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PATR. Achilles bids me say–he is much sorry,
If any thing more than your sport and pleasure
Did move your greatness, and this noble state,
To call upon him; he hopes, it is no other,
But, for your health and your digestion sake,
An after-dinner's breath.

Hear you, Patroclus;
We are too well acquainted with these answers: ,
But his evasion, wing'd thus swift with scorn,
Cannot outfly our apprehensions.
Much attribute he hath ; and much the reason
Why we ascribe it to him: yet all his virtues,-
Not virtuously on his own part beheld,-
Do, in our eyes, begin to lose their gloss;
Yea, like fair fruit in an unwholesome dish,
Are like to rot untasted. Go and tell him,
We come to speak with him: And you shall not sin,
If you do say—we think him over-proud,
And under-honest; in self-assumption greater,



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.

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Than in the note of judgment;' and worthier than

Here tend the savage strangeness' he puts on;
Disguise the holy strength of their command,
And underwritei in an observing kind?
His humorous predominance; yea, watch
His pettish lunes, his ebbs, his flows, as if
The passage and whole carriage of this action
Rode on his tide. Go, tell him this; and add,
That, if he overhold his price so much,




& 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.
This speech is unfaithfully printed in modern editions.

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
Not portable, lie under this report-
Bring action hither, this cannot go to war:
A stirring dwarf we do allowance give 4
Before a sleeping giant :-Tell him so.
Patr. I shall ; and bring his answer presently.

[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.


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?


Re-enter ULYSSES.

Ulyss. Achilles will not to the field to-morrow.
AGAM. What's his excuse?

He doth rely on none;
But carries on the stream of his dispose,
Without observance or respect of any,
In will peculiar and in self-admission.

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,
And batters down himself: What should I say?
He is so plaguy proud, that the death-tokens of it?
Cry-No recovery.

Let Ajax go to him..
Dear lord, go you and greet him in his tent:
'Tis said, he holds you well; and will be led,
At your request, a little from himself.

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
« Are then in council; and the state of man,
“ Like to a little kingdom, suffers then

“ 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.



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