« AnteriorContinuar »
To feed for aye her lamp and flames of love;s
Cres. In that I'll war with you.
O virtuous fight,
6 To feed for aye her lamp &c.] Troilus alludes to the perpetual lamps which were supposed to illuminate sepulchres :
“ - lasting flames, that burn
" To light the dead, and warm th’unfruitful urn." See my note on Pericles, Act III, sc. i. Steevens.
7— swifter than blood decays!) Blood, in Shakspeare, fre. quently means desire, appetite. Malone.
In the present instance, the word blood has its common signification. So, in Much Ado about Nothing :
“ Time hath not yet so dry'd this blood -.” Steevens. 8 Might be affronted with the match_] I wish “ my integrity might be met and matched with such equality and force of pure unmingled love." Johnson. So, in Hamlet:
"- that he, as 'twere by accident, may here
« Affront Ophelia.” Steevens. 9 And simpler than the infancy of truth.) This is fine; and means, “Ere truth, to defend itself against deceit in the commerce of the world, had, out of necessity, learned worldly policy.”
Warburton 1- compare,] i. e, comparison. So Milton, Paradise Lost, B. III:
“ Beyond compare the son of God was seen –,” Steevens 2 True swains in love shall, in the world to come,
Approve their truths by Troilus: when their rhymnes,
As true as steel, 3 as plantage to the moon,** as the sense, of the last verse, will be improved, I think, by reading:
“Want similes of truth, tir’d with iteration," So, a little lower in the same speech:
Yet after all comparisons of truth. Tyrwhitt. This is a very probable conjecture. Truth at present has no verb to which it can relate. Malone.
3 As true as steel,1 As true as steel is an ancient proverbial simile. I find it in Lydgate's Troy Book, where he speaks of Troilus, L. II, ch. xvi:
“ Thereto in love trewe as any stele." Virgil, Æneid VII, 640, applies a similar epithet to a sword:
" fidoque accingitur ense." i.e. a weapon in the metal of which he could confide; a trusty blade. It should be observed, however, that Geo. Gascoigne, in his Steele Glass, 1576, bestows the same character on his Mirrour:
“ this poore glass which is of trustie steele." Again:
" that steele both trusty was and true.” Steevens. Mirrors formerly being made of steel, I once thought the meaning might be, “as true as the mirror, which faithfully exhibits every image that is presented before it.” But I now think with Mr. Steevens, that-As true as steel was merely a proverbial expression, without any such allusion. A passage in an old piece entitled The Pleasures of Poetry, no date, but printed in the time of Queen Elizabeth, will admit either interpretation:
“ Behold in her the lively glasse,
“ The pattern, true as steel.” Malone. 4- as plantage to the moon,] Alluding to the common opinion of the influence the moon has over what is planted or sown, which was therefore done in the increase:
“ Rite Latonæ puerum canentes,
Warburton. Plantage is not, I believe, a general term, but the herb which we now call plantain, in Latin, plantago, which was, I suppose, imagined to be under the peculiar influence of the moon. Fohnson.
Shakspeare speaks of plantain by its common appellation in Romeo and Juliet; and yet, in Sapho and Phao, 1591, Mandrake is called Mandrage:
“Sow next thy vines mandrage.” From a book entitled The profitable Art of Gardening, &c. by Tho. Hill, Londoner, the third edition, printed in 1579, I learn, that neither sowing, planting, nor grafting, were ever undertaken without a scrupulous attention to the encrease or waning of the moon. -Dryden does not appear to have understood the passage, and has therefore altered it thus:
As sun to day, as turtle to her mate,
Prophet may you be!
« As true as flowing tides are to the moon." Steevens. This may be fully illustrated by a quotation from Scott's Discoverie of Witchcraft: “ The poore busbandman perceiveth that the increase of the moone maketh plants frutefull: so as in the full moone they are in the best strength; decaieing in the wane ; and in the conjunction do utterlie wither and vade.” Farmer.
*This opinion governs the practice of the generality of the farmers, in the neighbourhood of Philadelphia, especially those of German descent, at the present day. Am. Ed. 5 As iron to adamant,] So, in Greene's Tu quoque, 1614.
