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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
Æne. Fair leave, and large security. How may
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,
What's your affair, I pray you ?
Speak frankly as the wind;
Trumpet, blow loud,
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.
Is rusty grown; he bade me take a trumpet,
Agam. This shall be told our lovers, lord Æneas;
that soldier a mere recreant prove,
Nest. Tell him of Nestor, one that was a man
. — more than in confession,] Confession for profession. 3 And in my vantbrace - ] An armour for the arm, avantbras.
And meeting him, will tell him, that my lady
Æne. Now heavens forbids such scarcity of youth !
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 :
Well, and how ?
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,
Ulyss. And wake him to the answer, think you ?
Yes, It is most meet; Whom
Ulyss. Give pardon to my speech ; -
- 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.