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]
I come here to speak the prologue, and come in armour; not defying the audience, in confidence of either the author's or actor's abilities, but merely in a character suited to the subject, in a dress of war, before a warlike play.
I.i.12 (8,3) And skill-less as unpractis'd infancy] Mr. Dryden, in his alteration of this play, has taken this speech as it stands, except that he has changed skill-less to artless, not for the better, because skill-less refers to skill and skilful.
I.i.58 (10,4) The cignet's down is harsh, and spirit of sense/Hard as the palm of ploughman!] In comparison with Cressid's hand, says he, the spirit of sense, the utmost degree, the most exquisite power of sensibility, which implies a soft hand, since the sense of touching, as Scaliger says in his Exercitations, resides chiefly in the fingers, is hard as the callous and insensible palm of the ploughman. WARBURTON reads,
--SPITE of sense:
--to th' spirit of sense.
It is not proper to make a lover profess to praise his mistress in spite of sense; for though he often does it in spite of the sense of others, his own senses are subdued to his desires.
I.i.66 (10,5) if she be fair, 'tis the better for her; an she be not, she has the mends in her own hands] She may mend her complexion by the assistance of cosmeticks.
I.ii.4 (12,1) Hector, whose patience/Is, as a virtue, fix'd] [W: Is as the] I think the present text may stand. Hector's patience was as a virtue, not variable and accidental, but fixed and constant. If I would alter it, it should be thus:
--Hector, whose patience Is ALL a virtue fix'd,--
All, in old English, is the intensive or enforcing particle.
I.ii.8 (13,2) Before the sun rose, he was harness'd light] [Warburton stated that "harnessed light" meant Hector was to fight on foot] How does it appear that Hector was to fight on foot rather to-day than on any other day? It is to be remembered, that the ancient heroes never fought on horseback; nor does their manner of fighting in chariots seem to require less activity than on foot.
I.ii.23 (14,4) his valour is crushed into folly] To be crushed into folly, is to be confused and mingled with folly, so as that they make one mass together.
I.ii.46 (15,6) Ilium] Was the palace of Troy.
I.ii.120 (17,7) compass-window] The compass-window is the same as the bow-window. (1773)
Cre. Will he give you the nod? Pan. You shall see. Cre. If he do, the rich shall have more]
[W: rich] I wonder why the commentator should think any emendation necessary, since his own sense is fully expressed by the present reading. Hanmer appears not to have understood the passage. That to give the nod signifies to set a mark of folly, I do not know; the allusion is to the word noddy, which, as now, did, in our author's time, and long before, signify, a silly fellow, and may, by its etymology, signify likewise full of nods. Cressid means, that a noddy shall have more nods. Of such remarks as these is a comment to consist?
I.ii.260 (22,3) money to boot] So the folio. The old quarto, with more force, Give an eye to boot. (rev. 1778, IX, 25, 1)
I.ii.285 (22,4) upon my wit to defend my wiles] So read both the copies) yet perhaps the author wrote,
Upon my wit to defend my will.
The terms wit and will were, in the language of that time, put often in opposition.
I.ii.300 (23,5) At your own house; there he unarms him] [These necessary words added from the quarto edition. POPE.] The words added are only, there he unarms him.
I.ii.313 (23,6) joy's soul lies in the doing] So read both the old editions, for which the later editions have poorly given,
--the soul's joy lies in doing.
I.ii.316 (23,7) That she] Means, that woman.
I.iii.31 (25,2) With due observance of thy godlike seat] [T: godlike seat] This emendation [for goodly seat] Theobald might have found in the quarto, which has,
--the godlike seat.
I.iii.32 (25,3) Nestor shall apply/Thy latest words] Nestor applies the words to another instance.
