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PAR. I'll lay my life, with my disposer Cressida.
assigned to Ajax. “Cobloaf! He would pun thee,” &c. and in the last scene of the same Act, words that evidently belong to Nestor are given to Ajar, (see p. 326, n. 1,] both in the quarto and folio. I have not therefore hesitated to add the words, “ You must not know where he sups,” to the speech of Pandarus. Mr. Steevens proposes to assign the next speech, “ I'll lay my life," &c. to Helen instead of Paris. This arrangement appeared to me so plausible, that I once regulated the text accordingly. But it is observable that through the whole of the dialogue Helen steadily perseveres in soliciting Pandarus to sing: “ My lord Pandarus," –“ Nay, but my lord,”-&c. I do not therefore believe that Shakspeare intended she should join in the present inquiry. Mr. M. Mason's objection also to such an are rangement is very weighty. “ Pandarus, (he observes,) in his next speech but one, clearly addresses Paris, and in that speech he calls Cressida his disposer.” In what sense, however, Paris can call Cressida his disposer, I am altogether ignorant. Mr. M. Mason supposes that “ Paris means to call Cressida his
governor or director, as it appears, from what Helen says afterwards, that they had been good friends.”
Perhaps Shakspeare wrote-despiser. What Pandarus says afterwards, that “ Paris and Cressida are twain," supports this conjecture.
I do not believe that deposer (a reading suggested below.) was our author's word; for Čressida had not deposed Helen in the affections of Troilus. A speech in a former scene, in which Pandarus says, Helen loves Troilus more than Paris, (which is insisted on by an anonymous Remarker,) [Mr. Ritson,) proves nothing. Had he said that Troilus once loved Helen better than Cressida, and afterwards preferred Cressida to her, the observation might deserve some attention.
The words,-PU lay my life,--are omitted in the folio. The words,You must not know where he sups,
I find Sir Thomas Hanmer had assigned to Pandarus. MALONE.
I believe, with Sir Thomas Hanmer, that– You must not know where he
sups, should be added to the speech of Pandarus ; and that the following one of Paris should be given to Helen. That Cressida wanted to separate Paris from Helen, or that the beauty of Cressida had any power over Paris, are circumstances not evident from the play. The one is the opinion of Dr. Warburton, the other a conjecture of Mr. Heath’s. By giving, however, this line, PU lay my life, with my disposer Cressida, to Helen, and by changing
the word disposer into deposer, some meaning Pan. No, no, no such matter, you are wide;8 come, your disposer is sick. PAR. Well, I'll make excuse.
Pan. Ay, good my lord. Why should you say Cressida ? no, your poor disposer's sick.
PAR. I spy.
Pan. You spy! what do you spy ?-Come, give me an instrument.-Now, sweet queen.
HELEN. Why, this is kindly done.
PAN. My niece is horribly in love with a thing you have, sweet queen.
HELEN. She shall have it, my lord, if it be not my lord Paris.
may be obtained. She addresses herself, I suppose, to Pandarus, and, by her deposer, means--she who thinks her beauty (or, whose beauty you suppose) to be superior to mine. But the passage in question (as Arthur says of himself in King John,) is “ not worth the coil that is made for it.”
The word—disposer, however, oceurs in The Epistle Dedicatorie to Chapman's Homer :
“ Nor let her poore disposer (learning) lie
“ Still bed-rid." STEEVENS.
“ Par. Where sups he to-night?
“ Helen. I'll lay my life with my deposer Cressida.” She calls Cressida her deposer, because she had deposed her in the affections of Troilus, whom Pandarus, in a preceding scene, is ready to swear she loved more than Paris. Ritson.
-you are wide ;] i. e. wide of your mark; a common exclamation when an archer missed his aim. So, in Spenser's State of Ireland: "Surely he shoots wide on the bow-hand, and very far from the mark.” STEEVENS.
This is the usual exclamation at a childish game called Hie, spy, hie. STEEVENS.
9 Par. I spy:)
Pan. He! no, she'll none of him; they two are twain.
