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ACT III. SCENE II.
Line 71. We know him for no less,] That is, we know him by report to be no less than you represent him, though we are strangers to his person.
Line 111. If his occasion were not virtuous,] i. e.—If he did: not want it for a good use. JOHNSON.
Line 139. flatterer's spirit.] This, says he, is the soul or spirit of the world: every flatterer plays the same game, makes sport with the confidence of his friend. JOHNSON
Line 148. in respect of his,] In respect of his fortune: what Lucius denies to Timon is in proportion to what Lucius possesses, less than the usual alms given by good men to beggars. JOHNSON,
Line 157. I would have put my wealth into donation,
And the best half should have return'd to him,] Had his necessity made use of me, I would have put my fortune into a condition to be alienated, and the best half of what I had gained myself, or received from others, should have found its way to him. STEEVENS.
Line 212. fear of duns.
ACT III. SCENE III.
Line 202. takes virtuous copies to be wicked; like those &c.] This is a reflection on the Puritans of that time. These people were then set upon the project of new-modelling the ecclesiastical and civil government according to scripture rules and examples; which makes him say, that under zeal for the word of God, they would set whole realms on fire. WARBURTON. keep his house.] i. e. keep within doors for JOHNSON.
ACT III. SCENE IV.
a prodigal course
Is like the sun's;] That is, like him in blaze and
Soles occidere & redire possunt. Catul. JOHNS. Line 298. Enter Servilius.] It may be observed that Shakspeare has unskilfully filled his Greek story with Roman names.
ACT III. SCENE V.
Line 384. And with such sober and unnoted passion He did behave his anger, ere 'twas spent, &c.] "Unnoted passion," means a passion operating inwardly, but not accompanied with any external or boisterous appearances; so regulated and subdued, that no spectator could note or observe its operation. MALONE. Line 387. You undergo too strict a paradox,] You undertake a paradox too hard. JOHNSON. Line 421. sinʼs extremest gust;] Gust, for aggravation. WARBURTON. Gust is here in its common sense; the utmost degree of appetite for sin. JOHNSON.
Line 422. by mercy, 'tis most just.] The meaning is, Homicide in our own defence, by a merciful and lenient interpretation of the laws, is considered as justifiable. MALONE.
Line 438. Is a sworn rioter:] A sworn rioter is a man who practises riot, as if he had by an oath made it his duty. JOHNS. Line 451. your reverend ages love
Security, I'll pawn, &c.] He charges them obliquely with being userers. JOHNSON.
ACT III. SCENE VI. -Line 499. Upon that were my thoughts tiring,] A hawk, I think, is said to tire, when she amuses herself with pecking a pheasant's wing, or any thing that puts her in mind of prey. To tire upon a thing, is therefore, to be idly employed upon it. JOHNS. Line 589. Is your perfection.] Your perfection, is the highest of your excellence.
time's flies,] Flies of a season.
596. minute-jacks!] Sir Thomas Hanmer thinks it means Jack-a-lantern, which shines and disappears in an instant. What it was I know not; but it was something of quick motion, mentioned in King Richard III. JOHNSON.
A minute-jack is what was called formerly a Jack of the clockhouse; an image whose office was the same as one of those at St. Dunstan's church in Fleet Street. STEEVENS.
Line 597. the infinite malady-] Every kind of disease incident to man and beast.
ACT IV. SCENE I.
Line 22. → yet confusion -] Sir Thomas Hanmer reads, let confusion; but the meaning may be, though by such confusion all things seem to hasten to dissolution, yet let not dissolution come, but the miseries of confusion continue. JOHNSON.
ACT IV. SCENE II.
Enter Flavius.] Nothing contributes more to the exaltation of Timon's character than the zeal and fidelity of his servants. Nothing but real virtue can be honoured by domestics; nothing but impartial kindness can gain affection from dependants. JOHNSON.
Line 85. Strange, unusual blood.] Throughout these plays blood is frequently used in the sense of natural propensity or disposition. MALONE.
ACT IV. SCENE III.
Line 99. –below thy sister's orb] That is, the moon's, this sublunary world. JOHNSON. Line 104.
To whom all sores lay siege, can bear great fortune, But by contempt of nature.] The meaning I take to be this: Brother, when his fortune is enlarged, will scorn brother; for this is the general depravity of human nature, which, besieged as it is by misery, admonished as it is of want and imperfection, when elevated by fortune, will despise beings of nature like its own. JOHNSON.