I.iii.54 (26,7) Returns to chiding fortune] For returns, Hanmer reads replies, unnecessarily, the sense being the same. The folio and quarto have retires, corruptly.
both your speeches; which are such, As Agamemnon and the hand of Greece Should hold up high in brass; and such again, As venerable Nestor, hatch'd in silver, Should with a bond of air (strong as the axle-tree On which heaven rides) knit all the Greekish ears To his experienc'd tongue]
Ulysses begins his oration with praising those who had spoken before him, and marks the characteristick excellencies of their different eloquence, strength, and sweetness, which he expresses by the different metals on which he recommends them to be engraven for the instruction of posterity. The speech of Agamemnon is such that it ought to be engraven in brass, and the tablet held up by him on the one side, and Greece on the other, to shew the union of their opinion. And Nestor ought to be exhibited in silver, uniting all his audience in one mind by his soft and gentle elocution. Brass is the common emblem of strength, and silver of gentleness. We call a soft voice a silver voice, and a persuasive tongue a silver tongue.--I once read for hand, the band of Greece, but I think the text right.--To hatch is a term of art for a particular method of engraving. Hatcher, to cut, Fr.
I.iii.78 (28,1) The specialty of rule] The particular rights of supreme authority.
I.iii.81 (29,2) When that the general is not like the hive] The meaning is, When the general is not to the army like the hive to the bees, the repository of the stock of every individual, that to which each particular resorts with whatever be has collected for the good of the whole, what honey is expected? what hope of advantage? The sense is clear, the expression is confused.
I.iii.101 (30,5) Oh, when degree is shak'd] I would read,
--So when degree is shak'd. (see 1765, VII, 431, 5)
I.iii.103 (30,6) The enterprize] Perhaps we should read,
Then enterprize is sick!--
I.iii.104 (30,7) brotherhoods in cities] Corporations, companies, confraternities.
I.iii.128 (31,8) That by a pace goes backward] That goes backward step by step.
I.iii.128 (31,9) with a purpose/It hath to climb] With a design in each man to aggrandize himself, by slighting his immediate superior.
I.iii.134 (31,1) bloodless emulation] An emulation not vigorous and active, but malignant and sluggish.
I.iii.152 (31,2) Thy topless deputation] Topless is that has nothing topping or overtopping it; supreme; sovereign.
I.iii.167 (32,3) as near as the extremest ends/Of parallels] The parallels to which the allusion seems to be made are the parallels on a map. As like as East to West.
All our abilities, gifts, natures, shapes, Severals and generals of grace exact, Atchievements, plots]
The meaning is this, All our good grace exact, means of excellence irreprehensible.
I.iii.184 (32,5) to make paradoxes] Paradoxes may have a meaning, but it is not clear and distinct. I wish the copies had given,
--to make parodies.
I.iii.188 (33,6) bears his head/In such a rein] That is, holds up his head as haughtily. We still say of a girl, she bridles.
I.iii.196 (33,7) How rank soever rounded in with danger] A rank weed is a high weed. The modern editions silently read,
How hard soever--
I.iii.202 (33,8) and know by measure/Of their observant toil the enemies' weight] I think it were better to read,
--and know the measure, By their observant toil, of th' enemies' weight.
I.iii.220 (34,1) Achilles' arm] So the copies. Perhaps the author wrote,
I.iii.262 (35,4) long continu'd truce] Of this long truce there has been no notice taken; in this very act it is said, that Ajax coped Hector yesterday in the battle.
I.iii.270 (36,7) (With truant vows to her own lips he loves)] That is, confession made with idle vows to the lips of her whom he loves.
I.iii.319 (37,1) nursery] Alluding to a plantation called a nursery.
I.iii.341 (38,4) scantling] That is, a measure, proportion. The carpenter cuts his wood to a certain scantling.
I.iii.343 (38,5) small pricks] Small points compared with the volumes.
II.i (40,1) The Grecian camp. Enter Ajax and Thorsites] ACT II.] This play is not divided into acts in any of the original editions.
II.i.13 (41,2) The plague of Greece] Alluding perhaps to the plague sent by Apollo on the Grecian army.
II.i.15 (41,3) Speak then, thou unsalted leaven, speak] [T: unwinnow'dst] [W: windyest] Hanmer preserves whinid'st, the reading of the folio; but does not explain it, nor do I understand it. If the folio be followed, I read, vinew'd, that is mouldy leven. Thou composition of mustiness and sourness.--Theobald's assertion, however confident, is false. Unsalted leaven is in the old quarto. It means sour without salt, malignity without wit. Shakespeare wrote first unsalted; but recollecting that want of salt was no fault in leaven, changed it to vinew'd.
