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P. 297. Hail, all you states of Greece! what shall be done
To him that victory crowns? or do you purpose
A victor shall be known?—In the first of these lines, the old copies have state instead of states. Dyce says, "I strongly suspect that Shakespeare wrote here 'you states'; the plural being formerly very common in the sense of nobility." - In the second line, also, the old text has "that victory commands"; whereupon Walker notes as follows: "The inversion is purely Popian, and anti-Shakespearian. This kind of inversion occurs in Beaumont and Fletcher perhaps a little oftener than in Shakespeare, and perhaps, also, approaches nearer to the perfect Popian; but still, even in them, it is extremely rare. In the passage of Troilus and Cressida, I think Shakespeare wrote crownes; which to a careless eye, like that of the printer, might look like commands." I may add that reasons of metre plead strongly in favour of the change.
P. 297. Achil. 'Tis done like Hector; &c.—In the old copies this speech is assigned to Agamemnon; but the next speech shows that it belongs to Achilles.
P. 298. Nor dignifies an impure thought with breath. Instead of impure, the old copies have impare and impaire. Johnson conjectured impure, and so Dyce prints. No other instance has been produced of impair used as an adjective. Still I am not sure but the word ought to be retained. The Cambridge Editors retain it; justly observing in a note, that "editors should be careful not to obliterate words used only once"; that "etymologically impair may have the sense of unsuitable, unequal to the theme"; and that "it is Troilus's ripeness of judgment, and not his modesty, which is the subject of praise." I have but to add that, if the old word be retained, perhaps it were better to keep the exact Latin form, impar.
Should by my mortal sword
Be drained! O, let me embrace thee, Ajax. - The O is wanting in the old copies, thus leaving a gap in that part of the verse where Shakespeare seldom allows one. Capell printed" Be drained out," and Walker proposes "Be drained forth"; but I prefer the insertion conjectured by Dyce.
P. 303. I shall forestall thee, Lord Ulysses, there.. So Walker. The old text has thou instead of there. Tyrwhitt proposed though; and Heath says, "The word thou seems to have no meaning here. I believe we should read now."
ACT V., SCENE 1.
P. 306. Thou crusty botch of Nature, what's the news? - So Theobald. The old text has batch instead of botch. Batch is commonly explained a baking of bread; all the bread baked at a heat." But why should Thersites be called "a baking of bread"?
P. 307. Well said, perversity! and what need these tricks? - The old text reads "Well said adversity." Adversity is explained by Steevens as signifying contrariety here. Perversity was suggested by Collier, and aptly expresses the temper of Thersites.
P. 307. Thou art thought to be Achilles' male harlot.
Ther. Why, his masculine whore. - The old copies have, in both places, Varlot, which is commonly printed varlet. But surely the reply of Thersites fairly identifies harlot as the right word. Thirlby's correction.
P. 307. Take and take again such preposterous discoverers! old copies have discoveries, out of which it seems impossible to make any sense. The correction is Singer's, and is approved by Lettsom. See foot-note 5.
P. 309. The primitive statue and antique memorial of cuckolds. So Hanmer and Walker. The old text has "and oblique memorial." I never could understand the meaning of oblique here.
See note on
P. 309. Wit larded with malice, and malice farced with wit. Here, again, the old text has forc'd instead of farced. "He's not yet through warm: farce him," &c., page 344.
P. 310. Sweet, quoth 'a! sweet draught, sweet sink, &c. The old text transposes quoth 'a! and draught,
- So Walker.
ACT V., SCENE 2.
P. 314. Nay, do not snatch it from me. — This is evidently a part of Cressida's speech; but the old copies take it from her, and assign it to Diomedes. Thirlby's correction.
That cause sett'st up with and against thyself,
By foul authority! — So the folio, except that it has sets instead of sett'st; which was a very common mode of printing the verb in such The quarto reads "That cause sets up with and against itself, Bi-fould authoritie." This reading is commonly preferred, I cannot imagine why. Heath notes upon it, "I can discover no meaning in these last words." See foot-note 8.
