Imagens da página


If not Achilles, nothing.
Æne. Therefore Achilles: But, whate'er, know this ;
In the extremity of great and little,
Valour and pride excel themselves in Hector;2
The one alınost as infinite as all,
The other blank as nothing. Weigh him well,
And that, which looks like pride, is courtesy.
This Ajax is half made of Hector's blood :3
In love whereof, half Hector stays at home;
Half heart, half hand, half Hector comes to seek
This blended knight, half Trojan, and half Greek.
Achil. A maiden battle then?--O, I perceive you,

Re-enter DIOMED.
Agam. Here is sir Diomed:-Go, gentle knight,
Stand by our Ajax : as you and lord Æneas
Consent upon the order of their fight,
So be it; either to the uttermost,
Or else a breath:5 the combatants being kin,
Half stints6 their strife before their strokes begin.

FAJAX and Hect. enter the lists.
Ulyss. They are oppos'd already.
Agam. What Trojan is that same that looks so heavy?

Ulyss. The youngest son of Priam, a true knight;
Not yet mature, yet matchless; firm of word;
Speaking in deeds, and deedless in his tongue;7
Not soon provok', nor, being provok’d, soon calm’d:

2 Valour and pride excel themselves in Hector;] Shakspeare's thought is not exactly deduced. Nicety of expression is not his character. The meaning is plain: “Valour (says Æneas) is in Hector greater than valour in other men, and pride in Hector is less than pride in other men. So that Hector is distinguished by the excellence of having pride less than other pride, and valour more than other valour.Johnson.

3 This Ajax is half made of Hector's blood: ] Ajax and Hector were cousin-germans. Malone. 1 h alf Trojan, and half Greek.] Hence Thersites, in a former scene, called Ajax a mongrel. See p. 58, n. 7. Malone. 5 a breath:] i. e. a breathing, a slight exercise of arms. See p. 79, n. 6. Steevens. 6 stints -] i. e. stops. So, in Timon of Athens :

" make peace, stint war ." Steevens. * deedless in his tongue:) i. e. no boaster of his own deeds.


His heart and hand both open, and both free;
For what he has, he gives, what thinks, he shows;
Yet gives he not till judgment guide his bounty,
Nor dignifies an impair thoughts with breath:
Manly as Hector, but more dangerous;
For Hector, in his blaze of wrath, subscribes
To tender objects; 9 but he, in heat of action,
Is more vindicative than jealous love:
They call him Troilus; and on him erect
A second hope, as fairly built as Hector.
Thus says Æneas; one that knows the youth
Even to his inches, and, with private soul,
Did in great Ilion thus translate him to me.?

r Alarum. HECT. and AJAX fight.
Agam. They are in action.
Nest. Now, Ajax, hold thine own!

Hector, thou sleep'st; Awake thee!

Agam. His blows are well dispos'd:--there, Ajax! Dio. You must no more.

[Trumpets cease. Æne.

Princes, enough, so please you. Ajax. I am not warm yet, let us fight again. Dio. As Hector pleases. Hect.

Why then, will I no more :Thou art, great lord, my father's sister's son, A cousin-german to great Priam's seed; The obligation of our blood forbids A gory emulation 'twixt us twain:

8- an impair thought --] A thought unsuitable to the dig. nity of his character. This word I should have changed to impure, were I not overpowered by the unanimity of the editors, and concurrence of the old copies. Fohnson.

So, in Chapman's preface to his translation of the Shield of Homer, 1598: " - nor is it more impaire to an honest and absolute man" &c. Steevens 9 — Hector, subscribes

To tender objects ;] That is, yields, gives way. Fohnson. So, in King Lear: 5 - subscrib'd his power;" i. e. submitted.

Steevens. 1_ thus translate him to me.] Thus explain his character.

Fohnson. So, in Hamlet :

“There's matter in these sighs, these profound heaves, • You must translate.Steevens.

Were thy commixtion Greek and Trojan so,
That thou could'st say-This hand is Grecian all,
And this is Trojan; the sinews of this leg
All Greek, and this all Troy; my mother's blood
Runs on the dexter cheek, and this sinister
Bounds-in my father's; by Jove multipotent,
Thou should'st not bear from me a Greekish member
Wherein my sword had not impressure made
Of our rank feud: But the just gods gainsay,
That any drop thou borrow'st from thy mother,
My sacred aunt, 2 should by my mortal sword
Be drain'd! Let me embrace thee, Ajax :
By him that thunders, thou hast lusty arms;
Hector would have them fall upon him thus:
Cousin, all honour to thee!

I thank thee, Hector:
Thou art too gentle, and too free a man:
I came to kill thee, cousin, and bear hence
A great addition3 earned in thy death.

Hect. Not Neoptolemus so mirable (On whose bright crest Fame with her loud'st ( yes Cries, This is he,) could promise to himself

2 My sacred aunt,] It is remarkable that the Greeks give to the uncle the title of Sacred, Jelos. Patruus avunculus o ardos traigos Orios, Gaz. de Senec. patruus "o apos unigós Oslos, avunculus, Budæi Lexic.-Jelos is also used absolutely for ‘o apos nalgos 56105, Euri. pid. Iphigen. Taurid. 1. 930.

