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my head, 'tis pride: But why, why? let him show us a cause.--A word, my lord. [Takes AGAM. aside.
Nest. What moves Ajax thus to bay at him?
Nest. Then will Ajax lack matter, if he have lost his argument.
Ulyss. No; you see, he is his argument, that has his argument; Achilles.
Nest. All the better; their fraction is more our wish, than their faction: But it was a strong composure,3 a fool could disunite.
Ulyss. The amity, that wisdom knits not, folly may easily untie. Here comes Patroclus.
Re-enter PATROCLUS. Nest. No Achilles with him.
Ulyss. The elephant hath joints, but none for courtesy: his legs are legs for necessity, not for flexure.
Patr. Achilles bids me say—he is much sorry, If any thing more than your sport and pleasure Did move your greatness, and this noble state,5
3- composure,] So reads the quarto very properly; but the folio, which the moderns have followed, has, it was a strong counsel. Johnson. 4 The elephant hath joints, &c.] So, in All's Lost by Lust, 1633:
“ is she pliant?
“Stubborn as an elephant's leg, no bending in her.” Again, in All Fools, 1605:
“I hope you are no elephant, you have joints." In The Dialogues of Creatures Moralysed, &c. bl. I. is mention of - the olefawnte that bowyth not the kneys;" a curious specimen of our early Natural History. Steevens.
5 noble state,] Person of high dignity; spoken of Agamemnon. Johnson.
Noble state rather means the stately train of attending nobles whom you bring with you. Patroclus had already addressed Agamemnon by the title of “ your greatness." Steevens.
State was formerly applied to a single person. So, in Wits, Fits and Fancies, 1614: “ The archbishop of Grenada saying to the archbishop of Toledo, that he much marvelled, he being so great a state, would visit hospitals —.” Again, in Harrington's translation of Ariosto, 1591:
66 The Greek demands her, whither she was going,
To call upon him; he hopes, it is no other,
Hear you, Patroclus;
Yet Mr. Steevens's interpretation appears to me to agree better with the context here. Malone.
6 —- breath.) Breath, in the present instance, stands forbreathing, i. e. exercise. So, in Hamlet: “ – it is the breathing time of day with me.” Steevens.
7 Than in the note &c.] Surely the two unnecessary words in the, which spoil the metre, should be omitted. Steevens.
8 — tend the savage strangeness -] i. e. shyness distant behaviour. So, in Venus and Adonis :
" Measure my strangeness with my unripe years." Again, in Romeo and Juliet: "
I'll prove more true, " Than those that have more cunning to be strange." To tend is to attend upon. Malone. underwrite -) To subscribe, in Shakspeare, is to obey.
Johnson. So, in King Lear: “ You owe me no subscription.” Steevens.
1- in an observing kind - ]i. e. in a mode religiously atten. tive. So, in A Midsummer Night's Dream:
“To do observance to a morn of May.” Steevens. 2 His pettish lunes,] This is Sir T. Hanmer's emendation of his pettish lines. The old quarto reads:
His course and time
The passage and whole carriage of this action
Patr. I shall; and bring his answer presently. [Exit.
Agam. In second voice we'll not be satisfied, We come to speak with him.-Ulysses, enter.
[Exit Ulyss. Ajax. What is he more than another?" Agam. No more than what he thinks he is.
Ajax. Is he so much? Do you not think, he thinks himself a better man than I am ?
Agam. No question.
Agam. No, noble Ajax; you are as strong, as valiant, as wise, no less noble, much more gentle, and altogether more tractable.
Ajax. Why should a man be proud ? How doth pride grow? I know not what pride is.
Agam. Your mind's the clearer, Ajax, and your virtues the fairer. He that is proud, eats up himself: pride is his own glass, his own trumpet, his own chronicle ; and whatever praises itself but in the deed, devours the deed in the praise.5
This speech is unfaithfully printed in modern editions. Fohnson.
His course and time, his ebbs and flows and if
Rode on his tide. His [his commencement] was probably misprinted for this, as it is in a subsequent passage in this scene in the quarto copy:
" And how his silence drinks up his applause." Malone. 3 — allowance give - ] Allowance is approbation. So, in King Lear:
" If your sweet sway
" Allow obedience.” Steevens. 4 enter.] Old copies, regardless of metre,-enter you.
Steevens 5- whatever praises itself but in the deed, devours the decide in the praise.] So, in Coriolanus:
Ajax. I do hate a proud man, as I hate the engen. dering of toads.8 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? Ulyss.
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,
“ To extol what it hath done.” Malone. 6 — 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. Steevens. 7 Kingdom'd Achilles in commotion rages,] So, in Fulius Caesar
“ 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: 'Tis said, he holds you well; and will be led, At your request, a little from himself.
Ulyss. O Agamemnon, let it not be so! We'll consecrate the steps that Ajax makes When they go from Achilles: Shall the proud lord, That bastes his arrogance with his own seam; And never suffers matter of the world Enter his thoughts, save such as do revolve And ruminate himself,—shall he be worshipp'd Of that we hold an idol more than he? No, this thrice-worthy and right-valiant lord Must not so stale his palm, nobly acquir'd; Nor, by my will, assubjugate his merit, As amply titled as Achilles is, By going to Achilles : That were to enlard his fat-already pride ; 2 And add more coals to Cancer, when he burns With entertaining great Hyperion.3 This lord go to him! Jupiter forbid;
9_ 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.
im with his own seam;] Swine-seam, in the North, is hog's. lard. 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. 3 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 Tbomson, whose words, on this occasion, are a sufficient illustration of our author's :
“ And Cancer reddens with the solar blaze.” Steevens.