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All fears attending on so dire a project.
For what, alas, can these my single arms?
What propugnation is in one man's valour,
To stand the push and enmity of those
This quarrel would excite? Yet, I protest,
Were I alone to pass the difficulties,
And had as ample power as I have will,
Paris should ne'er retract what he hath done,
Nor faint in the pursuit.
Pri.

Paris, you speak
Like one besotted on your sweet delights:
You have the honey still, but these the gall;
So to be valiant, is no praise at all.

Par. Sir, I propose not merely to myself
The pleasures such a beauty brings with it;
But I would have the soil of her fair rapes
Wip'd off, in honourable keeping her.
What treason were it to the ransack'd queen,
Disgrace to your great worths, and shame to me,
Now to deliver her possession up,
On terms of base compulsion? Can it be,
That so degenerate a strain as this,
Should once set footing in your generous bosoms?
There 's not the meanest spirit on our party,
Without a heart to dare, or sword to draw,
When Helen is defended; nor none so noble,
Whose life were ill bestow'd, or death unfam'd,
Where Helen is the subject: then, I say,
Well may we fight for her, whom, we know well,
The world's large spaces cannot parallel.

Hect. Paris, and Troilus, you have both said well;
And on the cause and question now in hand
Have gloz’d, 6--but superficially; not much

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her fair rape – ] Rape, in our author's time, commonly signified the carrying away of a female. Malone.

It has always borne that, as one of its significations; raptus Helenæ (without any idea of personal violence) being constantly rendered--the rape of Helen. Steevens. 6 Have gloz'd,] So, io Spenser's Fairy Queen, Book III, viii, 14:

could well bis glozing speeches frame." To gloze, in this instance, means to insinuate; but, in Shakspeare, to comment. So, in King Henry V:

“ Which Salique land the French unjustly gloze
66 To be the realm of France.” Steevens.

Unlike young men, whom Aristotle' thought
Unfit to hear moral philosophy :
The reasons, you allege, do more conduce
To the hot passion of distemper'd blood,
Than to make up a free determination
'Twixt right and wrong; For pleasure, and revenge,
Have ears more deaf than adders 8 to the voice
Of any true decision. Nature craves,
All dues be render'd to their owners; Now
What nearer debt in all humanity,
Than wife is to the husband ? if this law
of nature be corrupted through affection;
And that great minds, of partial indulgence 9
To their benumbed wills, 1 resist the same;
There is a law2 in each well-order'd nation,
To curb those raging appetites that are
Most disobedient and refractory.

· Aristotle -] Let it be remembered, as often as Shakspeare's anachronisms occur, that errors in computing time were very frequent in those ancient romances which seem to have formed the greater part of his library. I may add, that even classick authors are not exempt from such mistakes. In the fifth Book of Statius's Thebaid, Amphiaraus talks of the fates of Nestor and Priam, neither of whom died till long after him. If on this occasion, somewhat should be attributed to his augural pro. fession, yet if he could so freely mention, nay, even quote as ex. amples to the whole army, things that would not happen till the next age, they must all have been prophets as well as himself, or they could not have understood him.

Hector's mention of Aristotle, however, (during our ancient propensity to quote the authorities of the learned on every occasion) is not more absurd than the following circumstances in The Dialoges of Creatures Moralysed, bl. 1. po date, (a book which Shakspeare might have seen) where we find God Almighty quoting Cato. See Dial. IV. I may add, on this subject, that during an altercation between Noah and his Wife, in one of the Chester Whitsun Playes, the Lady swears by-Christ and Saint John.

Steeve me 8 more deaf than adders -) See Vol. X, p. 197, n. 3.

Steevens. - of partial indulgence -] i. e. through partial indulgence.

M. Mëson. benumbed wills,] That is, inflexible, immoveable, no longer obedient to superior direction. Johnson.

2 There is a law -] What the law does in every nation between individuals, justice ought to do between nations. Fohnson.

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If Helen then be wife to Sparta's king,
As it is known she is,—these moral laws
Of nature, and of nations, speak aloud
To have her back return’d: Thus to persist
In doing wrong, extenuates not wrong,
But makes it much more heavy. Hector's opinion
Is this, in way of truth:3 yet, ne'ertheless,
My spritely brethren, I propend to you
In resolution to keep Helen still;
For 'tis a cause that hath no mean dependance
Upon our joint and several dignities.

Tro. Why, there you touch'd the life of our design:
Were it not glory that we more affected
Than the performance of our heaving spleens,
I would not wish a drop of Trojan blood
Spent more in her defence. But, worthy Hector,
She is a theme of honour and renown;
A spur to valiant and magnanimous deeds;
Whose present courage may beat down our foes,
And fame, in time to come, canonize us:5
For, I presume, brave Hector would not lose
So rich advantage of a promis'd glory,
As smiles upon the forehead of this action,
For the wide world's revenue.
Hect.

