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Now expectation, tickling skittish spirits,
On one and other side, Trojan and Greek,
Sets all on hazard:-And hither am I come
A prologue arm'd,"—but not in confidence
Of author's pen, or actor's voice; but suited
In like conditions as our argument,—

To tell you, fair beholders, that our play

Leaps o'er the vaunt and firstlings of those broils,
'Ginning in the middle; starting thence away
To what may be digested in a play.

Like, or find fault; do as your pleasures are;
Now good, or bad, 'tis but the chance of war.

"And in storye | lyke as it is founde,
"Tymbria | was named the seconde;
"And the thyrde | called Helyas,

"The fourthe gate | hyghte also Cetheas;

"The fyfthe Trojana, | the syxth Anthonydes,

"Stronge and mighty | both in werre and pes."

Lond. Empr. by R. Pynson, 1513, fol. B. II, ch. 11. The Troye Boke was somewhat modernized, and reduced into regular stanzas, about the beginning of the last century, under the name of, The Life and Death of Hector-who fought a Hundred mayne Battailes in open Field against the Grecians; wherein there were slaine on both Sides Fourteene Hundred and Sixe Thousand, Fourscore and Sixe Men.-Fol. no date. This work Dr. Fuller, and several other criticks, have erroneously quoted as the original; and observe, in consequence, that "if Chaucer's coin were of greater weight for deeper learning, Lydgate's were of a more refined standard for purer language: so that one might mistake him for a modern writer." Farmer.

6 A prologue arm'd,] I come here to speak the prologue, and come in armour; not defying the audience, in confidence of either the author's or actor's abilities, but merely in a character suited to the subject, in a dress of war, before a warlike play.

Johnson. Motteux seems to have borrowed this idea in his Prologue to Farquhar's Twin Rivals:

"With drums and trumpets in this warring age,

"A martial prologue should alarm the stage." Steevens. 7 - the vaunt —] i. e. the avant, what went before. So, in King


"Vaunt-couriers to oak cleaving thunderbolts." Steevens. The vaunt is the vanguard, called, in our author's, time the vaunt-guard. Percy.

8 -firstlings-] A scriptural phrase, signifying the first produce or offspring. So, in Genesis, iv, 4: “ And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock." Steevens.

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Trojan commanders.

Calchas, a Trojan priest, taking part with the Greeks.

Pandarus, uncle to Cressida.

Margarelon, a bastard son of Priam.

Agamemnon, the Grecian general:

Menelaus, his brother.

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Thersites, a deformed and scurrilous Grecian.

Alexander, servant to Cressida.

Servant to Troilus; servant to Paris; servant to Diomedes.

Helen, wife to Menelaus.

Andromache, wife to Hector.

Cassandra, daughter to Priam; a prophetess.

Cressida, daughter to Calchas.

Trojan and Greek soldiers, and attendants.


Troy, and the Grecian camp before it,



Troy. Before Priam's Palace.

Enter TROILUS armed, and PANDARUS.

Tro. Call here my varlet, I'll unarm again:
Why should I war without the walls of Troy,
That find such cruel battle here within?
Each Trojan, that is master of his heart,
Let him to field; Troilus, alas! hath none.
Pan. Will this geer ne'er be mended?1

Tro. The Greeks are strong, and skilful to their

Fierce to their skill, and to their fierceness valiant;
But I am weaker than a woman's tear,

Tamer than sleep, fonder3 than ignorance;
Less valiant than the virgin in the night,


my varlet,] This word anciently signified a servant or footman to a knight or warrior. So, Holinshed, speaking of the battle of Agincourt: "- - diverse were releeved by their varlets, and conveied out of the field." Again, in an ancient epitaph in the church-yard of Saint Nicas at Arras:

"Cy gist Hakin et son varlet,
"Tout dis-armè et tout di-pret,
"Avec son espé et salloche," &c.


Concerning the word varlet, see Recherches historiques sur les M. C Tutet.

cartes à jouer. Lyon, 1757, p. 61.

Will this geer ne'er be mended?] There is somewhat proverbial in this question, which I likewise meet with in the interlude of King Darius, 1565:

"Wyll not yet this geere be amended,

"Nor your sinful acts corrected?" Steevens.

