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Priam, king of Troy:
} Trojan Commanders.
Grecian Commanders. Nestor, Diomedes, Patroclus, Thersites, a deformed and scurrilous Grecian. Alexander, servant to Cressida. Servant to Troilus; Servant to Paris; Servant to
Helen, wife to Menelaus.
Trojan and Greek Soldiers, and Attendants. SCENE, Troy, and the Grecian Camp before it.
TROILUS AND CRESSIDA.
Troy. Before Priam's Palace.
Enter TROILUS arm’d, and PANDARUS.
Tro. Call here my varlet, I'll unarm again :
Pan. Will this geer ne'er be mended? 3
strength, Fierce to their skill, and to their fierceness valiant; But I am weaker than a woman's tear,
2 - my varlet,] This word anciently fignified a servant or footman to a knight or warrior. So, Holinshed, speaking of the battle of Agincourt: “ diverse were releeved by their varlets, and conveied out of the field.” Again, in an ancient epitaph in the church-yard of saint Nicas at Arras :
Cy gift Hakin et son varlet,
“ Avec son espé et falloche,” &c. Steevens. Concerning the word varlet, see Recherches historiques sur les cartes à jouer. Lyon, 1757. p. 61. M. C. Tutet.
3 Will this geer ne'er be mended?] There is somewhat proverbial in this question, which I likewise meet with in the Interlude of King Darius, 1565: Wyll not yet
sinful acts corrected ?" STEEVENS. -skilful to their strength, &c.] i. e. in addition to their strength. The same phraseology occurs in Macbeth. See Vol. VII. P: 330, n. 5.
Tamer than sleep, fonder than ignorance;
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 tarry'd ?
Pan. Ay, the grinding; but you must tarry the bolting.
Tro. Have I not tarry'd ?
Pan. Ay, the bolting; but you must tarry the leavening.
Tro. Still have I tarry’d.
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. At Priam's royal table do I fit; And when fair Cressid comes into my thoughts,
- fonder-] i. e. more weak, or foolish. See Vol. V. p. 483, n. 7. MALONE.
5 And skill-lefs &c.] Mr. Dryden, in his alteration of this play, has taken this speech as it stands, except that he has changed Skill-lefs to artless, not for the better, because skill-less refers to skill and skilful. JOHNSON.
6 Doth leffer blench-] To blench is to shrink, start, or fly off. So, in Hamlet :
if he but blench,
men that will not totter,
« I know my
So, traitor !-when she comes !When is the
thence? 1 Pan. Well, she look'd 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 figh, would rive in twain ; Left 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, The 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 fifter Cassandra's wit: but
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 ft in the open ulcer of my heart Her eyes, her hair, her cheek, her gait, her voice; Handleft in thy discourse, O, that her hand,
1— when she comes !~When is the 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 fcorn. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. MALONE.
in wrinkle of a smile :) So, in Twelfih Night : “ He doth smile his face into more lines than the new map with the aug. mentation of the Indies.” MALONE. Again, in The Merchant of Venice:
• With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.” Steevens, * Handleft in thy discourse, O, that her hand, &c.] Handleft is
In whose comparison all whites are ink,
here used metaphorically, with an allusion at the fame time to its literal meaning; and the jingle between hand and handleft 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, “ And say, God quit you, be familar with
My playfellow, your hand,—this kingly seal,
“ And plighter of high hearts." Again, in Romeo and Juliet:
they may seize “ On the white wonder of dear Juliet's hand.” In The Winter's Tale, Florizel with equal warmth, and not less poetically, descants on the hand of his mistress:
I 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's in the open ulcer of my heart
eyes, her hair, her cheek, her gait; her voice
In whose comparison, &c.
“ O handle not the theme, to talk of hands,
“ Left we remember still, that we have none!” We may be certain therefore that those lines were part of the additions which our poet made to that play. MALONE.
Though our author has many and very confiderable obligations to Mr. Malone, I cannot regard the foregoing fuppofition as one of them; for in what does it confift? 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.
STEEVENS. 3 --- and spirit of sense
Hard as the palm of ploughman!] In comparison with Cressida's hand, says he, the spirit of jense, 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, relides