Page images

As broad Achilles: keeps his tent like him;
Makes factious feasts; rails on our state of war,
Bold as an oracle: and sets Thersites

(A slave, whose gall coins slanders like a mint,9)
To match us in comparisons with dirt;

To weaken and discredit our exposure,
How rank soever rounded in with danger.1

Ulyss. They tax our policy, and call it cowardice;
Count wisdom as no member of the war;
Forestall prescience, and esteem no act

But that of hand: the still and mental parts,-
That do contrive how many hands shall strike,
When fitness calls them on; and know, by measure
Of their observant toil, the enemies' weight,2-
Why, this hath not a finger's dignity:

They call this-bed-work, mappery, closet-war:
So that the ram, that batters down the wall,
For the great swing and rudeness of his poise,
They place before his hand that made the engine;
Or those, that with the fineness of their souls
By reason guide his execution.

Nest. Let this be granted, and Achilles' horse
Makes many Thetis' sons.



Men. From Troy.

[Trumpet sounds. What trumpet? look, Menelaus.3

Enter ENEAS.

whose gall coins slanders like a mint.] i. e. as fast as a mint coins money. See Vol. VIII, p. 195, n. 6. Malone.

1 How rank soever rounded in with danger.] A rank weed is a high weed. The modern editions silently read:"


How hard soever ~~.


rounded in with danger.] So, in King Henry V:

"How dread an army hath enrounded him." Steevens.

and know, by measure

Of their observant toil, the enemies' weight,] I think it were better to read:

and know the measure,

By their observant toil, of the enemies' weight. Johnson. by measure-] That is, "by means of their observant toil." M. Mason.

3 What trumpet? look, Menelaus.] Surely, the name of Menelaus only serves to destroy the metre, and should therefore be omitted. Steevens.


What would you 'fore our tent?
Is this

Great Agamemnon's tent, I pray?

Even this.

Ene. May one, that is a herald, and a prince, Do a fair message to his kingly ears?4

Agam. With surety stronger than Achilles' arm5 'Fore all the Greekish heads, which with one voice Call Agamemnon head and general.

Ene. Fair leave, and large security. How may

A stranger to those most imperial looks

Know them from eyes of other mortals?


Ene. Ay;

I ask, that I might waken reverence,
And bid the cheek' be ready with a blush
Modest as morning when she coldly eyes
The youthful Phœbus:


[blocks in formation]

5 --- · Achilles' arm-] So the copies. Perhaps the author


Alcides' arm. Johnson.

6 A stranger to those most imperial looks-] And yet this was the seventh year of the war. Shakspeare, who so wonderfully preserves character, usually confounds the customs of all nations, and probably supposed that the ancients (like the heroes of chivalry) fought with beavers to their helmets. So, in the fourth Act of this play, Nestor says to Hector:

"But this thy countenance, still lock'd in steel,

"I never saw till now."

Shakspeare might have adopted this error from the wooden cuts to ancient books, or from the illuminators of manuscripts, who never seem to have entertained the least idea of habits, manners, or customs more ancient than their own. There are books in the British Museum of the age of King Henry VI; and in these the heroes of ancient Greece are represented in the very dresses worn at the time when the books received their decorations. Steevens

In The Destruction of Troy Shakspeare found all the chieftains of each army termed knights, mounted on stately horses, defended with modern helmets, &c. &c. Malone.

In what edition did these representations occur in Shakspeare? Steevents.


bid the cheek -] So the quarto. The folio has:

on the cheek

Which is that god in office, guiding men?
Which is the high and mighty Agamemnon?

Agam. This Trojan scorns us; or the men of Troy Are ceremonious courtiers.

Ene. Courtiers as free, as debonair, unarm❜d,

As bending angels; that's their fame in peace:
But when they would seem soldiers, they have galls,
Good arms, strong joints, true swords; and, Jove's ac-


Nothing so full of heart. But peace, Æneas,


they have galls,

Good arms, strong joints, true swords; and, Jove's accord, Nothing so full of heart.] I have not the smallest doubt that the poet wrote-(as I suggested in my SECOND APPENDIX, 8vo. 1783):

they have galls,

Good arms, strong joints, true swords; and, Jove's a god
Nothing so full of heart.

So, in Macbeth:

"Sleek o'er your rugged looks; be bright and jovial
"Among you guests to-night."

Again, in Antony and Cleopatra:

"Cæsar, why he's the Jupiter of men."

Again, ibidem:

"Thou art, if thou dar'st be, the earthly Fove.” The text, in my apprehension, is unintelligible, though I have not ventured, on my own opinion, to disturb it. In the old copy there is no point after the word accord, which adds some support to my conjecture. It also may be observed, that in peace the Trojans have just been compared to angels; and here Æneas, in a similar strain of panegyrick, compares them in war to that God who was proverbially distinguished for high spirits.

