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Dr. Johnson says, speaking of this play: "All the editors and critics agree with Mr. Theobald in supposing it spurious. I see no reason for differing from them; for the colour of the style is wholly different from that of the other plays, and there is an attempt at regular versification and artificial closes, not always inelegant, yet seldom pleasing. That Shakspere wrote any part,* though Theobald declares it incontestable, I see no reason for believing." The play is, however, now generally recognized as Shakspere's, and is included in all editions of his works, though its inferiority to his unquestioned plays cannot be disputed.


WILT thou draw near the nature of the gods?

Draw near them then in being merciful :

Sweet mercy is nobility's true badge.

Thanks, to men


Of noble minds, is honourable meed.



As when the golden sun salutes the morn, And, having gilt the ocean with his beams, Gallops the Zodiack in his glistering coach, And overlooks the highest-peering hills.

* Most of the critics who considered the authorship doubtful, admitted that Shakspere had written some portions of the play.

A Hunting Morning.

The hunt is up, the morn is bright and grey. The fields are fragrant, and the woods are green: Uncouple here, and let us make a bay,

And wake the emperor, and his lovely bride.

The Charms of Nature.

The birds chant melody on every bush :
The snake lies rolled in the cheerful sun;
The green leaves quiver with the cooling wind,
And make a chequer'd shadow on the ground.

A Gloomy Vale Described.

A barren, detested vale, you see, it is: The trees, though summer, yet forlorn and lean, O'ercome with moss, and baleful mistletoe. Here never shines the sun; here nothing breeds, Unless the nightly owl, or fatal raven.

Lavinia Singing to her Lute.

O, had the monster seen those lily hands Tremble, like aspen leaves, upon a lute,

And make the silken strings delight to kiss them; He would not then have touch'd them for his life Or, had he heard the heavenly harmony,

Which that sweet tongue hath made,

He would have dropp'd his knife and fell asleep..


A Father's Appeal for Mercy.

Hear me, grave fathers! noble tribunes, stay For pity of mine age, whose youth was spent


In dangerous wars, whilst you securely slept ;
For all my blood in Rome's great quarrel shed;
For all the frosty nights that I have watch'd;
And for these bitter tears, which now you see
Filling the aged wrinkles in my cheeks;
Be pitiful to my condemned sons.

Titus's Vain Appeal to the Tribunes.

If they did hear,

They would not mark me; or, if they did mark,
All bootless to them, they'd not pity me.
Therefore I tell my sorrows to the stones;
Who, though they cannot answer my distress,
Yet in some sort they're better than the tribunes,
For that they will not intercept my tale:
When I do weep, they humbly at my feet
Receive my tears, and seem to weep with me;
And, were they but attired in grave weeds,
Rome could afford no tribune like to these.

A stone is soft as wax, tribunes more hard than stones;

A stone is silent, and offendeth not;

And tribunes with their tongues doom men to death.


But how, if that fly had a father and mother,

How would he hang his slender gilded wings,

And buzz lamenting doings in the air?

Poor harmless fly!

That with his pretty buzzing melody,

Came here to make us merry; and thou hast kill'd him.



I am revenge, sent from the infernal kingdom,
To ease the gnawing vulture of thy mind,
By working wreakful vengeance on thy foes.
Come down, and welcome me to this world's light;
Confer with me of murder and of death.



This play describes the siege of Troy by the Greeks. Troilus, son of Priam king of Troy, and brother of Hector, is in love with Cressida, daughter of Calchas a Trojan priest, who takes part with the Greeks. Pandarus, uncle of Cressida, encourages the suit of Troilus, and he and Cressida exchange vows of fidelity; she, however, proves inconstant, and is seen in her father's tent by Troilus in the act of giving a token of love he had presented her with, to the Grecian commander Diomedes. Hector sends a challenge, daring any of the Grecian warriors to meet him in combat, which is accepted by Ajax; the fight takes place, but is broken off by Hector, who embraces Ajax and is invited by the Greeks to visit their camp. Achilles, one of the Greek chieftains, has stood aloof from the conflict in consequence of a quarrel with Agamemnon, the general-in-chief of the Greeks, he, however, after Hector's combat with Ajax, provokes the Trojan warrior to challenge him. They meet on the field of battle, and Hector, having put aside his helmet, is surprised by Achilles and his myrmidons and slain. Dr. Johnson, speaking of this play, says, "It is more correctly written than most of Shakspere's compositions, but it is not one of those in which either the extent of his views, or elevation of his fancy, is fully displayed."

Аст I.

Troilus's love for Cressida.

I tell thee I am mad

In Cressid's love: thou answer'st, She is fair;
Pour'st in the open ulcer of my heart

Her eyes, her hair, her cheek, her gait, her voice;
Handlest in thy discourse, O, that her hand,
In whose comparison all whites are ink,

Writing their own reproach; to whose soft seizure,
The cygnet's down is harsh, and spirit of sense
Hard as the palm of ploughman! This thou tell'st me,
As true thou tell'st me, when I say I love her;
But, saying thus, instead of oil and balm,

Thou layest in every gash that love hath given me
The knife that made it.


I ask, that I might waken reverence, And bid the cheek be ready with a blush Modest as morning when she coldly eyes The youthful Phoebus.


The potency of Love.

Even such a passion doth embrace my bosom :
My heart beats thicker than a feverish pulse;
And all my powers do their bestowing lose,
Like vassalage at unawares encount'ring
The eye of majesty.

Cressida's profession of Constancy.

If I be false, or swerve a hair from truth, When time is old and hath forgot itself,

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