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Why keep we her? the Grecians keep our aunt :
Pri. What noife? what fhriek is this?
Enter Caffandra, with her hair about her ears. Caf. Cry, Trojans, cry; lend me ten thousand And I will fill them with prophetick tears.
Het. Peace, fifter, peace.
Caf. Virgins and boys, mid-age and wrinkled old,
Hect. Now, youthful Troilus, do not these high strains
Nor fear of bad fuccefs in a bad caufe,
Troi. Why, brother Hector,
We may not think the juftness of each act
Par. Elfe might the world convince of levity
Pri. Paris, you speak
Like one befotted on your fweet delights;
Par. Sir, I propose not merely to my
Should once fet footing in your generous bofoms?
Helt. Paris and Troilus, you have Both faid well: (20)
(20) Paris and Troilus, you have both faid well; And on the Caufe and Question now in hand
Have glofs'd, but fuperficially.] I can never think that the Poet exprefs'd himself thus: 'Tis abfurd to fay, that People have talk'd well, and yet but fuperficially at the fame Time. I have ventur'd to fubftitute a Disjunctive instead of the Copulative, by which we gain this commodious Senfe: "You have argued very well in the general, but have gloz'd too "fuperficially upon the particular Question in Debate.
Unlike young Men, whom graver Sages thought
Unfit to hear moral Philofophy.] This is a fophifticated Reading firft of Mr. Rove, 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, fo that every one may compare them: and thofe he has preferr'd into the Text are CONSTANTLY ex fide Codicum, upon Authority. For graver Sages, I faid, was preferr'd into the Text without any Authority, and that all the printed Copies read the Paffage, as I have reftor'd it in the Text. To this Mr. Pope cavil'd, that Mr. Rowe had made the Alteration, fo 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 Justification of the Text.
'Tis certain, indeed, that Ariftotle was at leaft 800 years fubfequent 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 palpable 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 thefe could be the Errors of any Man who had the leaft Tincture of a School, or the leaft Converfation
The reasons, you alledge, do more conduce
with fuch as bad.- 'Twas for this Reason, and to fhelter our Author from fuch an Abfurdity, that Mr. Pope expung'd the Name of Ariftotle, and substituted in its Place Mr. Rowe's-graver Sages. But, with Submiffion, even herein he made at best but half a Cure. If the Poet must be fetter'd down ftrictly to the Chronology of Things, it is every whit as abfurd for Hector to talk of Philofophy, as for him to talk of Ariftotle. We have fufficient Proofs, that Pythagoras was the first who invented the Word Philofophy, and call'd himself Philofopher. 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 Philofophy, was then known: but it was only till then call'd 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 efpecially, upon a Suppofition that their Audience were not fo exactly inform'd in Chronology, to anticipate the mention of Persons and Things, before either the firft were born, or the latter thought of. Shakespeare, again in this Play, compares the Nerves of Ajax with thofe of bull-bearing Milo of Crotona, who was not in being till 600 Years after that Greek and was a Difciple of Pythagoras. Again, Pandarus, at the Conclufion of the Play, talks of a Winchester-Goofe: 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 obferv'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 ftoop to, in begging Voices of Dick and Hob; 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 Hiftory accurately transmitted down in them, I fuppofe 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 fingular, (as he could not be a Stranger to the Date of a remarkable Man, who liv'd fo near his own Time ;) twice in the Story of Henry VI. he makes mention of Machiavel as a fubtle Politician, who was alive in the 20th Year of Henry VIII.
All dues be render'd to their owners; now
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 Succeffors 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 fuppos'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 fuppofe 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 Inftances of the like fort from their Predeceffors in the Art at Greece and Rome. The Anachronisms of Efchylus I fhall referve to my Edition of that Poet. The Great Sophocles, in his Electra, fuppofes, that Oreftes was thrown from his Chariot and kill'd at the Pythian Games; which Games, as the Scholiaft tells us, were not inftituted till 600 Years afterwards by Triptolemus. And Euripides in his Phania, (the Subject of which is the Invafion of Thebes by Polynices and the Argives) makes Tirefias talk of his giving the Victory to Athens againft Eumolpus; tho Eumolpus's War against Erechtheus was no less than four Generations elder than the Theban War. Frequent Inftances occur in Athenæus, that fhew, beyond Exception, how free the Comic Poets made with Chronology. Alexis, in his Comedy call'd 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 Protefilaus, a Hero that was kill'd 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 addrefs that poetical Lady; tho the firft was dead a Century before she was born, and tho fhe was dead and rotten before the latter was born. To add but two Inftances from the Latin Poets: Seneca, in his Tragedy call'd 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 Inftances of voluntary Tranfgreffion in Time may go any way towards acquitting our Poet for the like Inconfiftencies, 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.