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Ajax. I do hate a proud man, as I hate the engendering of toads.6 Nest. And yet he loves himself: Is it not strange?
[Aside. Re-enter ULYSSES. Ulyss. Achilles will not to the field to-morrow. Agam. What's his excuse? Uly88.
He doth rely on none; But carries on the stream of his dispose, Without observance or respect of any, In will peculiar and in self-admission.
Agam. Why will he not, upon our fair request, Untent his person, and share the air with us? Ulyss. Things small as nothing, for request's sake
only, He makes important: Possess'd he is with greatness; And speaks not to himself, but with a pride That quarrels at self-breath: imagin'd worth Holds in his blood such swoln and hot discourse, That, 'twixt his mental and his active parts, Kingdom'd Achilles in commotion rages, And batters down himself: What should I say? He is so plaguy proud, 8* that the death tokens of it Cry—No recovery. Agam.
Let Ajax go to him.
power, unto itself most commendable,
the engendering of toads.] Whoever wishes to comprehend the whole force of this allusion, may consult the late Dr. Gold. smith's History of the World, and animated Nature, Vol. VII, p. 92-93. Steedens. 7 Kingdom'd Achilles in commotion rages,] So, in Julius Cæsar
• The genius and the mortal instruments
" The nature of an insurrection.” Malone. 8 He is so plaguy proud, &c.] I cannot help regarding the vul gar epithet-plaguy, which extends the verse beyond its proper length, as the wretched interpolation of some foolish player."
Steevens. * Yet Mr. Steevens, in the note which follows, gives a different explanation to this vulgarism. In fact, to deprive the line of the word plaguy would be to destroy the allusion. Am. Ed.
Dear lord, go you and greet him in his tent:
Ulyss. O Agamemnon, let it not be so!
the death-tokens of it - ) Alluding to the decisive spots appearing on those infected by the plague. So, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Valentinian:
“Now, like the fearful tokens of the plague,
" Are mere fore-runners of their ends." Steevens. Dr. Hodges, in his Treatise on the Plague, says: "Spots of a dark complexion, usually called tokens, and looked on as the pledges or forewarnings of death, are minute and distinct blasts, which have their original from within, and rise up with a little pyramidal protuberance, the pestilential poison chiefly collected at their bases, tainting the neighbouring parts, and reaching to the surface.” Reed. with his own seam;
1;] Swine-seam, in the North, is hog'slard. Ritson. See Sherwood's English and French Dictionary, folio, 1650.
Malone. 2 That were to enlard, &c.] This is only the well-known proverb Grease a fat sow &c. in a more stately dress. Steevens.
to Cancer, when he burns With entertaining great Hyperion.] Cancer is the Crab, a sign in the zodiac.
The same thought is more clearly expressed by Thomson, whose words, on this occasion, are a sufficient illustration of our author's:
“ And Cancer reddens with the solar blaze." Steevens.
And say in thunder-Achilles, go to him.
Nest. O, this is well; he rubs the vein of him. [Aside.
[Aside. Ajax. If I go to him, with my arm'd fist I'll pash him Over the face.
Agam. O, no, you shall not go.
pride : 5 Let me go to him.
Ulyss. Not for the worth that hangs upon our quarrel.
How he describes Himself!
[Aside. Ajax. Can he not be sociable? Ulyss.
The raven Chides blackness.
I'll pash him
when the batt'ring ram
“ Me with his horns to pieces.” Again, in Churchyard's Challenge, 1596, p. 91: “ — the pot which goeth often to the water comes home with a knock, or at length is pashed all to pieces.” Reed. pheeze his pride :] To pheeze is to comb or curry.
Fohnson. Mr. Steevens has explained the word Feaze, as Dr. Johnson does, to mean the untwisting or unravelling a knotted skain of silk or thread. I recollect no authority for this use of it. To feize is to drive away; and the expression—I'll feize his pride, may signify, I'll humble or lower his pride. See Vol. VI, p. 11, n. i.
