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A little proudly, and great deal misprizing
If not Achilles, sir,
What is your name?
If not Achilles, nothing.
ENE. Therefore Achilles : But, whate'er, know this;
In the extremity of great and little,
The other blank as nothing. Weigh him well,
Ben Jonson more than once uses both the substantive and the adjective in this sense.
As to the word Cavalero, with the Spanish termination, it is to be found in Heywood, Withers, Davies, Taylor, and many other writers. FARMER.
Valour and pride excel themselves in Hector;] Shakspeare's thought is not exactly deduced. Nicety of expression is not his character. The meaning is plain: "Valour (says Æneas,) is in Hector greater than valour in other men, and pride in Hector is less than pride in other men. So that Hector is distinguished by the excellence of having pride less than other pride, and valour more than other valour." JOHNSON.
This Ajax is half made of Hector's blood:] Ajax and Hector were cousin-germans. MALONE.
2-half Trojan, and half Greek.] Hence Thersites, in a former scene, called Ajax a mongrel. See p. 291, n. 8.
AGAM. Here is sir Diomed:-Go, gentle knight, Stand by our Ajax: as you and lord Æneas Consent upon the order of their fight, So be it; either to the uttermost,
Or else a breath: the combatants being kin, Half stints their strife before their strokes begin. [AJAX and HECTOR enter the lists.
ULYSS. They are oppos'd already.
AGAM. What Trojan is that same that looks so heavy?
ULYSS. The youngest son of Priam, a true knight; Not yet mature, yet matchless; firm of word; Speaking in deeds, and deedless in his tongue; 5 Not soon provok'd, nor, being provok'd, soon
His heart and hand both open, and both free; For what he has, he gives, what thinks, he shows; Yet gives he not till judgment guide his bounty, Nor dignifies an impair thought with breath: Manly as Hector, but more dangerous;
a breath :] i. e, a breathing, a slight exercise of arms. See p. 319, n. 7. STEEVENS.
stints-] i. e. stops. So, in Timon of Athens:
deedless in his tongue;] i. e. no boaster of his own deeds. STEEVENS.
an impair thought-] A thought unsuitable to the dignity of his character. This word I should have changed to impure, were I not overpowered by the unanimity of the editors, and concurrence of the old copies. JOHNSON.
So, in Chapman's preface to his translation of the Shield of Homer, 1598: "-nor is it more impaire to an honest and absolute man" &c. STEEvens.
For Hector, in his blaze of wrath, subscribes
NEST. Now, Ajax, hold thine own!
AGAM. His blows are well dispos'd:-there, Ajax! [Trumpets cease.
DIO. You must no more.
Hector, thou sleep'st;
gory emulation 'twixt us twain: Were thy commixtion Greek and Trojan so, That thou could'st say-This hand is Grecian all,
To tender objects;] That is, yields, gives way. JOHNSON. So, in King Lear: "-subscrib'd his power;" i. e. submitted.
thus translate him to me.] Thus explain his character. JOHNSON.
So, in Hamlet:
"There's matter in these sighs, these profound heaves; "You must translate." STEEVENS.
And this is Trojan; the sinews of this leg
I thank thee, Hector: Thou art too gentle, and too free a man: I came to kill thee, cousin, and bear hence A great addition' earned in thy death.
HECT. Not Neoptolemus so mirable (On whose bright crest Fame with her loud'st O yes Cries, This is he,) could promise to himself2 A thought of added honour torn from Hector.
9 My sacred aunt,] It is remarkable that the Greeks give to the uncle the title of Sacred, SE105. Patruus avunculus ¿ ngòs Talgos, belos, Gaz. de Senec. patruus "o reòs unigos Belos, avunculus, Budæi Lexic.-eos is also used absolutely for o gos Talgos Jeos, Euripid. Iphigen. Taurid. 1. 930:
“ Ιφι. *Η που νοσουν]ας θεῖος ἔβρισεν δόμους. And Xenoph. Kupov Taid. Lib. I. passim. VAILLant.
This circumstance may tend to establish an opinion I have elsewhere expressed, that this play was not the entire composi tion of Shakspeare, to whom the Grecism before us was probably unknown. STEEVENS.
A great addition-] i. e. denomination. See p. 244, n. 5.
Not Neoptolemus so mirable
(On whose bright crest Fame with her loud'st O yes
ENE. There is expectance here from both the sides, What further you will do.
burton observes, that "the sense and spirit of Hector's speech requires that the most celebrated of his adversaries should be picked out to be defied, and this was Achilles himself, not his son Neoptolemus, who was yet but an apprentice in warfare." In the rage of correction therefore he reads:
Not Neoptolemus's sire irascible.
Such a licentious conjecture deserves no attention.
My opinion is, that by Neoptolemus the author meant Achilles himself; and remembering that the son was Pyrrhus Neoptolemus, considered Neoptolemus as the nomen gentilitium, and thought the father was likewise Achilles Neoptolemus.
Shakspeare might have used Neoptolemus for Achilles. Wilfride Holme, the author of a poem called The Fall and evil Successe of Rebellion, &c. 1537, had made the same mistake before him, as the following stanza will show :
"Also the triumphant Troyans victorious,
"Who was vanquished and subdued by their conspiracie.
"For multitude of people was there mortificate
"With condigne Priamus and all his progenie, "And flagrant Polixene, that lady delicate."
In Lydgate, however, Achilles, Neoptolemus, and Pyrrhus, are distinct characters. Neoptolemus is enumerated among the Grecian princes who first embarked to revenge the rape of
"The valiant Grecian called Neoptolemus,
"That had his haire as blacke as any jet," &c. p. 102. and Pyrrhus, very properly, is not heard of till after the death of his father:
"Sith that Achilles in such traiterous wise
I agree with Dr. Johnson and Mr. Steevens, in thinking that Shakspeare supposed Neoptolemus was the nomen gentilitium; an error into which he might have been led by some book of the