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Let us begin with Achilles. We see him here divested of supernatural machinery; he has no communion with “Olympus' hierarchy" as in the Iliada very mortal -and indeed the least estimable one in the play. However, being “great Thetis' son," he shall have priority. The Greeks call him “ the sinew and the forehand of their host," and no one is more sensible of his importance than himself. They cannot proceed without him, while, for his part, he chooses to be the “sleeping lion;" to be sulky and keep his tent. This mood falls in with his haughtiness and indolence, especially as it is against the wishes of his

party.

Indeed he has one reason for “this his privacy,” having sworn not to fight against Troy, for the sake of one of Priam's daughters. This oath, however, with such a man, is liable to be forgotten; so much so, that it requires a letter from Hecuba, and a token from Polyxena, to remind him of it. Nor is his passion for the lady much in his thoughts. He is no Romeo. Patroclus, who knows better than to give him outrageous counsel, says to him, “ Sweet, rouse yourself, and the weak wanton Cupid Shall from your neck unloose his amorous fold, And, like a dew-drop from the lion's mane,

Be shook to air." The weak wanton Cupid, for such was his love, can be shaken off at his will; and in fact he does so at the last, when a stronger passion, “ like Aaron's serpent, swallows up the rest.” His love of fame surpasses his love of woman; but his pride overcomes both; and his revenge, when thoroughly roused, tops them all. Achilles' pride is in the mouth of every character, while he and his humble servant Patroclus agree to call it by the name of greatness, till they talk themselves into a belief of it. Let Agamemnon and the chiefs approach his tent, and humbly beg him to come forth, to “arm and out :” this is his delight : it is food for his pride; it is another opportunity for an evasive insolent message. In the mean time, he can listen, with greater complacency, to the "scurril jests,” and admire the slanderous mimicry of Patroclus, while at

this sport,

“The large Achilles, on his press'd bed lolling,

From his deep chest laughs out a loud applause." One of the finest touches is where, his pride being hurt, he begins to moralize. Then comes Ulysses, and makes this mighty man a mighty puppet, with his 66 derision med’cinable," playing upon him, and sounding him from the lowest note to the top of his compass." He is made the jeer of the army, when he fancies himself at his wisest point. Ajax is envious of his illustrious name; Achilles cannot envy any body, since he is confessedly above all; but he hates Hector for being next in fame to himself. That Hector is a dangerous neighbour. He cannot look upon him without fearing that the world may compare them together. He therefore eagerly desires to kill him, and in his “greatness” tells him so to his face. This is never off his mind; and he is angry if any one else presumes to fight with Hector. Even when about to feast him in his tent, he says, " I'll heat his blood with Greekish wine to-night, Which with my scimitar I'll cool tomorrow.”

At length the dead body of Patroclus is borne to him :

· Kingdom'd Achilles in commotion rages,
And batters dow himself.”

He is described as “arming, weeping, cursing, vowing vengeance,” and hurries forth in pursuit of Hector, finds him, and is unwilling to run a hazard in his revenge; and certainly Achilles never impresses us with an opinion of his courage. Then, attended by his myrmidons, he finds him alone and unarmed, and cannot “ forego this vantage.” No comment is needed here; and if “great Thetis' son” dragged Hector's body three times round the walls of Troy, he was precisely the man here delineated.

Compare him with Hector, and the first thing that strikes us is that he would have forgone“ this vantage." True courage, ever allied to generosity, as was Hector's, would have forbidden him to fight, with malice prepense, against the weaker man, and to conquer by the aid of superior strength, numbers, or weapons; far less to slay an unarmed enemy.

It would be too much, minutely to examine into the various qualities of soldiership here displayed, from the ardent unreflecting Troilus, to the cautious but romantic courage of old Nestor: besides they bear their distinctive badges for all who choose to look.

Added to them, since the sons of Mars are sure to be accompanied by the daughters of Venus, we have approved specimens in Helen and Cressida, and we want no more. Cressida's picture painted by Ulysses, is well known; and she herself never speaks, not so

much as a line, taken with the context, without betraying her likeness to it. To select one instance, though all are as transparent; her exaggerated complaints at being compelled to leave Troy and Troilus arrive at their genial height when she pathetically mingles a dread of injuring her perfections with her excessive grief, and screams out compliments on herself. “ I'll go in and weep,” she says, for her tears cannot flow before her uncle,

“ Tear my bright hair, and scratch my praised cheeks ; Crack ту clear voice with sobs, and break my

heart With sounding Troilus. I will not go from Troy."

According to such authorities as we possess, this play has never appeared in a theatre. Malone conjectures it had been played at Court. It was entered at Stationers' Hall in 1602, and first printed in 1609, without the author's consent. From the preface to that edition we gather that the manuscript had been surreptitiously obtained; and we are told,—“it never had been staled on the stage, never clapper-clawed with the palms of the vulgar.” Possibly it was not considered suitable for the stage, even by the author himself, after he had completed it. This accounts for its not having been at first included in the folio, edited by Heminge and Condell; it had long before been filched from them, and, not being an acting play, they had forgotten it; at length, when reminded almost too late, they reprinted it for their folio, placing it, as the commentators have observed, awkwardly among the rest of the plays.

The love of Troilus (Cressida has none) is not

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enough to interest us on the stage. We there want a deeper pervading passion, a higher excitement. So powerful are the other characters, though without a leading interest, that the love-disappointment of Troilus is but an episode.

Troilus and Cressida, however, is a harvest of ripe fruits, gathered from the wisest observation and experience; a work to be studied for our instruction ; containing a thousand themes for profitable meditation, a thousand passages of wonderful poetry.

XXIV. MEASURE FOR MEASURE. Unless we believe that Shakespeare could write a long dramatic treatise on a subject without intending it; unless, in fact, he knew not what he was about; we ought to regard the fable of- Measure for Measure as adopted by him for the purpose of canvassing the argument on chastity and incontinence. Possibly others may have viewed it in the same light, though I have been surprised never to meet with the observation. Haz-litt, with all his admiration of the play, thinks the characters are at “cross purposes ;” the truth is, they are at cross arguments. Opinion is at variance; one rule cannot suit all; each party speaks for him or herself, from the peerless Isabella down to the habitually vicious; including the austere self-confidence of Angelo, the frailty of Claudio, and the sheer instinct of a Master Froth. Our instruction is derived from the quality of the several speakers. Unsullied chastity, on the threshold of a cloister, is here persuasive in its own cause; and a warmth towards humanity exists in the Duke, together with a governable temperament.

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