I’ll Take That Winter From Your Lips

For Shakespeare’s 450th, here is one of the most disturbing, hilarious, compelling, and tragic scenes he ever wrote. I can’t wait to direct this play.

Richard Tuschman: Daydream
Richard Tuschman: Daydream

from TROILUS AND CRESSIDA

SCENE V. The Grecian camp. Lists set out.

Enter AJAX, armed; AGAMEMNON, ACHILLES, PATROCLUS, MENELAUS, ULYSSES, NESTOR, and others

AGAMEMNON

Here art thou in appointment fresh and fair,
Anticipating time with starting courage.
Give with thy trumpet a loud note to Troy,
Thou dreadful Ajax; that the appalled air
May pierce the head of the great combatant
And hale him hither.

AJAX

Thou, trumpet, there’s my purse.
Now crack thy lungs, and split thy brazen pipe:
Blow, villain, till thy sphered bias cheek
Outswell the colic of puff’d Aquilon:
Come, stretch thy chest and let thy eyes spout blood;
Thou blow’st for Hector.
Trumpet sounds

ULYSSES

No trumpet answers.

ACHILLES

‘Tis but early days.

AGAMEMNON

Is not yond Diomed, with Calchas’ daughter?

ULYSSES

‘Tis he, I ken the manner of his gait;
He rises on the toe: that spirit of his
In aspiration lifts him from the earth.

.
Enter DIOMEDES, with CRESSIDA

AGAMEMNON

Is this the Lady Cressid?

DIOMEDES

Even she.

AGAMEMNON

Most dearly welcome to the Greeks, sweet lady.

NESTOR

Our general doth salute you with a kiss.

ULYSSES

Yet is the kindness but particular;
‘Twere better she were kiss’d in general.

NESTOR

And very courtly counsel: I’ll begin.
So much for Nestor.

ACHILLES

I’ll take that winter from your lips, fair lady:
Achilles bids you welcome.

MENELAUS

I had good argument for kissing once.

PATROCLUS

But that’s no argument for kissing now;
For this popp’d Paris in his hardiment,
And parted thus you and your argument.

ULYSSES

O deadly gall, and theme of all our scorns!
For which we lose our heads to gild his horns.

PATROCLUS

The first was Menelaus’ kiss; this, mine:
Patroclus kisses you.

MENELAUS

O, this is trim!

PATROCLUS

Paris and I kiss evermore for him.

MENELAUS

I’ll have my kiss, sir. Lady, by your leave.

CRESSIDA

In kissing, do you render or receive?

PATROCLUS

Both take and give.

CRESSIDA

I’ll make my match to live,
The kiss you take is better than you give;
Therefore no kiss.

MENELAUS

I’ll give you boot, I’ll give you three for one.

CRESSIDA

You’re an odd man; give even or give none.

MENELAUS

An odd man, lady! every man is odd.

CRESSIDA

No, Paris is not; for you know ’tis true,
That you are odd, and he is even with you.

MENELAUS

You fillip me o’ the head.

CRESSIDA

No, I’ll be sworn.

ULYSSES

It were no match, your nail against his horn.
May I, sweet lady, beg a kiss of you?

CRESSIDA

You may.

ULYSSES

I do desire it.

CRESSIDA

Why, beg, then.

ULYSSES

Why then for Venus’ sake, give me a kiss,
When Helen is a maid again, and his.

CRESSIDA

I am your debtor, claim it when ’tis due.

ULYSSES

Never’s my day, and then a kiss of you.

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