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infinite, and the execution confined; that the desire is boundless, and the act a slave to limit.

Cres. They say, all lovers swear more performance than they are able, and yet reserve an ability that they never perform; vowing more than the perfection of ten, and discharging less than the tenth part of one. They that have the voice of lions, and the act of hares, are they not monsters?

Tro. Are there such? such are not we: Praise us as we are tasted, allow us as we prove; our head shall go bare, till merit crown it: no perfection in reversion shall have a praise in present: we will not name desert, before his birth; and, being born, his addition shall be humble. Few words to fair faith: Troilus shall be such to Cressid, as what envy can say worst, shall be a mock for his truth; and what truth can speak truest, not truer than Troilus.

Cres. Will you walk in, my lord?

Re-enter PANDARUS.

Pan. What, blushing still? have you not done talking yet?

Cres. Well, uncle, what folly I commit, I dedicate to


Pan. I thank you for that; if my lord get a boy of you, you'll give him me: Be true to my lord: if he flinch, chide me for it.


Tro. You know now your hostages; your uncle's word, my firm faith.

Pan. Nay, I'll give my word for her too; our kindred,

6 — our head shall go bare, till merit crown it:] I cannot forbear to observe, that the quarto reads thus: Our head shall go bare, till merit louer part no affection, in reversion, &c. Had there been no other copy, how could this have been corrected? The true reading is in the folio. Johnson.

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·his addition shall be humble.] We will give him no high or pompous titles Johnson.

Addition is still the term used by conveyancers in describing the quality and condition of the parties to deeds, &c. Reed.

8 what envy can say worst, shall be a mock for his truth;} i. e. shall be only a mock for his truth. Even malice (for such is the meaning of the word envy) shall not be able to impeach his truth, or attack him in any other way, except by ridiculing him for his constancy. See Vol. XI, p. 240, n. 7. Malone.


though they be long ere they are wooed, they are constant, being won: they are burs, I can tell you; they'll stick where they are thrown.9

Cres. Boldness comes to me now, and brings me heart:

Prince Troilus, I have lov'd you night and day
For many weary months.

Tro. Why was my Cressid then so hard to win?
Cres. Hard to seem won; but I was won, my lord,
With the first glance that ever-Pardon me ;-
If I confess much, you will play the tyrant.
I love you now; but not, till now, so much
But I might master it:-in faith, I lie;

My thoughts were like unbridled children, grown
Too headstrong for their mother: See, we fools!
Why have I blabb'd? who shall be true to us,
When we are so unsecret to ourselves?

But, though I lov'd you well, I woo'd you not;
And yet, good faith, I wish'd myself a man;
Or that we women had men's privilege

Of speaking first. Sweet, bid me hold my tongue;
For, in this rapture, I shall surely speak

The thing I shall repent. See, see, your silence,
Cunning in dumbness,' from my weakness draws
My very soul of counsel: Stop my mouth.

Tro. And shall, albeit sweet musick issues thence.
Pan. Pretty, i'faith.

Cres. My lord, I do beseech you, pardon me; 'Twas not my purpose, thus to beg a kiss:

I am asham'd;-O heavens! what have I done?.

For this time will I take my leave, my lord.

Tro. Your leave, sweet Cressid?

Pan. Leave! an you take leave till to-morrow morn


Cres. Pray you, content you.

What offends you, lady?

Cres. Sir, mine own company.


they'll stick where they are thrown.] This allusion has already occurred in Measure for Measure:

"Nay, friar, I am a kind of bur, I shall stick." Steevens.

1 Cunning in dumbness,] The quarto and folio read-Coming in dumbness. The emendation was made by Mr. Pope. Malone.

Tro. Yourself.


Let me go and try:2

You cannot shun

I have a kind of self resides with you;3
But an unkind self, that itself will leave,
To be another's fool. I would be gone:-

Where is my wit? I know not what I speak.4

Tro. Well know they what they speak, that speak so


Cres. Perchance, my lord, I show more craft than love; And fell so roundly to a large confession,

To angle for your thoughts: But you are wise;

Or else you love not; For to be wise, and love, Exceeds man's might; that dwells with gods above.5*

2 Let me go and try:] This verse being imperfect, I suppose our author to have originally written:

Let me go in, my lord, and try. Steevens.

3 I have a kind of self resides with you;] So, in our author's 123d Sonnet:

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"Perforce am thine, and all that is in me." Malone. A similar thought occurs in Antony and Cleopatra:

"That thou, residing here, go'st yet with me," &c. Steevens. I would be gone:

Where is my wit? I know not what I speak.] Thus the quartos. The folio reads:


To be another's fool. Where is my wit?

I would be gone. I speak I know not what. Malone.

