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iu English—Poor innocent! Poor fool! last not slept to-nigitt? These appellations are very well answered by the Italian word aipoechio: for capoechio signifies the thick head of a club; and thence, metaphorically, a head of not much brain, a sot, dullard, heavy gull.
34 throw my glare at death himself.] i. e. challenge death himself in defence of thy fidelity.
3: /'// answer to my lust,] To my lust is, as it pleases me. Lust is pleasure. German.
36 sluttish spoils of opportunity, ] Corrupt
wenches, of whose chastity every opportunity may make a prey. Johnson.
•" Not Neoptolemus so mirable,] That is to say, "You, an old veteran warrior, threaten to kill me, "when not the young son of Achilles (who is yet to "serve his apprentisage in war, under the Grecian "generals, and on that account called NfoirloAsp.©^ "dare himself entertain such a thought." But Shakspeare meant another sort of man, as is evident from,
On whose bright crest, &c.
Which characterises one who goes foremost and alone: and can therefore suit only one, which one was Achilles; as Shakspeare himself has drawn him,
The great Achilles, whom opinion crowns The sinew and Beforehand of our host. And again,
Whose glorious deeds but in these fields of late, Made emulous missions 'mongst the gods themselves, And drove great Mars to faction.
And indeed the sense and spirit of Hector's speech requires that the most celebrated of his adversaries should be picked out to be defied; and this was Achilles, with whom Hector had his final affair. We must conclude then that Shakspeare wrote, Not Neoptolemus's sire irascible,
On whose bright crest
Irascible is an old school term, and is an epithet suiting his character, and the circumstances he was then in:
'" Impiger, iracundus, inexorabilis, acer." But our editor Mr. Theobald, by his obscure diligence, had found out that Wynken de Worde, in the old chronicle of The three Destructions of Troy, introduces one Neoptolemus into the ten years quarrel, a person distinct from the son of Achilles; and therefore will have it, that Shakspeare here means no other than the Neoptolemus of this worthy chronicler. He was told, to no purpose, that this fancy was absurd. For first, Wynken's Neoptolemus is a common-rate warrior, and so described as not to fit the character here given. Secondly, it is not to be imagined that the poet should on this occasion make Hector refer to a character not in the play, and never so much as mentioned on any other occasion. Thirdly, Wynken's Neoptolemus is a warrior on the Trojan side, and slain by Achilles. But Hector must needs mean by one "who could promise a thought of added honour torn "from him," a warrior amongst his enemies on the Grecian side. Warburton.
After all this contention it is difficult to imagine that the critic believes mirable to have been changed to irascible. I should sooner rend,
Not Neoptolemus th' admirable; as I know not whether mirable can be found in any other place. The correction which the learned commentator gave to Hanmer,
Not Neoptolemus' sire so mirable, as it was modester than this, was preferable to it. But nothing is more remote from justness of sentiment, than for Hector to characterise Achilles as the father of Neoptolemus, a youth that had not yet appeared in arms, and whose name was therefore much less known than his father's. My opinion is, that by Neoptolemus the author meant Achilles himself; and remembering that the son was Pyrrhus Neoptolemus, considered Neoptolemus as the nomen geatilitium, and thought the father was likewise Achilles Neoptolemus. Johnson.
Shakspeare certainly uses Neoptolemus for Achilles. Wilfride Holme, the author of a poem called The Fall and nil Successe of Rebellion, &c. J 537, had made the same mistake before him, as the following stanza will shew:
"Also the triumphant Troyans victorious, "By Anthenor and ./Eneas false confederate,
"Sending Polidamus to Neoptolemus, "Who wasvanquished and subdued by their conspiracie.
"O doloious fortune, and fatal miserie! "For multitude of people was there mortificate
"With condigne Priamus, and all his progenie, "And flagrant Polixene, that lady delicate."
38 Now, Hector, I have fed mine eyes on thee;] The hint for this scene of altercation between Achilles and Hector is taken from Lidgate. Steevess.
39 thou crusty batch—] A batch is the quantity
of bread baked in an oven at once heating.
40 The goodly transformation of Jupiter there,,] Jupiter transformed himself into a bull to carry away Enropa. Thersites calls Menelaus a bull, because he was a cuckold and wore horns.
41 keep this sleeve.] The custom of wearing a
lady's slecrc for a favour, is mentioned in Hall's Chronicle, fol. 12.—" One ware on his head-piece his la"dy's sleeve, and another bare on his helme the glove "of his deareling."
44 By all Diana's waiting-women yonder,} i. e. the stars.
43 And with another knot, jive-fager-tied,] A knot tied by joining hands.
44 Brother, you have a vice of mercy in you, Which better Jits a lion,—]
The traditions and stories of the darker ages abounded with examples of the lion's generosity. Upon the supposition that these acts of clemency were true, Troilus reasons not improperly, that to spare against reason, by mere instinct of pity, became rather a generous beast than a wise man. Johnson.
4* Ofarevell, dear Hector!] The interposition and
clamorous sorrow of Cassandra was copied by the author from Lidgate.
46 bustard Margarclon.] This circumstance
was taken from Lidgate.
"Which when the valiant knight, Margarelon, "One of king Priam's bastard children," &c.
«' on Galathe his horse,] From The Three Destructions of Troy is taken this name given to Hector's horse. Theoiiald,
48 I am unarm'd; forego this 'vantage, Greek.] Hector, in Lidgate's poem, falls by the hand of Achilles; but it is Troilus who, having been inclosed round by the Myrmidons, is killed after his armour had been hewn from his body, which was afterwards drawn through the field at the horse's tail. The Oxford Editor, I believe, was misinformed; for in the old storybook of The Three Destructions of Troy, I find likewise the same account given of the death of Troilus. There may, however, be variation in the copies, of which there are rery many.—Heywood, in his Rape of Lucrece, 1638, seems to have been indebted to some such book as Hanmer mentions.
"Had puissant Hector by Achilles' hand
"Dy'd in a single monomachie, Achilles
"Had been the worthy; but being slain by odds,
"The poorest Myrmidon had as much honour
fr As faint Achilles in the Trojan's death."
49 And, stickler-We,—] A stickler was one who
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