Troilus and Cressida


What are you reading?


A strange fellow here

Writes me that man, how dearly ever parted,

How much in having, or without or in,

Cannot make boast to have that which he hath,

Nor feels not what he owes but by reflection;

As when his virtues shining upon others

Heat them, and they retort that heat again

To the first giver.


This is not strange, Ulysses.

The beauty that is borne here in the face

The bearer knows not, but commends itself

To others’ eyes; nor doth the eye itself,

That most pure spirit of sense, behold itself,

Not going from itself; but eye to eye opposed

Salutes each other with each other’s form;

For speculation turns not to itself

Till it hath traveled and is married there

Where it may see itself. This is not strange at all.


I do not strain at the position —

It is familiar — but at the author’s drift;

Who in his circumstance expressly proves

That no man is the lord of anything —

Though in and of him there be much consisting —

Till he communicate his parts to others;

Nor doth he of himself know them for aught

Till he behold them formed in th’applause

Where they’re extended; who, like an arch, reverb’rate

The voice again, or, like a gate of steel

Fronting the sun, receives and renders back

His figure and his heat.