2 skilful to their strength, &c.] i. e. in addition to their strength. The same phraseology occurs in Macbeth. See Vol. VII, p. 15, n. 4. Steevens.


-fonder -] i. e. more weak, or foolish. See Vol. IV, p. 382, n. 8. Malone.

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And skill-less as unpractis'd infancy.

Pan. Well, I have told you enough of this: for my part, I'll not meddle nor make no further. He, that will have a cake out of the wheat, must tarry the grinding.

Tro. Have I not tarried?

Pan. Ay, the grinding; but you must tarry the bolting.

Tro. Have I not tarried?

Pan. Ay, the bolting; but you must tarry the leavening.

Tro. Still have I tarried.

Pan. Ay, to the leavening: but here's yet in the word -hereafter, the kneading, the making of the cake the heating of the oven, and the baking; nay, you must stay the cooling too, or you may chance to burn your lips. Tro. Patience herself, what goddess e'er she be, Doth lesser blench5 at sufferance than I do. At Priam's royal table do I sit;

And when fair Cressid comes into my thoughts,—
So, traitor!-when she comes!-When is she thence?
Pan. Well, she looked yesternight fairer that ever I
saw her look, or any woman else.

Tro. I was about to tell thee.--When my heart,
As wedged with a sigh, would rive in twain;
Lest Hector or my father should perceive me,
I have (as when the sun doth light a storm)

4 And skill-less &c.] Mr. Dryden, in his alteration of this play, has taken this speech as it stands, except that he has changed skill-less to artless, not for the better, because skill-less refers to skill and skilful. Johnson.

5 Doth lesser blench—] To blench is to shrink, start, or fly off So, in Hamlet:


-if he but blench,

"I know my course ―――

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Again, in The Pilgrim, by Beaumont and Fletcher:

-men that will not totter,

"Nor blench much at a bullet." Steevens.

6 when she comes! - -When is she thence?] Both the old copies read-then she comes, when she is thence. Mr. Rowe corrected the former error, and Mr. Pope the latter. Malone.

7 a storm,)] Old copies-a scorn. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. Malone.

See Ling Lear, Act III, sc. i. Steevens.

Bury'd this sigh in wrinkle of a smile:

But sorrow, that is couch'd in seeming gladness,
Is like that mirth fate turns to sudden sadness.

Pan. An her hair were not somewhat darker than Helen's, (well, go to,) there were no more comparison between the women,-But, for my part, she is my kinswoman; I would not, as they term it, praise her,-But I would somebody had heard her taik yesterday, as I did. I will not dispraise your sister Cassandra's wit: but

Tro. O Pandarus! I tell thee, Pandarus,—

When I do tell thee, There my hopes lie drown'd,
Reply not in how many fathoms deep

They lie indrench'd. I tell thee, I am mad

In Cressid's love: Thou answer'st, She is fair;
Pour'st in the open ulcer of my heart

Her eyes, her hair, her cheek, her gait, her voice;
Handlest in thy discourse, O, that her hand,

in wrinkle of a smile:] So, in Twelfth Night: "He doth smile his face into more lines than the new map with the augmen tation of the Indies." Malone.

Again, in The Merchant of Venice:

"With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come." Steevens. 9 Handlest in thy discourse, O, that her hand, &c.] Handlest is here used metaphorically, with an allusion, at the same time, to its literal meaning; and the jingle between hand and handlest is perfectly in our author's manner.

The beauty of a female hand seems to have made a strong im. pression on his mind Antony cannot endure that the hand of Cleopatra should be touched:

To let a fellow that will take rewards,
"And say, God quit you, be familiar with
"My playfellow, vour hand,--this kingly seal,
"And plighter of high hearts."

Again, in Romeo and Juliet:

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-they may seize

"On the white wonder of dear Juliet's hand.”

In The Winter's Tale, Florizel, with equal warmth, and not less poetically, descants on the hand of his mistress:

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-I take thy hand; this hand

"As soft as dove's down, and as white as it;

"Or Ethiopian's tooth; or the fann'd snow

"That's bolted by the northern blasts twice o'er."

This passage has, I think, been wrong pointed in the late editions: Pour'st in the open ulcer of my heart

Her eyes, her hair, her cheek, her gait; her voice

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