II.i.38 (42,5) aye that thou bark'st at him] I read, O that thou bark'dst at him.
II.i.42 (42,6) pun thee into shivers] Pun is in the midland counties the vulgar and colloquial word for pound. (1773)
II.i.125 (45,1) when Achilles' brach bids me] The folio and quarto read, Achilles' brooch. Brooch is an appendant ornament. The meaning may be, equivalent to one of Achilles' hangers on.
II.ii.29 (47,2) The past-proportion of his infinite?] Thus read both the copies. The meaning is, that greatness, to which no measure bears any proportion. The modern editors silently give,
The vast proportion--
II.ii.58 (48,4) And the will dotes that is inclinable] [Old edition, not so well, has it, attributive. POPE.] By the old edition Mr. Pope means the old quarto. The folio has, as it stands, inclinable.--I think the first reading better; the will dotes that attributes or gives the qualities which it affects; that first causes excellence, and then admires it.
II.ii.60 (48,5) Without some image of the affected merit] The present reading is right. The will affects an object for some supposed merit, which Hector says, is uncensurable, unless the merit so affected be really there.
II.ii.71 (48,7) unrespective sieve] That is, into a common voider. Sieve is in the quarto. The folio reads,
for which the modern editions have silently printed,
why do you now The issue of your proper wisdoms rate; And do a deed that fortune never did, Beggar that estimation which you priz'd Richer than sea and land?]
If I understand this passage, the meaning is, "Why do you, by censuring the determination of your own wisdoms, degrade Helen, whom fortune has not yet deprived of her value, or against whom, as the wife of Paris, fortune has not in this war so declared, as to make us value her less?" This is very harsh, and much strained.
II.ii.122 (50,2) her brain-sick raptures/Cannot distaste the goodness of a quarrel] Corrupt; change to a worse state.
II.ii.179 (52,3) benummed wills] That is, inflexible, inmoveable, no longer obedient to superior direction.
II.ii.180 (52,4) There is a law in each well-ordered nation] What the law does in every nation between individuals, justice ought to do between nations.
II.ii.188 (52,5) Hector's opinion/Is this in way of truth] Though considering truth and justice in this question, this is my opinion; yet as a question of honour, I think on it as you.
II.ii.196 (53,6) the performance of our heaving spleens] The execution of spite and resentment.
II.ii.212 (53,7) emulation] That is, envy, factious contention.
II.iii.18 (54,8) without drawing the massy iron and cutting the web] That is, without drawing their swords to cut the web. They use no means but those of violence.
II.iii.55 (55,1) decline the whole question] Deduce the question from the first case to the last.
II.iii.108 (57,6) but it was a strong composure, a fool could disunite] So reads the quarto very properly; but the folio, which the moderns have followed, has, it was a strong COUNSEL.
II.iii.118 (57,7) noble state] Person of high dignity; spoken of Agamemnon.
II.iii.137 (58,8) under-write] To subscribe, in Shakespeare, is to obey.
II.iii.215 (60,2) pheese his pride] To pheese is to comb or curry.
II.iii.217 (60,3) Not for the worth that hangs upon our quarrel] Not for the value of all for which we are fighting.
Ajax. Shall I call you father? Nest. Ay, my good son]
In the folio and in the nodern editions Ajax desires to give the title of father to Ulysses; in the quarto, more naturally, to Nestor.
III.i.35 (64,1) love's invisible soul] love's visible soul.] So HANMER. The other editions have invisible, which perhaps may be right, and may mean the soul of love invisible every where else.
III.i.83 (65,3) And, my lord, he desires you] Here I think the speech of Pandarus should begin, and the rest of it should be added to that of Helen, but I have followed the copies.
III.i.96 (65,4) with my disposer Cressida] [W: dispouser] I do not understand the word disposer, nor know what to substitute in its place. There is no variation in the copies.
III.i.132 (67,6) Yet that which seems the wound to kill] To kill the wound is no very intelligible expression, nor is the measure preserved. We might read,
These lovers cry, Oh! oh! they die! But that which seems to kill, Doth turn, &c. So dying love lives still.
Yet as the wound to kill may mean the wound that seems mortal, I alter nothing.
