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Achil. What, am I poor of late ? 'Tis certain, greatness, once fallen out with fortune, Must fall out with men too: What the declin’d is, He shall as soon read in the eyes of others, As feel in his own fall: for men, like butterflies, Show not their mealy wings, but to the summer ; And not a man, for being simply man, Hath
any honour; but honour for those honours That are without him, as place, riches, favour, Prizes of accident as oft as merit: Which when they fall, as being slippery standers, The love that lean’d on them as slippery too, Do one pluck down another, and together Die in the fall. But 'tis not so with me: Fortune and I are friends; I do enjoy At ample point all that I did possess, Save these men's looks: who do, methinks, find out Something not worth in me such rich beholding As they have often given. Here is Ulysses; I'll interrupt his reading. How now, Ulysses ? Ulyss.
Now, great Thetis' son ? Achil. What are you reading?
A strange fellow here Writes me, That man--how dearly ever parted 5, How much in having, or without, or in,Cannot make boast to have that which he hath, Nor feels not what he owes, but by reflection;
5 However excellently endowed, with however dear or precious parts enriched. So in Massinger's Great Duke of Florence:
And I, my lord, chose rather
Than to take from her.'
no man is the lord of any thing
As when his virtues shining upon others
This is not strange, Ulysses.
eyes : nor doth the eye itself (That most pure spirit of sense), behold itself, Not going from itself; but eye to eye oppos'd Salutes each other with each other's form. For speculation turns not to itself, Till it hath travell’d, and is married there Where it may see itself: this is not strange at all.
Ulyss. I do not strain at the position,
nat no man is the lord of any thing (Though in and of him there be much consisting), Till he communicate his parts to others : Nor doth he of himself know them for aught Till he behold them form’d in the applause Where they are extended; whicho, like an arch,
reverberates The voice again; or like a gate of steel Fronting the sun, receives and renders back His figure and his heat. I was much rapt in this ; And apprehended here immediately
6 Thus in Julius Cæsar :
No, Cassius; for the eve sees not itself
But by reflection; by some other things.' 7 Speculation has here the same meaning as in Macbeth :
• Thou hast no speculation in those eyes
Which thou dost glare with.' 8 Detail of argument.
9 The old copies read :-' who, like an arch, reverberate;' which may mean, They who applaud reverberate. The elliptick mode of expression is in the poet's manner. Rowe made the alteration,
The unknown Ajax 10.
Most abject in regard, and dear in use!
Achil. I do believe it: for they passed by me, As misers do by beggars: neither gave to me Good word, nor look: What, arę my deeds forgot?
Ulyss. Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back, Wherein he puts alms for oblivion 12, A great-sized monster of ingratitudes: Those scraps are good deeds past: which are devour'd As fast as they are made, forgot as soon
10 i. e. Ajax, who has abilities which were never brought into view or use.
11 The folio reads shrinking. The following passage in the subsequent scene seems to favour the reading of the quarto :
Hark, how Troy roars; how Hecuba cries out;
And all cry-Hector, Hector's dead.' 12 This image is literally from Spenser:
• And eeke this wallet at your backe arreare
And in this bag, which I behinde me don,
F. Q. b. vi. c. viii. st. 24.
As done: Perseverance, dear my lord,
13 The quarto wholly omits the simile of the horse, and reads thus:
• And leave you hindmost, then what they do at present.' 14 New-fashioned toys.
15 Gilt, in this second line, is a substantive. See Coriolanus, Act i. Sc. 3. Dust a little gilt means ordinary performances,
The present eye praises the present object:
Of this my privacy
But 'gainst your privacy
which have the gloss of novelty. Gilt o'er-dusted means splendid actions of preceding ages, the remembrance of which is weakened by time.
16 i. e. the descent of deities to combat on either side. Shakspeare probably followed Chapman's Homer: in the fifth book of the Iliad Diomed wounds Mars, who on his return to heavea is rated by Jupiter for having interfered in the battle. This disobedience is the faction alluded to.
17 Polyxena, in the act of marrying whom he was afterwards killed by Paris.
18 There is in the providence of a state, as in the providence of the universe, a kind of ubiquity. It is possible that there may be some allusion to the sublime description of the Divine omnipresence in the 139th Psalm.