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Tro. The Greeks are strong, and skilful to their
strength, Fierce to their skill, and to their fierceness valiant; But I am weaker than a woman's tear, Tamer than sleep, fonder* than ignorance; Less valiant than the virgin in the night, And skill-less as unpractis'd infancy.
Pan. Well, I have told you enough of this : for my part, I'll not meddle nor make no further. He, that will have a cake out of the wheat, must tarry the grinding
TRO. Have I not tarried ?
Pan. Ay, the grinding; but you must tarry the bolting.
TRO. Have I not tarried ?
Pan. Ay, the bolting; but you must tarry the leavening.
TRO. Still have I tarried.
Pan. Ay, to the leavening: but here's yet in the word-hereafter, the kneading, the making of the cake, the heating of the oven, and the baking; nay, you must stay the cooling too, or you may chance to burn your lips.
Tro. Patience herself, what goddess e'er she be, Doth lesser blench at sufferance than I do.:
-skilful to their strength, &c.] i. e. in addition to their strength. The same phraseology occurs in Macbeth. See Vol. X. p. 16, n. 2. STEEVENS.
--fonder-] i. e. more weak, or foolish. See Vol. VII. p. 328, n. 8. MALONE.
• And skill-less &c.] Mr. Dryden, in his alteration of this play, has taken this speech as it stands, except that he has changed skill-less to artless, not for the better, because skill-less refers to skill and skilful. JOHNSON.
Doth lesser blench] To blench is to shrink, start, or fly off. So, in Hamlet :
At Priam's royal table do I sit ;
thence?? Pan. Well, she looked yesternight fairer than ever I saw her look, or any woman else.
Tro. I was about to tell thee,-When my heart, As wedged with a sigh, would rive in twain; Lest Hector or my father should perceive me, I have (as when the sun doth light a storm,) 8 Bury'd this sigh in wrinkle of a smile:9 But sorrow, that is couch'd in seeming gladness, Is like that mirth fate turns to sudden sadness.
PAN. An her hair were not somewhat darker than Helen's, (well, go to,) there were no more comparison between the women,-But, for my part, she is my kinswoman; I would not, as they term it, praise her,—But I would somebody had heard her talk yesterday, as I did. I will not dispraise your sister Cassandra's wit; but
if he but blench,
-men that will not totter,
when she comes ! - When is she thence?] Both the old copies read—then she comes, when she is thence. Mr. Rowe corrected the former error, and Mr. Pope the latter.
MALONE. 8 —a storm,)] Old copies—a scorn. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. MALONE. See King Lear, Act III. sc. i. STEEVENS.
-in wrinkle of a smile:] So, in Twelfth-Night : “ He doth smile his face into more lines than the new map with the augmentation of the Indies.” MALONE. Again, in The Merchant of Venice: "With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.”
Tro. O Pandarus! I tell thee, Pandarus, When I do tell thee, There my hopes lie drown'd, Reply not in how many fathoms deep They lie indrench’d. I tell thee, I am mad In Cressid's love : Thou answer'st, She is fair; Pour'st in the open ulcer of my heart Her eyes, her hair, her cheek, her gait, her voice; Handlest in thy discourse, O, that her hand,
Handlest in thy discourse, 0, that her hand, &c.] Handlest is here used metaphorically, with an allusion, at the same time, to its literal meaning; and the jingle between hand and handlest is perfectly in our author's manner.
The beauty of a female hand seems to have made a strong impression on his mind. Antony cannot endure that the hand of Cleopatra should be touched :
-To let a fellow that will take rewards,
say, God quit you, be familiar with
“ And plighter of high hearts." Again, in Romeo and Juliet :
they may seize « On the white wonder of dear et's and." In The Winter's Tale, Florizel, with equal warmth, and not less poetically, descants on the hand of his mistress :
take thy hand; this hand
“ That's bolted by the northern blasts twice o'er.” This passage has, I think, been wrong pointed in the late editions : Pour'st in the
open ulcer of my heart
In whose comparison, &c.
" O handle not the theme, to talk of hands,
may be certain therefore that those lines were part of the additions which our poet made to that play. MALONE.
If the derivation of the verb to handle were always present to those who employed it, I know not well how Chapman could vindicate the following passage in his version of the 23d Iliad,
In whose comparison all whites are ink,
where the most eloquent of the Greeks (old Nestor) reminds Antilochus that his horses
their slow feet handle not.” The intentionally quaint phrase "taste your legs," introduced in Twelfth-Night, is not more ridiculous than to talk of horses “handling their feet.”
Though our author has many and very considerable obligations to Mr. Malone, I cannot regard his foregoing supposition as one of them; for in what does it consist? In making Shakspeare answerable for two of the worst lines in a degraded play, merely because they exhibit a jingle similar to that in the speech before us.
-and spirit of sense Hard as the palm of ploughman!] In comparison with Cressida’s hand, says he, the spirit of sense, the utmost degree, the most exquisite power of sensibility, which implies a soft hand, since the sense of touching, as Scaliger says in his Exercitations, resides chiefly in the fingers, is hard as the callous and insensible palm of the ploughman. Warburton reads :
spite of sense. Hanmer:
to th' spirit of sense. It is not proper to make a lover profess to praise his mistress in spite of sense ; for though he often does it in spite of the sense of others, his own senses are subdued to his desires. Johnson.
Spirit of sense is a phrase that occurs again in the third Act of this play:
-nor doth the eye itself, “ That most pure spirit of sense, behold itself.” Mr. M. Mason (from whom I have borrowed this parallel) recommends Hanmer's emendation as a necessary one.
Pan. I speak no more than truth.
PAN. 'Faith, I'll not meddle in't. Let her be as she is : if she be fair, 'tis the better for her; an she be not, she has the mends in her own hands.3
Tro. Good Pandarus! How now, Pandarus ?
Pan. I have had my labour for my travel ; illthought on of her, and ill-thought on of you: gone between and between, but small thanks for my labour. Tro. What, art thou angry, Pandarus ? what,
with me? Pan. Because she is kin to me, therefore, she's not so fair as Helen : an she were not kin to me, she would be as fair on Friday, as Helen is on Sunday. But what care I? I care not, an she were a black-a-moor; 'tis all one to me.
Tro. Say I, she is not fair ?
s she has the mends] She may mend her complexion by the assistance of cosmeticks. Johnson.
I believe it rather means—She may make the best of a bad bargain. This is a proverbial saying. So, in Woman's a Weathercock, 1612: "I shall stay here and
head broke, and then I have the mends in my own hands."
Again, in S. Gosson's School of Abuse, 1579: “-turne him with his back full of stripes, and his hands loden with his own amendes." Again, in The Wild Goose Chase, by Beaumont and Fletcher:
“ The mends are in mine own hands, or the surgeon's.” Again, in Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, edit. 1632, p. 605: " -and if men will be jealous in such cases,
the mends is in their owne hands, they must thank themselves." STEEVENS.