Troilus and Cressida


SCENE: Troy and the Greek camp before it

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 the 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 war-like fraughtage. Now on Dardan plains

The fresh and yet unbruised Greeks do pitch

Their brave pavilions: Priam's six-gated city,

Dardan, and Tymbria, Ilias, Chetas, Troien,

And Antenorides, with massy staples

And corresponsive and fulfilling bolts,

Sperr up the sons of Troy.

Now expectation, tickling skittish spirits

On one and other side, Troyan 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 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.