III.ii.25 (69,1) tun'd too sharp in sweetness]--and too sharp in sweetness,] So the folio and all modern editions; but the quarto more accurately,
--tun'd too sharp in sweetness.
III.ii.99 (71,4) our head shall go bare, 'till merit crown it] I cannot forbear to observe, that the quarto reads thus: Our head shall go bare, 'till merit lower part no affection, in reversion, &c. Had there been no other copy, hov could this have been corrected? The true reading is in the folio.
III.ii.102 (72,5) his addition shall be humble] We will give him no high or pompous titles.
but you are wise, Or else you love not; to be wise and love, Exceeds man's might]
--but we're not wise, Or else we love not; to be wise and love, Exceeds man's might;--
Cressida, in return to the praise given by Troilus to her wisdom, replies, "That lovers are never wise; that it is beyond the power of man to bring love and wisdom to an union."
III.ii.173 (74,8) Might be affronted with the match] I wish "my integrity might be met and matched with such equality and force of pure unmingled love."
III.ii.184 (75,2) As true as steel, as plantage to the moon] Plantage is not, I believe, a general term, but the herb which we now call plantain, in Latin, plantago, which was, I suppose, imagined to be under the peculiar influence of the moon.
Yet after all comparisons of truth, As truth's authentic author to be cited As true as Troilus, shall crown up the verse]
Troilus shall crown the verse, as a man to be cited as the authentic author of truth; as one whose protestations were true to a proverb.
III.iii.1-16 (77,5) Now, princes, for the service I have done you] I am afraid, that after all the learned commentator's [Warburton's] efforts to clear the argument of Calchas, it will still appear liable to objection; nor do I discover more to be urged in his defence, than that though his skill in divination determined him to leave Troy, jet that he joined himself to Agamemnon and his army by unconstrained good-will; and though he came as a fugitive escaping from destruction, yet his services after his reception, being voluntary and important, deserved reward. This argument is not regularly and distinctly deduced, but this is, I think, the best explication that it will yet admit.
III.iii.4 (78,6) through the sight I bear in things, to Jove] This passage in all the modern editions is silently depraved, and printed thus:
--through the sight I bear in things to come.
The word is so printed that nothing but the sense can determine whether it be love or Jove. I believe that the editors read it as love, and therefore made the alteration to obtain some meaning.
he shall buy my daughter; and her presence Shall quite strike off all service I have done, In most accepted pain]
Sir T. HANMER, and Dr. WARBURTON after him, read,
In most accepted pay.
They do not seem to understand the construction of the passage. Her presence, says Calchas, shall strike off, or recompence the service I have done, even in these labours which were most accepted.
III.iii.44 (80,8) derision med'cinable] All the modern editions have decision. The old copies are apparently right. The folio in this place agrees with the quarto, so that the corruption was at first merely accidental.
III.iii.96 (82,9) how dearly ever parted] I do not think that in the word parted is included any idea of division; it means, however excellently endowed, with however dear or precious parts enriched or adorned.
III.iii.113 (82,2) but the author's drift:/Who, in his circumstance] In the detail or circumduction of his argument.
III.iii.125 (83,3) The unknovn Ajax] Ajax, who has abilities which were never brought into view or use.
How some men creep in skittish Fortune's hall, While others play the idiots in her eyes!]
To creep is to keep out of sight from whatever motive. Some men keep out of notice in the hall of Fortune, while others, though they but play the idiot, are always in her eye, in the way of distinction.
III.iii.137 (83,5) feasting] Folio. The quarto has fasting. Either word may bear a good sense.
III.iii.145 (84,6) Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back] This speech is printed in all the modern editions with such deviations from the old copy, as exceed the lawful power of an editor.
III.iii.171 (85,2) for beauty, wit,/High birth, vigour of bone, desert in service] The modern editors read,
For beauty, wit, high birth, desert in service, &c.
I do not deny but the changes produce a more easy lapse of numbers, but they do not exhibit the work of Shakespeare, (see 1765, VII, 435, 2)
And shew to dust, that is a little gilt, More laud than gilt o'er-dusted]
[T: give to ... laud than they will give to gold] This emendation has been received by the succeeding editors, but recedes too far from the copy. There is no other corruption than such as Shakespeare's incorrectness often resembles. He has omitted the article to in the second line: he should have written,
More laud than to gilt o'er-dusted. (1773) (rev. 1778, IX, 93, 7)
III.iii.189 (86,4) Made emulous missions] The meaning of mission seems to be dispatches of the gods from heaven about mortal business, such as often happened at the siege of Troy.
