Page images
PDF
EPUB

That cause fets

up

with and against itself! 3. Bi-fold authority! 4 where reason can revolt Without perdition, and loss assume all reason Without revolt; this is, and is not Cressid ! Within

my

soul there doth commence a fight Of this strange nature, thar a thing inseparate Divides far wider than the sky and earth ; And

yet the spacious breadth of this division Admits no orifice for a point, as subtle 5 As Arachne's broken woof to enter.

4

But I know not how to apply the word in this sense to anily. I read,

If there be rule in purity itself, Or, If there be rule in verity itse}f. Such alterations would not offend the reader, who saw the state of the old editions, in which, for initance, a few lines lower, the almighty fun is called the almighty fenne. Yet the words may at lait mean, If there be certainty in unity, if it be a rule that one is one.

JOHNSON. 3 Bi-fold authority ! - -] This is the reading of the quarto. The folio gives us,

By foul authority ! There is madness in that disquisition in which a man reasons at once for and againf bimjelf upon authority which he knows not to be valid. The quarto is right. JOHNSON.

where reajon can re-volt
Without perdition, and lo, afilme all reason

Without revolt;-- -] The words lofs and perdition are used in tlieir common sense, but they mean the loss or perdition of reason. JOHNSON,

s As Arachne's broken woof to enter.] The syllable wanting in this verse the modern editors have hitherto fupplied. I hope the miliake was not originally the poet's own ; but one of the quarto's reads with the folio, Ariachna's broken woof, and the other Ariarbna's. It is not impoffible that Shakespeare inight have written Ariudne's broken woof, having confounded the two names or the lories, in his imagination; or alluding to the clue of thread, by the alliance of which Theseus escaped from the Cretan labyrinth. I do not remember that Ariadne's loom is mentioned by any of the Greek or Roman poets, though I find an allusion to it in Humeur uit of Breath, a comedy, 1607.

instead of these poor weeds, in robes
• Richer than that which Ariadne wrought,
.“ Or Cytherea's airy-moving vett.” STEEVENS.

Instance,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Instance, O instance! strong as Pluto's gates !
Cressid is mine, tied with the bonds of heaven;
Instance, O instance! strong as heaven itself!
The bonds of heaven are slipp'd, diffolv'd, and loos’d:
And with another 6 knot five-finger- tied,
The fractions of her faith, orts of her love,
The fragments, scraps, the bits, and greafy reliques
Of her 7 o'er-eaten faith, are given to Diomed.

Ulys: 8 May worthy Troilus be half attach'd
With

that which here his passion doth express!

Troi. Ay, Greek, and that shall be divulged well. In characters as red as Mars his heart Infam’d with Venus. Never did young man fancy With so eternal, and fo fix'd a soul. Hark, Greek; as much as I do Creflid love, So much by weight hate I her Diomed. That sleeve is mine that he'll bear in his helm; Were it a cask compos’d by Vulcan's skill, My sword should bite it: not the dreadful spout, Which ship-men do the hurricano call, Constring'd in mass by the almighty fun, Shall dizzy with more clamour Neptune's ear In his descent, than shall my prompted sword Falling on Diomed.

Ther. He'll tickle it for his concupy.

Troi. O Cressid! O false Cressid ! false, false, falsa! Let all untruths stand by thy stained name, And they'll seem glorious.

Ulyd. O, contain yourself ; Your passion draws ears hither.

7

knot five-finger-tied,] A knot tied by giving her hand to Diomed. JOHNSON.

- o'er-eaten faith, - -] Vows which she has already swallowed once over. We still lay of a faithless man, that he has eaten his words. JOHNSON.

8 May worthy Troilus -] Can Troilus really feel on this occasion half of what he utters ? A question suitable to the calm Ulyffes. JOHNSON.

I 2

[ocr errors]

Enter Æneas.
Æne. I have been seeking you this hour, my lord:
Hector, by this, is arming him in Troy.
Ajax, your guard, stays to conduct you home.
Troi. Have with you, prince. My courteous lord,

adieu.
Farewell, revolted fair! And, Diomed,
Stand fast, 9 and wear a castle on thy head!

