« PreviousContinue »
But gives all gaze and bent of amorous view
Tro. Shall I, sweet lord, be bound to you so much,
You shall command me, sir.
Tro. O, sir, to such as boasting show their scars,
ACT V..... SCENE I.
The Grecian Camp. Before Achilles' Tent.
Enter ACHILLES and PATROCLUS. Achil. I 'll heat his blood with Greekish wine to-night, Which with my scimitar I'll cool to-morrow.2Patroclus, let us feast him to the height.3 Patr. Here comes Thersites.
Enter THERSITES. Achil.
How now, thou core of envy? Thou crusty batch of nature,“ what's the news?
2 I'll heat his blood with Greekish wine to-night,
Which with my scimitar I'll cool to-morrow.] Grammar requires us to read
With Greekish wine to-night I'll heat his blood,
Which &c. Otherwise, Achilles threatens to cool the wine, instead of Hector's blood. Steevens.
to the height. ] The same phrase occurs in K. Henry VIII.
“ He's traitor to the height.” Steevens. 4 Thou crusty batch of nature,] Batch is changed by Theobald to botch, and the change is justified by a pompous note, which discovers that he did not know the word batch. What is more strange, Hanmer has followed him. Batch is any thing baked.
Ther. Why, thou picture of what thou seemest, and idol of idiot-worshippers, here's a letter for thee.
Achil. From whence, fragment? Ther. Why, thou full dish of fool, from Troy. Patr. Who keeps the tent now? Ther. The surgeon's box, or the patient's wound. Patr. Well said, Adversity and what need these tricks?
Ther. Prythee be silent, boy; I profit not by thy talk: thou art thought to be Achilles' male varlet.
Patr. Male variet,? you rogue! what's that?
Batch does not signify any thing baked, but all that is baked at one time, without heating the oven afresh. So, Ben Jonson, in his Catiline :
“Escept he were of the same meal and batch." Again, in Decker's If this be not a good Play the Devil is in it, 1612: “ The best is, there are but two batches of people moulded in this world.”
Again, in Summer': Last Will and Testament, 1600: “Hast wou
made a good batch? I pray thee give me a new leaf.” Again, in Every Man in his Humour : “Is all the rest of this batch?"
Thersites had already been called cobloaf. Steevens.
5 The surgeon's box,] In this answer Thersites only quibbles upon the word tent. Hanmer.
6 Well said, Adversity!) Adversity, I believe, in this instance, signifies contrariety. The reply of Thersites has been studiously adverse to the drift of the question urged by Patroclus. So, in Love's Labour's Lost, the Princess, addressing Boyet, (who had been capriciously employing bimself to perplex the dialogue) says "avaunt, Perplexity." Steevens.
7 Male varlet,] Sir T. Hanmer- Male harlot, plausibly enough except that it seems too plain to require the explanation which Patroclus demands. Johnson.
This expression is met with in Deckar's Honest Whore: “ ~ 'tis a male varlet, sure, my lord!" Farmer.
The person spoken of in Decker's play is Bellafronte, a harlot, who is introduced in boy's clothes. I have no doubt that the text is right. Malone.
There is nothing either criminal or extraordinary in a male warlet. The word preposterous is well adapted to express the idea of Thersites. The sense therefore requires that we should adopt Hanıner's amendment. M. Mason.
Man-inistress is a term of reproach thrown out by Dorax, in Dryden's Don Sebastian, King of Portugal. See, however, Profes. sor Heyne's 17th Excursus on the first Book of the Æncid, edit: 1787, p. 161. Steeders.
Ther. Why, his masculine whore. Now the rotten diseases of the south, the guts-griping, ruptures, catarrhs, loads o' gravel i' the back, lethargies, cold palsies, 8 raw eyes, dirt-rotten livers, wheezing lungs, bladders full of imposthume, sciaticas, limekilns i'the palm, incurable bone-ach, and the rivelled fee-simple of the tetter, take and take again such preposterous discoveries!
Patr. Why thou damnable box of envy, thou, what meanest thou to curse thus?
Ther. Do I curse thee?
Patr. Why, no, you ruinous butt;' you whoreson indistinguishable cur,1* no.
Ther. No? why art thou then exasperate, thou idle immaterial skein of sleive silk,2 thou green sarcenet flap for a sore eye, thou tassel of a prodigal’s purse, thou? Ah, how the poor world is pestered with such water-flies;3 diminutives of nature !4
Patr. Out, gall!
- cold palsies,] This catalogue of loathsome maladies ends in the folio at cold palsies. This passage, as it stands, is in the quarto: the retrenchment was, in my opinion, judicious. It ma; be remarked, though it proves nothing, that, of the few alterations made by Milton in the second edition of his wonderful poem, one was, an enlargement of the enumeration of diseases. Fohnson.
