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Dr. Johnson's conjecture, thus cautiously stated, has been since strongly confirmed by Mr. Tyrwhitt; who states that this play was revived in 1613, at which time, without doubt, the Prologue and Epilogue were added by Ben Jonson, or some other person. On the subject of every one of our author's historical pieces, except this, I believe a play had been written, before he commenced a dramatick poet.

MALONE. I entirely agree in opinion with Dr. Johnson, that Ben Jonson wrote the Prologue and Epilogue to this play. Shakspeare had, a little before, assisted him in his Sejanus; and Ben was too proud to receive assistance without returning it. It is probable, that he drew up the directions for the parade at the christening, &c. which his employment at court would teach him, and Shakspeare must be ignorant of. I think, I now and then perceive his hand in the dialogue.

It appears from Stowe, that Robert Greene wrote somewhat on this subject.









Line ii. fonder than ignorance;] i. e. more weak or foolish.

MALONE, Line 13. 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. Line 31. Doth lesser blench-) To blench, to shrink or start.

59. Handlest in thy discourse, 0, that her hand, &c.] Handlest is here 'used metaphorically, with an allusion, at the same time, to its literal meaning; and the jingle between hand and handlest is perfectly in our author's manner. MALONE. Line 62. and spirit of sense

Hard as the palm of ploughman!] Warburton reads,

-spite of sense: It is not proper to make a lover profess to praise his mistress in spite of sense; for though he often does it in spite of the sense of others, his own senses are subdued to his desires. JOHNSON

Line 72. -she has the mends—] She may mend her complexion by the assistance of cosmeticks.

JOHNSON I believe it rather means—She may make the best of a bad bargain.

STEEYENS. Line 109. Ilium,] Was the palace of Troy. JOHNSON.

ACT I. SCENE II. Line 139.

-husbandry in war,) Husbandry means economicul prudence.

MALONE. Line 150. -per 80,-) So in Chaucer's Testament of Cresseide:

« Of faire Cresseide the floure and a per se
“ Of Troie and Greece.”

STEEVENS. Line 155. their particular additions;] Their peculiar and characteristick qualities or denominations; the term in this sense is originally forensick.

MALONE. Line 158. - that his valour is crushed into folly,] To be crushed into folly, is to be confused and mingled with folly, so as that they make one mass together.

Johnson. Line 252. -compassed window,] The compassed window is the same as the bow window.

JOHNSON. Line 260. - so old a lifter?] The word lifter is used for a thief, by Green, in his Art of Coney-catching, printed 1591: on this the humour of the passage may be supposed to turn. We still call a person who robs the shops a shop-lifier. STEEVENS.

Line 343. the rich shall have more.] The allusion is to the word noddy, which, as now, did, in our author's time, and long before, signify, a silly fellow, and may, by its etymology, signify likewise full of nods. Cressid means, that a noddy shall have more nods.

JOHNSON. Line 412. -upon my uit, to defend my wiles:) So read both the copies: yet perhaps the author wrote,

Upon my wit to defend my will. The terms wit and will were, in the language of that time, put often in opposition.

JOHNSON. Line 439.

-joy's soul lies in the doing:) So read both the old editions; for which the later editions have poorly given, the soul's joy lies in doing.

JOHNSON Line 440. That she) Means, that woman. JOHNSON -447. - my heart's content-] Content, for capacity.


[blocks in formation]

Line 476.

affin'd-] i. e. afianced. 483.

Nestor shall apply

Thy latest words.] Nestor applies the words to another instance.

JOHNSON, Line 500. -by the brize,] The brize is the gadsly.

- 503. And flies fled under shade,] i.e. And flies are fled under shade.

MALONE. Line 503.

-the thing of courage,] It is said of the tiger, that in storms and high winds he rages and roars most furiously.

HANMER. Line 507. Returns to chiding fortune.] For returns, Hanmer reads replies unnecessarily, the sense being the same. The folio and quarto have retires, corruptly.

JOHNSON. Line 516. -speeches,—which were such,

As Agamemnon and the hand of Grcece
Should hold up high in brass ; and such again,
As venerable Nestor, hatch'd in silver,
Should with a bond of air (strong as the arle-tree
On which heuven rides) knit all the Greekish ears

To his experienc'd tongue,] Ulysses begins his oration with praising those who had spoken before him, and marks the characteristick excellencies of their different eloquence, strength, and sweetness, which he expresses by the different metals on which he recommends them to be engraven for the instruction of posterity. The speech of Agamemnon is such that it ought to be engraven in brass, and the tablet held up by him on the one side, and Greece on the other, to shew the union of their opinion. And Nestor ought to be exhibited in silver, uniting all his audience in one mind by his soft and gentle elocution. Brass is the common emblem of strength, and silver of gentle

We call a soft voice a silver voice, and a persuasive tongue a silver tongue.- I once read for hand, the band of Greece, but I think the text right. To hatch is a term of art for a particular method of engraving. Hatcher, to cut, Fr.



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