"106. "H Tou yogourtes Jeños "uberger Sópecus.And Xenoph. Kuecu gaid. Lib. I. passim. Vaillant.

This circumstance may tend to establish an opinion I have else. where expressed, that this play was not the entire composition of Shakspeare, to whom the Grecism before us was probably unknown. Steevens.

3 A great addition ) i.e. denomination. Steevens. A Not Neoptolemus so mirable

(On whose bright crest Fame with her loud'st O yes,

Cries, This is he,) could promise to himself. &c.] Dr. Warburton observes, that “the sense and spirit of Hector's speech re. quires that the most celebrated of his adversaries should be picked out to be defied, and this was Achilles himself, not his son Neoptolemus, who was yet but an apprentice in warfare." In the rage of correction therefore he reads:

Not Neoptolemus's sire irascible.
Such a licentious conjecture deserves no attention. Malone.

My opinion is, that by Neoptolemus the author mcant Achilles

A thought of added honour torn from Hector.

Æne. There is expectance here from both the sides, What further you will do. Hect.

We'll answer it;5 The issue is embracement:-Ajax, farewel.

Ajax. If I might in entreaties find success, (As seld I have the chance) I would desire My famous cousin to our Grecian tents.

Dio. 'Tis Agamemnon's wish: and great Achilles Doth long to see unarm’d the valiant Hector.

Hect. Æneas, call my brother Troilus to me: And signify this loving interview

himself; and remembering that the son was Pyrrhus Neoptole. mus, considered Neoptolemus as the nomen gentilitium, and thought the father was likewise Achilles Neoptolemus. Johnson.

Shakspeare might have used Neoptolemus for Achilles. Wil. fride Holme, the author of a poem called The Fall and evil Suceesse of Rebellion, &c. 1537, had made the same mistake before him, as the following stanza will show :

“ Also the triumphant Troyans victorious, “By Anthenor and Æneas false confederacie,

“Sending Polidamus to Neoptolemus,
“ Who was vanquished and subdued by their conspiracie.

“O dolorous fortune, and fatal miserie !
" For multitude of people was there mortificate

“With condigne Priamus and all his progenie,

" And flagrant Polisene, that lady delicate.” In Lydgate, however, Achilles, Neoptolemus, and Pyrrhus, are distinct characters. Neoptolemus is enumerated among the Gre. cian princes who first embarked to revenge the rape of Helen:

“ The valiant Grecian called Neoptolemus,

" That had his haire as blacke as any jet," &c. p. 102. and Pyrrhus, very properly, is not heard of till after the death of his father:

“Sith that Achilles in such traiterous wise
“ Is slaine, that we a messenger should send
“ To fetch bis son yong Pyrrhus, to the end

“He may revenge his father's death,” &c. p. 237. Steevens. I agree with Dr. Johnson and Mr Steevens, in thinking that Shakspeare supposed Neoptolemus was the nomen gentilitium: an error into which he might have been led by some book of the time That by Neoptolennus he meant Achilles, and not Pyrrhus, may be inferred froin a former passage in p. 121, by whiclı it appears that he knew Pyrrhus had not yet engaged in the siege of “But it must grieve young Pyrrhus, now at home,” &c.

Malone 5 We'll answer it ;] That is, answer the expectance. Fohnsori.


To the expecters of our Trojan part;
Desire them home.Give me thy hand, my cousin;
I will go eat with thee, and see your knights.6

Ajax. Great Agamemnon comes to meet us here.

Hect. The worthiest of them tell me name by name; But for Achilles, my own searching eyes Shall find him by his large and portiy size.

Agam. Worthy of arms!7 as welcome as to one That would be rid of such an enemy; But that's no welcome: Understand more clear, What's past, and what's to come, is strew'd with husks And formless ruin of oblivion ; But in this extant moment, faith and troth, Strain'd purely from all hollow bias-drawing, Bids thee, with most divine integrity, From heart of very heart, great Hector, welcome.

Hect. I thank thee, most imperious Agamemnon.' Agam. My well-fam'd lord of Troy, no less to you.

[To TRO. Men. Let me confirm my princely brother's greet

ing; You brace of warlike brothers, welcome hither.

Hect. Whom must we answer?

- your knights.] The word knight, as often as it occurs, is sure to bring with it the idea of chivalry, and revives the memory of Amadis and his fantastick followers, rather than that of the mighty confederates who fought on either side of the Trojan war. I wish that eques and armiger could have been rendered by any other words than knight and 'squire Mr. Pope, in his translation of the Iliad, is very liberal of the latter. Steevens.

These knights, to the amount of about two hundred thousand, (for there were not less in both armies) Shakspeare found, with all the appendages of chivalry, in The Three Destructions of Troy.

Malone. 7 Worthy of arms.'1 Folio Worthy all arms! Quarto. The quarto has only the first, second, and the last line of this saluta. tion; the intermediate verses seem added on a revision. Fohnson. 8- divine integrity,] i. e, integrity like that of heaven.

Steevens. 9_most imperious Agamemnon ] Imperious and imperial had formerly the same signification. So, in our author's Venus and Adonis:

Imperious supreme of all mortal things.” Malone. Again, in Titus and Andronicus :

* King, be thy thoughts imperious, like thy name.” Steevens.

« AnteriorContinuar »