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As if those organs had deceptious functions,
Created only to calumniate.
Was Cressid here?

I cannot conjure, Trojan.
TRO. She was not sure.

Most sure she was. Tro. Why, mynegation hath no taste of madness. Ulyss. Nor mine, my lord : Cressid was here but


Tro. Let it not be believ'd for womanhood !" Think, we had mothers; do not give advantage To stubborn criticks—apt, without a theme, For depravation,—to square the general sex By Cressid's rule : rather think this not Cressid. Ulyss. What hath she done, prince, that can

soil our mothers ? Tro. Nothing at all, unless that this were she.

THER. Will he swagger himself out on's own eyes ?

Tro. This she? no, this is Diomed's Cressida:

turns the

very testimony of seeing and hearing against themselves. THEOBALD.

$ I cannot conjure, Trojan.] That is, I cannot raise spirits in the form of Cressida Johnson, 6 Most sure she was.

s.] The present deficiency in the measure induces me to suppose our author wrote:

It is most sure she was. STEEVENS.
for womanhood!] i. e. for the sake of womanhood.

do not give advantage
To stubborn criticks-apt, without a theme,

For depravation,] Critick has here, I think, the signification of Cynick. So, in Love's Labour's Lost :

“ And critick Timon laugh at idle toys." MALONE.




If beauty have a soul, this is not she
If souls guide vows, if vows be sanctimony,
If sanctimony be the gods' delight,
If there be rule in unity itself,
This was not she. O madness of discourse,
That cause sets up with and against itself !!
Bi-fold authority!? where reason can revolt
Without perdition, and loss assume all reason
Without revolt;3 this is, and is not, Cressid !
Within my soul there doth commence a fight * 4

If there be rule in unity itself,] may mean-If there be certainty in unity, if there be a rule that one is one.

JOHNSON. If it be true that one individual cannot be two distinct per

M. Mason. The rule alluded to is a very simple one; that one cannot be two. This woman therefore, says Troilus, this false one, cannot be that Cressida that formerly plighted her faith to me.

MALONE. -against itself!] Thus the quarto. The folio reads against thyself. In the preceding line also I have followed the quarto. The folio reads - This is not she. MALONE.

2 Bi-fold authority!] This is the reading of the quarto. The folio gives us :

By foul authority! There is madness in that disquisition in which a man reasons at once for and against himself upon authority which he knows not to be valid. The quarto is right. Johnson.

This is one of the passages in which the editor of the folio changed words that he found in the quartos, merely because he did not understand them. MALONE.

where reason can revolt
Without perdition, and loss assume all reason

Without revolt ; ] The words loss and perdition are used in their common sense, but they mean the loss or perdition of

Johnson. 4 Within


soul there doth commence a fight~] So, in Hamlet : “ Sir, in my heart, there was a kind of fighting;





Of this strange nature, that a thing inseparate
Divides more wider than the sky and earth ;
And yet the spacious breadth of this division
Admits no orifice for a point, as subtle
As is Arachne's broken woof, to enter."


- a thing inseparate- i. e. the plighted troth of lovers. Troilus considers it inseparable, or at least that it ought never to be broken, though he has unfortunately found that it sometimes is. Malone.

more wider-) Thus the old copies. The modern editions, following Mr. Pope, read-far wider ; though we have a similar phraseology with the present in almost every one of these plays. Malone. So, in Coriolanus :

• He bears himself more proudlier." See note on this passage. STEEVENS.

? As is Arachne's broken woof, to enter.] Is--the syllable wanting in this verse, the modern editors have supplied. I hope the mistake was not originally the poet's own; yet one of the quartos read with the folio, Ariachna's broken woof, and the other Ariathna's. It is not impossible that Shakspeare might have written Ariadne's broken woof, having confounded the two names, or the stories, in his imagination : or alluding to the clue of thread, by the assistance of which Theseus escaped from the Cretan labyrinth. I do not remember that Ariadne's loom is mentioned by any of the Greek or Roman poets, though I find an allusion to it in Humour out of Breath, a comedy, 1607:

instead of these poor weeds, in robes « Richer than that which Ariadne wrought,

“ Or Cytherea's airy-moving vest." Again, in The Spanish Tragedy :

thy tresses, Ariadne's twines,
“ Wherewith my liberty thou hast surpriz'd.”
Again, in Muleasses the Turk, 1610:

“ Leads the despairing wretch into a maze ;
" But not an Ariadne in the world
" To lend a clew to lead us out of it,

“ The very maze of horror.” Shakspeare, however, might have written-Arachnea; great liberties being taken in spelling proper names, and especially by ancient English writers. Thus we have both Alcmene and Alcumene, Alcmena and Alcumena. STEEVENS.

