« FöregåendeFortsätt »
A C T I. SCENE I.
Enter Pandarus and Troilus.
Troi. Call here my varlet, I'll unarm again : Why should I war without the walls of Troy, That find fuch cruel battle here within?
The story was originally written by Lollius, an old Lombard author, and fince by Chaucer. POPE.
Mr. Pope (after Dryden) informs us, that the ftory of Troilus and Creffida was originally the work of one Lollius, a Lombard; (of whom Gascoigne fpeaks in Dan Bartholme we bis first Triumph: "Since Lollius and Chaucer both, make doubt upon that glofe") but Dryden goes yet further He declares it to have been written in Latin verse, and that Chaucer tranflated it. Lollius was a historiographer of Urbino in Italy. Shakspeare received the greatest part of his materials for the ftructure of this play from the Troye Boke of Lydgate. Lydgate was not much more than a tranflator of Guido of Columpna, who was of Meffina in Sicily, and wrote his Hiftory of Troy in Latin, after Dictys Cretenfis, and Dares Phrygius, in 1287. On thefe, as Mr. Warton obferves, he engrafted many new romantic inventions, which the tafte of his age dictated, and which the connection between Grecian and Gothic fiction eafily admitted; at the fame time comprehending in his plan the Theban and Argonautic ftories from Ovid, Statius, and Valerius Flaccus. Guido's work was published at Cologne in 1477, again 1480: at Strafburgh 1486, and ibidem 1489. It appears to have been tranflated by Raoul le Feure, at Cologne, into French, from whom Caxton rendered it into Englifh in 1471, under the title of his Recuyel, &c. fo that there must have been yet fome earlier edition of Guido's performance than I have hitherto seen or heard of, unless his first tranflator had recourfe to a manufcript.
Guido of Columpna is referred to as an authority by our own chronicler Grafton. Chaucer had made the loves of Troilus and
Each Trojan, that is mafter of his heart,
Creffida famous, which very probably might have been Shakfpeare's inducement to try their fortune on the stage.-Lydgate's Troye Boke was printed by Pynfon, 1513. In the books of the Stationers' Company, anno 1581, is entered "A proper ballad, dialogue-wife, between Troilus and Creffida." Again, Feb. 7, 1602: "The booke of Troilus and Creffida, as it is acted by my Lo. Chamberlain's men." The firft of these entries is in the name of Edward White, the fecond in that of M. Roberts. Again, Jan. 28, 1608, entered by Rich. Bonian and Hen. Whalley, "A booke called the hiftory of Troilus and Creffida.” STEEVENS.
Troilus and Creffida.] Before this play of Troilus and Creffida, printed in 1609, is a bookfeller's preface, fhewing that first impreffion to have been before the play had been acted, and that it was published without Shakspeare's knowledge, from a copy that had fallen into the bookseller's hands. Mr. Dryden thinks this one of the first of our author's plays: but, on the contrary, it may be judged, from the fore-mentioned preface, that it was one of his last; and the great number of obfervations, both moral and politic, with which this piece is crowded more than any other of his, feems to confirm my opinion. POPE.
We may learn from this preface, that the original proprietors of Shakspeare's plays thought it their intereft to keep them unprinted. The author of it adds, at the conclufion, these words: Thank fortune for the 'fcape it hath made among you, fince, by the grand poffeffors wills, I believe you fhould rather have prayed for them, than have been prayed," &c. By the grand poffeffors, I fuppofe, were meant Heming and Condell. It appears that the rival playhouses at that time made frequent depredations on one another's copies. In the Induction to the Malecontent, written by Webster, and augmented by Marston, 1606, is the following paffage :
"I wonder you would play it, another company having inte reft in it."
Why not Malevole in folio with us, as Jeronimo in decim. fexto with them? They taught us a name for our play; we call it One for another."
Again, T. Heywood, in his preface to the English Traveller, 1633: "Others of them are still retained in the hands of fome actors, who think it against their peculiar profit to have them come in print." STEEVENS.
It appears, however, that frauds were practifed by writers as well as actors. It stands on record against Robert Green, the au
Pan. Will this geer ne'er be mended3? Troi. The Greeks are ftrong, and skilful to their ftrength,
Fierce to their skill, and to their fiercenefs valiant; But I am weaker than a woman's tear,
thor of Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, and Orlando Furiofo, 1594 and 1599, that he fold the laft of thefe pieces to two different theatres: "Mafter R. G. would it not make you blush, &c. if you fold not Orlando Furiofo to the Queen's players for twenty nobles, and when they were in the country, fold the fame play to the Lord Admiral's men for as much more? Was not this plain Coneycatching M. G.?" Defence of Coneycatching, 1592.
