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Line 14. The surgeon's box,] In this answer Thersites only HANMER. quibbles upon the word tent.
Line 18. Male-varlet,] Hanmer reads male-harlot, plausibly enough, except that it seems too plain to require the explanation which Patroclus demands. JOHNSON. Line 22. cold palsies,] This catalogue of loathsome maladies ends in the folio at cold palsies. It may be remarked, though it proves nothing, that, of the few alterations made by Milton in the second edition of his wonderful poem, one was, an enlargement of the enumeration of diseases. JOHNSON.
you ruinous butt; &c.] Patroclus reproaches Thersites with deformity, with having one part crowded into another. JOHNSON.
Line 33. thou idle immaterial skein of sleive silk.] All the terms used by Thersites of Patroclus are emblematically expressive of flexibility, compliance, and mean officiousness.
Line 38. Out, gall!] Hanmer reads nut-gall, which answers well enough to finch-egg; it has already appeared, that our author thought the nut-gall the bitter gall. He is called nut, from the conglobation of his form; but both the copies read, Out, gall!
Line 39. Finch egg!] Of this reproach I do not know the exact meaning. I suppose he means to call him singing bird, as implying an useless favourite, and yet more, something more worthless, a singing bird in the egg, or generally, a slight thing easily crushed. JOHNSON.
A finch's egg is remarkable gaudy; but of terms of reproach it is difficult always to pronounce the exact meaning. STEEVENS. Line 56. and the goodly transformation of Jupiter there, his brother, the bull,-the primitive statue, and oblique memorial of cuckolds;] He calls Menelaus the transformation of Jupiter, that is, as himself explains it, the bull, on account of his horns, which he had as a cuckold. This cuckold he calls the primitive statue of cuckolds; i. e. his story had made him so famous, that he stood as the great archetype of his character. WARBURTON.
forced with wit,] Stuffed with wit. A term
of cookery.-In this speech I do not well understand what is meant by loving quails.
JOHNSON In old French, caille was synonimous to fille de joie. Thus in Rabelais translated—“Coated quails and laced mutton, waggishly singing."
MALONE. Line 70
spirits and fires !] This Thersites speaks upon the first sight of the distant lights.
JOHNSON Line 105. -he will spend his mouth, and promise, like Brabler the hound;] If a hound gives his mouth, and is not upon the scent of the game, he is by sportsmen called a babler or brabler. The proverb says, Brabling curs never want sore ears.
ACT V. SCENE II.
JOHNSON. - 164. You fluw to great destruction;) Means, I think, your impetuosity is such as must necessarily expose you to imminent danger.
MALONE. Line 201. -keep this sleeve.] The custom of wearing a · lady's sleeve for a favour, is mentioned in Hall's Chronicle, fol. 12. .-" One ware on his head-piece his lady's sleeve, and another “ bare on his helme the glove of his deareling.”
Line 234. By all Diana's waiting-women yonder,] i. e. the stars which she points to.
WARBURTON. Line 257. Troilus, farewell!] The characters of Cressida and Pandarus are more immediately formed from Chaucer than from Lidgate; for though the latter mentions them both characteristically, he does not sufficiently dwell on the infamy of the latter to have furnished Shakspeare with many circumstances to be found in this tragedy. Lidgate, speaking of Cressida, says only,
her heart and love to Diomede,
“ For she of her new love no sooner sped,
“ As if she never had him never known or seen,
Line 263. A proof of strength she could not publish more,] She could not publish a stronger proof.
Line 275. That doth invert the attest of eyes and ears;] That
turns the very testimony of seeing and hearing against themselves.
THEOBALD. Line 279. I cannot conjure, Trojan.] That is, I cannot raise spirits in the form of Cressida. JOHNSON. Line 298. If there be rule in unity itself,] May mean, if there be certainty in unity, if it be a rule that one is one. JOHNS. Line 301. Bi-fold authority!] This is the reading of the quarto. The folio gives us,
By foul authority!
