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The one is filling still, never complete;
Tim. Not by his breath, that is more miserable.
8- is crown'dl before:] Arrives sooner at high wish; that is, at the completion of its wishes. Johnson.
9 Worse than the worst, content.] Best states contentless have a wretched being, a being worse than that of the worst states that are content. JOHNSON
I by his breath,] By his breath means in our author's language, by his voice or speech, and so in fact by his sentence, Shakspeare frequently uses the word in this sense. It has been twice used in this play.
2 Hadst thou, like us,] There is in this speech a sullen haughtiness, and malignant dignity, suitable at once to the lord and the man-hater. The impatience with which he bears to have his luxury reproached by one that never had luxury within his reach, is natural and graceful. JOHNSON.
s first swath,] From infancy. Swath is the dress of a new-born child.
+ - passive drugs of it-] or drudges.
5 precepts of respect,] “ The icy precepts of respect” mean the cold admonitions of cautious prudence, that deliberately weighs the consequences of every action.
6 — than I could frame employment;] i. e. frame employment for. Shakspeare frequently writes thus.
That numberless upon me stuck, as leaves
Art thou proud yet? Tim. Ay, that I am not thee. Apen.
I, that I was
Tim. I, that I am one now;
[Eating a Root. Apem.
Here; I will mend thy feast.
[Offering him something. Tim. First mnend my company, take away thyself. Apem. So I shall mend mine own, by the lack of Tim. 'Tis not well mended so, it is but botch'd; If not, I would it were.
7 Thou hadst been a knave, and flatterer.] Dryden has quoted two verses of Virgil to show how well he could have written satires. Shakspeare has here given a specimen of the same power by a line bitter beyond all bitterness, in which Timon tells Apemantus, that he had no virtue enough for the vices which he condemns. I have heard Mr. Burke commend the subtilty of discrimination with which Shakspeare distinguishes the present character of Timon from that of Apemantus, whom to vulgar eyes he would now resemble. JOHNSON.
Apem. What would'st thou have to Athens?
Tim. Thee thither in a whirlwind. If thou wilt, Tell them there I have gold; look, so I have.
Apen. Here is no use for gold.
The best, and truest: For here it sleeps, and does no hired harm.
Apem. Where ly'st o’nights, Timon?
Under that's above me. Where feed'st thou o'days, Apemantus?
Apem. Where my stomach finds meat; or, rather, where I eat it.
Tim. ’Would poison were obedient, and knew my mind!
Apem. Where would'st thou send it?
Apem. The middle of humanity thou never knewest, but the extremity, of both ends: When thou wast in thy gilt, and thy perfume, they mocked thee for too much curiosity;8 in thy rags thou knowest none, but art despised for the contrary. There's a medlar for thee, eat it.
Tim. On what I hate, I feed not.
Apem. An thou hadst hated medlers sooner, thou should'st have loved thyself better now. What man didst thou ever know unthrift, that was beloved after his means ?
Tim. Who, without those means thou talkest of, didst thou ever know beloved ?
Apem. Myself. .
Tim. I understand thee; thou hadst some means' to keep a dog.
- for too much curiosity;] i.e. for too much finical delicacy.
Apem. What things in the world canst thou nearest compare to thy flatterers?
Tim. Women nearest; but men, men are the things themselves. What would'st thou do with the world, Apemantus, if it lay in thy power?..
Apem. Give it the beasts, to be rid of the men.
Tim. Would'st thou have thyself fall in the confusion of men, and remain a beast with the beasts?
Apem. Ay, Timon.
Tim. A beastly ambition, which the gods grant thee to attain to! If thou wert the lion, the fox would beguile thee: if thou wert the lamb, the fox would eat thee: if thou wert the fox, the lion would suspect thee, when, peradventure, thou wert accused by the ass: if thou wert the ass, thy dulness would torment thee; and still thou livedst but as a break fast to the wolf: if thou wert the wolf, thy greediness would afflict thee, and oft thou shouldst hazard thy life for thy dinner: wert thon the unicorn,' pride and wrath would confound thee, and make thine own self the conquest of thy fury: wert thou a bear, thou would'st be killed by the horse; wert thou a horse, thou would'st be seized by the leopard; wert thou a leopard, thou wert german to the lion, and the spots of thy kindred were jurors on thy life: all thy safety were remotion;' and thy defence, absence. What beast could'st thou be, that were not subject to a beast? and what a beast art thou already, that seest not thy loss in transformation?
9 ------ the unicorn, &c.] The account given of the unicorn is this: that he and the lion being enemies by nature, as soon as the lion sees the unicorn he betakes himself to a tree : the unicorn in his fury, and with all the swiftness of his course, running at him, sticks his horn fast in the tree, and then the lion falls upon him and kills him.
I were remotion;] i. e. removal from place to place; or perhaps, remoteness.
Apem. If thou could'st please me with speaking to me, thou might'st have hit upon it here: The commonwealth of Athens is become a forest of beasts.
Tim. How has the ass broke the wall, that thou art out of the city?
Apem. Yonder comes a poet, and a painter: The plague of company light upon thee! I will fear to catch it, and give way: When I know not what else to do, I'll see thee again.
Tim. When there is nothing living but thee, thou shalt be welcome. I had rather be a beggar's · dog, than Apemantus.
Apem. Thou art the cap of all the fools alive.2
Tim. If I name thee.
Apem. I would, my tongue could rot them off!
Tim. Away, thou issue of a mangy dog!
'Would thou would'st burst!
, Away, Thou tedious rogue! I am sorry, I shall lose A stone by thee.
[Throws a Stone at him.
Rogue, rogue, rogue ! TAPEMANTUS retreats backward, as going. I am sick of this false world; and will love nought
hielo Beast glave Toll Robucket love
2 Thou art the cap, &c.] The top, the principal. The remaining dialogue has more malignity than wit. Johnson.