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“ When we for recompense have praised the vile," &c.
“A thousand moral paintings I can shew, Act I., Scene 1.
That shall demonstrate these quick blows of Fortune It must be here supposed, according to the suggestion of Warbur
More pregnantly than words.”— Act I., Scene 1. ton, that the Poet is busy in reading his own work; and that these “Shakspeare seems to intend in this dialogue,” says Johnson, “ to three lines are the introduction to the poem addressed to Timon, of
express some competition between the two great arts of imitation. which he afterwards gives an account to the Painter.
Whatever the Poet declares himself to have shown, the Painter thinks
he could have shewn better."
“ TIM. The man is honest.
OLD Ath. Therefore he will be, Timon.”- Act I., Scene 1 The original folio here reads,
“The thought,” says Warburton, “is closely expressed and ob“Our poesy is as a gowne, which uses,” &c.
scure; but the meaning seems to be, ' If the man be honest, he will Pope suggested the alteration of "gowne” to “gum," and Johnson be so in this, and not endeavor at the injustice of gaining my daughthat of " uses” to “oozes.” Instances of restoration so sagacious and ter without my consent.?” Coleridge thus explains this difficult pashappy as this and there are very many such in the received text of sage :-“The meaning of the first line the Poet himself explains, or Shakspeare), may, at least, serve to rescue the commentators generally rather unfolds, in the second- "The man is honest? True; and for from the common charge of utter uselessness, or something worse. that very cause, and with no additional or extrinsic motive, he will
be so. No man can be justly called honest who is not so for honesty's “My free drift
sake, itself including its own reward.'” Halts not particularly, but moves itself
- "Never may In a wide sea of war."
That state or fortune fall into my keeping Why “in & wide sea of wax?” Admitting that not only the an
Which is not owed to you /”- Act I., Scene 1. cients, but that the English, at a very early date, wrote upon waxen
That is, “Let me never henceforth consider anything that I possess tablets, it would scarcely be understood by popular audiences before
but as owed or due to you; held for your service, and at your diswhom this drama was originally acted. “Wax," of old, was com
posal.” In the same sense, Lady Macbeth says to Duncan, monly spelt waxe (although it is “wax" in the folios), and confiding,
_ “Your servants ever as we are disposed to do, in a representation in the margin of the folio, 1632, the compositor must have read "waxe" for a word not
Have theirs, themselves, and what is theirs, in compt, very dissimilar in form, but much more appropriate and intelligi
To make their audit at your highness' pleasure,
Still to return your own.” ble :
“ My free drift
6 That I had no angry wit to be a lord.” — Act I, Scene 1. In a wide sea of verse."
Warburton proposed, “That I had so hungry a wit to be a lord;"
and Monk Mason, " That I had an angry wish to be a Lord.” The - “No leveled malice
restoration offered in the folio, 1632, is the same as parts of both Infects one comma in the course I hold;
these suggestions, and at once renders the sense evident-“That I But flies an eagle flight, bold, and forth on, had so hungry a wish to be a lord.”
(Collier. Leaving no tract behind."— Act I, Scene 1.
“ I myself would have no power: pry thee, let my meat make thee To level is to aim,- to point the shot at a mark. The meaning is, silent.”— Act I., Scene 2. anys Johnson, "My poem is not a satire with any particular vlew, or
“ Timon,” says Mr. Tyrwhitt, “like a polite landlord, disclaims all leveled at any single person: I fly like an eagle into the general
power over his guests. His meaning is, 'I myself would have no expanse of life, and leave not, by any private mischief, the trace of
power to make thee silent; but, pry thee, let my meat perform that my passage."
“I wonder men dare trust themselves with men:
Methinks they should invite them without knives."
Act I., Scene 2
It was the custom in Shakspeare's time, according to Mr. Ritson, for Steevens remarks upon this passage, that either Shakspeare meant each guest to bring bis own knife, which he occasionally whetted on to put a falsehood into the mouth of the Poet, or had not yet thor.