Ulys. I'll bring you to the gates.
Trci. Accept distracted thanks.

[Exeunt Troilus, Æneas, and Ulysses. Ther. 'Would I could meet that rogue Diomed, I would croak like a raven; I would bode, I would bode, Patroclus would give me any thing for the intelligence of this whore: the parrot will do no more for an almond, than he for a commodious drab. Letchery, letchery; still wars and letchery; nothing else holds fashion : a burning devil take them !

[Exit.

[blocks in formation]

And. When was my lord so much ungently temper'd
To stop his ears against admonishment?
Unarm, unarm, and do not fight to-day.

and wear a castle on thy head!} i. e. defend thy head with armour of more than common proof. The same thought occurs in Henry IV. page 1.

“ We steal as in a castle cock-sure."
Agnir, in The little French Lawyer of Beaumont and Fletcher,

but use
“ That noble courage I have seen, and we
“Shall fight as in a castle.”-

STEEVENS.

Hect. You train me to offend you: get you in. By all the everlasting gods, I'll go!

And. My dreams will, sure, prove ominous to-day.
He£t. No more, I say.

Enter Casandra.
Caf. Where is my brother Hector ?

And. Here, sister; arm’d, and bloody in intent.
Confort with me in loud and dear petition ;
Pursue we him on knees; for I have dreamt
Of bloody turbulence, and this whole night
Hath nothing been but shapes and forms of Naughter.

Caf. O, it is true.
Heet. Ho! bid

bid my trumpet found! Caf. No notes of fally, for the heavens, sweet

brother. Her. Be gone, I say: the gods have heard me swear. Caf. The gods are deaf to hot and peeviih vows; They are polluted offerings, more abhorr’d Than spotted livers in the sacrifice,

And. O! be persuaded: do not count it holy To hurt by being just: it were as lawful 2 For us to count

we give what's gain’d by thefts, And rob in the behalf of charity.

Caf. 3 It is the purpose that makes strong the vow; But vows to every purpose must not hold. Unarm, sweet Hector,

The hint for this dream of Andromache, is taken from Lidgate. Steevens,

? For us to count] This is so oddly confused in the folio, that I transcribe it as a specimen of incorrectness :

do not count it holy,
To hurt by being juft; it were as lawful
For we would count give much to as violent thefts,

And rob in the behalf of charity. Johnson. 3 It is the purpose-] The mad prophetefsspeks here with all the coolness and judgment of a skilful casuist.

" The “ effence of a lawful vow, is a lawful purpose, and the vow of " which the end is wrong must not be regarded as cogent.”

· JOHNSON.

Heft.

I 3

Heft. Hold you still, I say;
Mine honour keeps the weather of my fate :
Life every man holds dear; but the 4 dear man
Holds honour far more precious dear than life.

[ocr errors]

Enter Troilus.
How now, young man ? mean'lt thou to fight to-

day?
And. Cassandra, call

my
father to persuade.

[Exit Cassandra,
Heet. No, 'faith, young Troilus; doff thy harness,

youth;
I am to-day i' the vein of chivalry.
Let grow thy sinews till their knots be strong,
And tempt not yet the brushes of the war.
Unarm thee, go ; and doubt thou not, brave boy,
I'll itand, to-day, for thee, and me, and Troy.
Troi. Brother, you have a vice of mercy

in

you,
5 Which better fits a lion, than a man.
Heet. What vice is that, good Troilus? chide me

for it,
Troi. When many times the captive Grecians fall,
Even in the fan and wind of your fair sword,
You bid them rise, and live,

Heft. O, 'tis fair play.
Troi. Fool's play, by heaven, Hector,
Hect. How now? how now?

Troi. For love of all the gods,
Let's leave the hermit Pity with our mother :

[ocr errors]

dear man] Valuable man, The modern editions read,

brave man.
The repetition of the word is in oar author's manner. Johns.

s Which better fits a lion,-) The traditions and stories of
the darker ages abounded with examples of the lion's generosity.
Upon the supposition that these acts of clemency were true,
Troilus reasons not improperly, that to spare against reason,
by mere instinct of pity, became rather a generous beast than a
wise man. JOHNGON,

And

« PreviousContinue »