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Our project's life this shape of sense assumes,
The Grecian camp.
Enter Ajax and Therfites.
Ther. Agamemnon-how if he had boilsfull, all over, generally? [Talking to himself,
Tber. And those boils did run ?- say so, did not the general run then? were not that a botchy core?
Ther. Then there would come some matter from him ; I see none now.
Ajax. Thou bitch-wolf's son, canst thou not hear feel then.
9 Must tarre the masliffs on,-) Tarre, an old English word fignifying to provoke or urge on. Sce King yobr, Ad 4. Scene I.
like a dog Snatch at his mafter that doth tar him on. Pope. ! Act II.] This play is not divided into acts in any of the original editions. JOHNSON.
Ther. - The plague of Greece upon thee, thou mungrel beef-witted lord !
Ajax. 3 Speak then, thou unsalted leaven, speak: I will beat thee into handsomenessa
Ther. I shall sooner rail thee into wit and holiness : but, I think, thy horse will sooner con an oration, than thou learn a prayer without book. Thou canst strike, canst thou a red murrain o'thy jade's tricks!
Ajax. Toads-stool, learn me the proclamation! Ther. Dost thou think I have no sense, thou strik
ft me thus ?
Ajax. The proclamation
2 The plague of Greecem] Alluding perhaps to the plague sent by Apollo on the Grecian army. JOHNSON.
3 Speak then, thou unjalted leaven, Speak;] The reading obtruded upon us by Mr. Pope, was unjalted leaven, that has no authority or countenance from any of the copies ; nor that approaches in any degree to the traces of the old reading, you whinid' A leaven. This, it is true, is corrupted and unintelligible ; but the emendation, which I have coined out of it, gives us a sense apt and consonant to what Ajax would say, unwinnow'dft leaven." Thou lump of four dough, kneaded
up out of a flower, unpurged and unfifted, with all the “6 dross and bran in it.”. THEOBALD.
Speak then, thou WHINID'ST leaven,] This is the reading of the old copies : it should be WINDYEST, i. e. moft windy ; leaven being made by a great fermentation. This epithet agrees well with Thersites' character. WARBURTON.
HANMER preseryes whinid's, the reading of the folio; but does not explain it, nor do I understand it. If the folio be followed, I read, vinew'd, that is mouldy leven. Thou composition of muffiness and fourness. Theobald's affertion, however confident, is false. Unsalted leaven is in the old quarto. It means four without salt, malignity without wit. Shakespeare wrote first unsalted; but recollecting that want of salt was no fault in leaven, changed it to vinew'd. JOHNSON.
Unsalted is the reading of both the quartos. Francis Beaumont, in his letter to Speght on his edition of Chaucer's works, 1602, says, “ Many of Chaucer's words are become as it were !! vinew'd and hoarie with over long lying,” STEEVENS.
Ther. I would thou didst itch from head to foot, and I had the scratching of thee; I would make thee the loathsomest scab 4 in Greece. When thou art forth in the incursions, thou strikest as flow as another.
Ajax. I say, the proclamation
Tber. Thou grumbleft and railest every hour on Achilles, and thou art as full of envy at his greatness, as Cerberus is at Proserpina's beauty, aye s that thou bark'st at him.
Ajax. Mistress Thersites!
Ther. He would pun thee into shivers with his fift, as a sailor breaks a bisket. Ajax. You whorefon cur !
[Beating him. Ther. Do, do. Ajax. 7 Thou stool for a witch!
Ther. Ay, do, do, thou sodden-witted lord! thou haft no more brain than I have in
elbows; assinego may tutor thee. Thou scurvy, valiant ass!
thou in Greece.] The quarto adds these words, when thou art forth in the incursions, ihcu firikesi as slow as another.
JOHNSON. that thou bark's at him.] I read, O that thou bark’dfi at him. JOHNSON.
Aye, I believe, in this place means ever. Thou art, says Therfites, as envious of the greatness of Achilles as is Cerberus of Proserpine's beauty, that thou art barking at him so perpetually. So in the Midsummer Night's Dream,
to live in shady cloister mew'd." STEEVENS. - pun thee into shivers ---] Pun is in the midland counties the vulgar and colloquial word for pound. JOHNSON.
? Thou hool for a witch!~] In one way of trying a witch they used to place her on a chair or ftool, with her legs tied across, that all the weight of her body might rest upon her seat; and by that means, after fome time, the circulation of the blood would be much stopped, and her fitting would be as painful as the wooden horse. Dr. GRAY.
- an aslinego —] I am not very certain what the idea conveyed by this word was meant to be. Afinaio is Italian, says
thou art here put to thrash Trojans; and thou art bought and fold among those of any wit, like a Barbarian slave. If thou use to beat me, I will begin at thy heel, and tell what thou art by inches, thou thing of no bowels, thou!
Ajax. You dog!
[Beating him, Ther. Mars his ideot! do, rudeness; do, camel; do, do.
Enter Achilles and Patroclus. Achil. Why, how now, Ajax ? wherefore do you
Ther. You see him there, do you?
Ther. But yet you look not well upon him: for whosoever you take him to be, he is Ajax.
Hanmer, for an ass-driver: but in Mirza, a tragedy by Rob. Baron, act 3. the following passage occurs, with a note annexed to it:
the stout trusty blade, “ That at one blow has cut an afinego
" Asunder like a thread.”“ This (says the author) is the usual trial of the Persian “ shamsheers or cemiters, which are crooked like a crescent, “ of so good metal that they prefer them before any other, and “ so sharp as any razor.”
I hope, for the credit of the prince, that the experiment was rather made on an ass than an ass-driver. From the following passage I Mould suppose it to be merely a cant term for a foolish fellow, an ideot: “ They apparell'd me as you see, made a “ fool, or an afinego of me." See The Antiquary, a comedy, by S. Marmion, 1641. Again; in Beaumont and Fletcher's Scornful Lady,
all this would be försworn, and I again an afnego, as your filter left me.” STEEVENS.
Achil. I know that, fool.
Ther. Lo, lo, lo, lo, what modicums of wit he utters! his evasions have ears thus long. I have bobb’d his brain, more than he has beat my bones. I will buy nine sparrows for a penny, and his pia mater is not worth the ninth part of a sparrow. This lord, Achilles, Ajax, who wears his wit in his belly and his guts in his head—I'll tell you what I say of him. Achil. What ?
[ Ajax offers to strike him, Achilles interposes. Ther. I say, this AjaxAchil. Nay, good Ajax. Ther. Has not so much witAchil. Nay, I must hold you.
Ther. As will stop the eye of Helen's needle, for whom he comes to fight.
Achil. Peace, fool!
Ther. I would have peace and quietness, but the fool will not: he there : that he ; look you there.
Ajax. O thou damn'd cur! I shall
wit to a fool's ? Ther. No, I warrant you; for a fool's will shame it. Patr. Good words, Thersites. Achil. What's the quarrel ? Ajax. I bade the vile owl go learn me the tenour of the proclamation, and he rails upon me.
Ther. I serve thee not.
Achil. Your last service was sufferance, 'twas not voluntary; no man is beaten voluntary: Ajax was here the voluntary, and you as under an impress.
Ther. Even so?- a great deal of your wit too lies in your finews, or else there be liars. Hector shall havę