& stone that hung behind the door. One of these whetstones be oughly planned the character of Apemantus: for, in the ensuing
states to have been in Parkinson's Museum, scenes, his behavior is as cynical to Timon as to his followers. Mr. Harness, in reply, observed that the Poet, seeing that Apemantus
“ Entertained me with mine own device."- Act I, Seene 2. paid frequent visits to Timon, naturally coneluded that he was This mask appears to have been designed by Timon to entertais equally courteous with other guests.
“ Here's that which is too weak to be a sinner,
“ I have retired me to a wasteful cock,
And set mine eyes at flow." — Act II., Scene 2.
By a “wasteful cock” is probably meant what we now call a waste
overflow of cisterns and other reservoirs, by carrying off their superApemantus is adverting to the intoxication which follows drinking
fluous water." This circumstance," says Steevens,“ served to keep strong wines and ardent spirits, and contrasting “ honest water"
the idea of Timon's unceasing prodigality in the mind of the steward, with them; and we may feel assured that the two first lines ought to
while its remoteness from the scenes of luxury within the house, was be printed hereafter as they are made to run by the old corrector:
favorable to meditation."
“ No villanous bounty yet hath passed my heart;
Unwisely, not ignobly, have I given." — Act II., Scene 2. Water was too weak to possess the fiery and intoxicating property of wine, which often “ left man in the mire.” How fire came to be
“ Every reader must rejoice in this circumstance of comfort which misprinted "sinner,” cannot be easily explained; but perhaps the presents it
presents itself to Timon; who, although beggared through want long s and the f had something to do with the blunder. (Collier.
of prudence, consoles himself with the reflection that his ruin was
not brought on by the pursuit of guilty pleasures." -- STEEVENS. “ There is no crossing him in his humor; Else I should tell him --- well -- i' faith I should
“If I would broach the vessels of my love,
And try the arguments of hearts by borrowing."
Act II., Scene 2. The expression here is equivocal; in the last line, the steward! The contents of a poem or play were formerly called “the argumeans to say that, in his extremity, Timon would fain have his hand ment.” “If I would," says Timon, “ by borrowing, try of what Crossed with money. From the circumstance of some of the old men's hearts are composed, - what they have in them,” &c. coins bearing the impress of a cross, arose the once common phrase, “I have not a cross about me."
“ (For that I knew it the most general way).” — Act II., Scone 2. “ General” does not mean speedy, but compendious; the way to try many at a time.
- "No porter at his gate,
- “ These old felloros But rather one that smiles, and still invites
Have their ingratitude in them hereditary.." — Act II., Scene 2. All that pass by." - Act II., Scene 1.
| Some distempers of natural constitution being called “hereditary," The word "one" in the second line does not refer to "porter," but | Timon so calls the ingratitude of the senators. signifies a person. Roughness was the imputed characteristic of a porter. There appeared at Killingworth Castle, 1575," a porter, tall
“ And nature, as it grows again toward earth, of person, big of limb, and sturn of countenance." The meaning
Is fashioned for the journey, dull and heavy." of the text is, “ He has no stern forbidding porter at his gate to keep
Act II., Scene 2. people out, but a person who invites them in."
The same thought occurs in the “ WIFE FOR A MONTH" of Beau“ Takes no account
mont and Fletcher:-
“ Beside, the fair soul's old too, it grows covetous;
Which shews all honor is departed from us,
And we are earth again." This can hardly be right: “nor resuine no care," as it stands in the folios, is a very upcouth, even if an allowable phrase, and the last line reads still more objectionably. Two valuable manuscript changes are made which remove all ground of complaint :
“ Takes no account
“ Here's three solidares for thee." - Act III., Scene 1.
“Where Shakspeare found this odd word,” says Mr. Nares, " is unWas surely so unwise, to be so kind."
certain. "Solidata' is, in low Latin, the word for the daily pay of a
common soldier; and 'solidare' the verb expressing the act of paying Perhaps the occurrence of “ to be" in the last part of the line, led to
| it; whence comes the word 'soldier' itself. From one or the other the mis-insertion of it in the first part; and we can see at once how
of these, some writer had formed the English word. Or the true no reserve might become “nor resume.”
reading may be 'solidate, which is precisely "solidata' made Eng
lish.” “ Good even, Varro." — Act II., Scene 2. “Good even,” or “ good den," was the usual salutation from noon, “ Requesting your lordship to supply his instant use with so many the moment that “good morrow” became improper.
talents." - Act III., Scene 2.