I am yours,
You valiant offspring of great Priamus.--
I have a roisting challenge sent amongst
The dull and factious nobles of the Greeks,
Will strike amazement to their drowsy spirits:
I was advertis'd, their great general slept,
Whilst emulations in the army crept;
This, I presume, will wake him.

[Exeunt.

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3 Is this, in way of truth:] Though considering truth and justice in this question, this is my opinion ; yet as a question of honour, I think on it as you. Johnson.

the performance of our heaving spleens,] The execution of spite and resentment. Johnson.

canonize us :) The hope of being registered as a saint, is rather out of its place at so early a period, as this of the Trojan

Steevens.

- emulation - ] That is, envy, factious contention. Fohnson. Emulation is now never used in an ill sense; but Shakspeare meant to employ it so. He has used the same with more pro. VOL. XII.

H

war.

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SCENE III.

The Grecian Camp. Before Achilles' Tent.

Enter THERSITES. Ther. How now, Thersites? what, lost in the labyrinth of thy fury? Shall the elephant Ajax carry it thus? he beats me, and I rail at him: O worthy satisfaction! 'would, it were otherwise; that I could beat him, whilst he railed at me: 'Sfoot, I'll learn to conjure and raise devils, but I'll see some issue of my spiteful execrations. Then there's Achilles—a rare engineer.? If Troy be not taken till these two undermine it, the walls will stand till they fall of themselves. O thou great thunderdarter of Olympus, forget that thou art Jove the king of gods; and, Mercury, lose all the serpentine craft of thy Caduceus ;8 if ye take not that little little less-than-little wit from them that they have! which short-armed ignorance itself knows is so abundant scarce, it will not in circumvention deliver a fly from a spider, without drawing their massy irons,

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priety in a former scene, by adding epithets that ascertain its meaning:

- so every step,
Exampled by the first pace that is sick
“ Of his superior, grows to an envious fever

“Of pale and bloodless emulation.Malone. 7. a rare engineer.] The old copies bave-enginer, which was the old spelling of engineer. So, truncheoner, pioner, mutiner, sonneter, &c. Malone.

the serpentine craft of th, Caduceus;] The wand of Mer. cury is wreathed with serpents. So Martial, Lib. VII, Epig. Ixxiv.

Cyllenes cælique decus ! facunde minister,

Aurea cui torto virga dracone viret. Steedens.

- without drawing their massy irons,] That is, without draw. ing their swords to cut the web. They use no means but those of violence. Johnson.

Thus the quarto. The folio reads--the massy irons. In the late editions iron has been substituted for irons, the word found in the old copies, and certainly the true reading. So, in King Richard III:

“ Put in their hands thy bruising irons of wrath,
“ That they may crush down with a heavy fall
“ The usurping helmets of our adversaries.” Malone.

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and cutting the web. After this, the vengeance on the whole camp! or, rather, the bone-ache!1 for that, methinks, is the curse dependant on those that war for a placket. I have said my prayers; and devil, envy, say Amen. What, ho! my lord Achilles !

Enter PATROCLUS. Patr. Who's there? Thersites? Good Thersites, come in and rail.

Ther. If I could have remembered a gilt counterfeit, thou wouldest not have slipped out of my contemplation :3 but it is no matter; Thyself upon thyself! The common curse of mankind, folly and ignorance, be thine in great revenue! heaven bless thee from a tutor, and discipline come not near thee! Let thy blood be thy direction4 till thy death! then if she, that lays thee out, says thou art a fair corse, I'll be sworn and sworn upon 't, she never shrouded any but lazars. Amen. Where's Achilles?

Patr. What, art thou devout? wast thou in prayer? Ther. Ay; The heavens hear me!

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Bruising irons, in this quotation, as Mr. Henley has well observed in loco, signify-maces, weapons formerly used by our English cavalry See Grose on ancient Armour, p. 53. Steevens. the bone-ache ! ] In the quarto--the Neapolitan bone-ache !

Fohnson. that war for a placket.] On this occasion Horace must be our expositor:

-fuit ante Helenam ****** teterrima belli

Causa
Sat. Lib. I, iii, 107. Steevens.

In mine opinion, this remark enlumineth not the English reader. See mine handling of the same subject, in the play of King Lear, Act III, sc. iv, Vol. XIV. Amner.

3 If I could have remembered a gilt counterfeit, thou wouldest not have slipped out of my contemplation:) Here is a plain allusion to the counterfeit piece of money called a slip, which occurs again in Romeo and Juliet, Act II, sc. iv, and which has been happily illustrated by Mr. Reed, in a note on that passage. There is the same allusion in Every Man in his Humour, Act II, sc. v.

Whalley. 4 Let thy blood be thy direction - ] Thy blood means, thy passions; thy natural propensities. See Vol. V, p. 136, n. 5. Malone.

So, in The Yorkshire Tragedy: “ for 'tis our blood to love what we are forbidden ” This word has the same sense in Timon of Athens and Cymbeline. Steevens.

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