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Sets all on hazard:-And hither am I come
A prologue arm'd,—but not in confidence
Of author's pen, or actor's voice; but suited
In like conditions as our argument,-

To tell you, fair beholders, that our play
Leaps o'er the vaunt' and firstlings of those broils,

"And in storye | lyke as it is founde,
"Tymbria was named the seconde;
"And the thyrde | called Helyas,

"The fourthe gate | hyghte also Cetheas;

"The fyfthe Trojana, the syxth Anthonydes,
Stronge and mighty both in werre and pes."

Lond. Empr. by R. Pynson, 1513, fol. B. II. ch. 11. The Troye Boke was somewhat modernized, and reduced into regular stanzas, about the beginning of the last century, under the name of, The Life and Death of Hector who fought a Hundred mayne Battailes in open Field against the Grecians; wherein there were slaine on both Sides Fourteene Hundred and Sixe Thousand, Fourscore and Sixe Men. Fol. no date. This work Dr. Fuller, and several other criticks, have erroneously quoted as the original; and observe, in consequence, that "if Chaucer's coin were of greater weight for deeper learning, Lydgate's were of a more refined standard for purer language: so that one might mistake him for a modern writer."


On other occasions, in the course of this play, I shall generally insert quotations from the Troye Booke modernized, as being the most intelligible of the two. STEEVENS.


• A prologue arm'd,] I come here to speak the prologue, and come in armour; not defying the audience, in confidence of either the author's or actor's abilities, but merely in a character suited to the subject, in a dress of war, before a warlike play.

JOHNSON. Motteux seems to have borrowed this idea in his Prologue to Farquhar's Twin Rivals:


"With drums and trumpets in this warring age,
"A martial prologue should alarm the stage.'


the vaunt-] i. e. the avant, what went before. So, in King Lear:

"Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts."


'Ginning in the middle; starting thence away
To what may be digested in a play.

Like, or find fault; do as your pleasures are;
Now good, or bad, 'tis but the chance of war.

The vaunt is the vanguard, called, in our author's time, the vaunt-guard. PERCY.


firstlings-] A scriptural phrase, signifying the first produce or offspring. So, in Genesis, iv. 4: "And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock." STEEVENS.

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Calchas, a Trojan Priest, taking part with the


Pandarus, Uncle to Cressida.

Margarelon, a bastard Son of Priam.

Agamemnon, the Grecian General:

Menelaus, his Brother.

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Thersites, a deformed and scurrilous Grecian.
Alexander, Servant to Cressida.

Servant to Troilus; Servant to Paris; Servant to

Helen, Wife to Menelaus.

Andromache, Wife to Hector.

Cassandra, Daughter to Priam; a Prophetess.
Cressida, Daughter to Calchas.

Trojan and Greek Soldiers, and Attendants.

SCENE, Troy, and the Grecian Camp before it.



Troy. Before Priam's Palace.

Enter TROILUS armed, and PAndarus.

TRO. Call here my varlet,1 I'll unarm again : Why should I war without the walls of Troy, That find such cruel battle here within ? Each Trojan, that is master of his heart, Let him to field; Troilus, alas! hath none. PAN. Will this geer ne'er be mended ??


-my varlet,] This word anciently signified a servant or footman to a knight or warrior. So, Holinshed, speaking of the battle of Agincourt: " -diverse were releeved by their varlets, and conveied out of the field." Again, in an ancient epitaph in the church-yard of Saint Nicas at Arras:

"Cy gist Hakin et son varlet,

"Tout dis-armè et tout di-pret,

"Avec son espé et salloche," &c. STEEVENS. Concerning the word varlet, see Recherches historiques sur les cartes à jouer. Lyon, 1757, p. 61. M. C. TUTET.

2 Will this geer ne'er be mended?] There is somewhat proverbial in this question, which I likewise meet with in the interlude of King Darius, 1565:

Wyll not yet this geere be amended,

"Nor your sinful acts corrected?" STEEVENS,

TRO. The Greeks are strong, and skilful to their


Fierce to their skill, and to their fierceness valiant;
But I am weaker than a woman's tear,
Tamer than sleep, fonder than ignorance;
Less valiant than the virgin in the night,
And skill-less as unpractis'd infancy.

PAN. Well, I have told you enough of this: for my part, I'll not meddle nor make no further. He, that will have a cake out of the wheat, must tarry the grinding.

TRO. Have I not tarried?

PAN. Ay, the grinding; but


TRO. Have I not tarried?

you must tarry the

PAN. Ay, the bolting; but you must tarry the leavening.

TRO. Still have I tarried.

PAN. Ay, to the leavening: but here's yet in the word—hereafter, the kneading, the making of the cake, the heating of the oven, and the baking; nay, you must stay the cooling too, or you may chance to burn your lips.

TRO. Patience herself, what goddess e'er she be, Doth lesser blench" at sufferance than I do.

3 skilful to their strength, &c.] i. e. in addition to their strength. The same phraseology occurs in Macbeth. See Vol. X. p. 16, n. 2. STEEVENS.


-fonder-] i. e. more weak, or foolish. See Vol. VII. p. 328, n. 8. MALONE.

And skill-less &c.] Mr. Dryden, in his alteration of this play, has taken this speech as it stands, except that he has changed skill-less to artless, not for the better, because skill-less refers to skill and skilful. JOHNSON,

"Doth lesser blench-] To blench is to shrink, start, or fly off. So, in Hamlet :

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