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That she belov'd knows nought, that knows not
this, Men prize the thing ungain’d more than it is : That she was never yet, that ever knew Love got so sweet, as when desire did sue: Therefore this maxim out of love I teach, Achievement is command; ungain’d, beseech :: Then thought my heart's content" firm love doth
bear, Nothing of that shall from mine eyes appear.
Yet hold I off. Women are angels, wooing :
Things won are done, joy's soul lies in the doing :) This is the reading of all the editions ; yet it must be erroneous ; for the last six words of the passage are totally inconsistent with the rest of Cressida's speech, and the very reverse of the doctrine she professes to teach. I have, therefore, no doubt that we ought to read:
-joy's soul dies in the doing : which means, that the fire of passion is extinguished by enjoyment.
The following six lines sufficiently confirm the propriety of this amendment, which is obtained by the change of a single letter :
That she belov'd &c. &c. M. Mason. · That she-] · Means, that woman. JOHNSON.
* Achievement is command; ungain'd, beseech :) The meaning of this obscure line seems to be—“ Men, after possession, become our commanders; before it, they are our suppliants.”
STEEVENS. * Then though-] The quarto reads—Then; the folio and the other modern editions read improperly--That. JOHNSON. my heart's content-] Content, for capacity.
WARBURTON. On considering the context, it appears to me that we ought to read—“ my heart's consent,” not content. M. Mason.
my heart's content-] Perhaps means, my heart's satisfaction or joy; my well pleased heart. So, in our author's De
The Grecian Camp. Before Agamemnon's Tent.
Trumpets. Enter AGAMEMNON, Nestor,
ULYSSES, MENELAUS, and Others.
AGAM. Princes, What grief hath set the jaundice on your cheeks? The ample proposition, that hope makes In all designs begun on earth below, Fails in the promis’d largeness: checks and disasters Grow in the veins of actions highest rear'd As knots, by the conflux of meeting sap, Infect the sound pine, and divert his grain Tortive and errant from his course of growth. Nor, princes, is it matter new to us, That we come short of our suppose so far, That, after seven years' siege, yet Troy walls stand; Sith every action that hath Whereof we have record, trial did draw Bias and thwart, not answering the aim, And that unbodied figure of the thought Thatgave't surmised shape. Whythen,
you princes, Do you with cheeks abash'd behold our works; And think them shames, which are, indeed, nought
else But the protractive trials of great Jove,
dication of his Venus and Adonis to Lord Southampton: “ I leave it to your honourable survey, and your honour to your heart's content.” This is the reading of the quarto. The folio has_contents. MALONE. My heart's content, I believe, signifies the acquiescence of STJEVENS
To find persistive constancy in men?
NEST. With due observance of thy godlike seat,
affin'd-] i. e. joined by affinity. The same adjective occurs in Othello:
“ If partially affin'd, or leagu'd in office." STEEVENS. broad-] So the quarto. The folio reads-loud.
JOHNSON. * With due observance of thy godlike seat,] Goodly [the reading of the folio] is an epithet that carries no very great compliment with it; and Nestor seems here to be paying deference to Agamemnon's state and pre-eminence. The old books (the quartos] have it to thy godly seat: godlike, as I have reformed the text, seems to me the epithet designed ; and is very conformable to what Æneas afterwards says of Agamemnon:
“ Which is that god in office, guiding men?” So godlike seat is here, state supreme above all other commanders. THEOBALD.
This emendation Theobald might have found in the quarto, which has—the godlike seat. Johnson.
thy godlike seat,] The throne in which thou sittest, “ like a descended god.” MALONE.
Nestor shall apply Thy latest words.] Nestor applies the words to another instance. JOHNSON.
Perhaps Nestor means, that he will attend particularly to, and consider, Agamemnon's latest words. So, in an ancient interlude, entitled, The Nice Wanton, 1560:
Lies the true proof of men : The sea being smooth, How many
shallow bauble boats dare sail Upon her patient breast,' making their way With those of nobler bulk ? But let the ruffian Boreas once enrage The gentle Thetis, and, anon, behold The strong-ribb’d bark through liquid mountains
cut, Bounding between the two moist elements, Like Perseus' horse:- Where's then the saucy boat,
“Oye children, let your time be well spent ;
Applye your learning, and your elders obey." See also Vol. IX. p. 40, n. 3. MALONE.
patient breast, ] The quarto, not so well--ancient breast. Johnson.
. With those of nobler bulk ? ] Statius has the same thought, though more diffusively expressed :
“ Sic ubi magna novum Phario de littore puppis
Invasitque vias; it eodem angusta phaselus
Æquore, et immensi partem sibi vendicat austri." Again, in The Sylvæ of the same author, Lib. I. iv. 120 :
immensæ veluti connexa carinæ “ Cymba minor, cum sævit hyems
et eodem volvitur austro." Mr. Pope has imitated the passage.
STEEVENS. * But let the ruffian Boreas once enrage
The gentle Thetis,] So, in Lord Cromwell, 1602: “ When I have seen Boreas begin to play the ruffian with us, then would I down on my knees." MALONE,
Bounding between the two moist elements,
Like Perseus' horse :] Mercury, according to the fable, presented Perseus with talaria, but we no where hear of his horse. The only flying horse of antiquity was Pegasus; and he was the property, not of Perseus, but Bellerophon. But our poet followed a more modern fabulist, the author of The Destruction of Troy, a book which furnished him with some other circumstances of this play. Of the horse alluded to in the text he found in that book the following account:
Whose weak untimber'd sides but even now
“ Of the blood that issued out [from Medusa's head] there engendered Pegasus, or the flying horse. By the flying horse that was engendered of the blood issued from her head, is understood, that of her riches issuing of that realme he (Perseus] founded and made a ship named Pegase,-and this ship was likened unto an horse flying,” &c.
Again : “ By this fashion Perseus conquered the head of Medusa, and did make Pegase, the most swift ship that was in all the world.”
In another place the same writer assures us, that this ship, which he always calls Perseus' flying horse, “ flew on the sea like unto a bird.”
Dest. of Troy, 4to. 1617, p. 155–164. MALONE, The foregoing note is a very curious one; and yet our author perhaps would not have contented himself with merely compare ing one
ship to another. Unallegorized Pegasus might be fairly styled Perseus' horse, because the heroism of Perseus had given him existence.
So, in the fable of The Hors, the Shepe, and the Ghoos, printed by Caxton :
“ The stede of perseus was cleped pigase
“ With swifte wynges” &c. Whereas, ibid. a ship is called “ an hors of tre." See University Library, Cambridge, D. 5. 42. STEEVENS.
by the brize,] The brize is the gad or horse-fly. So, in Monsieur Thomas, 1639 :
Have ye got the brize there? “ Give me the holy sprinkle.' Again, in Vittoria Corombona, or The White Devil, 1612: “I will put brize in his tail, set him a gadding presently." See note on Antony and Cleopatra, Act III. sc. viii.