Page images
PDF
EPUB

ground of tragedy. Tragedy, too, must have “a moral that directs the whole action of the play to one centre.” To this standard, then, is Shakspere's “Troilus and Cressida 'to be reduced. The chief persons who give name to the tragedy are not to be left alive. Cressida is not to be false; but she is to die : and so terror and pity are to be produced. And then comes the moral:

“Then, since from home-bred factions ruin springs,

Let subjects learn obedience to their kings." The management by which Dryden has accomplished this metamorphosis is one of the most remarkable examples of perverted ingenuity. He had a licentious age to please. He could not spare a line, or a word, of what may be considered the objectionable scenes between Pandarus, Troilus, and Cressida. They formed no part of the “rubbish” he desired to remove. He has heightened them wherever possible; and what in Shakspere was a sly allusion becomes with him a positive grossness. Now let us consider for a moment what Shakspere intended by these scenes. Cressida is the exception to Shakspere's general idea of the female character. She is beautiful, witty, accomplished, —but she is impure. In her, love is not a sentiment, or a passion, —it is an impulse. Temperament is stronger than will. Her love has nothing ideal, spiritual, in its composition. It is not constant, because it is not discriminate. Set. ting apart her inconstancy, how altogether different is Cressida from Juliet, or Viola, or Helena, or Perdita! There is nothing in her which could be called love: no depth, no concentration of feeling,—nothing that can bear the name of devotion. Shakspere would not permit a mistake to be made on the subject; and he has therefore given to Ulysses to describe her, as he conceived her. Considering what his intentions were, and what really is the high morality of the characterisation, we can scarcely say that he has made the representation too prominent. When he drew Cressida, we think he had the feeling strong on his mind which gave birth to the 129th Sonnet. A French writer, in a notice of this play, says, “ Les deux amants se voient, s'entendent, et sont heureux.” Shakspere has described such happiness:

“ A bliss in proof,—and prov'd, a very woe;

Before, a joy propos'd; behind, a dream :
All this the world well knows; yet none knows well

To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell." It was this morality that Shakspere meant to teach when he painted this one exception to the general purity of his female characters.

PERSONS REPRESENTED.

Priam, King of Troy.
Appears, Act II. sc. 2. Act V. sc. 3.

Hector, son to Priam.
Appears, Act I. sc. 2. Act II, sc. 2. Act IV. sc. 5. Act V.

sc. l; sc. 3; sc. 4; sc. 6; sc. 9.

TROILUS, son to Priam. Appears, Act I. sc. 1; sc. 2. Act II. sc. 2. Act III. sc. 2, Act IV. sc. 2; sc. 3; sc, 4; sc. 5. Act V. sc. 1 ; sc. 2; sc. 3; sc, 4; sc. 6; $c, 11.

Paris, son to Priam. Appears, Act I. sc. 2. Act II. sc. 2. Act III. sc. 1. Act IV.

sc. 1; sc. 3; sc. 4; sc. 8.
DEIPHOBUS, son to Priam.
Appears, Act IV. sc. l; sc. 3 ; sc. 4.

HELENUS, son to Priam.
Appears, Act I. sc. 2. Act II. sc. 2.

Æneas, a Trojan commander.
Appears, Act I. sc. 1; sc. 2; sc. 3. Act IV. sc. 1; sc. 2; sc. 3 ;

SC. 4; sc. 5. Act V. sc. 2; sc, 11.

ANTENOR, a Trojan commander. Appears, Act I. sc. 2. Act IV. sc. 1 ; sc. 3 ; sc. 4. Calchas, a Trojan priest, taking part with the Greeks.

Appears, Act III. sc. 3.

PANDARUS, uncle to Cressida. Appears, Act I. sc. l; sc. 2. Act III. sc. 1; sc. 2. Act IV.

sc. 2; sc. 4. Act V. sc. 3; sc. 11. MARGARELON, a bastard son to Priam.

Appears, Act V. sc. 8.

AGAMEMNON, the Grecian general. Appears, Act I. sc. 3. Act II. sc. 3. Act III. sc. 3. Act IV

SC. 5.

Act V. sc. 1 ; sc. 5; sc. 10.
Menelaus, brother to Agamemnon.
Appears, Act I. sc. 3. Act III. sc. 3. Act IV. sc. 5.

Act V. sc. I; sc. 8; sc. 10.

ACHILLES, a Grecian commander. Appears, Act II. sc. 1, sc. 3. Act III. sc. 3. Act IV. sc. 5.

Act V. sc. l; sc. 5; sc. 6; sc. 7; sc. 9.

AJAX, a Grecian commander. Appears, Act II. sc. 1; sc. 3. Act III. sc. 3. Act IV. sc. 5.

Act V. sc. 1 ; sc. 5; sc. 6; sc. 10.

Ulysses, a Grecian commander. Appears, Act I. sc. 3. Act II. sc. 3. Act III. sc. 3. Act IV

sc. 5. Act V. sc. 1 ; sc. 2; sc. 5.

Nestor, a Grecian commander. Appears, Act I. sc. 3. Act II. sc. 3. Act III. sc. 3. Act IV.

sc. 5. Act V. sc. 1; sc. 5; sc. 10.

DIOMEDES, a Grecian commander. Appears, Act II. sc. 3. Act III. sc. 3. Act IV. sc. 1 ; sc. 3; SC. 4; sc. 5. Act V. sc. 1; sc. 2; sc. 4; sc, 5; sc. 6; sc. 10.

PATROCLUS, a Grecian commander. Appears, Act II. sc. l; sc. 3. Act III. sc. 3. Act IV. sc. 5.

Act V. sc. 1.
THERSITES, a deformed and scurrilous Grecian.
Appears, Act II. sc. i; sc. 3. Act III. sc. 3. Act V. sc. 1;

SC. 4; SC. 8.
ALEXANDER, servant to Cressida.

Appears, Act I. sc. 2.

Servant to Troilus.
Appears, Act I. sc. 2. Act III, sc. 2.

Servant to Paris.
Appears, Act III. sc. 1.
Servant to Diomedes.

Appears, Act V. sc. 5.
HELEN, wife to Menelaus.

Appears, Act III. sc. I.
ANDROMACHE, wife to Hector.

Appears, Act V. sc. 3.
CASSANDRA, daughter to Priam; a prophetess.

Appears, Act II. sc. 2. Act V. sc. 3.

CRESSIDA, daughter to Calchas. Appears, Act I. sc. 2. Act III. sc. 2. Act IV. sc. 2; sc. 4;

sc. 5. Act V. sc. 2. Trojan and Greek Soldiers, and Attendants. SCENE,—TROY, AND THE GRECIAN CAMP BEFORE IT.

TROILUS AND CRESSIDA.

PROLOGUE.

In Troy there lies the scene. From isles of Greece
The princes orgulous,a 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 fraughtage: 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 5 bolts,
Sperr up the sons of Troy.
Now expectation, tickling skittish spirits,
On one and other side, Trojan and Greek,
Sets all on hazard :- And hither am I come

a Orgulous-proud-the French orgueilleux. Fulfilling. "The verh fulfil is here used in the original sense of fill

füll.

Sperr up. The original has stirre up, but we prefer the alteration. The relative positions of each force are contrasted. The Greeks pitch their pavilions on Dardan plains; the Trojans are shut up in their six-gated city. Sperr is used in the sense of to fasten, by Spenser and earlier writers.

« PreviousContinue »