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Agam.

Even this. Æne. May one, that is a herald, and a prince, Do a fair message to his kingly ears ?

Agam. With surety stronger than Achilles' arm
'Fore all the Greekish heads, which with one voice
Call Agamemnon head and general.

Æne. Fair leave, and large security. How may
A stranger to those most imperial looks 8
Know them from eyes of other mortals ?
Agam.

How?
Ene. Ay;
I ask, that I might waken reverence,
And bid the cheek be ready with a blush
Modest as morning when she coldly eyes
The youthful Phoebus :
Which is that god in office, guiding men ?
Which is the high and mighty Agamemnon ?

Agam. This Trojan scorns us; or the men of Troy Are ceremonious courtiers.

Æne. Courtiers as free, as debonair, unarm'd, As bending angels; that's their fame in peace : But when they would seem soldiers, they have galls, Good arms, strong joints, true swords, and Jove's accord

8 A stranger to those most imperial looks - ] And yet this was the seventh year of the war. Shakspeare, who so wonderfully preserves character, usually confounds the customs of all nations, and probably supposed that the ancients (like the heroes of chivalry) fought with beavers to their helmets. So, in the fourth Act of this play Nestor says to Hector :

“ But this thy countenance, still lock'd in steel,

“ I never saw till now.” Shakspeare might have adopted this error from the wooden cuts to ancient books, or from the illuminators of manuscripts, who never seem to have entertained the least idea of habits, manners, or customs more ancient than their own. There are books in the British Museum of the age of King Henry VI.; and in these the heroes of ancient Greece are represented in the very dresses worn at the time when the books received their decorations.

Nothing so full of heart. 9 But peace, Æneas,
Peace, Trojan ; lay thy finger on thy lips !
The worthiness of praise distains his worth,
If that the prais’d himself bring the praise forth:
But what the repining enemy commends,
That breath fame blowst; that praise, sole pure, tran-

scends.
Agam. Sir, you of Troy, call you yourself Æneas?
Æne. Ay, Greek, that is my name.
Agam.

What's your affair, I pray you ?
Æne. Sir, pardon; 'tis for Agamemnon's ears.
Agam. He hears nought privately, that comes from

Troy.
#ne. Nor I from Troy come not to whisper him:
I bring a trumpet to awake his ear;
To set his sense on the attentive bent,
And then to speak.
Agam.

Speak frankly as the wind;
It is not Agamemnon's sleeping hour:
That thou shalt know, Trojan, he is awake,
He tells thee so himself.
Æne.

Trumpet, blow loud,
Send thy brass voice through all these lazy tents;
And every Greek of mettle, let him know,
What Troy means fairly, shall be spoke aloud.

[Trumpet sounds.
We have, great Agamemnon, here in Troy
A prince call’d Hector, (Priam is his father,)
Who in this dull and long-continued truce

9

they have galls, &c.] This is not very intelligible, but perhaps the speaker meant to say, that, when they have the accord of Jove on their side, nothing is so courageous as the Trojans.

+ " follows” — Malone, and so in Steevens' last edition, but, I suspect, erroneously. C.

long-continued truce --] Of this long truce there has been no notice taken; in this very Act it is said, that Ajax coped Hector yesterday in the battle. Here we have another proof of Shakspeare's falling into inconsistencies, by sometimes adhering to, and sometimes deserting, his original.

1

2

Is rusty grown; he bade me take a trumpet,
And to this purpose speak. Kings, princes, lords !
If there be one, among the fair’st of Greece,
That holds his honour higher than his ease;
That seeks his praise more than he fears his peril;
That knows his valour, and knows not his fear;
That loves his mistress more than in confession,
(With truant vows to her own lips he loves,)
And dare avow her beauty and her worth,
In other arms than hers, to him this challenge.
Hector, in view of Trojans and of Greeks,
Shall make it good, or do his best to do it,
He hath a lady, wiser, fairer, truer,
Than ever Greek did compass in his arms;
And will to-morrow with his trumpet call,
Midway between your tents and walls of Troy,
To rouse a Grecian that is true in love:
If any come, Hector shall honour him;
If none, he'll say in Troy, when he retires,
The Grecian dames are sun-burn'd, and not worth
The splinter of a lance. Even so much.