Steevens conjectured that no precise amount was stated by Shaks“ So soon as dinner's done we'll forth again.” — Act II., Scene 2.
peare, but that it was left to the player. This does not seem probable, It was formerly the custom to hunt as well after dinner as before. and in a note in the folio, 1632, the sum is given as 500 talents, both From Lanebam's " AccorxT OF THE ENTERTAINMENT AT KENILWORTH here and afterwards, where Lucius speaks of “ fifty-five hundred CASTLE," it appears that Queen Elizabeth, while there, hunted in the talents." We may presume, therefore, that it was the practice of the afternoon:-“ Monday was hot, and therefore her highness kept in theatre, in the time of the corrector, to consider that Timon sont to till five o'clock in the evening; what time it pleased her to ride forth borrow 500 talents, and that that was the amount required by Serinto the chase, to hunt the hart of force; which found anon, and vilius, and repeated by Lucius. The point is, however, of little imafter sore chased," &c. On the 18th of July, there is another entry portance, because it does not in any way affect the spirit and purport to the same effect.
of the scene.
“ The devil knew not what he did, when he made man politic; he - Steevens states that Mr. Strutt, the engraver, was in possession crossed himself by it: and I cannot think but, in the end, the villanies of a MS. play on this subject, which is supposed to have been an of man will set him clear." - Act III., Scene 3.
older drama than Shakspeare's. There is said to have been a scene
in it resembling the banquet given by Timon in the present play. The meaning of this passage appears to be, that the devil, by put
Instead of warm water, he sets before his false friends stones painted ting policy or cunning into the heart of man, merely intended to
like artichokes, and afterwards beats them out of the room. He make him more wicked; but that this cunning has thriven so won
then retires to the woods, attended by his faithful steward. In the derfully in a congenial soil, that it will finally be turned against its
last act, he is followed by his fickle mistress, &c., after being reported bestower, and enable man to escape from the net of the devil himself.
to have discovered a treasure by digging. Stevens states the piece
to have been a wretched composition, although apparently the work “ Who cannot keep his wealth, must keep his house."
of an academic. It is possible that this production may have been Act III., Scene 3.
of some service to Shakspeare: at present, no one appears to know That is, keep within doors for fear of duns. So in “MEASURE FOR what has become of it. MEASURE” (act ii., scene 2):-“ You will turn good husband now, Pompey; you will keep the house."
“Par. All our bills.
- "Such a house broke! Tim. Knock me down with 'em." — Act III., Scene 4.
So noble a master fallen! - Act IV., Scene 2. This is a quibbling allusion to the weapon called the bill. In It is justly remarked by Johnson, that nothing contributos more Decker's “GULL'S HORNBOOK" we find, “They durst not strike down to the exaltation of Timon's character, than the zeal and fidelity their customers with large bills."
of his servants. Nothing but real virtue can be honored by domes
tics; nothing but impartial kindness can gain affection from de “ He did behave his anger, ere 'twas spent,
pendents. As if he had but prou'd an argument." — Act III., Scene 5.
“ Who would be so mock'd with glory, or to live Here the printer was in error; in the old copies the lines are thus printed :
But in a dream of friendship?
To have his pomp, and all what state compounds,
But only painted, like his varnish'd friends."
Act IV., Scene 2. Modern editors have consented to suppose behoove intended for “ be
We learn from manuscript-emendations, that what we have just have," and they have taken great pains to justify the expression,
quoted most imperfectly represents the passage; that the hemistich “ he did bebave his anger;" but the old corrector of the folio, 1632,
ought to be completed by two words carelessly omitted, and that an shows that their labor bas been thrown away, since the author d
important verb ought to be altered : the whole passage will then renot use the phrase, but wrote as follows:
main as follows: " He did reprove his anger, ere 'twas spent,
“ Who'd be so mock'd with glory, as to live As if he had but mov'd an argument.”