This note was not merely inferted to expofe the craft of authorship, but to show the price which was anciently paid for the copy of a play, and to afcertain the name of the writer of Orlando Furiofo, which was not hitherto known. Greene appears to have been the first poet in England who fold the fame piece to different people. Voltaire is much belied, if he has not followed his example. COLLINS.
Notwithstanding what has been faid by a late editor, I have a copy of the first folio, including Troilus and Crefida. Indeed, as I have juft now obferved, it was at firft either unknown or forgotten. It does not however appear in the list of the plays, and is thruft in between the hiftories and the tragedies without any enumeration of the pages; except, I think, on one leaf only. It differs intirely from the copy in the fecond folio. FARMER.
I have confulted eleven copies of the first folio, and Troilus and Creffida is not wanting in any one of them. STEEVENS.
-my varlet,] This word anciently fignified a fervant or footman to a knight or warrior. So, Holinfhed, fpeaking of the battle of Agincourt: "-diverfe were releeved by their varlets, and conveied out of the field." Again, in an ancient epitaph in the church-yard of faint Nicas at Arras: Cy gift Hakin et fon varlet, "Tout di-armè et tout di-pret,
"Avec fon efpé et falloche, &c." Concerning the word varlet, fee Recherches hiftoriques fur les cartes a jouer. Lyon 1757, p. 61. M. C. T.
3 Will this geer ne'er be mended?] There is fomewhat proverbial in this question, which I likewife meet with in the Interlude of K. Darius, 1565:
Wyll not yet this gere be amended,
"Nor your finful acts corrected?" STEEVENS.
Tamer than fleep, + fonder than ignorance;
Pan. Well, I have told you enough of this: for my part, I'll not meddie nor make no further. He, that will have a cake out of the wheat, must tarry the grinding.
Troi. Have I not tarry'd?
Pan. Ay, the grinding; but you must tarry the boulting.
Troi. Have I not tarry'd?
Pan. Ay, the boulting; but you muft tarry the leavening.
Trei. Still have I tarry'd.
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.
Trai. Patience herfelf, what goddefs e'er fhe be, Doth leffer blench at fufferance than I do. At Priam's royal table do I fit;
And when fair Creffid comes into my thoughts,So, traitor! when he comes!-When is the
Pan. Well, the look'd yefter-night fairer than ever I faw her look; or any woman else.
And skill-lefs, &c.] Mr. Dryden, in his alteration of this play, has taken this fpeech as it ftands, except that he has changed fill-lefs to artless, not for the better, because skill-less refers to kill and skilful. JOHNSON.
6 -muft tarry the grinding.] Folio: must needes tarry, &c.
--fonder than ignorance ;] Fonder, for more childish.
Doth leffer blench-] To blench is to fhrink, start, or fly
when he comes! When is fee thence ?] Folio:
Troi. I was about to tell thee,When my heart,
Pan. An her hair were not fomewhat darker than Helen's, (well, go to) there were no more comparison between the women,-But, for my part, fhe is my kinfwoman; I would not, as they term it, praife her, But I would fomebody had heard her talk yefterday, as I did. I will not difpraise your fifter Caffandra's wit: but
Troi. 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 Creffid's love: Thou answer'ft, She is fair; Pour'ft in the open ulcer of my heart Her eyes, her hair, her cheek, her gait; her voice Handleft in thy difcourfe: -O that her hand! In whose comparison all whites are ink,
Pour'ft in the open ulcer of my heart
Her eyes, her hair, her cheek, her gait; her voice,
There is no reason why Troilus fhould dwell on Pandarus's handling in his difcourfe the voice of his mistress, more than her eyes, her hair, &c. as he is made to do by this punctuation, to fay nothing of the harshness of the phrafe-to handle a voice. The paffage, in my apprehenfion, ought to be pointed thus: Thou anfwer'ft, she is fair;
Pour'ft in the open ulcer of my heart
Her eyes, her hair, her cheek, her gait, her voice;
In whofe comparison all whites are ink, &c.
Handleft is here ufed metaphorically, with an allufion at the fame time to its literal meaning; and the jingle between hand and handleft is perfectly in our author's manner.