III.iii.197 (86,5) Knows almost every grain of Pluto's gold] For this elegant line the quarto has only,
Knows almost every thing.
III.iii.201 (86,7) (with which relation/Durst never meddle)] There is a secret administration of affairs, which no history was ever able to discover.
Omission to do what is necessary Seals a commission to a blank of danger]
By neglecting our duty we commission or enable that danger of dishonour, which could not reach us before, to lay hold upon us.
III.iii.254 (88,1) with a politic regard] With a sly look.
IV.i.11 (91,1) During all question of the gentle truce] I once thought to read,
During all quiet of the gentle truce.
But I think question means intercourse, interchange of conversation.
IV.i.36 (92,4) His purpose meets you] I bring you his meaning and his orders.
Both merits pois'd, each weighs no less nor more, But he as he, the heavier for a whore]
But he as he, each heavier for a whore.
Heavy is taken both for weighty, and for sad or miserable. The quarto reads,
But he as he, the heavier for a whore.
I know not whether the thought is not that of a wager. It must then be read thus:
But he as he. Which heavier for a whore?
That is, for a whore staked down, which is the heavier.
IV.i.78 (94,7) We'll not commend what we intend to sell] I believe the meaning is only this: though you practise the buyer's art, we will not practise the seller's. We intend to sell Helen dear, yet will not commend her.
IV.ii.62 (96,4) My matter is so rash] My business is so hasty and so abrupt.
IV.ii.74 (97,6) the secrets of neighbour Pandar] [Pope had emended the Folio's "secrets of nature" to the present reading] Mr. Pope's reading is in the old quarto. So great is the necessity of collation.
IV.iv.3 (99,1) The grief] The folio reads,
The grief is fine, full perfect, that I taste, And no less in a sense as strong As that which causeth it.--
The quarto otherwise,
The grief is fine, full, perfect, that I taste, And violenteth in a sense as strong As that which causeth it.--
Violenteth is a word with which I am not acquainted, yet perhaps it may be right. The reading of the text is without authority.
IV.iv.65 (101,3) For I will throw my glove to death] That is, I will challenge death himself in defence of thy fidelity.
While others fish, with craft, for great opinion, I, with great truth, catch mere simplicity.]
The meaning, I think, is, while others, by their art, gain high estimation, I, by honesty, obtain a plain simple approbation.
IV.iv.109 (103,6) the moral of my wit/Is, plain and true] That is, the governing principle of my understanding; but I rather think we should read,
--the motto of my wit Is, plain and true,--
IV.iv.114 (103,7) possess thee what she is] I will make thee fully understand. This sense of the word possess is frequent in our author.
IV.iv.134 (104,9) I'll answer to my list] This, I think, is right, though both the old copies read lust.
IV.v.8 (105,1) bias cheek] Swelling out like the bias of a bowl.
IV.v.37 (106,3) I'll make my match to live./The kiss you take is better than you give] I will make such bargains as I may live by, such as may bring me profit, therefore will not take a worse kiss than I give.
IV.v.48 (107,4) Why, beg then] For the sake of rhime we should read,
Why beg two.
If you think kisses worth begging, beg more than one.
IV.v.52 (107,5) Never's my day, and then a kiss of you] I once gave both these lines to Cressida. She bids Ulysses beg a kiss; he asks that he may have it,
When Helen is a maid again--
She tells him that then he shall have it:
When Helen is a maid again--
Cre. I am your debtor, claim it when 'tis due; Never's my day, and then a kiss for you.
But I rather think that Ulysses means to slight her, and that the present reading is right.
IV.v.57 (107,6) motive of her body] Motive for part that contributes to motion.
IV.v.59 (107,7) a coasting] An amorous address; courtship.
IV.v.62 (107,8) sluttish spoils of opportunity] Corrupt wenches, of whose chastity every opportunity may make a prey.
