But I am weaker than a woman's tear,
Tamer than sleep, fonder than ignorance;
Less valiant than the virgin in the night,
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 blench" at sufferance than I do.

At Priam's royal table do I sit;

And when fair Cressid comes into my thoughts,So, traitor!-when she comes!--When is she thence?


fonder-] i. e. more weak, or foolish. Malone.

5 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 skillless refers to skill and skilful. JOHNSON.

6 Doth lesser BLENCH-] To blench is to shrink, start, or fly off. So, in Hamlet:


[ocr errors]

if he but blench,

[ocr errors]

"I know my course

Again, in The Pilgrim, by Beaumont and Fletcher:


-men that will not totter,

66 'Nor blench much at a bullet." STEEVENS.

PAN. Well, she looked 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 sigh, would rive in twain; Lest Hector or my father should perceive me, I have (as when the sun doth light a storm,) Bury'd this sigh in wrinkle of a smile"

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, she 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 sister 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'st in the open ulcer of my heart Her eyes, her hair, her cheek, her gait, her voice; Handlest in thy discourse, O, that her hand',

7 -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.

8 a STORM,)] Old copies-a scorn. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. MALONE.

See King Lear, Act III. Sc. I. STEEVENS.

9 --in WRINKLE of a SMILE:] So, in Twelfth-Night: "He doth smile his face into more lines than the new map with the augmentation of the Indies." MALONE.

Again, in The Merchant of Venice:

"With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come." STEEVENS. I 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

In whose comparison all whites are ink,
Writing their own reproach: To whose soft seizure
The cygnet's down is harsh, and spirit of sense
Hard as the palm of ploughman 2! This thou tell'st


pression 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 familiar with

My playfellow, your hand,—this kingly seal, "And plighter of high hearts."

[ocr errors]


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:

[ocr errors]

"Pour'st in the open ulcer of my heart

"Her eyes, her air, her cheek, her gait; her voice
"Handlest in thy discourse ;-O that her hand!
"In whose comparison," &c.

We have the same play of words in Titus Andronicus:


"O handle not the theme, to talk of hands,

"Lest we remember still, that we have none!" MALONE. If the derivation of the verb to handle were always present to those who employed it, I know not well how Chapman could vindicate the following passage in his version of the 23d Iliad, where the most eloquent of the Greeks (old Nestor) reminds Antilochus that his horses


their slow feet handle not.”

The intentionally quaint phrase-" taste your legs," introduced in Twelfth-Night, is not more ridiculous than to talk of horses— "handling their feet." STEEVENS.

2 and SPIRIT of sense

Hard as the palm of ploughman !] In comparison with Cressida's hand, says he, the spirit of sense, 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, resides chiefly in the fingers, is hard as the callous and insensible palm of the ploughman. Warburton reads:

SC. 1.


As true thou tell'st me, when I say-I love her
But, saying, thus, instead of oil and balm,

[blocks in formation]

Thou lay'st in every gash that love hath given me The knife that made it.

PAN. I speak no more than truth.

TRO. Thou dost not speak so much.

PAN. 'Faith, I'll not meddle in't. Let her be as she is: if she be fair, 'tis the better for her; an she be not, she has the mends in her own hands 3.


TRO. Good Pandarus! How now, Pandarus? PAN. I have had my labour for my travel; illthought on of her, and ill-thought on of you: gone between and between, but small thanks for my labour.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

spite of sense."

Hanmer :

-to th' spirit of sense."

It is not proper to make a lover profess to praise his mistress in spite of sense; for though he often does it in spite of the sense of others, his own senses are subdued to his desires. JOHNSON. Spirit of sense is a phrase that occurs again in the third Act of this play:

[ocr errors]


nor doth the eye itself,

"That most pure spirit of sense, behold itself. Mr. M. Mason (from whom I have borrowed this parallel) recommends Hanmer's emendation as a necessary one. STEEVens. she has the mends in her own hands-] She may mend her complexion by the assistance of cosmeticks. JOHNSON.



I believe it rather means- She may make the best of a bad bargain. This is a proverbial saying.

So, in Woman's a Weathercock, 1612: "I shall stay here and have my head broke, and then I have the mends in my own hands.'



Again, in S. Gosson's School of Abuse, 1579: turne him with his back full of stripes, and his hands loden with his own amendes."

Again, in The Wild Goose Chase, by Beaumont and Fletcher: "The mends are in mine own hands, or the surgeon's." Again, in Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, edit. 1632, p. 605: "—and if men will be jealous in such cases, the mends is in their owne hands, they must thank themselves." STEEvens.

TRO. What, art thou angry, Pandarus? what, with me?

PAN. Because she is kin to me, therefore, she's not so fair as Helen: an she were not kin to me, she would be as fair on Friday, as Helen is on Sunday. But what care I? I care not, an she were a black-a-moor; 'tis all one to me.

TRO. Say I, she is not fair?

PAN. I do not care whether you do or no. She's a fool to stay behind her father; let her to the Greeks; and so I'll tell her the next time I see her: for my part, I'll meddle nor make no more in the


TRO. Pandarus,—

PAN. Not I.

TRO. Sweet Pandarus,

PAN. Pray you, speak no more to me; I will leave all as I found it, and there an end.

[Exit PANDARUS. An Alarum. TRO. Peace, you ungracious clamours! peace, rude sounds!

Fools on both sides! Helen must needs be fair,
When with your blood you daily paint her thus.
I cannot fight upon this argument;

It is too starv'd a subject for my sword.
But Pandarus-O gods, how do you plague me!


to stay behind her father ;] Calchas, according to Shakspeare's authority, The Destruction of Troy, was "a great learned bishop of Troy," who was sent by Priam to consult the oracle of Delphi concerning the event of the war which was threatened by Agamemnon. As soon as he had made "his oblations and demaunds for them of Troy, Apollo (says the book) aunswered unto him, saying; Calchas, Calchas, beware that thou returne not back again to Troy; but goe thou with Achylles, unto the Greekes, and depart never from them, for the Greekes shall have victorie of the Troyans by the agreement of the Gods." Hist. of the Destruction of Troy, translated by Caxton, 5th edit. 4to. 1617.

« VorigeDoorgaan »