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PATR. Achilles bids me say–he is much sorry,
Hear you, Patroclus;
noble state,] Person of high dignity ; spoken of Aga
JOHNSON. Noble state rather means the stately train of attending nobles whom you bring with you. Patroclus had already addressed Agamemnon by the title of " your greatness." STEEVENS,
State was formerly applied to a single person. So, in Wits, Fits, and Fancies, 1614: “ The archbishop of Grenada saying to the archbishop of Toledo, that he much marvelled, he being so great a state, would visit hospitals--" Again, in Harrington's translation of Ariosto, 1591 :
6. The Greek demands her, whither she was going,
" And which of these two great estates her keeps.' Yet Mr. Steevens's interpretation appears to me to agree better with the context here. MALONE.
breath.] Breath, in the present instance, stands for breathing, i. e. exercise. So, in Hamlet: “---it is the breathing time of day with me.” Steevens.
Than in the note of judgment;' and worthier than
& Than in the note &c.] Surely the two unnecessary wordsme in the, which spoil the metre, should be omitted. STEEVENS.
tend the savage strangeness-] i. e. shyness, distant behaviour. So, in Venus and Adonis :
“ Measure my strangeness with my unripe years." Again, in Romeo and Juliet :
prove more true, «« Than those that have more cunning to be strange." To tend is to attend upon. MALONE.
underwrite-) To subscribe, in Shakspeare, is to obey. Johnson. So, in King Lear : “ You owe me no subscription."
STEEVENS. in an observing kind—] i. e. in a mode religiously attentive. So, in A Midsummer-Night's Dream:
“ To do observance to a morn of May." STEEVENS. 3 His pettish lunes,] This is Sir T. Hanmer's emendation of his pettish lines. The old quarto reads:
His course and time.
Johnson. The quarto reads:
His course and time, his ebbs and flows, and if
and whole stream of his commencement Rode on his tide.His [his commencement) was probably misprinted for this, as it is in a subsequent passage in this scene in the quarto copy: “ And how his silence drinks up his applause."
We'll none of him ; but let him, like an engine
[Éxit. AGAM. In second voice we'll not be satisfied, We come to speak with him.—Ulysses, enter.
[Exit Ulysses. AJAX. What is he more than another? AGAM. No more than what he thinks he is.
Ajax. Is he so much? Do you not think, he thinks himself a better man than I am ?
AGAM. No question.
AJAX. Will you subscribe his thought, and sayhe is ?
AGAM. No, noble Ajax ; you are as strong, as valiant, aš wise, no less noble, much more gentle, and altogether more tractable.
AJAX. Why should a man be proud ? How doth pride grow? I know not what pride is.
AGAM. Your mind's the clearer, Ajax, and your virtues the fairer. He that is proud, eats up himself: pride is his own glass, his own trumpet, his
allowance give-] Allowance is approbation. So, in King Lear :
if your sweet sway “ Allow obedience." STEEVENS. enter.] Old copies, regardless of metre,-enter you.
STEEVENS, VOL. XV.
own chronicle; and whatever praises itself but in the deed, devours the deed in the praise.
AJAX. I do hate a proud man, as I hate the engendering of toads." Nest. And yet he loves himself: Isit not strange?
Ulyss. Achilles will not to the field to-morrow.
He doth rely on none;
AGAM. Why will he not, upon our fair request, Untent his person, and share the air with us? Ulyss. Things small as nothing, for request's
sake only, Hemakes important: Possess'd he is with greatness; And speaks not to himself, but with a pride That quarrels at self-breath : imagin'd worth Holds in his blood such swoln and hot discourse, That, 'twixt his mental and his active parts,
-whatever praises itself but in the deed, devours the deed in the praise.] So, in Coriolanus :
power, unto itself most commendable, “ Hath not a tomb so evident as a chair
“ To extol what it hath done.” MALONE. ? the engendering of toads.] Whoever wishes to comprehend the whole force of this allusion, may consult the late Dr. Geldsmith's History of the Earth, and animated Nature, Vol. VII. p. 92–93. STEEVENS.
Kingdom'd Achilles in commotion rages,
Let Ajax go to him..
ULYSS. O Agamemnon, let it not be so! We'll consecrate the steps that Ajax makes When they go from Achilles : Shall the proud lord, That bastes his arrogance with his own seam;?
* Kingdom'd Achilles in commotion rages,] So, in Julius Cæsar :
“ The genius and the mortal instruments
“ The nature of an insurrection.” MALONE.
He is so plaguy proud, &c.] I cannot help regarding the vulgar epithet-plaguy, which extends the verse beyond its proper length, as the wretched interpolation of some foolish player. STEEVENS.
the death-tokens of it-] Alluding to the decisive spots appearing on those infected by the plague. So, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Valentinian :
Now, like the fearful tokens of the plague,
“ Are mere fore-runners of their ends." STEEVENS. Dr. Hodges, in his Treatise on the Plague, says : " Spots of a dark complexion, usually called tokens, and looked on as the pledges or forewarnings of death, are minute and distinct blasts, which have their original from within, and rise up with a little pyramidal protuberance, the pestilential poison chiefly collected at their bases, tainting the neighbouring parts, and reaching to the surface.” REED.
with his own seam;) Swine-sean, in the North, iş hog's-lard. Ritson. See Sherwood's English and French Dictionary, folio, 1650.