Puslapio vaizdai

Why keep we her? the Grecians keep our aunt:
Is she worth keeping? why, she is a pearl,
Whose price hath launch'd above a thousand ships,
And turn'd crown'd Kings to merchants-
If you'll avouch, 'twas wisdom Paris went,
(As you must needs, for you all cry'd, go, go :)
If you'll confess, he brought home noble prize,
(As you must needs, for you all clap'd your hands,

And cry'd, inestimable !) why d' you now
The issue of your proper wisdoms rate,
And do a deed that fortune never did,
Beggar that estimation which you priz'd
Richer than sea and land ? O theft.moft base!
That we have stoln what we do fear to keep!
But thieves, unworthy of a thing so stol'n,
Who in their country did them that disgrace,
We fear to warrant in our native place!

Caf. [within.] Cry, Trojans, cry!
Pri. What noise? what shriek is this?
Troi. 'Tis our mad fifter, I do know her voice.
Caf. [within.] Cry, Trojans !
Heft. It is Cassandra.

Enter Cassandra, with her hair about her ears. Caf. Cry, Trojans, cry; lend me ten thousand eyes, And I will fill them with prophetick tears.

Heet. Peace, sister, peace.

Caf. Virgins and boys, mid-age and wrinkled old,
Soft infancy, that nothing can but cry,
Add to my clamour ! let us pay betimes
A moiety of that mass of moan to come:
Cry, Trojans, cry; practice your eyes with tears.
Troy must not be, nor goodly Ilion stand:
Our fire-brand brother, Paris, burns us all.
Cry, Trojans, cry! a Helen and a wo;
Cry, cry, Troy burns, or else let Helen

go. (Exit.
Heit. Now, youthful Troilus, do not these high strains
Of Divination in our sister work
Some touches of remorse? Or is your blood
So madly hot, that no discourse of reason,


[ocr errors]

Nor fear of bad success in a bad cause,
Can qualifie the same ?

Troi. Why, brother Heator,
We may not think the justness of each act
Such and no other than event doch form it ;
Nor once deject the courage of our minds,
Because Cassandra's mad; her brain-sick raptures
Cannot distaste the goodness of a quarrel,
Which hath our several honours all engag’d
To make it gracious. For my private part,
I am no more touch'd than all Priam's fons;
And, Jove forbid! there should be done amongst us
Such things, as might offend the weakest spleen
To fight for and maintain.

Par. Else might the world convince of levity
As well my undertakings, as your counsels :
But I atteft the Gods, your full confent
Gave wings to my propension, and cut off
All fears attending on so dire a project.
For what, alas, can these my single arms?
What propugnation is in one man's valour,
To stand the push and enmity of those
This quarrel would excite? yet I protest,
Were I alone to pass the difficulties,
And had as ample Power, as I have Will,
Paris should ne'er retract what he hath done,
Nor faint in the pursuit.

Pri. Paris, you speak
Like one besotted on your sweet delights ;
You have the honey still, but these the gall;
So, to be valiant, is no praise at all.

Par. Sir, I propose not merely to my self
The pleasures such a Beauty brings with it:
But I would have the soil of her fair Rape
Wip'd off, in honourable keeping her.
What treason were it to the ransack'd Queen,
Disgrace to your great worths, and shame to me,
Now to deliver her poffeffion up,
On terms of base compulsion ? can it be,
That so degenerate a strain, as this,


Should once set footing in your generous bosoms?
There's not the meanest spirit on our Party,
Without a heart to dare, or sword to draw,
When Helen is defended: none so noble,
Whose life were ill' bestow'd, or death unfam'd,
When Helen is the subject. Then, I say,
Well may we fight for her, whom, we know well,
The world's large spaces cannot parallel.

Heat. Paris and Troilus, you have Both faid well: (20)
But on the cause and question now in hand
Have gloz'd but superficially; not much
Unlike young men, whom Aristotle thought (21)
Unfit to hear moral philosophy.