But you are wise;

Or else you love not; For to be wise, and love,

Exceeds man's might; &c.] I read :

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Or else we love not; to be wise, and love,
Exceeds man's might;

Cressida, in return to the praise given by Troilus to her wisdom, replies: "That lovers are never wise; that it is beyond the power of man to bring love and wisdom to an union." Johnson.

I don't think that this passage requires any amendment. Cressida's meaning is this: "Perchance I fell too roundly to confession, in order to angle for your thoughts; but you are not so easily taken in; you are too wise, or too indifferent; for to be wise and love, exceeds man's might." M. Mason.

to be wise and love,

Exceeds man's might;] This is from Spenser, Shepherd's Calendar, March:

"To be wise, and eke to love,

"Is granted scarce to gods above." Tyrwhitt.

Tro. O, that I thought it could be in a woman, (As, if it can, I will presume in you,)

The thought originally belongs to Publius Syrus, among whose sentences we find this:

"Amare et sapere vix Deo conceditur."

Marston, in The Dutch Courtezan, 1605, has the same thought, and the line is printed as a quotation:

"But you

"But raging lust my fate all strong doth move; "The gods themselves cannot be wise, and love." Cressida's argument is certainly inconsequential: are wise, or else you are not in love; for no one who is in love can be wise." I do not, however, believe there is any corruption, as our author sometimes entangles himself in inextricable difficulties of this kind. One of the commentators has endeavoured to extort sense from the words as they stand; and thinks there is no difficulty. In these cases, the surest way to prove the inaccuracy, is, to omit the word that embarrasses the sentence. Thus, if, for a moment, we read:

But you are wise;

Or else you love; for to be wise, and love,
Exceeds man's might; &c.

the inference is clear, by the omission of the word not: which is not a word of so little importance that a sentence shall have just the same meaning whether a negative is contained in it or taken from it. But for all inaccuracies of this kind our poet himself is undoubtedly answerable.-Sir T. Hanmer, to obtain some sense, arbitrarily reads:

A sign you love not. Malone.

I think the passage corrupt; but I cannot agree with the alteration proposed by Dr. Johnson. I would read

But you are wise,

And therefore love not;-for to be wise, and love,

Exceeds man's might, &c.

Cressida intimates the violence of her love by its effects upon her mind; this she seems to do for the purpose of extorting an immediate confession from Troilus; her expectation is disappointed by the reply, "Well know they what they speak, who speak so wisely." The answer, which marks her impatience, is a beautiful display of female finesse; she "angles" for the "thoughts" of Troilus with such dexterous artifice, that he cannot evade an immediate avowal; he must either declare his love, and sacrifice all title to prudence at the shrine of passion, or acknowledge he does not love, with a force commensurate with Cressida's ideas. The declarations which follow, owe their extravagance to the opinion expressed by Cressida, that he was wise, and therefore could not love this opinion he becomes so anxious to eradicate, that all which language can afford, is employed to paint the violence and durability of his passion, and his conduct proves the correctness of what Cressida advances, as far as it respects Troilus, that to be wise and love exceeds man's might." Am. Ed.

To feed for aye her lamp and flames of love;"
To keep her constancy in plight and youth,
Outliving beauty's outward, with a mind

That doth renew swifter than blood decays!"
Or, that persuasion could but thus convince me,—
That my integrity and truth to you

Might be affronted with the match and weight
Of such a winnow'd purity in love;
How were I then uplifted! but, alas,
I am as true as truth's simplicity,
And simpler than the infancy of truth."
Cres. În that I'll war with you.

O virtuous fight,

When right with right wars who shall be most right!
True swains in love shall, in the world to come,
Approve their truths by Troilus: when their rhymes,
Full of protest, of oath, and big compare,1
Want similes, truth tir'd with iteration,2-

6 To feed for aye her lamp &c.] Troilus alludes to the perpetual lamps which were supposed to illuminate sepulchres:

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lasting flames, that burn

"To light the dead, and warm th' unfruitful urn."

See my note on Pericles, Act III, sc. i. Steevens.

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- swifter than blood decays!] Blood, in Shakspeare, frequently means desire, appetite. Malone.

In the present instance, the word blood has its common signification. So, in Much Ado about Nothing:

"Time hath not yet so dry'd this blood -"Steevens.

8 Might be affronted with the match-] I wish "my integrity might be met and matched with such equality and force of pure unmingled love." Johnson.

So, in Hamlet:

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that he, as 'twere by accident, may here Affront Ophelia." Steevens.

9 And simpler than the infancy of truth.] This is fine; and means, "Ere truth, to defend itself against deceit in the commerce of the world, had, out of necessity, learned worldly policy."


1-- compare,] i. e. comparison. So Milton, Paradise Lost,



Beyond compare the son of God was seen." Steevens.

2 True swains in love shall, in the world to come,

Approve their truths by Troilus: when their rhymes,
Full of protest, of oath, and big compare,

Want similes, truth tir'd with iteration,-] The metre, as well

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