P. 317. Within my soul there doth conduce a fight. — This seems a very odd and well-nigh inexplicable use of the word conduce. Rowe substituted commence, which has at least the merit of giving a fitting and intelligible sense. On the other hand, it is something hard to make out how such a misprint could have occurred. Shakespeare has conduce in but one other place, and that in nothing like the sense here required. It is in ii. 2, of this play: "The reasons you allege do more conduce to the hot passion of distemper'd blood," &c. See, however, foot-note 9.
P. 317. Admits no orifex for a point, as subtle
As Ariachne's broken woof, to enter. - So the folio; the quarto, Ariachna's. Staunton prints "As is Arachne's broken woof." And so I suspect it should be; though Dyce says, “There seems to be little doubt that Shakespeare wrote the name incorrectly." See foot-note II.
P. 318. May worthy Troilus be but half attach'd
With that which here his passion doth express? — So Walker. The old text reads "be halfe attach'd," thus leaving a gap in the verse.
P. 318. Hark, Greek: As much as I do Cressid love. The second as- necessary alike to sense and verse is wanting in the old copies, till the second folio.
ACT V., SCENE 3.
P. 320. My dreams will, sure, prove ominous to-day. The old copies read "prove ominous to the day." Corrected by Rowe.
P. 321. O, be persuaded! do not count it holy
- The last three of these lines
are wanting in the quarto; and the folio has the third line badly corrupted, thus: "For we would count give much to as violent thefts." The common reading, proposed by Tyrwhitt and adopted by Malone, is, "For we would give much, to use violent thefts." Of course these changes proceed upon the supposal that the word count slipped in by mistake from the second line before. But the reading, besides that it deals rather boldly with the text, gives us, after all, a very unrhythmical line. The logic of the passage naturally draws on a repetition of count in the third line; and such misplacement of words is among the commonest of textual errors. On the other hand, virtues might, I think, be easily misprinted violent.
P. 321. Life every man holds dear; but the brave man
Holds honour far more precious-dear than life. — The old copies read "but the deere man "; upon which Walker comments thus: "No other word than brave will fit the sentence; and so Pope, and all following editors, read, till Johnson (I think it was he) restored dear."
P. 322. When many times the captive Grecians fall,
Even in the fan and wind of your fell sword,
You bid them rise, and live.
Hect. O, 'tis fair play. — In the first of these lines, the old copies have Grecian falls, which is shown to be wrong by them in the last clause of the sentence. In the second line, again, the old copies have faire instead of fell. Walker notes, "Fair has a specious look, but is quite out of place. Read fierce." Dyce suggests fell, and quotes from Hamlet, ii. 2:
But with the whiff and wind of his fell sword
Th' unnervèd father falls.
P. 322. And when we have our armours buckled on,
Spur them to deathful work, rein them from ruth! — In the second of these lines, the old copies have The instead of Then, which is Lettsom's correction. In the third line, also, they read "Spur them to ruthfull worke," which is plainly contradicted in what follows. Walker conjectured deathful: I suspect we ought to read ruthless.
P. 322. Lay hand upon him, Priam, hold him fast. - So Walker. The old text has "Lay hold upon him."
P. 324. My love with words and errors still she feeds;
But edifies another with her deeds. After these lines, the folio adds the following, by way of closing the scene:
Pand. Why, but heare you?
Troy. Hence brother lackie; ignomie and shame
As this passage occurs again in the last scene, and clearly ought not to be retained in both places, it is commonly omitted here, as in the quarto. Walker, however, thinks that "this is the proper place for these two speeches; for without them the scene closes abruptly." I have scarce any doubt that Walker is right, and that the whole passage in the last from "But hear you, hear you!" down to "set this in your painted cloths," inclusive, ought to be transferred to this place. See the last Critical Note on scene 10.
ACT V., SCENE 4.
P. 325. O'the t'other side, the policy of those crafty sneering rascals, &c. - So Theobald. The old copies have swearing instead of sneering. It does not well appear why Thersites should call Nestor and Ulysses "swearing rascals."
P. 326 Now the sleeve! now the sleeveless! So Collier's second folio. Instead of sleeveless, the old copies merely repeat sleeve. The change is amply justified by the context.
ACT V., SCENE 5.
P 328. Come, come, thou boy-queller, now show thy face.
now is wanting in the old copies. Dyce suggests "and show thy face."