Page images
PDF
EPUB

By him that thunders, thou hast lusty arms;
Hector would have them fall upon him thus:
Cousin, all honour to thee!
Ajax.

I thank thee, Hector:
Thou art too gentle, and too free a man:
I came to kill thee, cousin, and bear hence
A great addition 22 earned in thy death.

Hect. Not Neoptolemus 23 so mirable (On whose bright crest Fame with her loud'st. O yes Cries, This is he) could promise to himself A thought of added honour torn from Hector.

Æne. There is expectance here from both the sides, What further you will do. Hect.

We'll answer it 24; The issue is embracement:- Ajax, farewell.

Ajax. If I might in entreaties find success (As seld I have the chance), I would desire My famous cousin to our Grecian tents.

Dio. "Tis Agamemnon's wish: and great Achilles Doth long to see unarm’d the valiant Hector.

Hect. Æneas, call my brother Troilus to me: And signify this loving interview To the expecters of our Trojan part; Desire them home.—Give me thy hand, my cousin; I will go eat with thee, and see your knights 25.

22 See Act i. Sc. 2, note 5, p. 324.

23 By Neoptolemus Shakspeare seems to have meant Achilles : finding that the son was Pyrrhus Neoptolemus, he considered Neoptolemus as the nomen gentilitium, and thought the father was likewise Achilles Neoptolemus. Or he was probably led into the error by some book of the time. By a passage in Act iii. Sc. 3, it is evident that he knew Pyrrhus had not yet engaged in the siege of Troy :

• But it must grieve young Pyrrhus, now at home,' &c. 24 i. e. answer the expectance.

25 These knights, to the amount of about two hundred thousand (for there were no less in both armies), Shakspeare found with all the appendages of chivalry in The Old Troy Book. Eques and armiger, rendered knight and squire, excite ideas of chivalry. Pope, in his Homer, has been liberal in his use of the latter.

Ajax. Great Agamemnon comes to meet us here.

Hect. The worthiest of them tell me name by name; But for Achilles, my own searching eyes Shall find him by his large and portly size.

Agam. Worthy of arms! as welcome as to one That would be rid of such an enemy; But that's no welcome: Understand more clear, What's past, and what's to come, is strew'd with

husks And formless ruin of oblivion; But in this extant moment, faith and troth, Strain’d purely from all holloń bias-drawing, Bids thee, with most divine integrity 26, From heart of very heart, great Hector, welcome.

Hect. I thank thee, most imperious 7 Agamemnon. Agam. My well-fam'd lord of Troy, no less to you.

[To TROILUS. Men. Let me confirm my princely brother's greet

ing;

You brace of warlike brothers, welcome hither.

Hect. Whom must we answer ?
Men.

The noble Menelaus 28. Hect. O you, my lord? by Mars his gauntlet,

thanks! Mock not, that I affect the untraded 9 oath;

26 i. e. integrity like that of heaven.

27 It has been asserted that imperious and imperial had formerly the same signification, but so far is this from being the fact, that Bullokar carefully distinguishes them :-- Imperial, royal or chief, emperor-like : imperious, that commandeth with authority, lord-like, stately. The reader will correct the note in yol. i. p. 127.

28 Ritson thought that this speech belonged to Æneas, and indeed it seems hardly probable that Menelaus would be made to call himself “the noble Menelaus.'

29 Untraded is uncommon, unusual. So in King Richard II :* Some way of common trade,' for some usual course, or trodden way.

Your quondam 'wife swears still by Venus' glove: She's well, but bade me not commend her to you.

Men. Name her not now, sir; she's a deadly theme. Hect. 0, pardon; I offend.

