Sidor som bilder

And, hark, what difcord follows! each thing meets
In mere oppugnancy: The bounded waters
Should lift their bofoms higher than the fhores,
And make a fop of all this folid globe:
Strength fhould be lord of imbecility,

And the rude fon fhould ftrike his father dead:
Force should be right; or, rather, right and wrong,
(Between whose endless jar juftice refides,)
Should lose their names, and fo fhould juftice too.
Then every thing includes itself in power,
Power into will, will into appetite;
And appetite, an univerfal wolf,

So doubly feconded with will and power,
Muft make perforce an univerfal prey,

And, laft, eat up himself. Great Agamemnon,
This chaos, when degree is fuffocate,
Follows the choking.


And this neglection of degree it is,

That by a pace goes backward, with a purpose
It hath to climb. The general's difdain'd
By him one step below; he, by the next;
That next, by him beneath: fo every step,
Exampled by the firft pace that is fick
Of his fuperior, grows to an envious fever


[ocr errors]

mere oppugnancy:] Mere is abfolute. So, in Hamlet: things rank and grofs in nature

"Poffefs it merely." STEEVENS.


- this neglection—] This uncommon word occurs again in Pericles, 1609:


-If neglection

"Should therein make me vile,


• That by a pace-] That goes backward ftep by step.


with a purpose

It bath to climb. With a defign in each man to aggrandize himself, by flighting his immediate fuperior. JOHNSON.

Thus the quarto. Folio:-in a purpose, MALONE.

Of pale and bloodlefs emulation:"

And 'tis this fever that keeps Troy on foot,
Not her own finews. To end a tale of length,
Troy in our weakness ftands, not in her strength.
NEST. Moft wifely hath Ulyffes here discover'd
The fever whereof all our power is fick.

AGAM. The nature of the ficknefs found, Ulyffes, What is the remedy?

ULrss. The great Achilles,-whom opinion


The finew and the forehand of our hoft,-
Having his ear full of his airy fame,'
Grows dainty of his worth, and in his tent
Lies mocking our defigns: With him, Patroclus,
Upon a lazy bed, the livelong day

Breaks fcurril jefts;

And with ridiculous and aukward action (Which, flanderer, he imitation calls,)

He pageants us. Sometime, great Agamemnon,
Thy topless deputation he puts on;

And, like a strutting player,-whose conceit
Lies in his hamstring, and doth think it rich
To hear the wooden dialogue and found

bloodlefs emulation:] An emulation not vigorous and active, but malignant and fluggish. JOHNSON.

2our power-] i. e. our army. So, in another of our author's plays:

"Who leads his power?" STEEVENS.

3 his airy fame,] Verbal elogium; what our author in Macbeth has called mouth honour. See p. 249, note. MALONE. 4 Thy toplefs deputation-] Topless is that which has nothing topping or overtopping it; fupreme; fovereign. JOHNSON. So, in Doctor Fauftus, 1604:

"Was this the face that launch'd a thousand ships,

"And burnt the topless towers of Ilium ?"

Again, in The Blind Beggar of Alexandria, 1598:

"And topless honours be beftow'd on thee." STEEVENS.

'Twixt his stretch'd footing and the fcaffoldage,-
Such to-be-pitied and o'er-wrefsted seeming
He acts thy greatnefs in: and when he speaks,
'Tis like a chime a mending;' with terms un-

Which, from the tongue of roaring Typhon dropp'd,
Would feem hyperboles. At this fufty stuff,
The large Achilles, on his prefs'd bed lolling,
From his deep cheft laughs out a loud applaufe;
Cries-Excellent!-'tis Agamemnon juft.-
Now play me Neftor;-hem, and stroke thy beard,
As be, being 'dreft to fome oration.


That's done;-as near as the extremeft ends
Of parallels; as Vulcan and his wife:
Yet good Achilles ftill cries, Excellent!

'Tis Neftor right! Now play him me, Patroclus,

'Twixt his ftretch'd footing and the scaffoldage,] The galleries of the theatre, in the time of our author, were fometimes termed the fcaffolds. See The Account of the ancient Theatres, Vol. II. MALONE.