IV.v.73 (108,9) Aga. 'Tis done like Hector, but securely done] [Theobald gave the speech to Achilles] As the old copies agree, I have made no change.
IV.v.79 (108,1) Valour and pride excel themselves in Hector] Shakespeare's thought is not exactly deduced. Nicety of expression is not his character. The cleaning is plain, "Valour (says AEneas) is in Hector greater than valour in other men, and pride in Hector is less than pride in other men. So that Hector is distinguished by the excellence of having pride less than other pride, and valour more than other valour."
IV.v.103 (109,2) an impair thought] A thought suitable to the dignity of his character. This word I should have changed to impure, were I not over-powered by the unanimity of the editors, and concurrence of the old copies, (rev. 1778, IX, 120, 8)
IV.v.105 (109,3) Hector in his blaze of wrath subscribes/To tender objects] That is, yields, gives way.
IV.v.112 (110,4) thus translate him to me] Thus explain his character.
IV.v.142 (111,5) Hect. Not Neoptolemus so mirable] [W: Neoptolemus's sire irascible] After all this contention it is difficult to imagine that the critic believes mirable to have been changed to irascible. I should sooner read,
Not Neoptolemus th' admirable;
as I know not whether mirable can be found in any other place. The correction which the learned commentator gave to Hanmer,
Not Neoptolemus' sire so mirable,
as it was modester than this, was preferable to it. But nothing is more remote from justness of sentiment, than for Hector to characterise Achilles as the father of Neoptolemus, a youth that had not yet appeared in arms, and whose name was therefore much less knovn than his father's. My opinion is, that by Neoptolemus the author meant Achilles himself; and remembering that the son was Pyrrhus Neoptolemus, considered Neoptolemus as the nomen gentilitium, and thought the father was likewise Achilles Neoptolemus.
IV.v.147 (112,6) We'll answer it] That is, answer the expectance.
IV.v.275 (117,5) Beat loud the tabourines] For this the quarto and the latter editions have,
To taste your bounties.--
The reading which I have given from the folio seems chosen at the revision, to avoid the repetition of the word bounties .
V.i.5 (118,1) Thou crusty batch of nature] Batch is changed by Theobald to botch, and the change is justified by a pompous note, which discovers that he did not know the word batch. What is more strange, Hanmer has followed him. Batch is any thing baked.
V.i.19 (119,3) Male-varlet] HANMER reads male-harlot, plausibly enough, except that it seems too plain to require the explanation which Patroclus demands.
V.i.23 (119,4) cold palsies] This catalogue of loathsome maladies ends in the folio at cold palsies. This passage, as it stands, is in the quarto: the retrenchment was in my opinion judicious. It may be remarked, though it proves nothing, that, of the few alterations made by Milton in the second edition of his wonderful poem, one was, an enlargement of the enumeration of diseases.
V.i.32 (119,5) you ruinous butt; you whoreson indistinguishable cur] Patroclos reproaches Thersites with deformity, with having one part crowded into another.
V.i.35 (119,6) thou idle immaterial skeyn of sley'd silk] All the terms used by Thersites of Patroclus, are emblematically expressive of flexibility, compliance, and mean officiousness.
V.i.40 (119,7) Out, gall!] HANMER reads nut-gall, which answers well enough to finch-egg; it has already appeared, that our author thought the nut-gall the bitter gall. He is called nut, from the conglobation of his form; but both the copies read, Out, gall!
V.i.41 (120,8) Finch egg!] Of this reproach I do not know the exact meaning. I suppose he means to call him singing bird, as implying an useless favourite, and yet more, something more worthless, a singing bird in the egg, or generally, a slight thing easily crushed.
V.i.64 (121,2) forced with wit] Stuffed with wit. A term of cookery.--In this speech I do not well understand what is meant by loving quails.
V.i.73 (121,3) spirits and fires!] This Thersites speaks upon the first sight of the distant lights.
V.ii.11 (124,1) And any man may sing her, if he can take her cliff] That is, her key. Clef, French.
V.ii.41 (125,2) You flow to great distraction] So the moderns. The folio has,
You flow to great distraction.--
You flow to great destruction.--
You show too great distraction.--
V.ii.108 (128,7) But with my heart the other eye doth see] I think it should be read thus,
But my heart with the other eye doth see.