Nest. I have, thou gallant Trojan, seen thee oft, Labouring for destiny 30, make cruel way Through ranks of Greekish youth: and I have seen

thee,

As hot as Perseus 31, spur thy Phrygian steed,
Despising many forfeits and subduements,
When thou hast hung thy advanced sword i’the air,
Not letting it decline on the declin’d 32 ;
That I have said to some my standers-by,
Lo, Jupiter is yonder, dealing life!
And I have seen thee pause, and take thy breath,
When that a ring of Greeks have hemm’d thee in,
Like an Olympian wrestling: This have I seen;
But this thy countenance, still lock'd in steel,
I never saw till now. I knew thy grandsire 33,
And once fought with him: he was a soldier good;
But, by great Mars, the captain of us all,

30 Destiny is the vicegerent of fate. So in Coriolanus :

His sword, death's stamp,
Where it did mark it took; from face to foot
He was a thing of blood, whose every motion
Was tim’d with dying cries : alone he enter'd
The mortal gate of the city, which he painted

With shunless destiny.' 31 As the equestrian fame of Perseus is here again alluded to, it should appear that in a former simile his horse was meant for a real one, and not allegorically for a ship. See Act i. Sc. 3, note 4, p.

335. 32 i. e. the fallen. Dr. Young appears to have imitated this passage in his Busiris :

my rais'd arm
Has hung in air, forgetful to descend,

And for a moment spar'd the prostrate foe.' 33 Laomedon.

6

Never like thee: Let an old man embrace thee;
And, worthy warrior, welcome to our tents.

Æne. 'Tis the old Nestor.

Hect. Let me embrace thee, good old chronicle, That hast so long walk'd hand in hand with time: Most reverend Nestor, I am glad to clasp thee. Nest. I would, my arms could match thee in con

tention, As they contend with thee in courtesy.

Hect. I would they could.

Nest. Ha! By this white beard, I'd fight with thee to-morrow. Well, welcome, welcome! I have seen the time

Ulyss. I wonder now how yonder city stands, When we have here her base and pillar by us.

Hect. I know your favour, Lord Ulysses, well. Ah, sir, there's many a Greek and Trojan dead, Since first I saw yourself and Diomed In Ilion, on your Greekish embassy.

Ulyss. Sir, I foretold you then what would ensue: My prophecy is but half his journey yet; For yonder walls, that pertly front your town, Yon towers, whose wanton tops do buss the clouds 34, Must kiss their own feet. Hect.

I must not believe you: There they stand yet; and modestly I think,

34 Thus in Shakspeare's Rape of Lucrece :

• Threatening cloud-kissing Ilion with annoy.', And in Pericles :

· Whose towers bore heads so high, they kiss'd the clouds.' Ilion, according to Shakspeare's authority, was the name of Priam's palace, that was one of the richest and strongest that ever was in all the world. And it was of height five hundred paces, besides the height of the towers, whereof there was great plenty, and so high that it seemed to them that saw them from farre, they raught up unto the heavens.'-— Destruction of Troy, b. ii.

P. 478.

The fall of every Phrygian stone will cost
A drop of Grecian blood : The end crowns all;
And that old common arbitrator, time,
Will one day end it.
Ulyss.

So to him we leave it.
Most gentle, and most valiant Hector, welcome:
After the general, I beseech you next
To feast with me, and see me at my tent.

Achil. I shall forestall thee,Lord Ulysses, thou 35 ! —
Now, Hector, I have fed mine eyes on thee;
I have with exact view perus’d thee, Hector,
And quoted 36 joint by joint.
Hect.

Is this Achilles ?
Achil. I am Achilles.
Hect. Stand fair, I pray thee: let me look on thee.
Achil. Behold thy fill.
Hect.

Nay, I have done already.
Achil. Thou art too brief; I will the second time,
As I would buy thee, view thee limb by limb.

Hect. 0, like a book of sport thou'lt read me o'er;
But there's more in me than thou understand'st.
Why dost thou so oppress me with thine eye?
Achil. Tell me, you heavens, in which part of his

body
Shall I destroy him? whether there, there, or there?
That I may give the local wound a name;
And make distinct the

very

breach whereout Hector's great spirit flew: Answer me, heavens! Hect. It would discredit the bless'd gods, proud

man, To answer such a question : Stand again: 35 Mr. Tyrwhitt thought we should read :

I shall forestall thee, Lord Ulysses, though! 36 Quoted is noted, observed. The hint for this scene of altercation between Achilles and Hector is furnished by Lydgate.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »