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PREFACE to the quarto edition of this play, 1609.

A never writer, to an ever reader. Newes.

Eternall reader, you have heere a new play, never ftal'd with the ftage, never clapper-claw'd with the palmes of the vulger, and yet paffing full of the palme comicall; for it is a birth of your braine, that never under-tooke any thing commicall, vainely and were but the vaine names of commedies changde for the titles of commodities, or of playes for pleas; you should fee all thofe grand cenfors, that now ftile them fuch vanities, flock to them for the maine grace of their gravities: efpecially this authors commedies, that are fo fram'd to the life, that they serve for the most common commentaries of all the actions of our lives, fhewing fuch a dexteritie and power of witte, that the most difpleafed with playes, are pleasd with his commedies. And all fuch dull and heavy witted worldlings, as were never capable of the witte of a conmedie, comming by report of them to his reprefentations, have found that witte there, that they never found in them-felves, and have parted better-witted then they came: feeling an edge of witte fet upon them, more than ever they dreamd they had braine to grind it on. So much and fuch favored falt of witte is in his commedies, that they feeme (for their height of pleafure) to be borne in that fea that brought forth Venus. Amongst all there is none more witty than this: and had I time I would comment upon it, though I know it needs not, (for fo much as will make you think your testerne well beftowd) but for fo much worth, as even poore I know to be stuft in it. It deferves fuch a labour, as well as the best commedy in Terence or Plautus. And beleeve this, that when hee is gone, and his commedies out of fale, you will scramble for them, and fet up a new English inquifition. Take this for a warning, and at the perill of your pleafures loffe, and judgements, refufe not, nor like this the leffe, for not being fullied with the fmoaky breath of the multitude; but thanke fortune for the scape it hath made amongst you. Since by the grand poffeffors wills I believe you fhould have prayd for them rather then beene prayd. And fo I leave all fuch to bee prayd for (for the ftates of their wits healths) that will not praise it. Vale.



INTroy, there lies the fcene. From ifles of Greece
The princes1orgillous, their high blood chaf'd,
Have to the port of Athens fent their ships
Fraught with the minifters and inftruments
Of cruel war: Sixty and nine, that wore
Their crownets regal, from the Athenian bay
To ranfack Troy; within whofe ftrong immures
The ravifh'd Helen, Menelaus' queen,

With wanton Paris fleeps; And that's the quarrel.
To Tenedos they come;

And the deep-drawing barks do there difgorge
Their warlike fraughtage: Now on Dardan plains
The fresh and yet unbruifed Greeks do pitch
Their brave pavilions: Priam's fix-gated city
(Dardan, and Thymbria, Ilias, Chetas, Troyan,
And Antenoridas) with may ftaples,



1 The princes orgillous,] Orgillous, i. e. proud, difdainful. Orgueilleux, Fr. This word is used in the ancient romance of Richard Cueur de Lyon :

"His atyre was orgulous." STEEVENS.

Priam's fix-gated city,

(Dardan and Timbria, Helias, Chetas, Troien, And Antenonidus) with maffie ftaples,

And correfponfive and fulfilling bolts,

Stirre up the fons of Troye. -] This has been a most miserably mangled paffage through all the editions; corrupted at once into falfe concord and falfe reafoning. Priam's fix-gated city firre up the fons of Troy ?-Here's a verb plural governed of a nominative fingular. But that is eafily remedied. The next question to be asked is, In what fenfe a city, having fix ftrong gates, and those well barred and bolted, can be faid to ftir up its inhabitants? unless they may be fuppofed to derive fome fpirit from the ftrength of their fortifications. But this could not be the poet's thought. He must mean, I take it, that the Greeks had pitched their tents upon the plains before Troy; and that the Trojans were fecurely barricaded within the walls and gates of

B 2


And correfponfive and fulfilling bolts3,
Sperrs up the fons of Troy.


their city. This fenfe my correction reftores. To sperre, or Spar, from the old Teutonic word Speren, fignifies to shut up, defend by bars, &c. THEOBALD..

So, in Spenfer's Faery Queen, b. 5. c. 10:

"The other that was entred, labour'd faft

"To Sperre the gate, &c."

Again, in the romance of the Squhr of lowe Degre: "Sperde with manie a dyvers pynne.":

And in the Vifions of P. Plowman it is faid that a blind man unfparryd his eine."

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Again, in Warner's Albion's England, 1602, B. II. chap. 12: "When chafed home into his holdes, there fparred up in gates." Again, in the 2nd Part of Bale's Actes of Eng. Votaryes: "The dore thereof oft tymes opened and Speared agayne." STEEVENS. "Therto his cyte | compaffed enuyrowne "Hadde gates VI to entre into the towne: "The firfte of all and ftrengeft eke with all, "Largeft alfo and mofte pryncypall, "Of myghty byldyng | alone perelefs,

"Was by the kinge called | Dardanydes ;
"And in ftorye- lyke as it is founde,

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Tymbria | was named the feconde ;

"And the thyrde | called Helyas,

"The fourthe gate | hyghte alfo Cetheas;
"The fyfthe Trojana, the fyxth Anthonydes,

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Stronge and myghty | both in werre and pes.'

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Lond. empr. by R. Pynfon, 1513, Fol. b. ii. ch. 11. The Troye Boke was fomewhat modernized, and reduced into regular stanzas, about the beginning of the last century, under the name of, The Life and Death of Hector who fought a Hundred mayne Battailes in open Field against the Grecians; wherein there were flaine on both Sides Fourteene Hundred and Sixe Thousand, Fourfcore and Sixe Men.-Fol. no date. This work Dr. Fuller, and feveral other critics, have erroneously quoted as the original; and obferve in confequence, that " if Chaucer's coin were of greater weight for deeper learning, Lydgate's were of a more refined ftandard for purer language: so that one might mistake him for a modern writer." FARMER.

On other occafions, in the courfe of this play, I fhall infert quotations from the Troye Boke modernized, as being the most intelligible of the two. STEEVENS.

3-fulfilling bolts,] To fulfill in this place means to fill till


Now expectation, tickling fkittish fpirits,
On one and other fide, Trojan and Greek,
Sets all on bazard:-And hither am I come
* A prologue arm'd,—but not in confidence
Of author's pen, or aftor's voice; but fuited
In like conditions as our argument,

To tell you, fair beholders, that our play
Leaps o'er the vaunt and firftlings of thofe broils,
'Ginning in the middle; starting thence away
To what may be digefted in a play.

Like, or find fault; do as your pleasures are;
Now good, or bad, 'tis but the chance of war.

there be no room for more. In this fenfe it is now obfolete. So, in Gower, De Confeffione Amantis, lib. V. fol. 114:

"A luftie maide, a fobre, a meke,

"Fulfilled of all curtofie."

Again :

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Fulfilled of all unkindhip." STEEVENS.

To be " fulfilled with grace and benediction” is still the language of our Litany. BEACKSTONE.

A prologue arm'd, I come here to speak the prologue, and come in armour; not defying the audience, in confidence of either the author's or actor's abilities, but merely in a character fuited to the fubject, in a dress of war, before a warlike play.


-the vaunt- -] i, e. the avant, what went before. STEEVENS.

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Helen, wife to Menelaus.

Andromache, wife to Hector.

Caffandra, daughter to Priam, a prophetess.
Creffida, daughter to Calchas.

Alexander, Creffida's fervant.
Boy, page to Troilus.

Servant to Diomed.

Trojan and Greek Soldiers, with other attendants.

SCENE, Troy, and the Grecian Camp before it.

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