There is madness in that disquisition in which a man reasons at once for and against himself upon authority which he knows not to be valid. The quarto is right. JOHNSON.
-where reason can revolt
Without perdition, and loss assume all reason
Without revolt;] The words loss and perdition are used in their common sense, but they mean the loss or perdition of reason. JOHNSON. Line 315. knot, five-finger-tied,] A knot tied by giving her hand to Diomed. JOHNSON.
Line 318. o'er-eaten faith,] Vows which she has already swallowed once over. We still say of a faithless man, that he has eaten his words. JOHNSON.
Line 319. May worthy Troilus-] Can Troilus really feel on this occasion half of what he utters? A question suitable to the calm Ulysses. JOHNSON.
Line 349. and wear a castle on thy head!] i. e. defend thy head with armour of more than common proof. STEEVENS.
ACT V. SCENE III.
Line 366. My dreams will, sure, prove ominous to the day.] i. e. forbode ill to it, and shew that it will be a fatal day to Troy.
The hint for this dream of Andromache is taken from Lydgate. STEEVENS. Line 389. It is the purpose,] The mad prophetess speaks here
- The with all the coolness and judgment of a skilful casuist. essence of a lawful vow, is a lawful purpose, and the vow of which the end is wrong must not be regarded as cogent.”
JOHNSON. Line 395.
dear man- Valuable man. The modern editions read,
-brave man. The repetition of the word is in our author's manner. Johnson.
Line 408. Which better fits a lion,] The traditions and stories of the darker ages abounded with examples of the lion's generosity. Upon the supposition that these acts of clemency were true, Troilus reasons not improperly, that to spare against reason, by mere instinct of pity, became rather a generous beast than a wise man.
JOHNSON Line 431. —with recourse of tears;] i. e. tears that continue to course one another down the face. WARBURTON.
ACT V. SCENE IV. Line 515. —to proclaim barbarism,] To set up the authority of ignorance to declare that they will be governed by policy no longer.
JOHNSON. Line 528. Art thou of blood, and honour ?] This is an idea taken from the ancient books of romantic chivalry, as is the following one in the speech of Diomed: And am her knight by proof.
ACT V. SCENE V.
Line 547. bastard Margarelon—] The introduction of a bastard son of Priam, under the name of Margarelon, is one of the circumstances taken from the story book of The Three Destructions of Troy.
THEOBALD. Line 554. the dreadful Sagittary
Appals our numbers;] “ Beyonde the royalme of “ Amasonne came an auncyent kynge, wyse and dyscreete, “ named Epystrophus, and brought a M. knyghtes, and a mer“ vayllouse beste that was called sagittayre, that behynde the
myddes was an horse, and to fore, a man: this beste was heery
“like an horse, and had his eyen rede as a cole, and shotte well
ACT V. SCENE VI.
Line 606. you cogging Greeks;] This epithet has no particular propriety in this place, but the author had heard of Græcia Mendax. JOHNSON.
Surely the epithet had propriety in respect of Diomed at least, who had defrauded him of his mistress. Troilus bestows it on both, unius ob culpam. STEEVENS.
Line 629. I'll frush it,] The word frush I never found elsewhere, nor understand it. Hanmer explains it, to break or bruise. JOHNSON.
ACT V. SCENE IX.
Line 662. Even with the vail-] The vail is, I think, the sinking of the sun; not veil or cover. JOHNSON.
Line 664. I am unarm'd; forego this vantage, Greek.] Hector, in Lydgate's poem, falls by the hand of Achilles; but it is Troilus who, having been inclosed round by the Myrmidons, is killed after his armour had been hewn from his body, which was afterwards drawn through the field at the horse's tail. STEEVENS. Line 676. And, stickler-like,] A stickler was one who stood by to part the combatants when victory could be deter mined without bloodshed. They are often mentioned by Sidney. "Anthony (says sir Tho. North in his translation of Plutarch)
was himself in person a stickler to part the young men when