Troilus and Cressida

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Troilus and Cressida is a play by William Shakespeare, probably written around 1602. It is called a history play in the Quarto edition (1609), and a tragedy in the First Folio (1623). Critics now often treat it as a "problem play."

Act I

  • I have had my labour for my travail.
    • Pandarus, scene i

  • The heavens themselves, the planets, and this centre,
    Observe degree, priority, and place,
    Insisture, course, proportion, season, form,
    Office, and custom, in all line of order.
    • Ulysses, scene iii

  • Take but degree away, untune that string,
    And hark, what discord follows! each thing meets
    In mere oppugnancy.
    • Ulysses, scene iii

  • There is seen
    The baby figure of the giant mass
    Of things to come at large.
    • Nestor, scene iii

Act II

  • Modest doubt is call’d
    The beacon of the wise, the tent that searches
    To the bottom of the worst.
    • Hector, scene ii

  • The common curse of mankind, folly and ignorance.
    • Thersites, scene iii


  • They say all lovers swear more performance than they are able, and yet reserve an ability that they never perform; vowing more than the perfection of ten, and discharging less than the tenth part of one.
    • Cressida, scene ii

  • Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back,
    Wherein he puts alms for Oblivion,
    A great-siz'd monster of ingratitudes.
    • Ulysses, scene iii

  • Perséverance, dear my lord,
    Keeps honour bright: to have done, is to hang
    Quite out of fashion, like a rusty mail
    In monumental mockery.
    • Ulysses, scene iii

  • Time is like a fashionable host,
    That slightly shakes his parting guest by the hand;
    And with his arms outstretch'd, as he would fly,
    Grasps-in the comer: the welcome ever smiles,
    And farewell goes out sighing.
    • Ulysses, scene iii

  • One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.
    • Ulysses, scene iii

  • All, with one consent, praise new-born gawds,
    Though they are made and moulded of things past;
    And give to dust, that is a little gilt,
    More laud than gilt o’erdusted.
    • Ulysses, scene iii

  • And, like a dew-drop from the lion's mane,
    Be shook to airy air.
    • Patroclus, scene iii

Act IV

  • There's language in her eye, her cheek, her lip,
    Nay, her foot speaks; her wanton spirits look out
    At every joint and motive of her body.
    • Ulysses, scene v

  • His heart and hand both open and both free;
    For what he has he gives, what thinks, he shows;
    Yet gives he not till judgment guide his bounty.
    • Ulysses, scene v

  • The end crowns all;
    And that old common arbitrator, Time,
    Will one day end it.
    • Hector, scene v

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