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Dio. Give me some token for the surety of it.
Fear me not, my lord;
upon that sleeve; Behold it well. He loved me -O false wench!–Give't me again.
Dio. Who was't?
No matter, now I hav't again.
Ther. Now she sharpens :—Well said, whetstone.
Dio. I had your heart before, this follows it.
5 This sleeve was given by Troilus to Cressida at their parting, and she gave him a glove in return. It was probably such a sleeve as was formerly worn at tournaments: one of which Spenser describes in his View of the State of Ireland, p. 43, ed. 1663.
Cres. You shall not have it, Diomed; 'faith you
Dio. I will have this; Whose was it?
'Tis no matter. Dio. Come, tell me whose it was, Cres. 'Twas one's that loved me better than you
will. But, now you have it, take it. Dio.
Whose was it? Cres. By all Diana's waiting-women yondero, And by herself, I will not tell you whose.
Dio. To-morrow will I wear it on my helm; And grieve his spirit that dares not challenge it.
Tro. Wert thou the devil, and wor’st it on thy horn, It should be challeng'd. Cres. Well, well, 'tis done, 'tis past,—And yet
it is not; I will not keep my word. Dio.
Why then, farewell; Thou never shalt mock Diomed again. Cres. You shall not go:-One cannot speak a
word, But it straight starts you. Dio.
I do not like this fooling. Ther. Nor I, by Pluto: but that that likes not you, pleases me best.
Dio. What, shall I come? the hour?
Ay, come:-0 Jove!.Do come:- I shall be plagu’d. 6 i. e, the stars which she points to.
The silver-shining queen he would disdain;
Through Night's black bosom should not peep again.' Milton, in his Elegy 1. v. 77, has imitated Shakspeare :
colo scintillant astra sereno Endymioneæ turba ministra deæ.'
Farewell till then. Cres. Good night. I pr’ythee, come.
[Exit DIOMEDES. Troilus, farewell! one eye yet looks on thee; But with
doth see 7.
[Exit CRESSIDA: Ther. A proof of strength, she could not publish
Ulyss. All's done, my lord.
Why stay we then?
7 The characters of Cressida and Pandarus are more immediately formed from Chaucer than from Lydgate; for though the latter mentions them both characteristically, he does not sufficiently dwell on either to have furnished Shakspeare with many circumstances to be found in this tragedy. Lydgate, speaking of Cressida, says only,
"She gave her heart and love to Diomede,
For she of her new love no sooner sped,
As if she never had him known or seen,
Wherein I cannot guess what she did mean.' 8 She could not publish a stronger proof.
9 i.e. turns the very testimony of seeing and hearing against themselves.
Created only to calumniate.
I cannot conjure, Trojan.
Most sure she was.
Tro. This she? no, this is Diomed's Cressida:
10 For the sake of womanhood.
11 Critick has here probably the signification of cynic. So in Love's Labour's Lost :
* And critick Timon laugh at idle toys.' So Iago says in Othello:
* I am nothing if not critical.' 12 If it be true that one individual cannot be two distinct persons.
13 The folio reads · By foul authority,' &c. There is a madness in that disquisition, in which a man reasons at once for and against himself upon authority which he knows not to be valid. The words loss and perdition, in the subsequent line, are used in their common sense; but they mean the loss or perdition of
Without perdition, and loss assume all reason
soul there doth commence a fight 14 Of this strange nature, that a thing inseparate 15 Divides more wider than the sky and earth; And yet the spacious breadth of this division Admits no orifice for a point, as subtle As Ariachne's 16 broken woof, to enter. 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, dissolv’d, and loos’d; And with another knot, five-finger-tied 17, The fractions of her faith, orts of her love, The fragments, scraps, the bits, and greasy reliques Of her o'er-eaten faith 18, are bound to Diomed.
Ulyss. May worthy Troilus be half attach'd With that which here his passion doth express 19? Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting.'
Hamlet. 15 i.e. the plighted faith of lovers. Troilus considers it inseparable, or at least that it ought never to be broken, though he has unfortunately found that it sometimes is.
16 One quarto copy reads Ariachna's; the other Ariathna's; the folio Ariachne's. It is evident Shakspeare intended to make Arachne a word of four syllables. Our ancestors were not very exact either in writing or pronouncing proper names, even of classical origin. Steevens thinks it not improbable that the poet may have written · Ariadne's broken woof,' confounding the two stories in bis imagination, or alluding to the clue of thread, by the assistance of which Theseus escaped from the Cretan labyrinth.
17 A knot tied by giving her hand to Diomed.
18 The image is not of the most delicate kind. · Her o'ereaten faith' means her troth plighted to Troilus, of which she was surfeited, and, like one who has o'er-eaten himself, had thrown off. So in Twelfth Night:
• Their over-greedy love hath surfeited,' &c. 19 • Can Troilus really feel, on this occasion, half of what he utters ? A question suitable to the calm Ulysses.