« PreviousContinue »
NEST. Ay, my good son.
Be rul'd by him, lord Ajax.
Achilles Keeps thicket. Please it our great general To call together all his state of war; Fresh kings are come to Troy:To-morrow, We must with all our main of power stand fast: And here's a lord,-comeknights from east towest, And cull their flower, Ajax shall cope the best.
AGAM. Go we to council. Let Achilles sleep: Light boats sail swift, though greater hulks draw deep.'
Ajax. Shall I call you father?
Nest. Ay, my good son.] In the folio and in the modern editions Ajax desires to give the title of father to Ulysses; in the quarto, more naturally, to Nestor. Johnson.
Shakspeare had a custom prevalent about his own time in his thoughts. Ben Jonson had many who called themselves his
Mr. Vaillant adds, that Cotton dedicated his Treatise on Fishing to his father Walton; and that Ashmole, in his Diary, observes" April 3. Mr. William Backhouse, of Swallowfield, in Berks, caused me to call him father thenceforward.”
STEEVENS. 9 Fresh kings are come to Troy: &c.] We might complete this imperfect verse by reading :
Fresh kings are come to succour Troy: &c. So, Spenser: “ To succour the weak state of sad afflicted Troy.”
STEEVENS. -draw deep.] So, in the Prologue to this play:
" the deep-drawing barks." STEEVENS.
ACT III. SCENE I.
Troy. A Room in Priam's Palace.
Enter PANDARUS and a Servant.
Pan. Friend! you! pray you, a word: Do not you follow the young lord Paris?
SERV. Ay, sir, when he goes before me.
Pan. You do depend upon a noble gentleman; I must needs praise him.
SERY. The lord be praised !
do SERV. 'Faith, sir, superficially.
PAN, Friend, know me better; I am the lord Pandarus.
SERV. I hope, I shall know your honour better.
[Musick within. Pan. Grace! not so, friend; honour and lordship are my titles :- What musick is this?
? I hope, I shall know your honour better.] The servant means to quibble. He hopes that Pandarus will become a better man than he is at present. In his next speech he chooses to understand Pandarus as if he had said he wished to grow better, and hence the servant affirms that he is in the state of grace. The second of these speeches has been pointed, in the late editions, as if he had asked, of what rank Pandarus was.
SERV. I do but partly know, sir; it is musick in parts.
Pan. Know you the musicians ?
Pan. Friend, we understand not one another; I am too courtly, and thou art too cunning: At whose request do these men play ?
SERV. That's to't, indeed, sir: Marry, sir, at the request of Paris my lord, who is there in person ; with him, the mortal Venus, the heart-blood of beauty, love's invisible soul,
Pan. Who, my cousin Cressida ?
SERV. No, sir, Helen; Could you not find out that by her attributes ?
Pan. It should seem, fellow, that thou hast not seen the lady Cressida. I come to speak with Paris from the prince Troilus: I will make a complimental assault upon him, for my business seeths.
SERV. Sodden business! there's a stewed phrase, indeed!
'love's invisible soul,] may mean, the soul of love invisible
every where else. Johnson. + Sodden business! there's a stewed phrase,] The quibbling speaker seems to mean that sodden is a phrase fit only for the stews. Thus, says the Bawd in Pericles: “ The stuff we have, a strong wind will blow it to pieces, they are so pitáfully sodden."
Enter Paris and HELEN, attended.
PAN. Fair be to you, my lord, and to all this fair company! fair desires, in all fair measure, fairly guide them! especially to you, fair queen!- fair thoughts be your fair pillow!
HELEN. Dear lord, you are full of fair words.
Pan.You speak your fair pleasure, sweet queen.Fair prince, here is good broken musick.
PAR. You have broke it, cousin : and, by my life, you shall make it whole again ; you shall piece it out with a piece of your performance :-Nell, he is full of harmony.
Pan. Truly, lady, no.
Pan. I have business to my lord, dear queen:My lord, will you vouchsafe me a word?
HELEN. Nay, this shall not hedge us out: we'll hear
you sing, certainly. Pan. Well, sweet queen, you are pleasant with me. But (marry) thus, my lord,--My dear lord, and most esteemed friend, your brother Troilus
-in fits.] i. e. now and then, by fits; or perhaps a quibble is intended. A fit was a part or division of a song, sometimes a strain in musick, and sometimes a measure in dancing. The reader will find it sufficiently illustrated in the two former senses by Dr. Percy, in the first volume of his Reliques of ancient English Poctry : in the third of these significations it occurs in All for Money, a tragedy, by T. Lupton, 1578 :
“ Satan. Upon these chearful words I needs must dance a sitle.” STEEVENS.
HELEN. My lord Pandarus; honey-sweet lord,
Pan. Go to, sweet queen, go to:-commends himself most affectionately to you.
HELEN. You shall not bob us out of our melody; If you do, our melancholy upon your head !
Pan. Sweet queen, sweet queen; that's a sweet
HELEN. And to make a sweet lady sad, is a sour offence.
PAN. Nay, that shall not serve your turn;' that shall it not, in truth, la. Nay, I care not for such words; no, no.-And, my lord, he desires you, that, if the king call for him at supper, you will make his excuse.
HELEN. My lord Pandarus,
Pan. What says my sweet queen,-my very very sweet queen?
Par. What exploit's in hand? where sups he to-night?
HELEN. Nay, but Pan. What says my sweet queen ?-My cousin will fall out with you. You must not know where
6 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. Johnson.
Mr. Rowe had disposed these speeches in this manner. Hanmer annexes the words, “ And to make a sweet lady” &c. to the preceding speech of Pandarus, and in the rest follows Rowe.
MALONE. ? You must not know where he sups. &c.] These words are in the quarto given to Helen, and the editor of the folio did not perceivet he error. In like manner, in Act II. sc. i. p. 293, four speeches belonging to different persons are all in the quarto .