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That slightly shakes his parting guest by the hand;
Welcome ever smiles,] The compositor inadvertently repeated the word the, which has just occurred, and printed-the welcome, &c. The emendation was made by Mr. Pope. Malone. i For beauty, wit, &c.] The modern editors read:
For beauty, wit, high birth, desert in service, &c. I do not deny but the changes produce a more easy lapse of numbers, but they do not exhibit the work of Shakspeare. Fohnson.
Dr. Johnson might have said, -the work of Shakspeare, as mangled by theatres, ignorant transcribers, and unskilful print.
He has somewhere else observed, that perhaps we have not received one of our author's plays as it was originally written. Steevens. 2 And give to dust, that is a little gilt,
More laud than gilt o'er-d’usted.] [The old copies-goe to dust.] In this mangled condition do we find this truly fine observation transmitted. Mr. Pope saw it was corrupt, and therefore, as I presume, threw it out of the text; because he would not indulge his private sense in attempting to make sense of it. I owe the foundation of the amendment, which I have given in the text, to the sagacity of the ingenious Dr. Thirlby. I read:
And give to dust, that is a little gilt,
More laud than they will give to gold, o'er-dusted. Theobald. This emendation has been adopted by the succeeding editors, but recedes too far from the copy. There is no other corruption than such as Shakspeare's incorrectness often resembles. He has omitted the article-to in the second line: he should have written:
More laud than to gilt o'er-dusteid. Johnson. Gilt, in the second line, is a substantive. See Coriolanus, Act I, sc. iü.
Dust a little gilt means, ordinary performance ostentatiously displayed and magnified by the favour of friends and that adimiration of novelty which prefers "new.born gawds” to “things
The present eye praises the present object: Then marvel not, thou great and complete man, · That all the Greeks begin to worship Ajax ; Since things in motion sooner catch the eye, Than what not stirs. The cry went once on thee, 3 And still it might; and yet it may again, If thou would'st not entomb thyself alive, And case thy reputation in thy tent; Whose glorious deeds, but in these fields of late, Made emulous missions 'mongst the gods themselves, And drave great Mars to faction. Achil.
Of this my privacy
But 'gainst your privacy
Ha! known ? 6
past.” Gilt o'er-dusted means, splendid actions of preceding ages, the remembrance of which is weakened by time.
The poet seems to have been thinking either of those monu. ments which he has mentioned in All's Well that Ends Well: "Where dust and damn'd oblivion is the tomb
honour'd bones indeed; or of the gilded armour, trophies, banners, &c. often hung up in churches in “monumental mockery.” Malone.
went once on thee,] So the quarto. The folio-went out on thee. Malone.
4 Made emulous missions -] The meaning of mission seems to be dispatches of the gods from heaven about mortal business, such as often happened at the siege of Troy. Johnson.
one of Priam's daughters.) Polyxena, in the act of marrying whom, he was afterwards killed by Paris. Steevens.
6 Ha! known?] I must suppose that, in the present instance, some word, wanting to the metre, has been omitted. Perhaps the poet wrote-Ha! is 't known? Steevens.
7 Knows almost every grain of Plutus' gold;] For this elegant line the quarto has only:
Knows almost every thing Johnson. The old copy has–Pluto's gold; but, I think, we should read -of Plutus' gold. So, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Philaster, Act IV:
Finds bottom in the uncomprehensive deeps;
s sTis not the wealth of Plutus, nor the gold
Steevens. The correction of this obvious error of the press, needs no justification, though it was not admitted by Mr. Steevens in his own edition. The same error is found in Julius Cæsar, Act IV, sc. iii, where it has been properly corrected:
within, a heart, “ Dearer than Pluto's mine, richer than gold." So, in this play, Act IV, sc. i, we find in the quarto-10 Calcho's house, instead of to Calchas' house. Malone.
8 Keeps place with thought,] i. e. there is in the providence of a state, as in the providence of the universe, a kind of ubiquity. The expression is exquisitely fine: yet the Oxford editor alters it toKeeps pace, and so destroys all its beauty. Warburton.
Is there not here some allusion to that sublime description of the Divine Omnipresence in the 139th Psalm? Henley.
9 Does thoughts unveil in their dumb cradles.] It is clear, from the defect of the metre, that some word of two syllables was omitted by the carelessnes of the transcriber or compositor. Shakspeare perhaps wrote:
Does thoughts themselves unveil in their dumb cralles, Or,
Does infant thoughts undeil in their dumb cradles. So, in King Richard III :
“ And turn his infant morn to aged night." In Timon of Athens, we have the same allusion:
“ Joy had the like conception in my brain,
(with whom relation Durst never meddle) -] There is a secret administration of affairs, which no history was ever able to discover. Fohnson.
2 All the commmerce) Thus also is the word accented by Chapman, in his version of the fourth Book of Homer's Odyssey
“To labour's taste nor the commérce of men.” Steevens. VOL. XII.
When fame shall in our islands sound her trump;
Patr. To this effect, Achilles, have I mov’d you:
Shall Ajax fight with Hector?
Achil. I see, my reputation is at stake;
0, then beware;
Achil. Go call Thersites hither, sweet Patroclus: I'll send the fool to Ajax, and desire him To invite the Trojan lords after the combat, To see us here unarm’d: I have a woman's longing, An appetite that I am sick withal, To see great Hector in his weeds of peace; To talk with him, and to behold his visage, Even to my full of view. A labour sav'd!
Enter THERSITES. Ther. A wonder!
to air.] So the quarto. The folio-ayrie air. Johnson, 4 My fame is shrewdly gor'd.) So, in our author's 110th Sonnet :
« Alas, 'tis true; I have gone here and there,
“ Gor'd mine own thoughts, -," Malone. 5 Omission to do &c.] By neglecting our duty we commission or enable that danger of dishonour, which could not reach us before to lay hold upon us. Fohnson.
Ther. Ajax goes up and down the field, asking for himself.
Achil. How so?
Ther. He must fight singly to-morrow with Hector; and is so prophetically proud of an heroical cudgelling, that he raves in saying nothing.
Achil. How can that be?
Ther. Why, he stalks up and down like a peacock, a stride, and a stand:* ruminates, like an hostess, that hath no arithmetick but her brain to set down her reckoning: bites his lip with a politick regard, 6 as who should say—there were wit in this head, an 'twould out; and so there is; but it lies as coldly in him as fire in a fint, which will not show without knocking:? The man's undone for ever; for if Hector break not his neck i' the combat, he 'll break it himself in vain-glory. He knows not me: I said, Good morrow, Ajax; and he replies, Thanks, Agamemnon. What think you of this man, that takes me for the general? He is grown a very land-fish, languageless, a monster. A plague of opinion! a man may wear it on both sides, like a leather jerkin.
Achil. Thou must be my embassador to him, Thersites.
Ther. Who, I? why, he 'll answer nobody; he professes not answering; speaking is for beggars; he wears his tongue in his arms. I will put on his presence; let Patroclus make demands to me, you shall see the pageant of Ajax.
Achil. To him, Patroclus: Tell him, humbly desire the valiant Ajax, to invite the most valorous Hector to come unarmed to my tent; and to procure safe con:
with a politick regard,] With a sly look. Fohnson.
it lies as coldly in him as fire in a flint, which will not show without knocking.] So, in Julius Cæsar:
“ That carries anger, as the fint bears fire;
like a peacock, a stride, and a stand:) This is the descrip tion of the gait of the peacock, who takes a step, upon which he pauses before he advances the other foot. Am. Ed.
he wears his tongue in his arms.] So, in Macbeth: “My voice is in my sword." Steevens.