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Admirable: How this grace
his ear, so that it comes off cleanly, and there's a horse and man
us. I warrant thee.” Again, in the first part of Marston's Antonio and Mellida:
“ Fla. Faith, the song will seem to come of hardly.
“ A station, like the herald, Mercury,
“ New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill." which lines Milton seems to have had in view, where he says of Raphael :
" At once on th'eastern clif of Paradise
Like Maia's son he stood." Warburton. This sentence seems to me obscure, and, however explained, not very forcible. This grace speaks his own standing, is only, The gracefulness of this figure shows how it stands. I am inclined to think something corrupted. It would be more natural and clear thus:
How this standing Speaks his own graces ! How this posture displays its own gracefulness. But I will indulge conjecture further, and propose to read:
Speaks understanding! what a mental power
This eye shoots forth? Johnson. The passage, to my apprehension at least, speaks its own meaning, which is, how the graceful attitude of this figure proclaims that it stands firm on its centre, or gives evidence in favour of its own fixure. Grace is introduced as bearing witness to propriety. A similar expression occurs in Cymbeline, Act II, sc. iv:
never saw I figures “So likely to report themselves.” Steevens. I cannot reconcile myself to Johnson's or Warburton's explanations of this passage, which are such as the words cannot pos. sibly imply. I am rather inclined to suppose, that the figure alluded to was a representation of one of the Graces, and, as they are always supposed to be females, should read the passage thus:
How this Grace (with a capital G) Speaks its own standing !. This slight alteration removes every difficulty, for Steevens's ex.
How this grace
This eye shoots forth! how big imagination
Pain. It is a pretty mocking of the life.
I 'll say of it,
planation of the latter words is clearly right; and there is surely but little difference between its and his in the trace of the letters.
This amendment is strongly supported by the pronoun this, pre. fixed to the word Grace, as it proves that what the Poet pointed out was some real object, not merely an abstract idea. M. Mason. e-to the dumbness of gesture
One might interpret. ] The figure, thougb dumb, seems to have a capacity of speech. The allusion is to the puppet-shows, or motions, as they were termed in our author's time. The person who spoke for the puppets was called an interpreter. See a note on Hamlet, Act III, sc. v. Malone.
Rather-one might venture to supply words to such intelligible action. Such significant gesture ascertains the sentiment that should accompany it. Steevens.
1- artificial strife — ] Strife for action or motion. Warburton. Strife is either the contest of art with nature:
“Hic ille est Raphael, timuit, quo sospite vinci
“Rerum magna parens, & moriente mori." or it is the contrast of forms or opposition of colours. Johnson. So, under the print of Noah Bridges, by Faithorne:
Faithorne, with nature at a noble strife,
Steevens, And Ben Jonson, on the head of Shakspeare by Droeshout:
“ This figure which thou here seest put,
“ With nature, to out-doo the life." Henley. That artificial strife means, as Dr. Johnson has explained it, the contest of art with nature, and not the contrast of forms or opposition of colours, may appear from our author's Venus and Adonis, where the same thought is more clearly expressed:
“Look, when a painter would surpass the life,
“ So did this horse excell,” &c. In Drayton's Mortimeriados, printed I believe in 1596, (afterwards entitled The Barons' Wars,) there are two lines nearly resembling these:
Enter certain Senators, and pass over.
" Done for the last with such exceeding life,
Happy men!) Mr. Theobald reads-happy man; and certainly the emendation is sufficiently plausible, though the old reading may well stand. Malone.
The text is right. The Poet envies or admires the felicity of the senators in being Timon's friends, and familiarly admitted to his table, to partake of his good cheer, and experience the effects of his bounty. Ritson.
this confluence, this great flood of visitor s.]
- this beneath world -] So, in Measure for Measure, we bave—“This under generation;" and in King Richard II:“ - the lower world.” Steevens.
5. Halts not particularly, ] My design does not stop at any single character. Johnson.
6 In a wide sea of wax: ] Anciently they wrote upon waxen tables with an iron style. Hanmer.
I once thought with Sir T. Hanmer, that this was only an al. lusion to the Roman practice of writing with a style on waxen tablets; but it appears that the same custom prevailed in England about the vear 1395, and might have been heard of by Shakspeare. It seems also to be pointed out by implication in many of our old collegiate establishments. See Warton's History of English Poetry, Vol. III, p. 151. Steevens.
Mr. Astle observes in his very ingenious work on the Origin and Progress of Writing, quarto, 1784, that “the practice of writ on table-books covered with wax was not entirely laid aside till the commencement of the fourteenth century.” As Shakspeare, I believe, was not a very profound English antiquary, it is surely improbable that he should have had any knowledge of a practice which had been disused for more than two centuries before he was born. The Roman practice he might have learned fr m Golding's translation of the ninth Book of Ovid's Metamurphoses : VOL. XV.
Infects one comma in the course I hold;
Pain. How shall I understand you?
I'll unbolt8 to you.
grave and austere quality,) tender down Their services to lord Timon: his large fortune, Upon his good and gracious nature hanging, Subdues and properties to his love and tendance All sorts of hearts ;' yea, from the glass-fac'd flatterer? To Apemantus, that few things loves better Than to abhor himself: even he drops down The knee before him, 3 and returns in peace Most rich in Timon's nod. Pain.
I saw them speak together.
“Her right hand holds the pen, her left doth hold the
emptie waxe,” &c. Malone.
no levell’d malice &c.] To level is to aim, to point the shot at a mark. Shakspeare's meaning is, my poem is not a satire written with any particular view, or levelled at any single person ; I fly like an eagle into a general expanse of life, and leave not, by any private mischief, the trace of my passage.
Johnson. 8 I'll unbolt - ] I'll open, I'll explain. Johnson.
-glib and slippery creatures,] Sir T. Hanmer, and Dr. War. burton after him, read-natures. Slippery is smooth, unresisting.
“ My heart 's subdued
-glass-fac'd flatterer -] That shows in his look, as by reflection, the looks of his patron. Johnson.
even he drops down &c.) Either Shakspeare meant to put a falsehood into the mouth of his Poet, or had not yet thoroughly planned the character of Apemantus; for in the ensuing scenes, his behaviour is as cynical to Timon as to his followers. Steevens.
The Poet, seeing that Apemantus paid frequent visits to Timon, naturally concluded that he was equally courteous with his other guests. Ritson.
4 I saw them speak together.] The word—together, which only serves to interrupt the measure, is, I believe, an interpolation, being occasionally omitted by our author, as unnecessary to sense,
Poet. Sir, I have upon a high and pleasant hill,
'Tis conceiv'd to scope. 8
Nay, sir, but hear me on:
on similar occasions. Thus, in Measure for Measure: “ - Bring me to hear them speak;” i. e. to speak together, to converse. Again, in another of our author's plays: “When spoke you last ?" Nor is the same phraseology, even at this hour, out of use.
Steevens. rank'd with all deserts,] Cover'd with ranks of all kinds of men. Johnson.
6 To propagate their states :) To advance or improve their va. rious conditions of life. Johnson. Feign'd Fortune to be thron'd:on this sovereign lady &c.] So, in The Tempest :
conceio'd to scope.] Properly imagined, appositely, to the purpose. Johnson.
. In our condition.] Condition for art. Warburton.
1 Rain sacrificial whisperings in his ear,] The sense is obvious, and means, in general, flattering him. The particular kind of Aattery may be collected from the circumstance of its being offered up in whispers: which shows it was the calumniating those whom Timon hated or envied, or whose vices were opposite to his own. This offering up, to the person flattered, the murdered reputation of others, Shakspeare, with the utmost beauty of thought and