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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 clapp'd your hands,
And cry’d—Inestimable!) why do
The issue of your proper wisdoms rate;
And do a deed that fortune never did,
Beggar the estimation which you priz'd
Richer than sea and land? O theft most base;
That we have stolen what we do fear to keep!
But, thieves, unworthy of a thing so stolen,
That in their country did them that disgrace,
We fear to warrant in our native place!
Cas. [Within.] Cry, Trojans, cry!
What noise? what shriek is this?
Tro. 'Tis our mad sister, I do know her voice.
Cas. [Within.] Cry, Trojans !
Hect. It is Cassandra.
Enter CASSANDRA, raving.
Cas. Cry, Trojans, cry! lend me ten thousand eyes,
And I will fill them with prophetick tears.
Hect. Peace, sister, peace.
Cas. Virgins and boys, mid-age and wrinkled
Soft infancy, that nothing canst but cry,
Add to my clamours! let us pay betimes
A moiety of that mass of moan to come.
Cry, Trojans, cry! practise your eyes with tears!
Troy must not be, nor goodly Ilion stand;
Our fire-brand brother Paris', burns us all.
· And do a deed that fortune never did,] i. e. act with more inconstancy and caprice than ever did fortune.
Cry, Trojans, cry! a Helen, and a woe:
Cry, cry! Troy burns, or else let Helen go. [Exit.
Hect. Now, youthful Troilus, do not these high
Of divination in our sister work
Some touches of remorse? or is your blood
So madly hot, that no discourse of reason,
Nor fear of bad success in a bad cause,
Can qualify the same?
Why, brother Hector,
may not think the justness of each act
Such and no other than event doth 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 sons:
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 attest the gods, your full consent?
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,
Our fire-brand brother,] Hecuba, when pregnant with Paris, dreamed she should be delivered of a burning torch.
distaste,] Corrupt; change to a worse state. * To make it gracious.] i. e. to set it off; to show it to advantage.
convince of levity -] This word, which our author frequently employs in the obsolete sense of—to overpower, subdue, seems, in the present instance, to signify-convict, or subject to the charge of levity.
your full consent – ] Your unanimous approbation.
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.
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 myself 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 possession 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; nor none so noble, Whose life were ill bestow'd, or death unfam’d, Where Helen is the subject : then, I say, Well may we fight for her, whom, we know well, The world's large spaces cannot parallel.
Hect. Paris, and Troilus, you have both said well; And on the cause and question now in hand Have gloz’d,—but superficially; not much Unlike young men, whom Aristotle thought Unfit to hear moral philosophy:
8 Have gloz'd,] Have commented.
Aristotle -] Let it be remembered, as often as Shakspeare's anachronisms occur, that errors in computing time were very frequent in those ancient romances which seem to have formed the greater part of his library.
The reasons, you allege, 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,
All dues be render'd to their owners; Now
What nearer debt in all humanity,
Than wife is to the husband? if this law
Of nature be corrupted through affection;
And that great minds, of partial indulgence'
To their benumbed willsresist the same;
There is a law in each well-order'd nation,
To curb those raging appetites that are
Most disobedient and refractory.
If Helen then be wife to Sparta's king,-
As it is known she is, these moral laws
Of nature, and of nations, speak aloud
To have her back return'd: Thus to persist
In doing wrong, extenuates not wrong,
But makes it much more heavy. Hector's opinion
Is this, in way of truth :' yet, ne'ertheless,
My spritely brethren, I propend to you
In resolution to keep Helen still;
For 'tis a cause that hath no mean dependance
Upon our joint and several dignities.
Tro. Why, there you touch'd the life of our design:
Were it not glory that we more affected
Than the performance of our heaving spleens,
I would not wish a drop of Trojan blood
Spent more in her defence. But, worthy Hector,
She is a theme of honour and renown;
A spur to valiant and magnanimous deeds;
Whose present courage may beat down our foes,
And fame, in time to come, canonize us:S
For, I presume, brave Hector would not lose
So rich advantage of a promis'd glory,
As smiles upon the forehead of this action,
For the wide world's revenue.
You valiant offspring of great Priamus.
I have a roisting challenge sent amongst
The dull and factious nobles of the Greeks,
Will strike amazement to their drowsy spirits:
I was advertis'd, their great general slept,
Whilst emulation in the army crept;
This, I presume, will wake him.
The Grecian Camp. Before Achilles' Tent.
Enter THERSITES. Ther. How now, Thersites? what, lost in the labyrinth of thy fury? Shall the elephant Ajax carry it thus ? he beats ine, and I rail at him: 0 worthy satisfaction! 'would, it were otherwise; that I could beat him, whilst he railed at me: 'Sfoot, I'll learn to conjure and raise devils, but I'll see some issue of my spiteful execrations. Then there's Achilles, -a rare engineer. If Troy be not taken till these two
- canonize us:) The hope of being registered as a saint, is rather out of its place at the Trojan war.
emulation –] That is, envy, factious contention. Emulation is now never used in an ill sense; but Shakspeare meant to employ it so.