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ACT I. SCENE I.
Troi. Call here my varlet”, I'll unarm again: Why should I war without the walls of Troy, That find such cruel battle here within ?
· The story was originally written by Lollius, an old Lombard author, and since by Chaucer. Pope.
Mr. Pope (after Dryden) informs us, that the story of Troilus and Creffida was originally the work of one Lollius, a Lombard ; (of whom Gascoigne
speaks in Dan Bartholme we bis firf Triumph: « Since Lollius and Chaucer both, make doubt upon that glose”) but Dryden goes yet farther He declares it to have been written in Latin verse, and that Chaucer translated it. Lollius was a historiographer of Urbino in Italy. Shakspeare received the greatest part of his materials for the structure of this play from the Troye Boke of Lydgate. Lydgate was not much more than a translator of Guido of Columpna, who was of Meffina in Sicily, and wrote his History of Troy in Latin, after Dictys Cretenfis, and Dares Phrygius, in 1287. On these, as Mr. Warton observes, he engrafted many new romantic inventions, which the taste of his age dictated, and which the connection between Grecian and Gothic fiction easily admitted ; at the same time comprehending in his plan the Theban and Argonautic stories from Ovid, Statius, and Valerius Flaccus. Guido's work was published at Cologne in 1477, again 1489: at Strasburgh 1486, and ibidem 1489. It appears to have been trandated by Raoul le Feure, at Cologne, into French, from whom Caxton rendered it into Englifh in 1471, under the title of his Recuyel, &c. fo that there must have been yet fome earlier edition of Guido's performance than I have hitherto seen or heard of, unless his first translator had recourse to a manuscript.
Guido of Columpna is referred to as an authority by our own chronicler Grafton. Chaucer had made the loves of Troilus and
Each Trojan, that is master of his heart,
Creflida famous, which very probably might have been Shak: speare's inducement to try their fortune on the stage.-Lydgate's Troye Boke was printed by Pynson, 1513. In the books of the Stationers' Company, anno 1581, is entered " A proper ballad, dialogue-wise, between Troilus and Crellida.” Again, Feb. 7, 1602: “ The booke of Troilus and Creslida, as it is acted by my Lo. Chamberlain's men." The first of these entries is in the name of Edward White, the second in that of M. Roberts. Again, Jan. 28, 1608, entered by Rich. Bonian and Hen. Whal. ley, " A booke called the history of Troilus and Creslida."
STEEVINS. Troilus and Cressida.] Before this play of Troilus and Cresida, printed in 1609, is a bookseller's preface, shewing that firñt impression to have been before the play had been acted, and that it was published without Shakspeare's knowledge, from a copy that had fallen into the bookseller's hands. Mr. Dryden thinks this one of the first of our author's plays : but, on the contrary, it may be judged, from the fore-mentioned preface, that it was one of his last; and the great number of observations, both moral and politic, with which this piece is crowded more than any other of his, seems to confirm my opinion. Pope.
We may learn from this preface, that the original proprietors of Shakspeare's plays thought it their interest to keep them unprinted. The author of it adds, at the conclusion, these words: s. Thank fortune for the 'scape it hath made among you, since, by the grand possessors wills, I believe you should rather have prayed for them, than have been prayed,” &c. By the grand pofféffors, I suppose, were meant Heming and Condell. It appears that the rival playhouses at that time made frequent depredations on one another's copies. In the Induction to the Malecontent, written by Webster, and augmented by Marston, 1606, is the following passage :
“ I wonder you would play it, another company having inte, reft in it."
“ Why not Malevole in folio with us, as Jeronimo in decimo sexto with them? They taught us a name for our play; we call it One for another.”
Again, T. Heywood, in his preface to the English Traveller, 1633: “ Others of them are still retained in the hands of some actors, who think it against their peculiar profit to have them come in print.” STEEVENS.