(20) Paris and Troilus, you have both said well; And on the Cause and Question now in hand Have glossd, but fuperficially.) I can never think that the Poet express’d himself thus : 'Tis absurd to say, that people have talk'd well, and yet but superficially at the same Time. I have ventur'd to substitute a Disjunctive instead of the Copulative, by which we gain this commodious Sense : “ You have argued very well in the general, but have gloz'd too superficially upon the particular Question in Debate. (21)

not much Unlike

young Men, whom graver Sages thought Unfit to hear moral Philosophy.] This is a sophisticated Reading first of Mr. Rowe, and afterwards of Mr. Pope. I had objected, that this was an Exception to Mr. Pope's Rule laid down in his Preface, that the Various Readings are fairly put in the Margin, so that every one may compare them : and those he has preferr'd into the Text are coNSTANTLY ex fide Codicum, upon Authority. For graver Sages, I said, was preferr'd into the Text without any Authority, and that all the printed Copies read the Passage, as I have restor'd it in the Text. To this Mr. Pope cavild, that Mr. Rowe had made the Alteration, so that I was mistaken in faying no Edition had it so.- -But is an arbitrary, undefended Alteration an Authority? I would not have Mr. Pope take it as too high

a Compliment, when I tell him, I look upon bis and Mr. Rowe's Editions of Shakespeare of one and the fame Authority. But to come to the Juftification of the Text.

'Tis certain, indeed, that Aristotle was at least 800 years subsequent in Time to Hector : and therefore the Poet makes a remarkable Innovation

upon Chronology. But Mr. Pope will have this to be one of those pala pable Blunders, which the Illiteracy of the first Publishers of his works has father'd on the Poet's Memory ; and is of Opinion, it could not be of our Author's penning, it not being at all credible that these could be the Errors of any Dlan who bad the leal Tincture of a School, or the leall Conversation

The reasons, you alledge, do more conduce
To the hot passion of distemper'd blood,
Than to make up a free determination
'Twixt right and wrong: for pleasure and revenge
Have ears more deaf than adders, to the voice
Of any true decision. Nature craves,


with such as had.'Twas for this Reason, and to shelter our Author from such an Absurdity, that Mr. Pope expung'd the Name of Aristotle, and substituted in its Place Mr. Rowe's -graver Sages. But, with Submission, even herein he made at best but half a Cure. If the Poet must be fetter'd down strictly to the Chronology of Things, it is every whit as absurd for Hector to talk of Philosophy, as for him to talk of Aristotle. We have sufficient Proofs, that Pythagoras was the first who invented the Word Philosophy, and call'd himself Philosopher. And he was near 600 Years after the Date of Hector, even from his beginning to flourish. 'Tis true, the thing, which we now understand by Philosophy, was then known : but it was only till then calld Knowledge and Wisdom. But, to dismiss this Point; I believe, this Anachronism of our Poet (and, perhaps, the greatest Part of the others he is guilty of;) was the Effect of Poetic License in him, rather than Ignorance.

It has been very familiar with the Poets, of the Stage especially, upon a Supposition that their Audience were not fo exactly inform'd in Chronology, to anticipate the mention of Persons and Things, before either the forfi were born, or the latter thought of. Shakespeare, again in this Play, compares the Nerves of Ajax with those of bull-bearing Milo of Crotona, who was not in being till 600 Years after that Greek; and was a Disciple of Pythagoras. Again, Pandarus, at the Conclusion of the Play, talks of a Winchester-Goose : indeed, it is in an Address to the Audience, and then there may be an Allowance, and greater Latitude for going out of Character. In Coriolanus, as I have observ'd in the proper Place, Menenius taiks of Alexander the Great, and Galen. And the very Hero of that Play complains of the Grievance, that he must stoop to, in begging Voices of Dick and Hcb; Names, which, I dare fay, Mr. Pope does not imagine that Shakespeare believ'd were ever heard of by that Roman. From his many Plays founded on our English Annals, and the many Points of History accurately transmitted down in them, I suppose it must be confefs'd, that he was intimately vers’d in that Part of Reading. Yet in his King Lear, he has ventur'd to make Edgar talk of the Curfew, a thing not known in Britain till the Norman Invasion. In his King John he above fifty times mentions Cannons, tho Gunpowder was not used by the English, till above a Century and half after the Death of that Monarch : And what is yet more singular, (as he could not be a Stranger to the Date of a remarkable Man, who liv'd lo near his own Time;) twice in the Story of Henry VI. he makes mention of Machiavel as a subtle Politician, who was alive in the 20th Year of Henry VIII.