But in a dream of friendship, and revive If these small, but more than plausible, emendations be admitted, no
To have his pomp, and all state comprehends, explanation is wanted.
- "Not nature, Sir Thomas Hanmer received praise from Steevens for adding the
To whom al sores lay siege, can bear great fortune, word alone, " to complete the measure.” In fact, it more than com
But by contempt of nature." - Act IV., Scene 3. pletes it; it renders it redundant; and as it is hardly to be disputed
The meaning of these and the preceding lines is probably this :that the passage is wrong, as it stands baldly in the folios,
Brother, when his fortune is enlarged, will scorn brother; such is “ If there were no foes, that were enough
the general depravity of human nature, which, besieged as it is by To weercome him,"
misery, admonished as it is of want and imperfection, will, when ele
vated by fortune, despise beings of nature like its own. we may be disposed to place confidence in the change recommended in the folio, 1632, —
- “ Like tapsters, that bid welcome “ Were there no foes, that were itself enough
76 knaves and all approachers." - Act IV., Scene 3. To overcome him."
A similar satire on tapsters occurs in the poet's “ VENUS AND Here, with little violence, the measure is restored, and the sense | ADONIS:”of the speaker strengthened.
“ Like shrill-tongued tapsters, answering every call,
Soothing the humor of fantastic wits.” “ Upon that were my thoughts tiring." - Act III., Scene 6. “ Tiring” means fastened, as the bawk fastens its beak eagerly on
- Will these mossed trees, its prey. So in Shakspeare's “ VENUS AND ADONIS:” —
That have outlived the eagle, page thy heels !.” “Like an empty eagle, sharp by fast,
Act IV., Scene 3. Tires with her beak on feathers, flesh, and bone."
“ Aquilə senectus” is a proverb. Turberville says that the great
age of this bird has been ascertained from the circumstance of its “ 2nd LORD. Lord Timon's mad.
always building its eyrie, or nest, in the same place.
- Willing miscry
Oullives incertain pomp ; is crowned before." Timon, in this mock banquet, has thrown nothing at his guests
Act IV., Scene 3. but warm water and the dishes that contained it. The mention That is, arrives sooner at the completion of its wishes. So in a of stones in the passage cited, may be thus plausibly accountod for: former scene of this play:
"And in some sort these wants of mine are crowned,
That I account them blessings." And more appositely in “ CYMBELINE;"
“My supreme crown of grief."
given a specimen of the same power, by a line bitter beyond all bitterness, in which Timon tells Apemantus that he had not virtue enough for the vicos he condemns.--I have heard,” continues the critic, “ Mr. Burke commend the subtlety of discrimination with which Shakspeare distinguishes the present character of Timon from that of Apemantus, whom, to vulgar eyes, he would now resemble.”
“When thou wast in thy gilt and thy perfume, they mocked thee for too much curiosity." -- Act IV., Scene 3.
The word “ curiosity” is here used in the sense of finical delicacy. So in Jervas Markham’s “ ENGLISH ARCADIA," 1606:-" For all those eye-charming graces, of which with such curiosity she hath boasted." And in Hobby's translation of Castiglione's “ CORTEGIANO," 1556:“A waiting-gentlewoman should flee affection or curiosity.” “ Curiosity” is here inserted as a synonyme to "affection," which means affectation.
“ Enough to make a whore forswear her trade,
And to make whores, a bawd." - Act IV., Scene 3. Johnson strives hard to extract sense from this last clause, for of course the meaning of the first is very evident: it is in the hemistich that the error lies, for we ought beyond dispute to read,
" Enough to make a whore forswear her trade,
And to make whores abhorr'd." Whoever read, or recited, to the copyist dropped the aspirate, and induced him, merely writing mechanically and without attending to the sense, to put“ a bawd” for abhorrd.
“ Wert thou the unicorn, pride and wrath would confound thee, and make thine own self the conquest of thy fury." — Act IV., Scene 3.