Whalley. To comb or curry, undoubtedly, is the meaning of the word here. Kersey, in his Dictionary, 1708, says that it is a sea-term, and that it signifies, to separate a cable by untwisting the ends; and Dr. Johnson gives a similar account of its original meaning. (See the reference at the end of the foregoing note.] But whatever may have been the origin of the expression, it undoubtedly signified, in our author's time, to beat, knock, strike, or whip. Cole, in his Latin Dictionary, 1679, renders it, flugellare, virgis cædere, as he does to feage, of which the modern school-boy term, to fag, is a corruption. Malone.
6 Not for the worth —] Not for the value of all for which we are fighting Fohnson.
I will let his humours blood.7 Agam. He'll be physician,' that should be the patient.
[./side. Ajax. An all men Were oʻmy mind, Ulyss.
Wit would be out of fashion. [.Aside. Ajax. He should not bear it so, He should eat swords first: Shall pride carry it? Nest. An 'twould, you'd carry half.
He'd have ten shares. [Aside. Ajax. I'll knead him, I will make him supple :Nest. He's not yet thorough warm: force him with
praises: Pour in, pour in; his ambition is dry.
Aside. Ulyss. My lord, you feed too much on this dislike.
[To AGAM. Nest. O noble general, do not do so. Dio. You must prepare to fight without Achilles.
Uly88. Why, 'tis this naming of him does him harm, Here is a man But 'tis before his face; I will be silent. Nest. Wherefore should
7 I will let his humours blood.] In the year 1600 a collection of Epigrams and Satires was published with this quaint title: The Letting of Humours Blood in the Head-vaine. Malone.
8 He'll be physician,) Old copies--the physician. Steevens. 9 I'll knead him, &c.] Old copy: Ajax. I'll knead him, I'll make him supple, he's not yet
Nest. force him with praises : &c. The latter part of Ajax's speech is certainly got out of place, and ought to be assigned to Nestor, as I have ventured to transpose it. Ajax is feeding on his vanity, and boasting what he will do to Achilles; he 'll pash him o'er the face, he'll make him eat swords, he 'll knead him, he 'll supple him, &c. Nestor and Ulysses slily labour to keep him up in this vein ; and to this end Nestor craftily hints that Ajax is not warm yet, but must be crammed with more flattery. Theobald.
Nestor was of the same opinion with Dr. Johnson, who, speaking of a metaphysical Scotch writer, said, that he thought there
as much charity in helping a man down hill as up bill, if his tendency be downwards." See Boswell's Tour to the Hebrides, third edit. p. 245. Malone.
-force him - ) i.e. stuff him. Farcir, Fr. So again, in this play: malice forced with wit.” Steevens.
He is not emulous, 1 as Achilles is.
Uly88. Know the whole world, he is as valiant.
Ajax. A whoreson dog, that shall palterthus with us!
What a vice
If he were proud ?
Ay, or surly borne?
1 He is not emulous,] Emulous is here used, in an ill sense, for envious. See p. 77, n. 9. Malone.
Emulous, in this instance, and perhaps in some others, may well enough be supposed to signify-jealous of higher authority.
Steevens. that shall palter -] That shall juggle with us, or fly from his engagements. So, in Julius Gesar :
what other band
she that gave thee suck:] This is from St. Luke, xi, 27: « Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.” Steevens.
- beyond all erudition:] Thus the folio. The quartos, erroneously:
beyond all thy erudition. Steevens. 5 Bull-beuring Milo his addition yield - ) i. e. yield his titles, his celebrity for strength. Addition, in legal language, is the title given to each party, showing his degree, occupation, &c. as esquire, gentleman, yeoman, merchant, &c.
Our author here, as usual, pays no regard to chronology. Milo of Croton lived long after the Trojan war. Malone.
like a bourn,] A bourn is a boundary, and sometimes a VOL. XII.