It appears, however, that frauds were practised by writers as well as actors. It stands on record against Robert Green, the au
Pan. Will this geer ne'er be mended ? ?
strength, Fierce to their skill, and to their fierceness valiant; But I am weaker than a woman's tear,
thor of Friar Bacon and Friar Bungny, and Orlando Furioso, 1594 and 1599, that he fold the last of these pieces to two different theatres : “ Master R. G. would it not make you blush, &c. if you sold not Orlando Furioso to the Queen's players for twenty nobles, and when they were in the country, sold the same play to the Lord Admiral's men for as much more? Was not this plain: Coneycatching M. G.?" Defence of Coneycatching, 1592.
This note was not merely inserted to expose the craft of authorship, but to show the price which was anciently paid for the copy of a play, and to ascertain the name of the writer of Orlando Furioso, which was not hitherto known. Greene appears to have been the first poet in England who sold the same piece to different people. Voltaire is much belied, if he has not followed his example. COLLINS.
Notwithstanding what has been said by a late editor, I have a copy of the firft folio, including Troilus and Crofida. Indeed, as I have just now observed, it was at first either unknown or forgotten. It does not however appear in the list of the plays, and is thrust in between the histories and the tragedies without any enumeration of the pages; except, I think, on one leaf only. It differs intirely from the copy in the second folio. FARMER.
I have consulted eleven copies of the first folio, and I'roilus and Cressida is not wanting in any one of them. STEEVENS.
- my varlet,] This word anciently fignified a servant or footman to a knight or warrior. So, Holinthed, speaking of the battle of Agincourt: "--diverse were releeved by their varlets, and conveied out of the field.” Again, in an ancient epitaph in the church-yard of faint Nicas at Arras :
Cy gift Hakin et son varlet,
" Avec son espé et salloche, &c.” STEEVENS. Concerning the word varlet, fee Recherches bifloriques fur les cartes a jouer. Lyon 1757, p. 61. M. C. T.
3 Will this geer ne'er be mended?] There is somewhat proverbial in this question, which I likewise meet with in the Interlude of K. Darius, 1565 :
“ Wyll not yet this gere be amended,
Tamer than sleep, + fonder than ignorance ;
Pan. Well, I have told you enough of this: for my part, I'll not meddie nor make no further. He, that will have a cake out of the wlieat, ' must tarry the grinding.
Iroi. Have I not carry'd ?
Troi. Have I not tarry'd ?
Pan. Ay, the boulting; but you must tarry the leavening.
Troj. Still have I tarry'd.
Pan. Ay, to the leavening: but here's yet in the word-hereafter, the kneading, the making of the cake, the heating of the oven, and the baking; nay, you must stay the cooling too, or you may chance to burn your lips.
Troi. Patience herself, what goddess e'er she be, Doth Jeffer blench? at sufferance than I do. At Priam's royal table do I sit; And when fair Cressid comes into my thoughts, So, traitor ! when she comes ! - When is the
thence? Pan. Well, she look'd yester-night fairer than ever I saw her look; or any woman else.
-fonder than ignorance ;] Forder, for more childish.
WARBURTON. s And kill-lefs, &c.] Mr. Dryden, in his alteration of this play, has taken this speech as it stands, except that he has changed skill-less to arrlejs, not for the better, because skill-less refers to kill and skilful. JOHNSON, • —muft tarry the grinding.] Folio : muft ncedes tarry, &c.
MALONE. Doth lesier blench-) To blench is to shrink, start, or fly off. See Vol. IV. p. 321.
Troi. I was about to tell thee,-.When my heart,
Pan. An her hair were not somewhat darker than Helen's, (well, go to) there were no more comparison between the women,-But, for my part, she is my kinswoman; I would not, as they term it, praise her,-But I would somebody had heard her talk yesterday, as I did. I will not dispraise your sister Cafsandra's wit: but
Troi. O Pandarus! I tell thee, Pandarus,-
-O that her hand!
In whose comparison, &c.]
Thou answer'it, she is fair;
In whose comparison all whites are ink, &c.