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Troy. Before PRIAM'S Palace.
Enter HECTOR and ANDROMACHE.
AND. When was my lord so much ungently temper'd,
To stop his ears against admonishment?
HECT. You train me to offend you; get you in: By all the everlasting gods, I'll go.
AND. My dreams will, sure, prove ominous to the day". HECT. No more, I say.
My DREAMS will, sure, prove ominous to the day.] The hint for this dream of Andromache might be either taken from Lydgate, or the following passage in Chaucer's Nonnes Prestes Tale, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit. v. 15,147:
"Lo hire Andromacha, Hectores wif,
And was yslain anon of Achilles." STEEVENS.
My dreams of last night will prove ominous to the day;' fore
bode ill to it, and show that it will be a fatal day to Troy. So, in
the seventh scene of this Act:
the quarrel's most ominous to us." Again, in King Richard III.:
O thou bloody prison,
Mr. Pope, and all the subsequent editors, read-will prove ominous to-day. MALONE.
Do we gain any thing more than rough versification by restoring the article-the? The meaning of Andromache (without it) is
My dreams will to-day be fatally verified.
We gain the author's text instead of a capricious alteration, and thus perform the first duty of an editor. MALONE.
Where is my brother Hector? AND. Here, sister; arm'd, and bloody in intent : Consort with me in loud and dear petition", Pursue we him on knees; for I have dream'd Of bloody turbulence, and this whole night Hath nothing been but shapes and forms of slaugh
CAS. O, 'tis true.
Ho! bid my trumpet sound! Cas. No notes of sally, for the heavens, sweet brother.
HECT. Begone, I say: the gods have heard me
CAS. The gods are deaf to hot and peevish1 vows; They are polluted offerings, more abhorr'd Than spotted livers in the sacrifice.
AND. O! be persuaded: Do not count it holy To hurt by being just: it is as lawful, For we would give much, to use violent thefts 2, And rob in the behalf of charity.
9 -DEAR petition,] Dear, on this occasion, seems to mean important, consequential. So, in King Lear:
-some dear cause
"Will in concealment wrap me up awhile." STEEVENS. peevish] i. e. foolish. So, in King Henry VI. Part II. : I will not so presume,
"To send such peevish tokens to a king." STEEVENS. 2 For we would give, &c.] This is so oddly confused in the folio, that I transcribe it as a specimen of incorrectness : do not count it holy,
"To hurt by being just; it is as lawful
"For we would count give much to as violent thefts,
I believe we should read:
"For we would give much, to use violent thefts," i. e. to use violent thefts, because we would give much. The word count had crept in from the last line but one. TYRWHITT.
I have adopted the emendation proposed by Mr. Tyrwhitt. Mr. Rowe cut the knot, instead of untying it, by reading:
CAS. It is the purpose' that makes strong the vow; But vows, to every purpose, must not hold: Unarm, sweet Hector.
Hold you still, I say; Mine honour keeps the weather of my fate *: Life every man holds dear; but the dear man 5 Holds honour far more precious-dear than life.
How now, young man? mean'st thou to fight today?
"For us to count we give what's gain'd by theft,"
and all the subsequent editors have copied him. The last three lines are not in the quarto, the compositor's eye having probably passed over them; in consequence of which the next speech of Cassandra is in that copy given to Andromache, and joined with the first line of this.
In the first part of Andromache's speech she alludes to a doctrine which Shakspeare has often enforced." Do not you think you are acting virtuously by adhering to an oath, if you have sworn to do amiss." So, in King John:
where doing tends to ill,
"The truth is then most done, not doing it." MALONE.
3 It is the purpose,] The mad prophetess speaks here with all the coolness and judgment of a skilful casuist. "The 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.
4 Mine honour keeps the weather of my fate:] If this be not a nautical phrase, which I cannot well explain or apply, perhaps we should read:
"Mine honour keeps the weather OFF my fate:" i. e. I am secured by the cause I am engaged in ; mine honour will avert the storms of fate, will protect my life amidst the dangers of the field.-A somewhat similar phrase occurs in The Tempest:
"In the lime grove that weather-fends our cell." STEEVENS. To ke p the weather, I apprehend, is the same as to take the wind, to have the superiority. BOSWELL.
S - DEAR man] Valuable man. The modern editions read -brave man. The repetition of the word is in our author's manner. JOHNSON.
So, in Romeo and Juliet:
"This is dear mercy, and thou seest it not." STEEVENS. Brave was substituted for dear by Mr. Pope. MALONE.
AND. Cassandra, call my father to persuade. [Exit CASSANDRA. HECT. No, 'faith, young Troilus; doff thy harness, youth,
I am to-day i'the vein of chivalry:
Let grow thy sinews till their knots be strong,
TRO. Brother, you have a vice of mercy in you, Which better fits a lion 6, than a man.
HECT. What vice is that, good Troilus? chide me for it.
TRO. When many times the captive Grecians fall, Even in the fan and wind of your fair sword, You bid them rise, and live 7.
HECT. O, 'tis fair play.
• 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.
Thus, in Philemon Holland's translation of Pliny's Natural History, ch. 16: "The lion alone of all wild beasts is gentle to those that humble themselves before him, and will not touch any such upon their submission, but spareth what creature soever lieth prostrate before him." STEEVENS.
Hence Spenser's Una, attended by a lion. Fairy Queen, I. iii. 7. See also Sir Perceval's lion in Morte Arthur, b. xiv. c. vi.
7 When many times the captive You bid them rise, and live.] studied the Homeric character of by no means inclined to clemency, mache's speech in the 24th Iliad:
Οὐ γάρ μέιλικες ἔσχε πατὴρ τεὸς ἐν δαι λυγρῆ.
For thy stern father never spar'd a foe.' Pope.
Thy father, boy, bore never into fight
"A milky mind." Cowper. STEEVENS.
Fool's play, by heaven, Hector.
Not fate, obedience, nor the hand of Mars
Their eyes o'ergalled with recourse of tears';
* Quarto omits this hemistich.
8 Hector, then 'tis wars.] I suppose, for the sake of metre, we ought to read :
Why, Hector, then 'tis wars."
Shakspeare frequently uses this adverb emphatically, as in A Midsummer-Night's Dream: "Ninus' tomb, man: Why, you must not speak that yet." STEEVENS.
9 with fiery TRUNCHEON-] We have here but a modern Mars. Antiquity acknowledges no such ensign of command as a truncheon. The spirit of the passage however is such as might atone for a greater impropriety.
In Elizabetha Triumphans, 1588, a poem, in blank verse, written by James Aske, on the defeat of the Spanish armada, the Queen appears, indeed,
"Most brauely mounted on a stately steede, "With truncheon in her hand-." STEEVENS. I-with RECOURSE of tears;] i. e. tears that continue to course one another down the face.
So, in As You Like It:
the big round tears
"Cours'd one another down his innocent nose