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Instance, O instance! strong as Pluto's gates ; Cressid is mine, tied with the bonds of heaven : Instance, O instance! strong as heaven itself; The bonds of heaven are slipp'd, dissolv’d, and

loos’d; And with another knot, five-finger-tied, The fractions of her faith, orts of her love, The fragments, scraps, the bits, and greasy reliques Of her o'er-eaten faith, are bound to Diomed.



My quarto, which is printed for R. Bonian, 1609, reads Ariachna's broken woof; the other, which is said to be undated, reads, as Mr. Steevens says---Ariathna's. The folio--Ariachne's. Mr. Steevens hopes the mistake was not originally the author's, but I think it extremely probable that he pronounced the word as a word of four syllables. MALONE.

knot, five-finger-tied,] A knot tied by giving her hand to Diomed. JOHNSON. So, in The Fatal Dowry, by Massinger, 1632:

“ Your fingers tie my heart-strings with this touch,
“ In true-love knots, which nought but death shall loose.”


fractions of her faith, orts of her love,
The fragments, scraps, the bits, and greasy reliques

Of her o'er-eaten faith, are bound to Diomed.] Vows which she has already swallowed once over.

We still

say faithless man, that he has eaten his words. JOHNSON.

The image is not of the most delicate kind. « Her oʻer-eaten faith” means, I think, her troth plighted to Troilus, of which she was surfeited, and, like one who has over-eaten himself, had thrown off. All the preceding words, the fragments, scraps, &c. show that this was Shakspeare's meaning. So, in Twelfth-Night:

“ Give me excess of it (musick]; that surfeiting

The appetite may sicken, and so die.Again, more appositely, in King Henry IV. P. II:

6. The commonwealth is sick of their own choice;
“ Their over-greedy love hath surfeited.
“ O thou fond many! with what loud applause
“ Didst thou beat heaven with blessing Bolingbroke,
6 Before he was what thou would'st have him be!

of a

Ulyss. May worthy Troilus' be half attach'd With that which here his passion doth express ?

Tro. Ay, Greek; and that shall be divulged well In characters as red as Mars his heart Inflam’d with Venus: never did young man fancy With so eternal and so fix'd a soul. Hark, Greek ;-As much as I do Cressid love, So much by weight hate I her Diomed: That sleeve is mine, that he'll bear on his helm; Were it a casque compos’d by Vulcan's skill, My sword should bite it :' not the dreadful spout, Which shipmen do the hurricano call", Constring'd in mass by the almighty sun, Shall dizzy with more clamour Neptune's ear In his descent, than shall my prompted sword Falling on Diomed.


“ And being now trimm'd in thine own desires,
“ Thou, beastly feeder, art so full of him,
“ That thou provok’st thyself to cast him up.

MALONE. May worthy Troilus—] Can Troilus really feel, on this occasion, half of what he utters? A question suitable to the calm Ulysses. Johnson.

* My sword should bite it :] So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor : " - I have a sword, and it shall bite,&c. In King Lear we have also biting faulchion.” STEEVENS.

- the dreadful spout, Which shipmen do the hurricano call,] A particular account of “a spout,” is given in Captain John Smith's Sea Grammar, quarto, 1627: " A spout is, as it were a small river falling entirely from the clouds, like one of our water-spouts, which make the sea, where it falleth, to rebound in flashes exceeding high ;" i. e. in the language of Shakspeare, to dizzy the ear of Neptune. So also, Drayton:

“ And down the shower impetuously doth fall
“ Like that which men the hurricano call." STEEVENS.

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