize us;
|For, I presume, brave Hector would not lose
|So rich advantage of a promised glory
|As smiles upon the forehead of this action
|For the wide world's revenue.
|I am yours,
|You valiant offspring of great Priamus.
|I have a roisting challenge sent amongst
|The dun and factious nobles of the Greeks
|Will strike amazement to their drowsy spirits:
|I was advertised their great general slept,
|Whilst emulation in the army crept:
|This, I presume, will wake him.