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The better. [Exeunt AGAM. and NEST.
Good day, good day.

Men. How do you? how do you?


[Exit MEN. What, does the cuckold scorn me?

Ajax. How now, Patroclus?

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Ay, and good next day too.
[Exit AJAX.

Achil. What mean these fellows? Know they not


Patr. They pass by strangely: they were us'd to bend, To send their smiles before them to Achilles;

To come as humbly, as they us❜d to creep

To holy altars.


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 honour2 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.-

1 Good morrow.] Perhaps, in this repetition of the salute, we should read, as in the preceding instance,-Good morrow, Ajax, or, with more colloquial spirit,-I say, good morrow. Otherwise the metre is defective. Steevens.


but honour -] Thus the quarto. The folio reads—bat honour'd. Malone.

How now, Ulysses?


Now, great Thetis' son?

Achil. What are you reading?

Ulyss. A strange fellow here Writes me, That man-how dearly ever parted,3 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; As when his virtues shining upon others Heat them, and they retort that heat again To the first giver.


This is not strange, Ulysses.
The beauty that is borne here in the face,
The bearer knows not, but commends itself
To others' 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,6

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,

3—how dearly ever parted,] However excellently endowed, with however dear or precious parts enriched or adorned. Johnson. Johnson's explanation of the word parted is just. So, in Ben Jonson's Every Man out of his Humour, he describes Macilente as a man well parted; and in Massinger's Great Duke of Florence, Sanazarro says of Lydia:.

"And I, my lord, chose rather

"To deliver her better parted than she is,
"Than to take from her." M. Mason.

So, in a subsequent passage:

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-no man is the lord of any thing,

(Though in and of him there is much consisting)
"Till he communicate his parts to others." Malone.
nor doth the eye itself &c.] So, in Julius Cæsar:
"No, Cassius; for the eye sees not itself,

“But by reflexion, by some other things." Steevens.

5 To others' eyes:

(That most pure spirit &c.] These two lines are totally omited in all the editions but the first quarto. Pope.

6 For speculation turns not &c.] Speculation has here the same meaning as in Macbeth:

"Thou hast no speculation in those eyes
"Which thou dost glare with." Malone.

It is familiar; but at the author's drift:
Who, in his circumstance, expressly proves-
That 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; which, 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

The unknown Ajax.1

Heavens, what a man is there! a very


That has he knows not what. Nature, what things there


Most abject in regard, and dear in use!

What things again most dear in the esteem,
And poor in worth! Now shall we see to-morrow,
An act that very chance doth throw upon him,
Ajax renown'd. O heavens, what some men do,
While some men leave to do!

How some men creep in skittish fortune's hall,3*


in his circumstance,] In the detail or circumduction of

his argument. Johnson.

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which, like ] Old copies-who, like

Mr. Rowe. Malone.

9 -a gate of steel

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Fronting the sun,] This idea appears to have been caught from some of our ancient romances, which often describe gates of similar materials and effulgence. Steevens.

1 The unknown Ajax.] Ajax, who has abilities, which were never brought into view or use. Johnson.


Now shall we see to-morrow,

An act that very chance doth throw upon him,

Ajax renown'd.] I once thought that we ought to read renown. But by considering the middle line as parenthetical, the passage is sufficiently clear. Malone.

By placing a break after him, the construction will be:-Now we shall see to-morrow an act that very chance doth throw upon him[we shall see] Ajax renown'd. Henley.

3 How some men creep in skittish fortune's hall,] To creep is to keep out of sight from whatever motive. Some men keep out of no

Whiles others play the idiots in her eyes!
How one man eats into another's pride.
While pride is fasting4 in his wantonness!
To see these Grecian lords!-why, even already
They clap the lubber Ajax on the shoulder;
As if his foot were on brave Hector's breast,
And great Troy shrinking. 5

Achil. I do believe it: for they pass'd by me,
As misers do by beggars; neither gave to me

tice in the hall of fortune, while others, though they but play the idiot, are always in her eye, in the way of distinction. Johnson.

I cannot think that creep, used without any explanatory word, can mean to keep out of sight. While some men, says Ulysses, remain tamely inactive in fortune's hall, without any effort to excite her attention, others, &c. Such, I think, is the meaning Malone.

* I must differ in opinion with both the learned commentators on this passage. The meaning I take to be this:

It is wonderful, how some men succeed, unendowed with talents; while some men, who possess every requisite, leave to do, or neglect to do: How some men creep into the good graces of fortune, whiles others, who have talents to command her smiles, play the fool, and forfeit her favours.

Mr. Malone's note on the next line supports what I have advanced, and the two lines which follow

"To see these Grecian lords!-why, even already

"They clap the lubber Ajax on the shoulder;" sufficiently explains the moral, and points the application. Am. Ed.

-fasting -] Quarto. The folio has feasting. Either word may bear a good sense. Johnson.

I have preferred fasting, the reading of the quarto, to feasting, which we find in the folio, not only because the quarto copies are in general preferable to the folio, but because the original reading furnishes that kind of antithesis of which our poet was so fond. One man eats, while another fasts. Achilles is he who fasts; who capriciously abstains from those active exertions which would furnish new food for his pride. Malone.

5 And great Troy shrinking.] The quarto—shrieking. The folio has, less poetically,-shrinking. The following passage in the subsequent scene supports the reading of the quarto:

"Hark, how Troy roars; how Hecuba cries out;

"How poor Andromache shrills her dolours forth;
"And all cry-Hector, Hector's dead." Malone.

I prefer the reading of the folio. That the collective body of martial Trojans should shrink at sight of their hero's danger, is surely more natural to be supposed, than that, like frighted women, they would unite in a general shriek.

As to what Cassandra says, in the preceding note,—it is the fate of that lady's evidence-never to be received. Steevens.

Good word, nor look: What, are my deeds forgot?
Ulyss. Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back,
Wherein he puts alms for oblivion,

A great-sized monster of ingratitudes:

Those scraps are goods deeds past: which are devour'd
As fast as they are made, forgot as soon

As done: Perséverance, dear my lord,
Keeps honour bright: To have done, is to hang
Quite out of fashion, like a rusty mail

In monumental mockery. Take the instant way;
For honour travels in a strait so narrow,

Where one but goes abreast: keep then the path;
For emulation hath a thousand sons,

That one by one pursue: If you give way,
Or hedge aside from the direct forthright,
Like to an enter'd tide, they all rush by,
And leave you hindmost;-

Or, like a gallant horse fallen in first rank,

Lie there for pavement to the abject rear,"

O'er-run and trampled on: Then what they do in pre


Though less than yours in past, must o'ertop yours:
For time is like a fashionable host,

Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back.] This speech is printed in all the modern editions with such deviations from the old copy, as exceed the lawful power of an editor. Johnson. This image is literally from Spenser:

"And eeke this wallet at your backe arreare

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"And in this bag, which I behinde me don,
"I put repentance for things past and gone.”
Fairy Queen, B. VI, c. viii, st. 24.


7 to the abject rear,] So Hanmer. All the editors before him read-to the abject near. Johnson.

8 O'er-run &c.] The quarto wholly omits the simile of the horse, and reads thus:


And leave you hindmost, then what they do at present The folio seems to have some omission, for the simile begins Or, like a gallant horse The construction is, Or, like a gallant horse, &c. you lie there for pavement -; the personal pronoun of a preceding line being understood here. There are many other passages in these plays which a similar ellipsis is found. So, in this play p. 115: "commends itself -," instead of "— but it commends itself."

- but


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