Classics · Shakespeare

Poem: False as Cressid

About a week ago, I finished Troilus and Cressida and ended up with a lot of mixed feelings about Cressida. It seems to me that her story ends without any resolution. We never see or hear from her again after her unfaithfulness is revealed, and even that is seen entirely from Troilus’ perspective. Her story is never really told; she’s just a supporting player in a much bigger story. So here’s my attempt to give her a voice.


Had I never said the words,
“False as Cressid”,
Would our tale have ended
As it did?

Perhaps
Perhaps our fates are written down in stone
Or crossed by stars
Or woven by three women in the woods
If so, there was nothing
Nothing I could do
To reach a happy end with you
My love, my Troilus true

The lies we tell
Each other and ourselves
Run down the broken walls of Troy in blood

He takes my hand, and I feel
Nothing
Nothing like the love I felt for you
But in his arms, I’m safe, and so I tell another lie
Whispered softly in his ear
False as Cressid

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