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infinite, and the execution confined; that the desire is boundless, and the act a slave to limit.
Cres. They say, all lovers swear more performance than they are able, and yet reserve an ability that they never perform ; vowing more than the perfection of ten, and discharging less than the tenth part of one. They that have the voice of lions, and the act of hares, are they not monsters?
Tro. Are there such? such are not we: Praise us as we are tasted, allow us as we prove; our head shall go bare, till merit crown it :6 no perfection in reversion shall have a praise in present: we will not name desert, before his birth; and, being born, his addition shall be humble.? Few words to fair faith: Troilus shall be such to Cressid, as what envy can say worst, shall be a mock for his truth ;8 and what truth can speak truest, not truer than Troilus. Cres. Will you walk in, my lord?
Re-enter PANDARUS. Pan. What, blushing still? have you not done talk
ing yet? Cres. Well, uncle, what folly I commit, I dedicate to
you. Pan. I thank you for that; if my lord get a boy of you, you'll give him me: Be true to my lord: if he flinch, chide me for it.
Tro. You know now your hostages; your uncle's word, and my firm faith.
Pan. Nay, I'll give my word for her too; our kindred,
- our head shall go bare, till merit crown it:) I cannot for. bear to observe, that the quarto reads this: Our head shall go bare, till merit louer part no atfection, in reversion, &c. Had there been no other copy, how could this have been corrected? The true reading is in the folio. Fohnson.
- his addition shall be humble.] We will give him no high or pompous titles Johnson.
Addition is still the term used by conveyancers in describing the quality and condition of the parties to deeds, &c. Reed.
what envy can say worst, shall be a mock for his truth;] i. e. shall be only a mock for his truth. Even malice (for such is the meaning of the word enoy) shall not be able to impeach his truth, or attack him in any other way, except by ridiculing him for his constancy. See Vol. XI, p. 240, n. 7. ' Malone.
though they be long ere they are wooed, they are constant, being won: they are burs, I can tell you; they 'll stick where they are thrown.9 Cres. Boldness comes to me now, and brings me
heart :Prince Troilus, I have lov'd you night and day For many weary months.
Tro. Why was my Cressid then so hard to win?
Cres. Hard to seem won; but I was won, my lord, With the first glance that ever-Pardon me;If I confess much, you will play the tyrant. I love you now; but not, till now, so much But I might master it:-in faith, I lie; My thoughts were like unbridled children, grown Too headstrong for their mother: See, we fools! Why have I blabb’d? who shall be true to us, When we are so unsecret to ourselves? But, though I lov'd you well, I woo'd you not; And yet, good faith, I wish'd myself a man; Or that we women had men's privilege Of speaking first. Sweet, bid me hold my tongue; For, in this rapture, I shall surely speak The thing I shall repent. See, see, your silence, Cunning in dumbness, from my weakness draws My very soul of counsel: Stop my mouth.
Tro. And shall, albeit sweet musick issues thence.
Cres. My lord, I do beseech you, pardon me;
Tro. Your leave, sweet Cressid?
Pan. Leave! an you take leave till to-morrow morning,
Cres. Pray you, content you.
What offends you, lady? Cres. Sir, mine own company.
they'll stick where they are thrown.] This allusion has already occurred in Measure for Measure:
“Nay, friar, I am a kind of bur, I shall stick.” Steevens. 1 Cunning in dumbness,] The quarto and folio read-Coming in dumbness. The emendation was made by Mr. Pope. Malone.
You cannot shun Yourself.
Cres. Let me go and try:2 I have a kind of self resides with you;3 But an unkind self, that itself will leave, To be another's fool. I would be gone: Where is my wit? I know not what I speak. 4 Tro. Well know they what they speak, that speak so
wisely. Cres. Perchance, my lord, I show more craft than love ; And fell so roundiy to a large confession, To angle for your thoughts: But you are wise; Or else you love not; For to be wise, and love, Exceeds man's might; that dwells with gods above.5*
2 Let me go and try:] This verse being imperfect, I suppose our author to have originally written:
Let me go in, my lord, and try. Steevens. 3 1 have a kind of self resides with you;] So, in our author's 123d Sonnet:
for I, being pent in thee, “ Perforce am thine, and all that is in me.” Malone. A similar thought occurs in Antony and Cleopatra :
“ That thou, residing here, go'st yet with me,” &c. Steevens. I would be
But you are wise;
but we're not wise,
Exceeds man's might; Cressida, in return to the praise given by Troilus to her wisdom, replies: “ That lovers are never wise; that it is beyond the power of man to bring love and wisdom to an union.” Johnson.
I don't think that this passage requires any amendment. Cressida's meaning is this: “Perchance I fell too roundly to confes. sion, in order to angle for your thoughts; but you are not so easily taken in; you are too wise, or too indifferent; for to be wise and love, exceeds man's might.” M. Mason.
to be wise and love, Exceeds man's might;] This is from Spenser, Shepherd's Galendar, March:
“ To be wise, and eke to love,
Tro. O, that I thought it could be in a woman, (As, if it can, I will presume in you,)
The thought originally belongs to Publius Syrus, among whose sentences we find this:
“Amare et sapere vix Deo conceditur.” Marston, in The Dutch Courtezan, 1605, has the same thought, and the line is printed as a quotation:
“But raging lust my fate all strong doth move;
“ The gods themselves cannot be wise, and love." Cressida's argument is certainly inconsequential: “But you are wise, or else you are not in love; for no one who is in love can be wise." I do not, however, believe there is any corruption, as our author sometimes entangles himself in inextricable difficul. ties of this kind. One of the commentators has endeavoured to extort sense from the words as they stand; and thinks there is no difficulty. In these cases, the surest way to prove the inaccuracy, is, to omit the word that embarrasses the sentence. Thus, if, for a moment, we read:
you are wise;
Exceeds man's might ; &c. the inference is clear, by the omission of the word not: which is not a word of so little importance that a sentence shall have just the same meaning whether a negative is contained in it or taken from it. But for all inaccuracies of this kind our poet himself is undoubtedly answerable.-Sir T. Hanmer, to obtain some sense, arbitrarily reads:
A sign you love not. Malone. * I think the passage corrupt; but I cannot agree with the alteration proposed by Dr. Johnson. I would read
But you are wise,
--for to be wise, and love, Exceeds man's might, &c. Cressida intimates the violence of her love by its effects upon her mind; this she seems to do for the purpose of extorting an immediate confession from Troilus; her expectation is disappointed by the reply, “Well know they what they speak, who speak so wisely." The answer, which marks her impatience, is a beautiful display of female finesse; she “ angles" for the “ thoughts" of Troilus with such dexterous artifice, that he cannot evade an immediate avowal; he must either declare his love, and sacrifice all title to prudence at the shrine of passion, or acknowledge he does not love, with a force commensurate with Cressida's ideas. The declarations which follow, owe their extravagance to the opinion expressed by Cressida, that he was wise, and therefore could not love: this opinion he becomes so anxious to eradicate, that all which language can afford, is employed to paint the violence and durability of his passion, and his conduct proves the correctness of what Cressida advances, as far as it respects
Troilus, ihat "to be wise and love exceeds man's might.” Am. Ed.
To feed for aye her lamp and flames of love ;6
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.
- swifter than blood decays'] Blood, in Shakspeare, frequently 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 't were 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. - compare,] i. e. comparison. So Milton, Paradise Lost, B. III:
Beyond compare the son of God was seen —,” Steevens.