- you ruinous butt; &c.] Patroclus reproaches Thersites with deformity, with having one part crowded into another. Fohnson. The same idea occurs in The Second Part of King Henry IV: " Crowd us and crush us to this monstrous form.” Steevens.
indistinguishable cur,] i. e. thou cur of an undeterminate shape. Steevens.
* I think the meaning is, cur of an undistinguishable breedso deformed, that no class of the species can claim him.
Am. Ed. thou idle immaterial skein of sleive silk,] All the terms used by Thersites of Patroclus, are emblematically expressive of flexibility, compliance, and mean officiousness. Johnson.
- such water-fies;] So, Hamlet, speaking of Osrick:
be shown “ For poor'st diminutives, for dolts, —.” Steevens. 5 Out, gall!] Sir T. Hanmer reads-nut-gall, which answers well enough to finch-egs; it has already appeared, that our author
Ther. Finch egg!6
Achil. My sweet Patroclus, I am thwarted quite
[Exeunt Achil. and Patr. Ther. With too much blood, and too little brain, these two may run mad; but if with too much brain, and too little blood, they do, I 'll be a curer of madmen. Here 's Agamemnon,-an honest fellow enough, and one that loves quails; but he has not so much brain as ear-wax: And the goodly transformation of Jupiter there, his brother, the bull,
the primitive statue, and oblique memorial of cuckolds;& a thrifty shoeing-horn in a chain,
thought the nut-gall the bitter gall. He is called nut, from the conglobation of his form; but both the copies read-Out gall!
Fohnson. 6 Finch egg!) of this reproach I do not know the exact meaningI suppose he means to call him singing bird, as implying an useless favourite, and yet more, something more worthless, a singing bird in the egg, or generally, a slight thing easily crushed.
Fohnson A finch's egg is remarkably gaudy; but of such terms of re. proach it is difficult to pronounce the true signification. Steevens.
7 A token from her daughter, &c.] This is a circumstance taken from the story book of The Three Destructions of Troy. Hanmer.
8 And the goodly transformation of Jupiter there, his brother, the bull,--the primitive statue, and oblique memorial of cuckolds ;) He calls Menelaus the transformation of Jupiter, that is, as himself explains it, the bull, on account of his horns, which he had as a cuckold. This cuckold he calls the primitive statue of cuckolds ; i.e. his story had made him so famous, that he stood as the great archetype of his character. Warburton.
Mr. Heath observes, that “the memorial is called oblique, because it was only indirectly such, upon the common supposition, that both bulls and cuckolds were furnished with horns.” Steevens.
Perhaps Shakspeare meant nothing more by this epithet than horned, the bull's horns being crooked or oblique. Dr. Warburton, I think, mistakes. It is the bull, not Menelaus, that is the primitive statue, &c. Malone.
hanging at his brother's leg, to what form, but that he is, should wit larded with malice, and malice forced with wit,o turn him to? To an ass, were nothing; he is both ass and ox: to an ox were nothing; he is both ox and ass. To be a dog, a mule, a cat, a fitchew, a toad, a lizard, an owl, a puttock, or a herring without a roe, I would not care: but to be Menelaus, I would conspire against destiny. Ask me not what I would be, if I were not Thersites; for I care not to be the louse of a lazar, so I were not Menelaus.--Hey-day! spirits and fires !? Enter HECTOR, TROILUS, AJAX, AGAMEMNON, ULYSSES, NESTOR, MENELAUS, and DIOMED, with Lights. Agam. We go wrong, we go wrong. Ajax.
No, yonder 'tis;
I trouble you.
Here comes himself to guide you.
Enter ACHILLES. Achil. Welcome, brave Hector; welcome, princes all. Agam. So now, fair prince of Troy, I bid good night.
- forced with wit,] Stuffed with wit. A term of cookery. In this speech I do not well understand what is meant by loving quails. Yohnson.
By loving quails the poet may mean loving the company of har. lots. A quail is remarkably salacious. Mr. Upton says that Xenophon, in his memoirs of Socrates, has taken notice of this quality in the bird. A similar allusion occurs in The Hollander, a comedy, by Glapthorne, 1640:
“the hot desire of quails,
“ To yours is modest appetite.” Steevens. In old French, caille was synonymous to fille de joie. In the Dict. Comique par le Roux, under the article caille, are these words:
“ Chaud comme une caille.
“Caille coeffée,-Sobriquet qu'on donne aux femmes. Signifie femme eveillée, amoureuse."
So, in Rabelais : :-“ Cailles coiffées mignonnement chantans;" which Motteux has thus rendered (probably from the old trans. lation): “coated quails and laced mutton, waggishly singing."
Malone. 1- a fitchew,] i e. a polecat. So, in Othello: "'Tis such another fitchew, marry a perfum'd one - Steevens.
- spirits and fires'] This Thersites speaks upon the first sight of the distant lights. Fohnson.