6 — o'er-wrefted feeming—] i. e. wrefted beyond the truth; overcharged. Both the old copies, as well as all the modern editions, have-o'er-refted, which affords no meaning.


Over-wrested is-wound up too high. A wreft was an inftrument for tuning a harp, by drawing up the ftrings. See Mr. Douce's note on Act III. fc. iii. STEEVENS.

7-a chime a mending;] To this comparison the praife of originality must be allowed. He who, like myself, has been in the tower of a church while the chimes were repairing, will never wish a second time to be prefent at fo diffonantly noify an operation. STEEVENS.

8 —unfquar'd,] i. e. unadapted to their fubject, as stones are unfitted to the purposes of architecture, while they are yet unSquared. STEEVENS.

9 as near as the extremeft ends

Of parallels;] The parallels to which the allufion feems to be made, are the parallels on a map. As like as caft to west.





Arming to answer in a night alarm.

And then, forfooth, the faint defects of age
Must be the scene of mirth; to cough, and fpit,
And with a palfy-fumbling on his gorget,


Shake in and out the rivet :—and at this sport,
Sir Valour dies; cries, O!-enough, Patroclus ;-
Or give me ribs of steel! I shall split all
In pleasure of my Spleen. And in this fashion,
All our abilities, gifts, natures, shapes,
Severals and generals of grace exact,
Achievements, plots,' orders, preventions,
Excitements to the field, or fpeech for truce,
Succefs, or lofs, what is, or is not, ferves
As ftuff for thefe two to make paradoxes."

NEST. And in the imitation of these twain
(Whom, as Ulyffes fays, opinion crowns
With an imperial voice,) many are infect.
Ajax is grown felf-will'd; and bears his head

8 a pally-fumbling-] Old copies give this as two diftinct words. But it should be written-pally-fumbling, i. e. paralytick fumbling. TYRWHITT.

Fumbling is often applied by our old English writers to the fpeech. So, in King John, 1591:

[ocr errors]

he fumbleth in the mouth;

"His fpeech doth fail.”

Again, in North's Translation of Plutarch:

he heard his wife Calphurnia being faft afleepe, weepe and
figh, and put forth many fumbling lamentable fpeaches." "Shak-
fpeare, I believe, wrote in his
gorget. MALONE.

On feems to be used for-at. So, p. 268: " Pointing on him."
i, e. at him. STEEVENS.

All our abilities, gifts, natures, shapes,

Severals and generals of grace exact,

Achievements, plots, &c.] All our good grace exa&t, means

our excellence irreprehenfible. JOHNSON.


to make paradoxes.] Paradoxes may have a meaning, but it is not clear and diftinct. I wish the copies had given:

to make parodies.



In fuch a rein,' in full as proud a place
As broad Achilles: keeps his tent like him;
Makes factious feafts; rails on our state of war,
Bold as an oracle: and fets Therfites

(A flave, whofe gall coins flanders like a mint,8) To match us in comparisons with dirt;

To weaken and difcredit our expofure,

How rank foever rounded in with danger."

ULrss. They tax our policy, and call it cowardice;

Count wisdom as no member of the war;

Foreftall prescience, and efteem no act

But that of hand: the still and mental parts,— That do contrive how many hands fhall strike, When fitness calls them on; and know, by meafure

Of their obfervant toil, the enemies' weight,2-
Why, this hath not a finger's dignity:

They call this-bed-work, mappery, clofet war:
So that the ram, that batters down the wall,
For the great fwing and rudeness of his poize,
They place before his hand that made the engine;

[blocks in formation]

In fuch a rein,] That is, holds up his head as haughtily. ftill fay of a girl, fhe bridles. JOHNSON.


8 whofe gall coins flanders like a mint,] i. e. as fast as a mint coins money. See Vol. VIII. p. 415, n. 9.


9 How rank foever rounded in with danger.] A rank weed is a high weed. The modern editions filently read:


How hard foever

and know, by measure


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

and know the meafure,

By their obfervant toil, of the enemies' weight. JOHNSON.

by measure] That is, " by means of their obfervant toil.”


« FöregåendeFortsätt »