Agam. This shall be told our lovers, lord Æneas;
If none of them have soul in such a kind,
We left them all at home: But we are soldiers;
And
may

that soldier a mere recreant prove,
That means not, hath not, or is not in love!
If then one is, or hath, or means to be,
That one meets Hector; if none else, I am he.

Nest. Tell him of Nestor, one that was a man
When Hector's grandsire suck’d: he is old now:
But, if there be not in our Grecian host
One noble man, that hath one spark of fire
To answer for his love, Tell him from me,-
I'll hide my silver beard in a gold beaver,
And in my vantbrace put this wither'd brawn ;

. — more than in confession,] Confession for profession. 3 And in my vantbrace - ] An armour for the arm, avantbras.

VOL. VI.

U

And meeting him, will tell him, that my lady
Was fairer than his grandame, and as chaste
As may be in the world; His youth in flood,
I'll prove this truth with my three drops of blood.

Æne. Now heavens forbids such scarcity of youth !
Ulyss. Amen.

Agam. Fair lord Æneas, let me touch your hand; To our pavilion shall I lead you, sir. Achilles shall have word of this intent; So shall each lord of Greece, from tent to tent: Yourself shall feast with us before you go, And find the welcome of a noble foe.

[Exeunt all but ULYSSES and NESTOR. Ulyss. Nestor Nest. What says Ulysses ?

Ulyss. I have a young conception in my brain, Be you my time to bring it to some shape. *

Nest. What is't?

Ulyss. This 'tis :
Blunt wedges rive hard knots: The seeded pride
That hath to this maturity blown up
In rank Achilles, must or now be cropp'd,
Or, shedding, breed a nursery of like evil,
To overbulk us all.
Nest.

Well, and how ?
Ulyss. This challenge that the gallant Hector sends,
However it is spread in general name,
Relates in purpose only to Achilles.

Nest. The purpose is perspicuous even as substance, Whose grossness little characters sum up: And, in the publication, make no strain, 5 But that Achilles, were his brain as barren As banks of Libya, - though, Apollo knows,

4 Be you my time, &c.] i.e. be you to my present purpose what time is in respect of all other schemes, viz. a ripener and bringer of them to maturity.

5 And, in the publication, make no strain,] i. e, make no difficully, no doubt.

'Tis dry enough, — will, with great speed of judgment,
Ay, with celerity, find Hector's purpose
Pointing on him.

Ulyss. And wake him to the answer, think you ?
Nest.

Yes, It is most meet; Whom

may you

else

oppose,
That can from Hector bring those honours off,
If not Achilles? Though't be a sportful combat,
Yet in the trial much opinion dwells ;
For here the Trojans taste our dear'st repute
With their fin'st palate: And trust to me, Ulysses,
Our imputation shall be oddly pois'd
In this wild action : for the success,
Although particular, shall give a scantling 6
Of good or bad unto the general ;
And in such indexes, although small pricks?
To their subsequent volumes, there is seen
The baby figure of the giant mass
Of things to come at large. It is suppos’d,
He, that meets Hector, issues from our choice:
And choice, being mutual act of all our souls,
Makes merit her election; and doth boil,
As 'twere from forth us all, a man distill'd
Out of our virtues; Who miscarrying,
What heart receives from hence a conquering part,
To steel a strong opinion to themselves?
Which entertain'd, limbs are his instruments,
In no less working, than are swords and bows
Directive by the limbs.

Ulyss. Give pardon to my speech ; -
Therefore 'tis meet, Achilles meet not Hector.
Let us, like merchants, show our foulest wares,
And think, perchance, they'll sell; if not,

- scantling - ] That is, a measure, proportion. The carpenter cuts his wood to a certain scantling.

r_small pricks — ) Small points compared with the volumes, or perhaps indexes, which were, in Shakspeare's time, often prefixed to books.

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