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Cries-Excellent!-'tis Agamemnon just.

Now play me Nestor;-hem, and stroke thy beard, As he, being 'drest to some oration.


That's done;-as near as the extremest ends.
Of parallels; as like as Vulcan and his wife:
Yet good Achilles still cries, Excellent!

'Tis Nestor right! Now play him me, Patroclus,
Arming to answer in a night alarm.

And then, forsooth, the faint defects of age
Must be the scene of mirth; to cough, and spit,
And with a palsy-fumbling on his gorget,
Shake in and out the rivet:-and at this sport,
Sir Valour dies; cries, O!-enough, Patroclus;-
Or give me ribs of steel! I shall split all
In pleasure of my spleen. And in this fashion,
All our abilities, gifts, natures, shapes,
Severals and generals of grace exact,
Achievements, plots, orders, preventions,
Excitements to the field, or speech for truce,
Success, or loss, what is, or is not, serves
As stuff for these two to make paradoxes.

Nest. And in the imitation of these twain
(Whom, as Ulysses says, opinion crowns
With an imperial voice,) many are infect.
Ajax is grown self-will'd; and bears his head
In such a rein, in full as proud a place
As broad Achilles: keeps his tent like him;
Makes factious feasts; rails on our state of war,
Bold as an oracle: and sets Thersites

(A slave, whose gall coins slanders like a mint,')

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Of parallels;] The parallels to which the allusion seems to be made, are the parallels on a map. As like as east to west.



bears his head

In such a rein,] That is, holds up his head as haughtily. We of a girl, she bridles.


whose gall coins slanders like a mint,] i. e. as fast as a mint coins money.

To match us in comparisons with dirt;
To weaken and discredit our exposure,
How rank soever rounded in with danger."

Ulyss. They tax our policy, and call it cowardice;
Count wisdom as no member of the war;
Forestall prescíence, and esteem no act

But that of hand: the still and mental parts,-
That do contrive how many hands shall strike,
When fitness calls them on; and know, by measure'
Of their observant toil, the enemies' weight,-
Why, this hath not a finger's dignity:

They call this-bed-work, mappery, closet-war:
So that the ram, that batters down the wall,
For the great swing and rudeness of his poize,
They place before his hand that made the engine;
Or those, that with the fineness of their souls
By reason guide his execution.

Nest. Let this be granted, and Achilles' horse
Makes many Thetis' sons.


[Trumpet sounds. What trumpet? look, Menelaus.

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Ene. May one, that is a herald, and a prince, Do a fair message to his kingly ears?

Agam. With surety stronger than Achilles' arm 'Fore all the Greekish heads, which with one voice Call Agamemnon head and general.

How rank soever rounded in with danger.] A rank weed is a high weed.

by measure-] i, e. " by means of their observant toil."


Ene. Fair leave, and large security. How may A stranger to those most imperial looks Know them from eyes of other mortals? Agam.

Ene. Ay;

I ask, that I might waken reverence,
And bid the cheek be ready with a blush
Modest as morning when she coldly eyes
The youthful Phoebus:


Which is that god in office, guiding men?
Which is the high and mighty Agamemnon?

Agam. This Trojan scorns us; or the men of Troy Are ceremonious courtiers.

Ene. 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

Nothing so full of heart." But peace, Æneas,
Peace, Trojan; lay thy finger on thy lips!
The worthiness of praise distains his worth,
If that the prais'd himself bring the praise forth:


• 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.

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they have galls, &c.] This is not very intelligible, but perhaps the speaker meant to say, that, when they have the ac cord of Jove on their side, nothing is so courageous as the Trojans.

But what the repining enemy commends,

That breath fame follows; that praise, sole pure,


Agam. Sir, you of Troy, call you yourself Æneas?
Ene. Ay, Greek, that is my name.

What's your affair, I pray you?
Ene. Sir, pardon; 'tis for Agamemnon's ears.
Agam. He hears nought privately, that comes
from Troy.

Ene. Nor I from Troy come not to whisper him: I bring a trumpet to awake his ear;

To set his sense on the attentive bent,

And then to speak.


Speak frankly as the wind;

It is not Agamemnon's sleeping hour:
That thou shalt know, Trojan, he is awake,

He tells thee so himself.


Trumpet, blow loud,

Send thy brass voice through all these lazy tents;-
And every Greek of mettle, let him know,
What Troy means fairly, shall be spoke aloud.
[Trumpet sounds.
We have, great Agamemnon, here in Troy
A prince call'd Hector, (Priam is his father,)
Who in this dull and long-continued truce'
Is rusty grown; he bade me take a trumpet,
And to this purpose speak. Kings, princes, lord!
If there be one, among the fair'st of Greece,
That holds his honour higher than his ease;
That seeks his praise more than he fears his peril;
That knows his valour, and knows not his fear;
That loves his mistress more than in confession,2

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.

2-more than in confession,] Confession for profession.

(With truant vows to her own lips he loves,)
And dare avow her beauty and her worth,
In other arms than hers,-to him this challenge.
Hector, in view of Trojans and of Greeks,
Shall make it good, or do his best to do it,
He hath a lady, wiser, fairer, truer,
Than ever Greek did compass in his arms;
And will to-morrow with his trumpet call,
Mid-way between your tents and walls of Troy,
To rouse a Grecian that is true in love:
If any come, Hector shall honour him;
If none, he'll say in Troy, when he retires,
The Grecian dames are sun-burn'd, and not worth
The splinter of a lance. Even so much.

Agam. This shall be told our lovers, lord Æneas;
If none of them have soul in such a kind,
We left them all at home: But we are soldiers;
And may that soldier a mere recreant prove,
That means not, hath not, or is not in love!
If then one is, or hath, or means to be,
That one meets Hector; if none else, I am he.

Nest. Tell him of Nestor, one that was a man When Hector's grandsire suck'd: he is old now; But, if there be not in our Grecian host

One noble man, that hath one spark of fire
To answer for his love, Tell him from me,-
I'll hide my silver beard in a gold beaver,
And in my vantbrace3 put this wither'd brawn;
And, meeting him, will tell him, That my lady
Was fairer than his grandame, and as chaste
As may
be in the world; His youth in flood,
I'll prove this truth with my three drops of blood.
Ene. Now heavens forbid such scarcity of youth!
Ulyss. Amen.

Agam. Fair lord Æneas, let me touch your hand;

› And in my vantbrace-] An armour for the arm, avantbras.

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