Page images
PDF
EPUB

Unlike young men, whom Aristotle' thought
Unfit to hear moral philosophy:
The reasons, you alledge, do more conduce
To the hot passion of distemper'd blood,
Than to make up a free determination
'Twixt right and wrong; For pleasure, and revenge,
Have ears more deaf than adders to the voice
Of any true decision. Nature craves,
All dues be render'd to their owners; Now
What nearer debt in all humanity,
Than wife is to the husband ? if this law
Of nature be corrupted through affection;
And that great minds, of partial indulgence
To their benummed wills, refift the same;
3 There is a law in each well-order'd nation,
To curb those raging appetites that are
Most disobedient and refractory.
If Helen then be wife to Sparta's king,
As it is known fhe is, these moral laws
Of nature, and of nations, speak aloud
To have her back return’d: Thus to persist
In doing wrong, extenuates not wrong,
But makes it much more heavy. Hector's opinion

- Aristotle-] Let it be remembered as often as Shakspeare's anachronisms occur, that errors in computing time were very frequent in those ancient romances which seem to have formed the greater part of his library. I may add, that even clasick authors are not exempt from such mistakes. In the fifth book of Statius's Thebaid, Aphiaraus talks If the fates of Nestor and Priam, neither of whom died till long after him. If on this occasion, somewhat fheuld be attributed to his augural profesion, yet if he could fo freely, nay, even quote às examples to the whole army, things that would not happen till the next age, they must all have been prophets as well as himfelf, or they could not have unde stood him. STEEVENS.

2-lenummed wills,–] That is, inflexible, immoveable, no longer obedient to superior direction. JOHNSON.

3 There is a law----] Wnat the law does in every nation between individuals, juitice ought to do between nations.

JOHNSox.

* Is this, in way of truth: yet, ne’ertheless,
My sprightly brethren, I propend to you
In resolution to keep Helen still ;
For 'tis a cause that hath no mean dependance
Upon our joint and several dignities.

Troi. Why, there you touch'd the life of our design:
Were it not glory that we more affected
Thans the performance of our heaving spleens,
I would not with a drop of Trojan blood
Spent more in her defence. But, worthy Hector,
She is a theme of honour and renown;
A spur to valiant and magnanimous deeds ;
Whose present courage may bear down our foes,
And fame, in time to come, canonize us :
For, I presume, brave Hector would not lose
So rich advantage of a promis'd glory,
As smiles upon the forehead of this action,
For the wide world's revenue.

HET. I am yours,
You variant offspring of

great Priamus.
I have a roisting challenge fent amongst
The dull and factious nobles of the Greeks,
Will strike amazement to their drowzy spirits :
I was advertis'd, their great general Nept,
Whilft emulation in the army crept;
This, I presume, will wake him. [Exeunt.

* Is ibis, in way of truth :--) Though considering truth and juftice in this question, this is my opinion; yet as a queition of honour, I think on it as you. JOHNSON.

s-the performance of our heaving spleens,] The execution of Spite and relentment. JOHNSON.

"--mulation--] That is, envy, factious contention. JOHNSON.

SCENE

[blocks in formation]

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: O worthy fatisfaction! 'would, it were otherwise, that I could beat him, whilft he rail'd at me: 'Sfoot, I'll learn to conjure and raise devils, but I'll fee some issue of my spiteful execracions. Then there's Achilles,-a rare ena gineer?. If Troy be not taken 'till these two undermine it, the walls will stand 'till they fall of themfelves. Othou great thunder-darter of Olympus, forget that thou art Jove the king of gods; and, Mercury, lose all the serpentine craft of thy Caduceus ; if ye take not that little little less-than-little wit from them that they have ! which short-arm'd ignorance itself knows is so abundant scarce, it will not in circumvention deliver a Ay from a spider, * without drawing the masly iron, and cutting the web. After this, the vengeance on the whole camp! or, rather, the ' bone-ache! for that, methinks, is the curse dependant on those that war for a placket.

? Then there's Achilles,-a rare engineer.] The folio has enginer, -which seems to have been the word formerly used. So, truncheoner, pioner, mutiner, &c. MALONE,

without drawing the masy iron,-) That is, without draw. ing their swords to cut the web. They use no means but those of violence. JOHNSON. -without drawing the masly iron,] Foliovirons.

MALONE. the bone-ach!-) In the quarto, the Neapolitan boze-acbe.

JOHNSON.

I have said my prayers; and devil envy, fay Amen. What, ho! my lord Achilles !

Enter Patroclus.

Patr. Who's there? Thersites? Good Therfites, come in and rail.

Ther. 'If I could have remember'd a gilt counterfeit, thou wouldst not have Nipp'd out of my contemplation : but it is no matter, Thyself upon thyself! The common curse of mankind, folly and ignorance, be thine in great revenue ! heaven bless thee from a tutor, and discipline come not near thee! Let thy blood be thy direction 'till thy death! then if she, that lays thee out; says-thou art a fair corse, I'll be sworn and sworn upon't, the never Ihrowded any but lazars. Amen.Where's Achilles ?

Patr. What, art thou devout? wast thou in prayer? Tber. Ay; The heavens hear me !

Enter Achilles.

Acbil. Who's there?
Patr. Thersites, my lord. .

Acbil. Where, where?--Art thou come? Why, my cheese, my digestion, why halt thou not ferv'ú thyself in to my table so many meals? Come; what's Agamemnon?

Ther. Thy commander, Achilles ;-Then tell me, Patroclus, what's Achilles ?

If I could bave remember'd a gilt counterfelt, thou woul! A not bave slipp'd out of my contemplationi:) Here is a plain allusion to the counterfeit piece of money called a sip, which occurs again in Romeo and Juliet, Act II. sc. iv. and which has becii happily illustrated in a note on that passage. There is the same allufion in Every Man in his Humour. Act II. sc. v.

WHALLEY. Vol. IX

F

Patr.

I pray

Patr. Thy lord, Thersites; Then tell me, thee, what's thyself?

Ther. Thy knower, Patroclus; Then tell me, Patroclus, what art thou?

Patr. Thou may'st tell, that know'st.
Acbill. O, tell, tell.

Ther. I'll decline the whole question. Agamemnon commands Achilles; Achilles is my lord; I am Patroclus' knower; and ? Patroclus is a fool.

Patr. You rascal !
Ther. Peace, fool ; I have not done.
Achil. He is a privileg'd man.-Proceed, Therfites.

Ther. Agamemnon is a fool; Achilles is a fool; Thersites is a fool; and, as aforesaid, Patroclus is a fool.

Achil. Derive this'; come.

Ther. Agamemnon is a fool to offer to command Achilles ; Achilles is a fool to be commanded of Agamemnon; Thersites is a fool, to serve such a fool; and Patroclus is a fool positive.

Patr. Why am I a fool ?

Ther, Make that demand + of the prover.-It fuffices me, thou art. Look you, who comes here?

Enter Agamemnon, Ulyses, Nestor, Diomedes, and Ajax.

Achil. Patroclus, I'll speak with no body:-Come in with me, Therfites.

[Exit. Ther. Here is such patchery, such juggling, and such knavery! all the argument is-a cuckold, and a whore ; A good quarrel, to draw emulous factions,

1-decline the whole question.--) Deduce the question from the first case to the last. JOHNSON.

3 — Patroclus is a fool.] The four next speeches are not in the quarto. Johnson

of the prover.-) So the quarto. Johnson. The folio profanely reads, 10 the creator. STEEVENS.

and

4

« PreviousContinue »