Line 110. It is the pasture lards the brother's sides,] The meaning of the passage is,—It is the land alone which each man possesses that makes him rich, and proud, and flattered; and the want of it, that makes him poor, and an object of contempt. I suppose, with Dr. Johnson, that Shakspeare was still thinking of the rich and poor brother already described. MALONE. for every grize of fortune-] Grize for step or POPE. Line 122. fang mankind!] To fang means to gripe, te seize upon.
Line 126. -no idle votarist.] No insincere or inconstant supplicant. Gold will not serve me instead of roots. JOHNSON. Why this
Will lug your priests and servants from your sides ;] Aristophanes, in his Plutus, Act V. sc. ii. makes the priest of Jupiter desert his service to live with Plutus. WARBURTON.
Line 133. Pluck stout men's pillows from below their heads ;] i. e. men who have strength yet remaining to struggle with their distemper. This alludes to an old custom of drawing away the pillow from under the heads of men in their last agonies, to make their departure the easier. WARBURTON.
Line 139. That makes the wappen'd widow wed again ;] Waped or wappen'd signifies both sorrowful and terrified, either for the loss of a good husband, or by the treatment of a bad. But gold, he says, can overcome both her affection and her fears. WARB. Line 141. She, whom the spital-house, and ulcerous sores Would cast the gorge at,] The meaning is,—Her whom the spital-house, however polluted, would not admit, but reject with abhorrence, this embalms, &c. or, (in a looser paraphrase) Her, at the sight of whom all the patients in the spital-house, however contaminated, would sicken and turn away with loathing and abhorrence, disgusted by the view of still greater pollution than any they had yet experience of, this embalms and spices, &c. MALONE.
Line 143. To the April day again.] That is, to the wedding day, called by the poet, satirically, April day, or fool's day. JOHNS. Line 146. Do thy right nature.] Lie in the earth where nature laid thee. JOHNSON. Line 146. -Thou'rt quick,] Thou hast life and motion in thee. JOHNSON.
Line 173. I will not kiss thee;] This alludes to an opinion in former times, generally prevalent, that the venereal infection transmitted to another, left the infecter free. I will not, says Timon, take the rot from thy lips, by kissing thee. JOHNSON.
Thou wilt not promise, &c.] That is, however thou may'st act, since thou art a man, hated man, I wish thee evil. JOHNS. Line 207. To the tub-fast, and the diet.] Wiseman says, that formerly in England they used a tub for the purpose of perspira
tion in curing the lues venerea, as they now do abroad, a cave, or oven, or dungeon. And as for the unction, it was sometimes continued for thirty-seven days; and during this time there was necessarily an extraordinary abstinence required. Hence the term of the tub-fast. WARBURTON.
Be as a planetary plague, when Jove
In the sick air:] This is wonderfully sublime and
Line 249. That through the window-bars bore at men's eyes,] The virgin that shows her bosom through the lattice of her chamber. JOHNSON.
I do not believe any particular satire was here intended. Lady Suffolk, Lady Somerset, and many of the celebrated beauties of the time of James 1. are thus represented in their pictures; nor were they, I imagine, thought more reprehensible than the ladies of the present day, who from the same extravagant pursuit of what is called fashion, run into an opposite extreme. MALONE. -bastard,] An allusion to the tale of Oedipus. JOHNSON. 274. And to make whores, a bawd.] That is, enough to make a whore leave whoring, and a bawd leave making whores. JOHNSON. Line 280. I'll trust to your conditions:] You need not swear to continue whores, I will trust to your inclinations. JOHNS.
Line 284. Yet may your pains, six months,
Be quite contrary:] The meaning is this: he had said before, follow constantly your trade of debauchery: that is (says he) for six months in the year. Let the other six be employed in quite contrary pains and labour, namely, in the severe discipline necessary for the repair of those disorders that your debaucheries occasion, in order to fit you anew to the trade; and thus let the whole year be spent in these different occupations. On this account he goes on, and says, Make false hair, &c. WARB.
Line 286. —thatch your poor thin roofs &c.] About the year 1595, when the fashion was introduced in England of wearing a greater quantity of hair than was ever the produce of a single head, it was dangerous for any child to go about, as no