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lowest buffoonery. If the drama of Decker and Chettle were now to be found, I doubt not we should see that the present play was at least foundled on it, if not a mere rifaccimento. *).

· The whole catalogue of the Dramatis Personæ in the play of Troilus and Cressida (says Mr. Godwin), so far as they depend upon a rich and original vein of hunour in the author, are drawn with a felicity which never was surpassed. The genius of Homer has been a topic of admiration to alinost every generation of men since the period in which he wrote. But his characters will not bear the slightest comparison with the delineation of the same characters as they stand in Shekspeare. This is a species of honour which ought by no means io be forgotten when we are making the eulogium of our immortal bard, a sort of illustration of bis greatness which cannot fail to place it in a very conspicuous light. The dispositions of men perhaps had not been sufficiently unfolded in the very early period of intellectual refinement when Homer wrote; the rays of humour had not been dissected by the glass, or rendered perdurable by the rays of the poet. Homer's characters are drawn with a laudable portion of variety and consistency ; but his Aehilles, his Ajax, and his Nestor are, each of them, rather a species than an individual, and can boast more of the propriety of abstraction than of the vivacity of the moving scene of absolute life. The Achilles, Ajax, and the various Grecian heroes of Shakspeare, on the other hand, are absolutely men deficient in nothing which can tend to individualise them, and already touched with the Promethean fire that might infuse a soul into what, without it, were lifeless form. From the rest, perhaps, the character of Thersites deserves to be selected (how cold and schoolboy a sketch in Flomer), as exhibiting an appropriate vein of sarcastic humour amidst his cowardice, and a profoundness and iruth in his mode of laying open tbe foibles of those about hiin, impossible to be excelled.

• Shakspeare possessed, no man in a higher perfection, the true dignity and loftiness of the poetical afflatus, which he had displayed in many of the finest passages of his works with miraculous success. But he knew that no man ever was, or ever can be always dignified. He knew that those subtler traits of character which identify a man are familiar and relaxed, pervaded with passion, and not played off with an eye to external decorum. In this respect the peculiarities of Shakspeare's genius are no where more forcibly illustrated than in the play we are here considering:'

• The champions of Greece and Troy, from the hour in which their names were first recorded, had always worn a certain formality of attire, and marched with a slow and measured step. No poet, till this time, bad ever ventured to force them out of the manner which their epic creator had given them. Shakspeare first supplied their limbs, took from them the classic stiffness of their gait, and enriched them with an entire set of those attributes which might render them completely beings of the same species with ourselves.' **)

of possessing one of four additional copies printed for friends nut members of that society. These rude dramas are not mere literary curiosities, they form a prominent feature in the history of the progress of the stage, and are otherwise valuable as illustrating the state of manners and language in the reign of Henry the Eighth. I have found colloquial phrases and words explained by them, of which it would be vain to seek illustrations elsewhere,

*) Mr. Tyrwhitt has observed that there are more hard bombastical phrases in this play than can be picked out of any other six plays of Shakspeare. Would not this bu an additional argliment' in favour of what I have here advanced, that it may be a mere alteration of the older play above mentioned ?

**) Life of Chaucer, vol. i. p. 509-19, 8vo. ed.



A never writer, to an ever reader. Newes.

ETERNALL reader, you have heere a new play, never stald with the stage, never clapper-claw'd with the palmes of the vulger, and yet passing 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 see all those grand censors, that now stile them such vanities, flock to them for the maine grace of their gravities; especially this author's commedies, that are 80 fram'd to the life, that they serve for the most common commentaries of all the actions of our lives, shewing such a dexteritie and power of witte, that the most displeased with playes, are pleasd with his commedies. And all such dull and heavy witted worldlings, as were never capable of the witte of a commedie, comming by report of them to his representations, have found that witte there, that they never found in them-selves, and have parted betterwittied then they came: feeling an edge of witte set upon them, more than ever they dreamd they had braine to grind it on. So much and such savored salt of witte is in his commedies, that they seem (for their height of pleasure) to be borne in that sea 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 so much as will make you think your testern well bestowd), but for so much worth, as even poore I know to be stuft in it. It deserves such 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 sale, you will scramble for them, and set up a new English inquisition. Take this for a warning, and at the perill of your pleasures losse, and judgements, refuse not, nor like this the lesse, for not being sullied with the smoaky breath of the multitude; but thank fortune for the scape it hath made amongst you. Since by the grand possessors' wills I believe you should have prayd for them rather then beene prayd. And so I leave all such to bee prayd for (for the states of their wits healths) that will not praise it. Vale.




PRIAM, King of Troy.

his Sons.
Calchas, a Trojan Priest, taking part with the Greeks.
PANDARUS, Uncle to Cressida.
MARGARELON, a bastard Son of PRIAM.

Trojan Commanders.

AGAMEMNON, the Grecian General.
MENELAUS, his Brother.

Grecian Commanders.
THERSITES, a deformed and scurrilous Grecian.
ALEXANDER, Servant to Cressida.
Servant to Troilus; Servant to Paris; Servant to


HELEN, Wife to Menelaus.
ANDROMACHE, Wife to Hector.
CASSANDRA, Daughter to Priam; a Prophetess.
CRESSIDA, Daughter to Calchas.

Trojan and Greek Soldiers, and Attendants.

SCENE--Troy, and the Grecian Camp before it.


In Troy, there lies the scene. From isles of Greece
The princes orgulous, their high blood chaf'd,
Have to the port of Athens sent their ships,
Fraught with the ministers and instruments
Of cruel war: Sixty and nine, that wore
Their crownets regal, from the Athenian bay
Put forth toward Phrygia: and their vow is made,
To ransack Troy; within whose strong immures
The ravish'd Helen, Menelaus' queen,
With wanton Paris sleeps; And that's the quarrel.
To Tenedos they come;
And the deep-drawing barks do there disgorge
Their warlike fraughtage3: Now on Dardan plains
The fresh and yet unbruised Greeks do pitch
Their brave pavilions: Priam's six-gated city,
Dardan, and Tymbria, Ilias, Chetas, Trojan,
And Antenorides, with massy staples,
And corresponsive and fulfilling bolts,
Sperr4 up the sons of Troy.

! This Prologue is wanting in the quarto editions. Stcevens thinks that it is not by Shakspeare; and that perhaps the drama itself is not entirely of bis construction. It appears to have escaped Heminge and Condell, the editors of the first folio, until the volume was almost printed off; and is thrust in between the tragedies and histories without any enumeration of pages, except on one leaf. There seems to have been a previous play on the same subject by Henry Chettle and Thomas Decker. Entries appear in the accounts of Henslowe of money advanced to them in earnest of Troylles and Cressida, in April and May, 1599.

Orgulous, proud, disdainful ; orgueilleur, Fr. 3 Freight. • Sperr or spar, to close, fasten, or bar up; from tbe Saxon

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