The fabulous account of the unicorn states, 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.
“ Dy up thy marrows, vines, and plough-torn leas."
Act IV., Scene 3. What connection is there between “ marrows, vines, and plough
w torn leas?” We ought surely to read with the corrector of the folio, 1632, –
“ Dry up thy meadows, vines, and plough-torn leas. Parch them up, that they may produce no “ liquorish draughts" or ü morsels unctuous" for the gratification and sustenance of man.
“ Wert thou a leopard, thou wert german to the lion, and the spots of thy kindred were jurors on thy life.” - Act IV., Scene 3. 3
This seems to be an allusion to Turkish policy:“ Bear like the Turk, no brother near the throne." - POPE.
-“ Yet thanks I must you com, That you are thieves professed." - Act IV., Scene 3. To " con thanks” is a common expression of the time; as, in “PIERCE PENNILESS HIS SUPPLICATION," by Nash, 1592:— “ It is well done to practise thy wit; but I believe our lord will con theo little thanks for it.”
Hadst thou, like us, from thy first swath, proceeded
In general riot.” — Act IV., Scene 3. « The passive drugs” of the world surely cannot be right. Timon is supposing the rich and luxurious to be, as it were, sucking freely at the “ passive dugs” of the world; and an emendation in manuseript, which merely strikes out the superfluous letter, supports this view of the passage, and renders needless Monk Mason's somewhat wild conjecture in favor of drudges.
" There is boundless theft
In limited professions." — Act IV., Scene 3.
“ For 't is my limited service.” Meaning, "My appointed service, prescribed by the necessary duty and rules of my office."
“ The icy precepts of respect.” — Act IV., Scene 3. Meaning the cold admonitions of cautious prudence, that deliberately weighs the consequences of every action. So in “ TROILUS AND CRESSIDA:"
-“Reason and respect Make livers pale, and lustihood deject."
“'Tis in the malice of mankind that he thus advises us ; not to have us thrive in our mystery." — Act IV., Scene 3.
The“ malice of mankind” means here, Timon's malicious hatred of mankind. “ He does not give us this advice to pursue our trade of stealing, &c., from any goodwill to us, or a desire that we should thrive in our profession, but merely from the malicious enmity that he bears to the human race."
- " Thou draw'st a counterfeit
Justice says to Falstaff, “ Your means are very slender, and your Best in all Athens." — Act V., Scene 1.
waste is great." « Counterfeit" was a common term for a portrait; as, in the" MER
“ Here lics a wretched corse," &c. — Act V., Scene 5. CHANT OF VENICE:” _* What find I here?
This epitaph is formed out of two distinct epitaphs which appear Fair Portia's counterfeit."
in North's “ PLUTARCH." The first couplet is said by Plutarch to
have been composed by Timon himself; the second to have been - Yet remain assured
written by the poet Callimachus. That he's a made up villain.” — Act V., Scene 1. Meaning a complete or consummate villain: “omnibus numeris absolutus."
The remarks of Schlegel on this fine play are subjoined. They are " And send forth us, to make their sorrowed render."
worthy of the writer, although we think his estimate of the characAct V., Scene 2. ter of Timon far more severe than is warranted by the incidents
of the drama: “Render" is confession. So in “ CYMBELINE,” (act iv., scene iv):“ May drive us to a render
“Of all the works of Shakspeare, TIMON OF ATHENS' possesses Where we have lived."
most the character of a satire: a laughing satire, in the picture
of the parasites and flatterers; and a Juvenalian, in the bitterness “ Together with a recompense more fruitful
and the imprecations of Timon against the ingratitude of a false Than their offense can weigh down by the dram."
world. The story is treated in a very simple manner, and is definitely
Act V., Scene 2. divided into large masses. In the first act, the joyous life of Timon; A recompense so large that the offense they have committed, his noble and hospitablo extravagance, and the throng of every de though every dram of that offense should be put into the scale,
scription of suitors of him: in the second and third acts, his emcannot counterpoise it.
