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“Meet,” for probable commensurate to reason.
“Our imputation shall be oddly pois’d.” “ Oddly," I believe, means, here, " at odds," at disadvantage. 286. “To their subsequent volumes, there is
seen.” This play abounds with lines of unusual accentuation. 286. " A man
" Who miscarrying,
quering part, “ To steel a strong opinion to themselves.” Was this passage deemed by the commentators too plain to require any explanation ? or is it obscure only to myself? The meaning intended, I believe, is—if the antagonist of Hector should be defeated, who is there, that, from such an event, would derive any confidence in his own prowess ? But how can we reconcile this to the construction? There is evident depravation : some words have been lost or changed. Sense might be obtained, by reading “ What heart receives from thence a conquering
hope, “Or feels a strong opinion (i. e. a confidence)
in himself? “Which entertain'd, limbs are his instruments, “ In no less working, than are swords and bows • Directive by the limbs.”
I suppose the meaning here is this confident spirit being obtained, the next consideration is
corporal vigour and strength of limbs, no less essential to courage, in such a conflict, than are swords and bows to the hands which are to use them. “ And think, perchance, they'll sell; if not."
The foot which is wanting here to the metre should certainly be supplied in some way or other, and Mr. Steevens's proposal seems acceptable: “And think, perchance, they'll sell; if they do
not.” Or, perhaps--or, if they do not.” 287.“ - Make a lottery;
“ And, by device, let blockish Ajax draw.” I hope the poet had not here any libellous prospective reference to falsely-imputed modern practices in ballotation.
ACT II. SCENE I.
291. “ The plague of Greece upon thee.
The plague, says Dr. Johnson, sent by Apollo; but I rather suspect it is the plague sent by Venus, which, in another place, is called the malady of Corinth.
300. “ Dread Priam,
“There is no lady of more softer bowels.” By dismissing the obsolete hypercomparative “ more,” the fragment preceding this latter line may be received into the measure: “ Dread Priam, there's no ladý of softer bowels.”
" The wound of peace is surety,
" Surety secure.”— If this be not tautology, it is at least very like it. “ Surety” means confidence, and security, in the present case, can mean nothing else. The sense intended seems to be—the danger to which peace is chiefly exposed, is the supposition that we are safe from attack, and an implicit confidence in that supposition. 301. "
Not worth to us, “ Had it our name, the value of one ten.” I once thought, that, for ten, we should understand tenth ; but I now think otherwise. — Hector would not insult Helen, though he chose to reduce her estimation. “She is not (says he) worth to us, even were she Trojan, any ten of those whose lives have been sacrificed in retaining her.” 303. “ ---JVhat infectiously itself affects.”
“ Infectiously,” for in a state of disease. 308. “ Distaste the goodness of a quar- .
rel." Dr. Johnson's explanation of " distaste," corrupt, change to a worse state, is too vague, and would better suit the word disstate. To“ distaste," means, here, to destroy or take-away the relish of.
“ To make it gracious." “Gracious” is comely, graceful, of commendable appearance.
" Jove forbid, there should be done
amongst us “ Such things as might offend the weakest
spleen “ To fight for and maintain !"
This passage is not very clear: “ weakest spleen” may signify either®“ the most irritable person,” or “ him who has the least disposition to quarrel ;" or, further, the disposition itself, eithier as it is most easily rouzed, or subsists in the smallest degree. Perhaps Troilus only means to correct the vehemence of his argument, by deprecating any ill-will, among his brothers, about the question. “I am (says he) no more concerped than the rest of Priam's sons; and Jove forbid, that, in such a dispute between brothers, there should be any the least act committed that could provoke the most impatient of our tempers to violent contention.” 309. “ Gloz'd.”
To glose, says Mr. Steevens, is, in Shakspeare, to comment: but in this place, as well as in the passage quoted from Henry the Fifth, it is, I believe, rather to argue plausibly : this, too, I take to be the sense of the word, in the instance brought by Mr. Steevens from the Fairy Queen.
316. “ Agamemnon is a fool,” &c.
Mr. Malone says, there is here a profane allusion ; but I cannot at all perceive it.
This, to me, is unintelligible : I suppose a word has been changed.
318. “ Their fraction is more our wish than
their faction.” Their disruption from each other is better for us than their agreement :--faction is league, merely. 319.“ His evasion, wing'd thus with
swift scorn, “ Cannot outfly our apprehensions." He is not more ready to frame evasions than we are to suspect his sincerity—it is very quaintly expressed.
“ Much attribute he hath.” Much reputation, honour, praise :—thus, in Hamlet:
“ The pith and marrow of our attribute.”
All his virtues, “ Not virtuously on his own part beheld.” It is not easy to understand this line, which the commentators have silently passed by.-I suppose it was intended to signify that his virtues, according as Achilles used them, did not appear to be virtues. 320. “ Underwrite."
This word does not, I believe, mean so much as Dr. Johnson supposes, “to obey,” but only to shew deference as to a superior, and in this sense is “ subscription,” in the quoted instance from Lear, to be understood.