Original Text

Modern Text

405I remember, one said there were no sallets in the lines to make the matter savory, nor no matter in the phrase that might indict the author of affectation, but called it an honest method, as wholesome as sweet, and by very much more handsome than fine. One speech in it I chiefly loved. 'Twas Aeneas' tale to Dido and thereabout of it, especially where he speaks of Priam’s slaughter. If it live in your >memory, begin at this line—Let me see, let me see—
The rugged Pyrrhus, like th' Hyrcanian beast
415It is not so. It begins with Pyrrhus—
The rugged Pyrrhus, he whose sable arms,
Black as his purpose, did the night resemble
When he lay couchèd in the ominous horse,
Hath now this dread and black complexion smeared
420 With heraldry more dismal. Head to foot
Now is he total gules, horridly tricked
With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons,
Baked and impasted with the parching streets,
That lend a tyrannous and damnèd light
425 To their lord’s murder. Roasted in wrath and fire,
And thus o'ersizèd with coagulate gore,
With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus
Old grandsire Priam seeks.
So, proceed you.
I remember one critic said there was no vulgar language to spice up the dialogue, and showing off on playwright’s part. That critic called it an excellent play, containing things to reflect upon as well as sweet music to enjoy. I loved one speech in particular. It was when

Aeneas told Dido about Priam’s

Dido, Priam, and Aeneas are characters in the Roman poet’s epic called The Aeneid, which produced the dramatic spin-off Hamlet is referring to here.

Aeneas told Dido about Priam’s
murder. If you happen to remember this scene, begin at line—let me see, how does it go?
No, that’s wrong; it begins like this:
Savage Pyrrhus, whose black armor was
As dark plans, and was like the night
When he crouched inside the Trojan Horse,
Has now smeared his dark armor
With something worse. From head to foot
He’s now covered in red, decorated horribly
With the blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons.
The blood is baked to a paste by fires he set in the streets,
Fires that lend a terrible light to his horrible murders.
Boiling with anger and fire,
And coated thick with hard-baked blood,
His eyes glowing like rubies, the hellish Pyrrhus
Goes looking for grandfather Priam.
Sir, take it from there.


'Fore God, my lord, well spoken, with good accent and good discretion.


My God, that was well done, my lord, with the right accent and a good ear.


    Anon he finds him
Striking too short at Greeks. His antique sword,
Rebellious to his arm, lies where it falls,
Repugnant to command. Unequal matched,
435 Pyrrhus at Priam drives, in rage strikes wide,
But with the whiff and wind of his fell sword
The unnerved father falls. Then senseless Ilium,
Seeming to feel this blow, with flaming top
Stoops to his base, and with a hideous crash
440 Takes prisoner Pyrrhus' ear. For, lo, his sword,
Which was declining on the milky head
Of reverend Priam, seemed i' th' air to stick.
So as a painted tyrant Pyrrhus stood,


      Soon he finds Priam
Failing in his battle against the Greeks. His old sword,
Which Priam cannot wield anymore, lies where it fell.
An unfair opponent,
Pyrrhus rushes at Priam, and in his rage he misses;