barrassment, and the trial which he is thereby reduced to make
of his supposed friends, who all desert him in the hour of need: in -_- Thou shalt be met with thanks,
the fourth and fifth Acts, Timon's flight to the woods, his misanAllowed with absolute power." — Act V., Scene 2.
thropical melancholy, and his death. The only thing which may be
called an episode, is the banishment of Alcibiades, and his return by “ Allowed” is licensed, privileged, uncontrolled. So of a buffoon force of arms. However, they are both examples of ingratitude: in " Love's LABOR's Lost," it is said that he is " allowed;" that is, at the one, of a state towards its defender; and the other, of private liberty to say what he will; a privileged scoffer.
friends to their benefactor. As the merits of the general towards his
fellow-citizens suppose more strength of character than those of the “ I have a tree which grows here in my close.” - Act V., Scene 2. generous prodigal, their respective behaviors are no less different:
Timon frets himself to death; Alcibiades regains his lost dignity by This satirical stroke appears to be founded on a passage in Plu
violence. tarch's " LIFE OF ANTONY:"-" It is reported of him also, that this
“ If the poet very properly sides with Timon against the common Timon on a time (the people being assembled in the market-place
practice of the world, he is, on the other hand, by no means disposed about despatch of some affairs), got up into the pulpit for orations,
to spare Timon. Timon was a fool in his generosity; he is a madman where the orators commonly use to speak unto the people; and
in his discontent; he is everywhere wanting in the wisdom which ensilence being made, every man listening to hear what he would say,
ables men in all things to observe the due measure. Although the because it was a wonder to see him in that place, at length he began
truth of his extravagant feelings is proved by his death, and though, to speak in this manner: My lords of Athens, I have a little yard |
when he digs up a treasure, he spurns at the wealth which seems to in my house, where there groweth a fig-tree, on the which many
solicit him, we yet see distinctly enough that the vanity of wishing citizens have hanged themselves; and because I mean to make some
to be singular, in both parts of the play, had some share in his liberal building upon the place, I thought good to let you all understand it,
self-forgetfulness, as well as in his anchoretical seclusion. This is that before the fig-tree be cut down, if any of you be desperate, you
particularly evident in the incomparable scene where the may there in time go hang yourselves.'”
mantus visits Timon in the wilderness. They have a sort of compe
tition with each other in their trade of misanthropy; the cy “ All have not offended;
reproaches the impoverished Timon with having been merely driven For those that were, it is not square to take
by pecessity to take to the way of living which he had been long fol. On those that are, revenge." — Act V., Scene 5.
lowing of his own free choice; and Timon cannot bear the thought The correction in the folio, 1632, puts it as an interrogative appeal,
of being merely an imitator of the cynic. As in this subject, the and substitutes another word for the unusual expression, " it is not effect could only be produced by an accumulation of similar features, square:" —
in the variety of the shades an amazing degree of understanding “ All have not offendal;
has been displayed by Shakspeare. What a powerfully diversified
concert of flatteries, and empty testimonies of devotedness! For those that were, is 't not severe to take
It is On those who are, rerenge?"
highly amusing to see the suitors whom the ruined circumstances
of their patron had dispersed, immediately flock to him again when Steevens altered "revenge” to revenges, for the sake of the metre, they learn that he has been revisited by fortune. In the speeches of and very justifiably, since the word occurs just above in the plural, Timon after he is undeceived, all the hostile figures of language are but the old corrector leaves it in the singular.
exhausted; it is a dictionary of eloquent imprecation." -
“ Now the time is flush." - Act V., Scene 5. A bird is said to be “flush” when his feathers are grown and he can leave the best.
Alas! the error of hapless Timon lay not (as the critic supposes) in the “ vanity of wishing to be singular," but in the humility of not perceiving that he really was so, in the boundless and unsuspecting generosity of his disposition, Timon is not to be considered an object of imitation : but it is plain, that had he not thought as well of others as of himself, he would not have been overwhelmed with horror and astonishment on the discovery of his fatal mistake.
“ By humble message, and by promised means." — Act I., Scene 5. That is, by promising hinn a competent subsistence. The Chief