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“ With that his courser turned he about,
With face pale, and unto Dyomede
(3) SCENE V.-Hector and AJAX fight.] In Chapman's Homer, the combat is described with uncommon pomp and spirit :
This said, in bright armes shone
With all his bodie layd to it) he sent it forth to wound,
And gave unmeasur'd force to it; the round stone broke within
are, all witnesse with good right:
(1) SCENE II.-Here, Diomed, keep this sleeve.] Steevens cites several passages froin our old writers to show that it was customary for warriors to wear a lady's sleeve for a favour; the sleeve which Cressida bestows on Diomed, however, was that she had received from Troilus at their parting. Malone supposes it to have been such a one as was formerly used at tournaments : -“Also the deepe smocke sleive, which the Irish women use, they say, was old Spanish, and is used yet in Barbary; and yet that should seeme rather to be an old English fashion, for in armory the fashion of the manche, which is given in armes by many, being indeed nothing else but a sleive, is fashioned much like to that sleive." --SPENSER's View of Ireland, p. 43, edit. 1633.
(2) SCENE II.-- Rather think this not Cressid.] The grief of Troylus for his " light o love" is beautifully told by the elder poet :
“ Than spak he thus:- 0, lady myn Cryseyde,
Wher is youre feith, and wher is youre behesto?
Of Diomede have ye now al this feste !
That ye thus holde han holden me in honde,
Allas! I nevere wolde han wende, or this,
Is now fordon, and that is al my routhe.
• But thilke broche that I, with teris wete,
Al outrely to shewen youre entente.
Ye han me caste, and ne kan nor may
(3) SCENE IX.- And hangs his shield behind him.] The circumstance of Hector being overpowered by Achilles and his followers when unarmed, the author is believed to have taken from Lydgate's poem :
“And in this while a grekishe kinge he mette,
Embrouded had full many ryche stone,
"THE "Troilus and Cressida' of Shakspeare can scarcely be classed with his dramas of Greek and Roman history ; but it forms an intermediate link between the fictitious Greek and Roman histories, which we may call legendary dramas, and the proper ancient histories. There is no one of 'Shakspeare's plays harder to characterise. The name and the remembrances connected with it prepare us for the representation of attachment no less faithful than fervent on the side of the youth, and of sudden and shameless inconstancy on the part of the lady. And this is, indeed, as the gold thread on which the scenes are strung, though often kept out of sight and out of mind by gems of greater value than itself. But as Shakspeare calls forth nothing from the mausoleum of history, or the catacombs of tradition, without giving or eliciting some permanent and general interest, and brings forward no subject which he does not moralize or intellectualize,
,-so here he has drawn in Cressida the portrait of a vehement passion, that, having its true origin and proper cause in warmth of temperament, fastens on, rather than fixes to, some one object by liking and temporary preference.
“There's language in her eye, her cheek, her lip,
At every joint and motive of her body.' “ This Shakspeare has contrasted with the profound affection represented in Troilus, and alone worthy the name of love ;-affection, passionate indeed, swoln with the confluence of youthful instincts and youthful fancy, and growing in the radiance of hope newly risen, in short enlarged by the collective sympathies of nature ;-but still having a depth of calmer element in a will stronger than desire, more entire than choice, and which gives permanence to its own act by converting it into faith and duty. Hence, with excellent judgment, and with an excellence higher than mere judgment can give, at the close of the play, when Cressida has sunk into infamy below retrieval and beneath hope, the same will, which had been the substance and the basis of his love, while the restless pleasures and passionate longings, like sea-waves, had tossed but on its surface,—this same moral energy is represented as snatching him aloof from all neighbourhood with her dishonour, from all lingering fondness and languishing regrets, whilst it rushes with him into other and nobler duties, and deepens the channel which his heroic brother's death had left empty for its collected flood. Yet another secondary and subordinate purpose Shakspeare has inwoven with his delineation of these two characters,—that of opposing the inferior civilization, but purer, morals, of the Trojans, to the refinements, deep policy, but duplicity and sensual corruptions, of the Greeks.
"To all this, however, so little comparative projection is given,—nay, the masterly group of Agamemnon, Nestor, and Ulysses, and, still more in advance, that of Achilles, Ajax, and Thersites, so manifestly occupy the foreground, that the subservience and vassalage of strength and animal courage to intellect and policy seems to be the lesson most often in our poet's view, and which he ha taken little pains to connect with the former more interesting moral impersonated in the titular hero and heroine of the drama. But I am half inclined to believe, that Shakspeare's main object, or shall I rather say, his rung impulse, was to translate the poetic heroes of paganism into the not less rude, but more intellectually vigorous, and more featurely, warriors of Christiani chivalry,—and to substantiate the distinct and graceful profiles or outlines of the Homeric epic into the flesh and blood of the romantic drama,-in short, tad give a grand history-piece in the robust style of Albert Durer.
"The character of Thersites, in particular, well deserves a more carefu examination, as the Caliban of demagogic life ;-the admirable portrait of intellectual power deserted by all grace, all moral principle, all not momentary impulse ;-just wise enough to detect the weak head, and fool enough to prá voke the armed fist of his betters ;-one whom malcontent Achilles can inveigle from malcontent Ajax, under the one condition, that he shall be called on to do nothing but abuse and slander, and that he shall be allowed to abuse as much and as purulently as he likes, that is, as he can ;-in short, a mule,-quarrelsome by the original discord of his nature, -a slave by tenure of his own baseness,-made to bray and be brayed at, to despise and be despicable."-COLERIDGE,
On the 26th of July, 1602, a memorandum was entered on the registers of the Stationers' Company,
“ James Roberts.) A booke, The Revenge of Hamlett prince of Denmarke, as ye was latelie acted by the Lord Chamberlayn his servantes." This entry unquestionably refers to our author's “Hamlet,” the publication of which Roberts desired to secure. As, however, an edition of the play appeared in the following year, “printed for N. L. and John Trundell,” Mr. Collier conjectures that Roberts was unable to obtain such a copy of the piece as he could creditably associate his name with, but that some inferior and nameless printer, not so scrupulous, contrived to possess himself of an imperfect manuscript of it, and brought out the edition of 1603. Of this impression, one copy of which is in the library of the Duke of Devonshire, and another recently discovered has been purchased for the British Museum, the title is, “ The Tragicall Historie of Hamlet Prince of Denmarke. By William Shake-speare. As it hath beene diverse times acted by his Highnesse servants in the Cittie of London: as also in the two Universities of Cambridge and Oxford, and .else-where. At London printed for N. L. and John Trundell, 1603."
But, as Mr. Dyce observes, we have no proof that Roberts was not the “nameless printer” of the quarto of 1603 : on the contrary, there is reason to suspect that he was, since we find that he printed the quarto of 1604 for the same Nicholas Ling who was one of the publishers of the quarto of 1603. It is of no material consequence, however, who printed that maimed and surreptitious version. What really concerns us is to know whether, making large allowance for omissions and corruptions due to the negligence of those through whose hands the manuscript passed, the edition of 1603 exhibits the play as Shakespeare first wrote it and as it was "i diverse times acted.” We believe it does. The internal evidence is to our judgment convincing that in this wretchedly printed copy we have the poet's first conception (written probably at an early stage of his dramatic career) of that magnificent tragedy which, remodelled and augmented, was published in 1604, under the title of, “The Tragicall Historie of Hamle, Prince of Denmarke. By William Shakespeare. Newly