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PAR. Sir, I propose not merely to myself The pleasures such a beauty brings with it; But I would have the soil of her fair rapeo Wip'd off, in honourable keeping her. What treason were it to the ransack'd queen, Disgrace to your great worths, and shame to me, Now to deliver her possession up, On terms of base compulsion? Can it be, That so degenerate a strain as this, Should once set footing in your generous bosoms? There's not the meanest spirit on our party, Without a heart to dare, or sword to draw, When Helen is defended; nor none so noble, Whose life were ill bestow'd, or death unfam'd, Where Helen is the subject : then, I say, Well may we fight for her, whom, we know well, The world's large spaces cannot parallel.
HECT. Paris, and Troilus, you have both said
And on the cause and question now in hand
her fair rape-] Rape, in our author's time, commonly signified the carrying away of a female. Malone.
It has always borne that, as one of its significations; raptus Helena (without any idea of personal violence) being constantly rendered the
of Helen. STEEVENS. Have gloz’d,] So, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, Book III.
could well his glozing speeches frame." To gloze, in this instance, means to insinuate ; but, in Shakspeare, to comment. So, in King Henry V:
“ Which Salique land the French unjustly gloze
“ To be the realm of France.” STEEVENS. --Aristotle-] Let it be remembered, as often as Shakspeare's anachronisms occur, that errors in computing time were
Unfit to hear moral philosophy :
very frequent in those ancient romances which seem to have formed the greater part of his library. I may add, that even classick authors are not exempt from such mistakes. In the fifth Book of Statius's Thebaid, Amphiaraus talks of the fates of Nestor and Priam, neither of whom died till long after him. If on this occasion, somewhat should be attributed to his augural profession, yet if he could so freely mention, nay, even quote as examples to the whole army, things that would not happen till the next age, they must all have been prophets as well as himself, or they could not have understood him,
Hector's mention of Aristotle, however, (during our ancient propensity to quote the authorities of the learned on every occasion) is not more absurd than the following circumstance in The Dialogues of Creatures Moralysed, bl. l. no date, (a book which Shakspeare might have seen,) where we find God Almighty quoting Cato. See Dial. IV. I may add, on this subject, that during an altercation between Noah and his Wife, in one of the Chester Whitsun Playes, the Lady swears by-Christ and Saint John. STEEVENS, more deaf than adders-] See Vol. XIII. p. 283, n. 4.
STEEVENS. of partial indulgence-] i. e. through partial indulgence. M. Mason.
benumbed wills,] That is, inflexible, immoveable, no longer obedient to superior direction. Johnson.
There is a law3 in each well-order'd nation,
3 There is a law-] What the law does in every nation between individuals, justice ought to do between nations.
JOHNSON. * 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. JOHNSON.
s the performance of our heaving spleens,] The execution of spirit and resentment. Johnson.
canonize us :] The hope of being registered as a saint, is rather out of its place at so early a period, as this is of the Trojan war.
I am yours,
So rich advantage of a promis'd glory,
The Grecian Camp. Before Achilles' Tent.
THER. How now, Thersites? what, lost in the labyrinth of thy fury? Shall the elephant Ajax carry it thus ? he beats me, and I rail at him : 0 worthy satisfaction!'would, it were otherwise; that I could beat him, whilst he railed at me : 'Sfoot, I'll learn to conjure and raise devils, but I'll see some issue of my spiteful execrations. Then there's
7- emulation-] That is, envy, factious contention.
JOHNSON. Emulation is now never used in an ill sense; but Shakspeare meant to employ it so.
He has used the same with more propriety in a former scene, by adding epithets that ascertain its meaning:
so every step,
Achilles,-a rare engineer. If Troy be not taken till these two undermine it, the walls will stand till they fall of themselves. Othou great thunderdarter of Olympus, forget that thou art Jove the king of gods; and, Mercury, lose all the serpentine craft of thy Caduceus ;9 if ye take not that little little less-than-little wit from them that they have! which short-armed ignorance itself knows is so abundant scarce, it will not in circumvention deliver a fly from a spider, without drawing their massy irons, and cutting the web. After this, the vengeance on the whole camp! or, rather, the boneache!' for that, methinks, is the curse dependant
a rare engineer.] The old copies have-enginer, which was the old spelling of engineer. So, truncheoner, pioner, mutiner, sonneter, &c. MALONE.
the serpentine craft of thy Caduceus ;] The wand of Mercury is wreathed with serpents. So Martial, Lib. VII. Epig. Ixxiv:
Cyllenes cælique decus ! facunde minister,
Aurea cui torto virga dracone viret. STEEVENS. - without drawing their massy irons,] That is, without drawing their swords to cut the web. They use no means but those of violence. Johnson.
Thus the quarto. The folio reads—the massy irons. In the late editions iron has been substituted for irons, the word found in the old copies, and certainly the true reading. So, in King Richard III:
“ Put in their hands thy bruising irons of wrath,
“ The usurping helmets of our adversaries.” Malone. Bruising irons, in this quotation, as Mr. Henley has well observed in loco, signify—maces, weapons formerly used by our English cavalry. See Grose on ancient Armour, p. 53.
STEEVENS. : the bone-ache !] In the quarto--the Neapolitan boneache! JOHNSON.