“ As true to thee as steel to adamant." Malone. 6 As truth's authentick author to be cited,] Troilus shall crown the verse, as a man to be cited as the authentick author of truth; as one whose protestations were true to a proverb. Johnson.
7 crown up the verse, 1 i. e. conclude it. Finis coronat opus So, in Chapman's version of the second Iliad:
“ We flie, not putting on the crowne of our so long-held
warre.” Steevens. 8 And blind oblivion swallow'd cities up,] So, in King Richard III, quarto, 1598:
"And almost shoulder'd in this swallowing gulph
“Of blind forgetfulness and dark oblivion." Malone. 9 Tro. when their rhymes, . Want similes As true as Troilus shall crown up the verse -
Pan. Go to, a bargain made: seal it, seal it; I'll be the witness.—Here I hold your hand; here, my cousin's. If ever you prove false one to another, since I have taken such pains to bring you together, let all pitiful goers-between be called to the world's end after my name, call them all Pandars; let all constant men 1*
As false as Cressid.] This antithesis of praise and censure appears to have found an imitator in Edmund Smith, the author of Phædra and Hippolytus:
.Would sink some impious woman down to hell,
dra.” Act V. Steevens. 1 constant men - ] Though Sir T. Hanmer's emendation [inconstant) be plausible, I believe Shakspeare wrote-constant. He seems to have been less attentive to make Pandar taik consequentially, than to account for the ideas actually annexed to the three names. Now it is certain that, in his time, a Troilus was as clear an expression for a constant lover, as a Cressida and a Pandar were for a jilt and a pimp. Tyrwhitt.
I entirely agree with Mr. Tyrwhitt, and am happy to have his opinion in support of the reading of the old copy, from which, in my apprehension, we ought not to deviate, except in cases of extreme necessity. Of the assertion in the latter part of his note, relative to the constancy of Troilus, various proofs are furnished by our old poets. So, in A gorgeous Gallery of gallant Inventions, &c. 4to. 1578:
“But if thou me forsake,
“As Cressid that forgot
« True Troilus, her make,” &c. Again, ibid:
* As Troilus' truth shall be my shieid,
“To kepe my pen from blame,
“For to resound thy shame." Mr. M. Mason objects, that constant cannot be the true reading, because Pandarus has already supposed that they should both prove false to each other, and it would therefore be absurd for him to say that Troilus should be quoted as an example of con. stancy. But to this the answer is, that Shakspeare himself knew
be Troiluses, all false women Cressids, and all brokersbetween Pandars! say, amen.
Pan. Amen. Whereupon I will show you a chamber and a bed, 2 which bed, because it shall not speak of your pretty encounters, press it to death: away.
And Cupid grant all tongue-lied maidens here,
what the event of the story was, and who the person was that did prove false; that many expressions in his plays have dropped from him, in consequence of that knowledge, that are improper in the mouth of the speaker; and that, in his licentious mode of writing, the words, “ if ever you prove false to one another,” may mean, plot, if you both prove false, but, if it should happen that any falshool or breach of faith should disunite you, who are now thus attached to each other. This might and did happen, by one of the parties proving false, and breaking her engagement.
The modern editions read--if ever you prove false to one another; but the reading of the text is that of the quarto and folio, and was the phraseology of Shakspeare's age. Malone.
It is clearly the intention of the poet that this imprecation should be such a one as was verified by the event, as it is in part to this very day. But neither was Troilus ever used to denote an inconstant lover, nor, if we believe the story, did he ever deserve the character, as both the others did in truth deserve that shame liere imprecated upon them. Besides, Pandarus seems to adjust bis imprecation to those of the other two preceding, just as they dropped from their lips; as false as Gressid, and, consequently, as true (or as constant) as Troilus. Heath.
* I have no doubt but Shakspeare knew the event of the story, and so I presume he did of every one of his plays, but that cannot invalidate the justice of Mr. Mason's remark, nor can it countenance nonsense, nor do away contradiction, howsoever, or by whomsoever defended. Am. Ed.
2- and a bed, 1 These words are not in the old copy, but what follows shows that they were inadvertently omitted. Malone.
This deficiency was supplied by Sir Thomas Hanmer. He reads, however, " a chamber with a bed; which bed, be. cause" &c. Steevens.