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Now expectation, tickling skittish spirits,
To tell you, fair beholders, that our play
Leaps o'er the vaunt and firstlings of those broils,
Like, or find fault; do as your pleasures are;
"And in storye | lyke as it is founde,
"The fourthe gate | hyghte also Cetheas;
"The fyfthe Trojana, | the syxth Anthonydes,
"Stronge and mighty | both in werre and pes."
Lond. Empr. by R. Pynson, 1513, fol. B. II, ch. 11. The Troye Boke was somewhat modernized, and reduced into regular stanzas, about the beginning of the last century, under the name of, The Life and Death of Hector-who fought a Hundred mayne Battailes in open Field against the Grecians; wherein there were slaine on both Sides Fourteene Hundred and Sixe Thousand, Fourscore and Sixe Men.-Fol. no date. This work Dr. Fuller, and several other criticks, have erroneously quoted as the original; and observe, in consequence, that "if Chaucer's coin were of greater weight for deeper learning, Lydgate's were of a more refined standard for purer language: so that one might mistake him for a modern writer." Farmer.
6 A prologue arm'd,] I come here to speak the prologue, and come in armour; not defying the audience, in confidence of either the author's or actor's abilities, but merely in a character suited to the subject, in a dress of war, before a warlike play.
Johnson. Motteux seems to have borrowed this idea in his Prologue to Farquhar's Twin Rivals:
"With drums and trumpets in this warring age,
"A martial prologue should alarm the stage." Steevens. 7 - the vaunt —] i. e. the avant, what went before. So, in King
"Vaunt-couriers to oak cleaving thunderbolts." Steevens. The vaunt is the vanguard, called, in our author's, time the vaunt-guard. Percy.
8 -firstlings-] A scriptural phrase, signifying the first produce or offspring. So, in Genesis, iv, 4: “ And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock." Steevens.
Calchas, a Trojan priest, taking part with the Greeks.
Pandarus, uncle to Cressida.
Margarelon, a bastard son of Priam.
Agamemnon, the Grecian general:
Menelaus, his brother.
Thersites, a deformed and scurrilous Grecian.
Alexander, servant to Cressida.
Servant to Troilus; servant to Paris; servant to Diomedes.
Helen, wife to Menelaus.
Andromache, wife to Hector.
Cassandra, daughter to Priam; a prophetess.
Cressida, daughter to Calchas.
Trojan and Greek soldiers, and attendants.
Troy, and the Grecian camp before it,
TROILUS AND CRESSIDA.
ACT I.....SCENE I.
Troy. Before Priam's Palace.
Enter TROILUS armed, and PANDARUS.
Tro. Call here my varlet, I'll unarm again:
Tro. The Greeks are strong, and skilful to their
Fierce to their skill, and to their fierceness valiant;
Tamer than sleep, fonder3 than ignorance;
my varlet,] This word anciently signified 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 gist Hakin et son varlet,
Concerning the word varlet, see Recherches historiques sur les M. C Tutet.
cartes à jouer. Lyon, 1757, p. 61.
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 this geere be amended,
"Nor your sinful acts corrected?" Steevens.
2 skilful to their strength, &c.] i. e. in addition to their strength. The same phraseology occurs in Macbeth. See Vol. VII, p. 15, n. 4. Steevens.
-fonder -] i. e. more weak, or foolish. See Vol. IV, p. 382, n. 8. Malone.
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 blench5 at sufferance than I do. At Priam's royal table do I sit;
And when fair Cressid comes into my thoughts,—
Tro. I was about to tell thee.--When my heart,
4 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.
5 Doth lesser blench—] To blench is to shrink, start, or fly off So, in Hamlet:
-if he but blench,
"I know my course ―――
Again, in The Pilgrim, by Beaumont and Fletcher:
-men that will not totter,
"Nor blench much at a bullet." Steevens.
6 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.
7 a storm,)] Old copies-a scorn. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. Malone.
See Ling Lear, Act III, sc. i. Steevens.
Bury'd this sigh in wrinkle of a smile:
But sorrow, that is couch'd in seeming gladness,
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 taik yesterday, as I did. I will not dispraise your sister Cassandra's wit: but
Tro. O Pandarus! I tell thee, Pandarus,—
When I do tell thee, There my hopes lie drown'd,
They lie indrench'd. I tell thee, I am mad
In Cressid's love: Thou answer'st, She is fair;
Her eyes, her hair, her cheek, her gait, her voice;
in wrinkle of a smile:] So, in Twelfth Night: "He doth smile his face into more lines than the new map with the augmen tation of the Indies." Malone.
Again, in The Merchant of Venice:
"With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come." Steevens. 9 Handlest in thy discourse, O, 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 im. pression on his mind Antony cannot endure that the hand of Cleopatra should be touched:
To let a fellow that will take rewards,
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
"As soft as dove's down, and as white as it;
"Or Ethiopian's tooth; or the fann'd snow
"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
Her eyes, her hair, her cheek, her gait; her voice