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In whose comparison all whites are ink,
Writing their own reproach; To whose soft seizure
Thou lay'st in every gash that love hath given me
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!"
We may be certain therefore that those lines were part of the additions which our poet made to that play. 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."
Though our author has many and very considerable obligations to Mr. Malone, I cannot regard his foregoing supposition as one of them; for in what does it consist? 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.
1- 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:
spite of sense:
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:
66 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.
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.2
Tro. Good Pandarus! How now, Pandarus?
Pan. I have had my labour for my travel; ill-thought on of her, and ill-thought on of you: gone between and between, but small thanks for my labour.
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, and 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
she has the mends --] She may mend her complexion by the assistance of cosmeticks. Johnson.
I believe it rather means-She may make the best of a bad bar gain. 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 men's 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 ne hands, they must thank themselves." Steevens.
3 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 "bis oblations and demaunds for them of Troy, Apollo (says the book) answered unto him, saying; Calchas, Calchas, beware that thou returne not back again to Troy; but goe thou with Achyiles, 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 This prudent bishop followed the advice of the Oracle, and immediately joined the Greeks. Malone.
so I'll tell her, the next time I see her: for my part, I'll meddle nor make no more in the matter.
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 PAN. An Alarum. Tro. Peace, you ungracious clamours! peace, rude sounds!
Fools on both sides! Helen must needs be fair,
It is too starv'd a subject for my sword.
But Pandarus-O gods, how do you plague me!
Alarum. Enter ENEAS.
Ene. How now, prince Troilus? wherefore not afield?" Tro. Because not there; This woman's answer sorts,7
4 Ilium,] Was the palace of Troy. Johnson.
Ilium, properly speaking, is the name of the city; Troy, that of the country. Steevens.
Our doubtful hope, our convoy, and our bark.] So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor:
"This punk is one of Cupid's carriers;
"Clap on more sails," &c. Malone.
6 How now, prince Troilus? wherefore not afield?] Shakspeare, it appears from various lines in this play, pronounced Troilus improperly as a dissyllable; as every mere English reader does at this day.
So also, in his Rape of Lucrece:
"Here manly Hector faints, here Troilus swounds."
sorts,] i. e. fits, suits, is congruous. So, in King Henry V: "It sorts well with thy fierceness." Steevens.
For womanish it is to be from thence.
What news, Æneas, from the field to-day?
Troilus, by Menelaus. Tro. Let Paris bleed: 'tis but a scar to scorn; Paris is gor'd with Menelaus' horn.
Alarum. Ene. Hark! what good sport is out of town to-day! Tro. Better at home, if would I might, were may.But, to the sport abroad;-Are you bound thither? Ene. In all swift haste.
Whose height commands as subject all the vale,
Is, as a virtue, fix'd,3 to-day was mov'd:
Hector, whoes patience
Is, as a virtue, fix'd,] Patience sure was a virtue, and therefore cannot, in propriety of expression, be said to be like one. We should read:
Is as the virtue fix'd,
i. e. his patience is as fixed as the goddess Patience itself. So, we find Troilus a little before saying:
"Patience herself, what goddess ere she be,
"Doth lesser bench at suflerance than I do."
It is remarkable that Dry den, when he altered this play, and found this false reading, altered it with judgment to:
"Is fix'd like that of heaven."
Which he would not have done had he seen the right reading here given, where his thought is so much better and nobler expressed. Warburton.
I think the present text may stand. Hector's patience was as a virtue, not variable and accidental, but fixed and constant. If I would alter it, it should be thus:
He chid Andromache, and struck his armourer;
Hector, whose patience
Is all a virtue fix'd, ·
All, in old English, is the intensive or enforcing particle. Johnson. I had once almost persuaded myself that Shakspeare wrote, whose patience
Is, as a statue fix'd.
So, in The Winter's Tale, sc. ult:
"The statue is but newly fix'd."
The same idea occurs also in the celebrated passage in Twelfth Night:
sat like patience on a monument."
The old adage-Patience is a virtue, was perhaps uppermost in the compositor's mind, and he therefore inadvertently substituted the one word for the other. A virtue fixed may, however, mean the stationary image of a virtue. Steevens.
husbandry in war.] So, in Macbeth: "There's husbandry in heaven." Steevens. Husbandry means economical prudence. Hector's early rising. So, in King Henry V:
Troilus alludes to
our bad neighbours make us early stirrers, "Which is both healthful and good husbandry." Malone. 1 Before the sun rose, he was harress'd light,] Does the poet mean (says Mr. Theobald) that Hector had put on light armour? Mean! what else could he mean? He goes to fight on foot; and was not that the armour for his purpose? So, Fairfax, in Tasso's Jerusalem:
"The other princes put on harness light
"As footmen use."
Yet, as if this had been the highest absurdity, he goes on, Or does he mean that Hector was sprightly in his arms even before sunrise? or is a conundrum aimed at, in sun rose and harness'd light? Was any thing like it? But, to get out of this perplexity, he tells us, that a very slight alteration makes all these constructions unneces sary, and so changes it to harness-dight. Yet indeed the very slightest alteration will, at any time, let the poet's sense through the critic's fingers: and the Oxford editor very contentedly takes up what is left behind, and reads harness-dight too, in order, as Mr. Theobald well expresses it, to make all construction unnecessary. Warburton.
How does it appear that Hector was to fight on foot rather today than on any other day? It is to be remembered, that the ancient heroes never fought on horseback; nor does their manner of fighting in chariots seem to require less activity than on foot. Johnson.
It is true that the heroes of Homer never fought on horseback; yet such of them as make a second appearance in the Eneid, like