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1; I ask, &c. which is, I believe, right. Agamemnon says with surprize,
“ Do you ask how Aganeninon may be known;" Æneas replies:
“ Ay, I ask (that I might waken reverence)
“ Which is that god in office,” &c. MALONE. 656. -bid the cheek- -] So the quarto. The folio has, -on the cheek
JOHNSON. 692.- -long-continued truce] Of this long truce there has been no notice taken; in this very act it is said, that Ajax coped Hector yesterday in the battle.
JOHNSON. 693. —rusty-) Quarto, resty, JOHNSON. 700.
-40 her own lips he loves)] That is, confession made with įdle vows to the lips of her whom he loves.
JOHNSON. 702. In other arms than hers- -). Arms is here used equivocally for the arms of the body, and the armour of a soldier.
-and not worth
The splinter of a lance. -] This is the language of romance, Such a challenge would better have suited Palmerin or Amadis, than Hector or Æneas.
STEEVENS. 723. But if there be not in our Grecian host] The first and second folio read—Grecian mould. MALONE.
727. And in my vantbrace---] An armour for the arm, avantbras, Fr.
Milton uses the word in his Sampson Agonistes, and Heywood in his Iron Age, 1632 :
-peruse his armour, « The dint's still in the vantbrace STEEVENS. 743
Be e you my time, &c.] i. e. be you to my present purpose what time is in respect of all other schemes, viz. a ripener and bringer of them to maturity.
746. The seeded pride, &c.] Shakspere might have taken this idea from Lyte's Herbal, 1578 and 1579. The Oleander tree or Nerium “ hath scarce one good propertie. It may be compared to a Pha. risee, who maketh a glorious and beautiful show, but inwardly is of a corrupt and poisoned nature."“ It is high time, &c. to supplant it (i.e. pharasaism) for it hath already foured, so that I feare it will shortly seede, and fill this wholesome soyle full of wicked Nerium.”
TOLLET: -its maturity) Folio--this maturity.
MALONE. 749.-nursery--] Alluding to a plantation called a nursery.
JOHNSON. 755. The purpose is perspicuous even as substance,
grossness little characters sum up:] Substance is estate, the value of which is ascertained by the use of small charaéters, i.e. numerals. So, in the Prologue to K. Henry V.
a crooked figure may “ Attest, in little place, a million." The gross sum is a term used in the Merchant of
Venice. Grossness has the same meaning in this in.
Stevens 757. And, in the publication, make no strain,] Nestor goes on to say, make no difficulty, no doubt, when this duel conies to be proclaimed, but that Achilles, dull as he is, will discover the drift of it. This is the meaning of the line. So, afterwards, in this play, Ulysses says,
i do not strain at the position. i. e. I do not hesitate at, I make no difficulty of it.
THEOBALD. 765. those honours- -] Folio-his honour.
MALONE. 772. ---scantling] That is, a measure, proportion The Carpenter cuts his wood to a certain scantling.
Johnson 774. small pricks] Small points compared with the volumnes.
JOHNSON. 785. Which-entertain’d;-] These two lines are not in the quarto.
JOHNSON 792. The lustre of the better shall exceed,
By shewing the worst first] The folio reads,
The lustre of the better, yet to shew,
Shall show the betier. The aiteration was probably the author's. MALONE. 798. ---shares-) So the quarto. The folio, wear.
JOHNSON 806. -blockish Ajax_] Shakspere, on this
occasion, has deserted Lidgate, who gives a very different character of Ajax :
“ Another Ajax (surnamed Telamon)
". That in his time the like could not be found.” Again :
“ And one that hated pride and flattery," &c. Our author appears to have drawn his portrait of the Grecian chief from the invectives thrown out against him by Ulysses in the thirteenth book of Qvid's Metamorphosis; or from the Prologue to Harrington's Metamorphosis of, Ajax, 1596, in which he is represented as
strong, heady, boisterous, and a terrible fighting fellow, but neither wise, learned, staide, nor polliticke.
STEEVENS. 807. The sort- -] i. e. sors, the lot.
STEEVENS, 823. Must tarre the mastiffs on, -] Tarre, an old English word signifying to provoke or urge on. See King John, act iv. sc. 1.
like a dog,
ACT ACT II.
Act II.; This play is not divided into acts in any of the original editions.
JOHNSON Line 13. The plague of Greece- Alluding, perhaps, to the plague sent by Apollo on the Grecian army.
-beef-witted lord!] So, in Twelfth-Night :
I am a great eater of beef, and I believe that does harm to my wit." STEEVENS.
Speak then, thou unsalted leaven, speak :] The reading obtruded upon us by Mr. Pope, was unsalted leaven, that has no authority or countenance from any of the copies ; nor that approaches in any degree to the traces of the old reading, “ you whinid'st leaven.” This, it is true, is corrupted and unintelligible; but the emendation, which I have coined out of it, gives us a sense apt and consonant to what Ajax would say, unwinnowd'st leaven.-- " Thou lump of sour dough, kneaded up out of a flour unpurged and unsifted, with all the dross and bran in it."
THEOBALD. Unsalted is the reading of both the quartos. Francis Beaumont, in his letter to Speght on his edition of Chaucer's works, 1602, says: “ Many of Chaucer's words are become, as it were, vinew'd, and hoarie with over-long lying."
Again, in Tho. Newton's Herbal to the Bible, 8vo.