All dues be render'd to their owners; now
What nearer debt in all humanity,
Than wife is to the husband ? If this law

[ocr errors]

Nor have these Liberties been taken alone by Shakespeare, among our own Poets : In the Humourous Lieutenant of Beaumont and Fletcher, all the first Characters of which Play are the immediate Successors of Alexander the Great, Demetrius, Prince of Macedon, comes out of his Chamber with a Pistol in his Hand, above 1500 Years before Fire-Arms were ever thought of. So, in the Oedipus of Dryden and Lee, there is a mention of the Machines in the Theatre at Athens : tho neither Plays, nor Theatres were so much as known to the World till above 500 Years after that Prince's Death. And yet I dare fay, neither Beaumont and Fletcher ever suppos'd, or thought to make their Audiences believe, that Pistols were used in Demetrius's Time; nor were Dryden and Lee fo ignorant in Dramatic Chronology, as to suppose Tragedy of as early a Date as Oedipus.

But that the Poets of our own Nation may be justified in these Liberties by Examples of the Antients, I'll throw in a few Instances of the like fort from their Predecessors in the Art at Greece and Rome. The Anachronisms of Æschylus I shall reserve to my Edition of that Poet. The Great Sopbocles, in his Electra, supposes, that Oreftes was thrown from his Chariot and killd at the Pythian Games; which Games, as the Scholiast tells us, were not instituted till 600 Years afterwards by Triptolemus. And Euripides in his Phænissa, (the Subject of which is the Invasion of Thebes by Polynices and the Argives) makes Tirefas talk of his giving the Victory to Athens against Eumolpus; tho Eumolpus's War against Erechtheus was no less than four Generatiens elder than the Theban War, Frequent Instances occur in Athenæus, that shew, beyond Exception, how free the Comic Poets made with Chronology. Alexis, in his Comedy calld Hefione, introduces Hercules drinking out of a Thericlean Cup. Now, this was a Species of Cups, invented by Thericles a Corinthian Potter, who was Contemporary with Aristophanes above 800 Years after the Period of Hercules. Anaxandrides, in his Protesilaus, a Hero that was kilid by Hector, brings in Hercules again, and talks of Iphicrates the Athenian General, and Cotys the Thracian King, both living in the Poet's own days. And Diphilus, in his Sappho, makes Archilochus and Hipponax both address that poetical Lady ; tho the first was dead a Century before she was born, and tho she was dead and rotten before the latter was born. To add but two Instances from the Latin Poets : Seneca, in his Tragedy calld Hercules Furens, makes the Chorus talk of People flocking to the Entertainments of a new Theatre : tho; 'tis evident, no Theatres were as then built or thought of: And Plautus in his Amphitryon, makes Blepharo talk of golden Philipps, a Money coin'd by Alexander's Father near 900 Years after the Days of Amphitryon.

If these Instances of voluntary Transgression in Time may go any way towards acquitting our Poet for the like Inconsistencies, I'll at any time engage to strengthen them with ten times the Number, fetch'd from the Writings of the best Poets, antient and modern, foreign and domestick.


« AnkstesnisTęsti »