Imágenes de páginas

Then enterprise is sick! How could communities,
Degrees in schools and brotherhoods in cities,
Peaceful commérce from dividable shores,
The primogenitive and due of birth,
Prerogative of age, crowns, sceptres, laurels,
But by degree, stand in authentic place?
Take but degree away, untune that string,
And, hark, what discord follows! each thing meets 110
In mere oppugnancy: the bounded waters
Should lift their bosoms higher than the shores
And make a sop of all this solid globe:
Strength should be lord of imbecility,

And the rude son should strike his father dead:
Force should be right; or rather, right and wrong,
Between whose endless jar justice resides,

Should lose their names, and so should justice too.
Then every thing includes itself in power,
Power into will, will into appetite;
And appetite, an universal wolf,

So doubly seconded with will and power,
Must make perforce an universal prey,
And last eat up himself. Great Agamemnon,
This chaos, when degree is suffocate,
Follows the choking.

And this neglection of degree it is

That by a pace goes backward, with a purpose
It hath to climb. The general's disdain'd
By him one step below, he by the next,

105. dividable, divided, far apart.

106. primogenitive, right of primogeniture.

III. mere oppugnancy, absolute antagonism.

112. Should, would. So in the following lines.



119. includes itself in, terminates in, converts itself into.

128. by a pace goes backward, goes back a step, i.e. is displayed towards each rank by the rank immediately below, each man slighting his immediate superior in order to aggrandise himself.

That next by him beneath; so every step,
Exampled by the first pace that is sick.
Of his superior, grows to an envious fever
Of pale and bloodless emulation:

And 'tis this fever that keeps Troy on foot,
Not her own sinews. To end a tale of length,
Troy in our weakness stands, not in her strength.

Nest. Most wisely hath Ulysses here discover'd
The fever whereof all our power is sick.

Agam. The nature of the sickness found,

What is the remedy?

Ulyss. The great Achilles, whom opinion crowns The sinew and the forehand of our host, Having his ear full of his airy fame,

Grows dainty of his worth, and in his tent

Lies mocking our designs: with him Patroclus
Upon a lazy bed the livelong day

Breaks scurril jests,

And with ridiculous and awkward action,
Which, slanderer, he imitation calls,

He pageants us.
Sometime, great Agamemnon,
Thy topless deputation he puts on,
And, like a strutting player, whose conceit
Lies in his hamstring, and doth think it rich
To hear the wooden dialogue and sound
'Twixt his stretch'd footing and the scaffoldage,
Such to-be-pitied and o'er-wrested seeming

132. pace, (transferred) the member of a particular rank.

138. discover'd, explained. 145. dainty of his worth, idly preoccupied, puffed up, with his dignity.

151. pageants, exhibits, mimics. 152. Thy topless deputation, the supreme power confided to



you; he assumes the airs of the captain-general.

153. conceit, imagination. 156. stretch'd, strained, exaggerated.

156. scaffoldage, the woodwork of the stage.

157. o'er-wrested, Pope's conjecture for QF1 ore - rested; Delius conjectured oer-jested.

He acts thy greatness in: and when he speaks,
'Tis like a chime a-mending; with terms un-


Which, from the tongue of roaring Typhon dropp'd, 160
Would seem hyperboles. At this fusty stuff
The large Achilles, on his press'd bed lolling,
From his deep chest laughs out a loud applause;
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 god Achilles still cries 'Excellent!

'Tis Nestor right. Now play him me, Patroclus, 170 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.

159. unsquared, random, not fitted to the matter.

160. Typhon (also called Typheus), a giant associated with storm and fire, and especially with the eruptions of Etna, under which he was buried.

166. being drest, having addressed himself.


167. as near, etc., i.e. with no approximation whatever.

174. gorget, throat-armour. 178. spleen, as the organ of laughter.

180. Severals and generals, etc., 'the minutest individual and general excellences.'

182. Excitements, calls.

Nest. And in the imitation of these twain-
Who, 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,
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 prescience 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 poise,
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.
[A tucket.
Agam. What trumpet ? look, Menelaus.
Men. From Troy.

189. In such a rein, i.e. so high, like a spirited horsebridling up.'

190. broad, puffed with pride. 191. state, council; state is often a collective term for the governing power of a polity.




195. weaken and discredit our exposure, weaken, by discrediting us, our ability to resist the assaults to which we are exposed.

196. How rank soever, however immoderately, to whatever degree.

Enter ENEAS.

Agam. What would you 'fore our tent?
Ene. Is this great Agamemnon's tent, I pray

Agam. Even this.

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.

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


How may


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


Good arms, strong joints, true swords; and, Jove's accord,

Nothing so full of heart. But peace, Æneas,
Peace, Trojan; lay thy finger on thy lips!
The worthiness of praise distains his worth




238. Jove's accord, nothing so their side, they are of unmatched full of heart, having Jove on valour.

[blocks in formation]
« AnteriorContinuar »