HELEN. Falling in, after falling out, may make them three."
PAN. Come, come, I'll hear no more of this; I'll sing you a song now.
HELEN. Ay, ay, pr’ythee now. By my troth, sweet lord, thou hast a fine forehead.3
Pan. Ay, you may, you may.
HELEN. Let thy song be love: this love will undo us all. O, Cupid, Cupid, Cupid ! Pan. Love! ay, that it shall, i'faith.
. PAR. Ay, good now, love, love, nothing but love. Pan. In good troth, it begins so:
Love, love, nothing but love, still more!
For, oh, love's bow
Not that it wounds 5
Falling in, after falling out, &c.] i. e. the reconciliation and wanton dalliance of two lovers after a quarrel, may produce a child, and so make three of two. TOLLET.
- sweet lord,] In the quarto—sweet lad. Johnson.
a fine forehead.] Perhaps, considering the character of Pandarus, Helen means that he has a forehead illuminated by eruptions. To these Falstaff has already given the splendid names of-brooches, pearls, and ouches. See notes on King Henry IV. Part II. Vol. XII. p. 80, 81, n. 5. STEEVENS.
* The shaft confounds-] To confound, it has already been observed, formerly meant to destroy. Malone. that it wounds,] i. e. that which it wounds.
These lovers cry-Oh! oh! they die !
Yet that which seems the wound to kill,
So dying love lives still : 6
HELEN. In love, i’faith, to the very tip of the
PAR. He eats nothing but doves, love; and that breeds hot blood, and hot blood begets hot thoughts, and hot thoughts beget hot deeds, and hot deeds is love.
Both Malone and Musgrave have mistaken the sense of this passage. Pandarus means to say, that “ the shaft confounds,” not because the wounds it gives are severe, but because “ it tickles still the sore.”
To confound does not signify here to destroy, but to annoy or perplex ; and that it wounds does not mean that which it wounds, but in that it wounds, or because it wounds. M. Mason. 6 These lovers cry-Oh! oh! they die!
Yet that which seems the wound to kill,
So dying love lives still :] So, in our author's Venus and Adonis :
“ For I have heard, it (love) is a life in death,
MALONE. The wound to kill may mean the wound that seems mortal.
JOHNSON The wound to kill is the killing wound. M. Mason.
A passage in Massinger's Fatal Dowry may prove the aptest comment on the third line of this despicable ditty :
“ Beaumelle. [Within.] Ha! ha! ha!
“ She gave me thanks." STEEVENS.
Pan. Is this the generation of love? hot blood, hot thoughts, and hot deeds ?- Why, they are vipers: Is love a generation of vipers ? Sweet lord, who's a-field to-day ? 8
PAR. Hector, Deiphobus, Helenus, Antenor, and all the gallantry of Troy: I would fain have armed to-night, but my Nell would not have it so. How chance my brother Troilus went not ?
HELEN. He hangs the lip at something ;—you know all, lord Pandarus.
Pan. Not I, honey-sweet queen.— I long to hear how they sped to-day.--You'll remember your brother's excuse?
PAR. To a hair.
[Exit. [A Retreat sounded.
a generation of vipers?] Here is an apparent allusion to the whimsical physiology of Shakspeare's age. Thus, says Thomas Lupton, in The Seventh Booke of Notable Thinges, 4to. bl. 1: “ The female vyper doth open her mouth to receyve ye generative &c. of the male vyper, which receyved, she doth byte off his head. This is the maner of the froward generating of vypers. And, after that, the young vipers that springs of the same, do eate or gnaw asunder their mother's belly, therby comming or bursting forth. And so they (being revengers of theyr father's iniurye) do kyll theyr owne mother. You may see, they were a towardly kynde of people, that were called the generation of vipers.” St. Matthew, iii. 7, &c. STEEVENS.
* Pan. Is this the generation of love ? &c.—Sweet lord, who's a-field to-day?] However Pan. may have got shuffled to the head of this speech, no more of it, I am confident, than the last five or six words belongs to that character. The rest is clearly Helen's. Ritson.