The present punctuation of the text was introduced by Mr. Theobald. The words being pointed thus, he thinks it clear that the meaning is-They have galls, good arms, &c. and, Jove annuente, nothing is so full of heart as they. Had Shakspeare written, "with Jove's accord, and "Nothing 's so full," &c. such an interpretation might be received; but, as the words stand, it is inadmissible.

The quarto reads:

and great Joves accord-&c. Malone. Perhaps we should read:

and Love's a lord

Nothing so full of heart.

The words Jove and Love, in a future scene of this play, are substituted for each other, by the old blundering printers. In Love's Labour's Lost, Cupid is styled "Lord of ay-mees;" and Romeo speaks of his "bosom's Lord." In Othello, Love is commanded

Peace, Trojan; lay thy finger on thy lips!
The worthiness of praise disdains his worth,
If that the prais'd himself bring the praise forth:9
But what the repining enemy commends,

That breath fame blows; that praise, sole pure, trans


Agam. Sir, you of Troy, call you yourself Æneas? Ene. Ay, Greek, that is my name.


What's your affair, I pray you?1

Ene. Sir, pardon; 'tis for Agamemnon's ears.

Agam. He hears nought privately, that comes from Troy.

Ene. Nor I from Troy come not to whisper him:

I bring a trumpet to awake his ear;

To set his sense on the attentive bent,

to "yield up his hearted throne." And, yet more appositely, Va lentine, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, says,

[ocr errors]

love's a mighty lord-."

The meaning of Æneas will then be obvious. The most confident of all passions is not so daring as we are in the field. So, in Romeo and Juliet:

"And what Love can do, that dares Love attempt."

Mr. M. Mason would read—“ and Jove's own bird."

Perhaps, however, the old reading may be the true one, the speaker meaning to say, that, when they have the accord of Fove on their side, nothing is so courageous as the Trojans. Thus, in Corio


"The god of soldiers

"(With the consent of supreme Jove) inform

"Thy thoughts with nobleness."

Fove's accord, in the present instance, like the Fove Probante of Horace, may be an ablative absolute, as in Pope's version of the 19th Iliad, 190:

"And, Jove attesting, the firm compact made." Steevens, 9 The worthiness of praise distains his worth,

If that the prais'd himself bring the praise forth:] So, in Corio


[ocr errors]

power unto itself most commendable,

"Hath not a tomb so evident as a chair

"To extol what it hath done." Malone.

What's your affair, I pray you?] The words-I pray you, are an apparent interpolation, and consequently destroy the measure. "Ene. Ay, Greek, that is my name.


What's your affair?

These hemistichs, joined together, form a complete verse.




And then to speak.

Speak frankly as the wind;2

It is not Agamemnon's sleeping hour:
That thou shalt know, Trojan, he is awake,

He tells thee so himself.

Trumpet, blow loud,
Send thy brass voice through all these lazy tents ;-
And every Greek of mettle, let him know,
What Troy means fairly, shall be spoke aloud.
[Trumpet sounds.

We have, great Agamemnon, here in Troy
A prince call'd Hector, (Priam is his father)
Who in this dull and long-continued truce3
Is rusty grown; he bade me take a trumpet,
And to this purpose speak. Kings, princes, lords!
If there be one, among the fair'st of Greece,
That holds his honour higher than his ease;
That seeks his praise more than he fears his peril;
That knows his valour, and knows not his fear;
That loves his mistress more than in confession,5
(With truant vows to her own lips he loves)
And dare avow her beauty and her worth,

2 Speak frankly as the wind;] So, Jaques, in As you Like it: I must have liberty



"Withal, as large a charter as the wind

"To blow on whom I please;

-" Steevens.

long-continued truce-] Of this long truce there has been no notice taken; in this very Act it is said, that Ajax coped Hector yesterday in the battle. Johnson.

Here we have another proof of Shakspeare's falling into inconsistencies, by sometimes adhering to, and sometimes deserting, his original: a point, on which some stress has been laid in the Dissertation printed at the end of The Third Part of King Henry VI See Vol. X, p. 469-70.

Of this dull and long-continued truce (which was agreed upon at the desire of the Trojans, for six months,) Shakspeare found an account in the seventh chapter of the third Book of The Destruction of Troy. In the fifteenth chapter of the same book the beautiful daughter of Calchas is first introduced. Malone.

4 rusty —] Quarto,-resty. Johnson.

8 more than in confession,] Confession for profession.


6 to her own lips he loves,] That is, confession made with idle yes to the lips of her whom he loves. Johnson.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »