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High birth, vigour of bone, desert in service,
Love, friendship, charity, are subjects all
To envious and calumniating time.
One touch of nature makes the whole world kin,
That all, with one consent, praise new-born gawds,
Though they are made and moulded of things past;
And give to dust, that is a little gilt,
More laud than gilt o'er-dusted."

mangled by theatres, ignorant transcribers, and unskilful printers. He has somewhere else observed, that perhaps we have not received one of our author's plays as it was originally written.

STEEVENS. * And give to dust, that is a little gilt,

More laud than gilt o’er-dusted.] [The old copies goe to dust.] In this mangled condition do we find this truly fine observation transmitted. Mr. Pope saw it was corrupt, and therefore, as I presume, threw it out of the text; because he would not indulge his private sense in attempting to make sense of it. I owe the foundation of the amendment, which I have given in the text, to the sagacity of the ingenious Dr. Thirlby. I read :

And give to dust, that is a little gilt,
More laud than they will give to gold o'er-dusted.

THEOBALD. This emendation has been adopted by the succeeding editors, but recedes too far from the copy. There is no other corruption than such as Shakspeare's incorrectness often resembles. He has omitted the article-to in the second line: he should have written:

More laud than to gilt o'er-dusted. Johnson. Gilt, in the second line, is a substantive. See Coriolanus, Act I. sc. iii.

Dust a little gilt means, ordinary performances ostentatiously displayed and magnified by the favour of friends and that admiration of novelty which prefers “new-born gawds” to “ things past.” Gilt o'er-dusted means, splendid actions of preceding ages, the remembrance of which is weakened by time.

The poet seems to have been thinking either of those monuments which he has mentioned in All's well that ends well:

“ Where dust and damn’d oblivion is the tomb

« Of honour'd bones indeed ; or of the gilded armour, trophies, banners, &c. often hung up in churches in “ monumental mockery." MALONE.

The present eye praises the present object:
Then marvel not, thou great and complete man,
That all the Greeks begin to worship Ajax;
Since things in motion sooner catch the eye,
Than what not stirs. The cry went once on thee,
And still it might ; and yet it may again,
If thou would'st not entomb thyself alive,
And case thy reputation in thy tent;
Whose glorious deeds, but in these fields of late,
Made emulous missions 'mongst the gods them-

selves,
And drave great Mars to faction.
ACHIL.

Of this my privacy I have strong reasons. Ulyss.

But 'gainst your privacy
The reasons are more potent and heroical :
'Tis known, Achilles, that you are in love
With one of Priam's daughters.?
ACHIL.

Ha! known
ULYSS. Is that a wonder?
The providence that's in a watchful state,

5

-went once on thee,] So the quarto. The foliowent out on thee. MALONE.

6 Made emulous missions-j The meaning of mission seems to be dispatches of the gods from heaven about mortal business, such as often happened at the siege of Troy. Johnson.

It means the descent of deities to combat on either side'; an idea which Shakspeare very probably adopted from Chapman's translation of Homer. In the fifth Book, Diomed wounds Mars, who on his return to heaven is rated by Jupiter for having interfered in the battle. This disobedience is the faction which I suppose Ulysses would describe. STEEVENS.

one of Priam's daughters.] Polyxena, in the act of marrying whom, he was afterwards killed by Paris. STEEVENS.

* Ha! known?] I must suppose that, in the present instance, some word, wanting to the metre, has been omitted. Perhaps the poet wrote--Ha! is't known? STEEVENS.

7

Knows almost every grain of Plutus' gold;'
Finds bottom in the uncomprehensive deeps;
Keeps place with thought, and almost, like the

gods,
Does thoughts unveil in their dumb cradles.?

1

9 Knows almost every grain of Plutus' gold ;] For this elegant line the quarto has only:

Knows almost every thing. Johnson. The old copy hasPluto's gold; but, I think, we should read-of Plutus' gold. So, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Philaster, Act IV:

“ 'Tis not the wealth of Plutus, nor the gold

“ Lock'd in the heart of earth" STEEVENS. The correction of this obvious error of the press, needs no justification, though it was not admitted by Mr. Steevens in his own edition. The same error is found in Julius Cæsar, Act IV. sc. iii. where it has been properly corrected :

within, a heart, “ Dearer than Pluto's mine, richer than gold.” So, in this play, Act IV. sc. i. we find in the quarto-to Calcho's house, instead of-to Calchas' house. MALONE.

* Keeps place with thought,] i. e. there is in the providence of a state, as in the providence of the universe, a kind of ubiquity. The expression is exquisitely fine; yet the Oxford editor alters it to-Keeps pace, and so destroys all its beauty.

WARBURTON. Is there not here some allusion to that sublime description of the Divine Omnipresence in the 139th Psalm? HENLEY.

* Does thoughts unveil in their dumb cradles.] It is clear, from the defect of the metre, that some word of two syllables was omitted by the carelessness of the transcriber or compositor. Shakspeare perhaps wrote:

Does thoughts themselves unveil in their dumb cradles. Or,

Does infant thoughts unveil in their dumb cradles. So, in King Richard III:

“ And turn his infant morn to aged night.” In Timon of Athens, we have the same allusion:

“ Joy had the like conception in my brain,

“ And at that instant, like a babe sprung up." MALONE. Sir Thomas Hanmer reads :

Does even our thoughts &c. STEEVENS.

There is a mystery (with whom relation
Durst never meddle) in the soul of state ;
Which hath an operation more divine,
Than breath, or pen, can give expressure to :
All the commerce* that you have had with Troy,
As perfectly is ours, as yours, my lord ;
And better would it fit Achilles much,
To throw down Hector, than Polyxena:
But it must grieve young Pyrrhus now at home,
When fame shall in our islands sound her trump;
And all the Greekish girls shall tripping sing,
Great Hector's sister did Achilles win;
But our great Ajax bravely beat down him.
Farewell, my lord: I as your lover speak;
The fool slides o'er the ice that you should break.

[Exit.
PATR. To this effect, Achilles, have I mov'd you:
A woman impudent and mannish grown
Is not more loath'd than an effeminate man
In time of action. I stand condemn'd for this;
They think, my little stomach to the war,
And
your great love to me, restrains

you

thus: Sweet, rouse yourself; and the weak wanton

Cupid Shall from your neck unloose his amorous fold, And, like a dew-drop from the lion's mane, Be shook to air.5

ACHIL. Shall Ajax fight with Hector ?

3

(with whom relation Durst never meddle)-] There is a secret administration of affairs, which no history was ever able to discover. JOHNSON.

* All the commérce-) Thus also is the word accented by Chapman, in his version of the fourth Book of Homer's Odyssey: “.To labour's taste, nor the commerce of men.'

STEEVENS. -to air.] So the quarto. The folio-ayrie air.

JOHNSON.

5

Knows almost every grain of Plutus' gold ;'
Finds bottom in the uncomprehensive deeps;
Keeps place with thought, and almost, like the

gods,
Does thoughts unveil in their dumb cradles.?

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1

9 Knows almost every grain of Plutus' gold ;] For this elegant line the quarto has only:

Knows almost every thing. Johnson. The old copy hasPluto's gold; but, I think, we should read-of Plutus' gold. So, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Philaster, Act IV:

66 'Tis not the wealth of Plutus, nor the gold

“ Lock’d in the heart of earth- STEEVENS. The correction of this obvious error of the press, needs no justification, though it was not admitted by Mr. Steevens in his own edition. The same error is found in Julius Cæsar, Act IV. sc. iii. where it has been properly corrected :

within, a heart, “ Dearer than Pluto's mine, richer than gold." So, in this play, Act IV. sc. i. we find in the quarto-to Calcho's house, instead of-to Calchas' house. MALONE.

Keeps place with thought,] i. e. there is in the providence of a state, as in the providence of the universe, a kind of ubiquity. The expression is exquisitely fine; yet the Oxford editor alters it to-Keeps pace, and so destroys all its beauty.

WARBURTON. Is there not here some allusion to that sublime description of the Divine Omnipresence in the 139th Psalm? HENLEY.

* Does thoughts unveil in their dumb cradles.] It is clear, from the defect of the metre, that some word of two syllables was omitted by the carelessness of the transcriber or compositor. Shakspeare perhaps wrote:

Does thoughts themselves unveil in their dumb cradles. Or,

Does infant thoughts unveil in their dumb cradles. So, in King Richard 11:

“ Ånd turn his infant morn to aged night.” In Timon of Athens, we have the same allusion:

“ Joy had the like conception in my brain,

“ And at that instant, like a babe sprung up." MALONE. Sir Thomas Hanmer reads:

Does even our thoughts &c. STEEVENS.

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