V.ii.113 (128,8) A proof of strength she could not publish more] She could not publish a stronger proof.
V.ii.125 (129,1) I cannot conjure, Trojan] That is, I cannot raise spirits in the form of Cressida.
V.ii.141 (129,2) If there be rule in unity itself] I do not well understand what is meant by rule in unity. By rule our author, in this place as in others, intends virtuous restraint, regularity of manners, command of passions and appetites. In Macbeth,
He cannot buckle his distemper'd cause Within the belt of rule.--
But I know not how to apply the word in this sense to unity. I read,
If there be rule in purity itself,
Or, If there be rule in verity itself.
Such alterations would not offend the reader, who saw the state of the old editions, in which, for instance, a few lines lower, the almighty sun is called the almighty fenne.--Yet the words may at last mean, If there be certainty in unity, if it be a rule that one is one.
V.ii.144 (130,3) Bi-fold authority!] This is the reading of the quarto. The folio gives us,
By foul authority!--
There is madness in that disquisition in which a man reasons at once for and against himself upon authority which he knows not to be valid. The quarto is right.
where reason can revolt Without perdition, and loss assume all reason Without revolt]
The words loss and perdition are used in their common sense, but they mean the loss or perdition of reason.
V.ii.157 (131,6) And with another knot five-finger-tied] A knot tied by giving her hand to Diomed.
V.ii.160 (131,7) o'er-eaten faith] Vows which she has already swallowed once over. We still say of a faithless man, that he has eaten his words.
Ulyss. May worthy Troilus be half attach'd With that which here his passion doth express!]
Can Troilus really feel on this occasion half of what he utters? A question suitable to the calm Ulysses.
For us to count we give what's gain'd by thefts, And rob in the behalf of charity]
This is so oddly confused in the folio, that I transcribe it as a specimen of incorrectness:
--do not count it holy, To hurt by being just; it were as lawful For we would count give much to as violent thefts, And rob in the behalf of charity.
Cas. It is the purpose that makes strong the vow; But vows to every purpose must not hold]
The mad prophetess speaks here with all the coolness and judgment of a skilful casuist. "The essence of a lawful vow, is a lawful purpose, and the vow of which the end is wrong must not be regarded as cogent."
Life every man holds dear; but the dear man Holds honour far more precious dear than life]
Valuable man. The modern editions read,
The repetition of the word is in our author's manner.
Brother, you have a vice of mercy in you, Which better fits a lion, than a man]
The traditions and stories of the darker ages abounded with examples of the lion's generosity. Upon the supposition that these acts of clemency were true, Troilus reasons not improperly, that to spare against reason, by mere instinct of pity, became rather a generous beast than a wise man.
V.x.33 (137,9) Hence, broker lacquey!] For brothel, the folio reads brother, erroneously for broker, as it stands at the end of the play where the lines are repeated. Of brother the following editors made brothel.
V.iv.18 (138,2) the Grecians begin to proclaim barbarism, and policy grows into an ill opinion] To set up the authority of ignorance to declare that they will be governed by policy no longer.
V.vi.11 (142,1) you cogging Greeks] This epithet has no particular propriety in this place, but the author had heard of Graecia Mendax.
V.vi.29 (144,3) I'll frush it] The word frush I never found elsewhere, nor understand it. HANMER explains it, to break or bruise.
V.viii.7 (146,1) Even with the vail and darkening of the sun] The vail is, I think, the sinking of the sun; not veil or cover.
(149) General Observation. This play is more correctly written than most of Shakespeare's compositions, but it is not one of those in which either the extent of his views or elevation of his fancy is fully displayed. As the story abounded with materials, he has exerted little invention; but he has diversified his characters with great variety, and preserved them with great exactness. His vicious characters sometimes disgust, but cannot corrupt, for both Cressida and Pandarus are detested and contemned. The comic characters seem to have been the favourites of the writer; they are of the superficial kind, and exhibit more of manners than nature; but they are copiously filled and powerfully impressed. Shakespeare has in his story followed, for the greater part, the old book of Caxton, which was then very popular; but the character of Thersites, of which it makes no mention, is a proof that this play was written after Chapman had published his version of Homer.