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And grant, as Timon grows, his hate may grow
Athens. A Room in Timon's House.
Enter FLAVIUS,7 with Two or Three Servants. 1 Serv. Hear you, master steward, where 's our master? Are we undone? cast off? nothing remaining?
Flav. Alack, my fellows, what should I say to you?
Such a house broke!
As we do turn our backs
7 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 domesticks; nothing but impartial kindness can gain affection from dependants.
Fohnson. 8 Let me be recorded – ] In compliance with ancient elliptical phraseology, the word me, which disorders the measure, might be omitted Sir Thomas Hanmer reads:
Let it be recorded &c. Steevens.
to his buried fortunes -) So the old copies. Sir T. Hanmer reads from; but the old reading might stand. Fohnson.
I should suppose that the words from, in the second line, and to in the third line, have been misplaced, and that the original reading was:
As we do turn our backs
So his familiars from his buried fortunes
M. Mason. So his familiars to his buried fortunes &c.] So those who were familiar to his buried fortunes, who in the most ample manner participated of them, slink all away, &c. Malone.
Slink all away;
A dedicated beggar to the air,
Enter other Servants.
Good fellows all,
[Giving them Money. Nay, put out all your hands. Not one word more: Thus part we rich in sorrow, parting poor.1
[Exeunt Servants. O, the fierce wretchedness that glory brings us ! Who would not wish to be from wealth exempt, Since riches point to misery and contempt? Who 'd be so mock'd with glory? or to live But in a dream of friendship?
1-rich in sorrow, parting poor.] This conceit occurs again in King Lear: “ Fairest Cordelia, thou art most rich, being poor."
Steevens. 2 0, the fierce wretchedness -] I believe fierce is here used for hasty, precipitate. Perhaps it is employed in the same sense by Ben Jonson in his Poetaster:
“ And Lupus, for your fierce credulity,
“One fit him with a larger pair of ears." In King Henry VIII, our author has fierce vanities. In all instances it may mean glaring, conspicuous, violent. So, in Ben Jon. son's Bartholomew Fair, the Puritan says:
“ 'Thy hobby-horse is an idol, a fierce and rank idol.” Again, in King Fohn:
“O vanity of sickness! fierce extremes
“In their continuance will not feel themselves." Again, in Love's Labour 's Lost:
“With all the fierce endeavour of your wit.” Steevens VOL. XV.
To have his pomp, and all what state compounds,
3_Strange, unusual blood, ) of this passage, I suppose, every reader would wish for a correction: but the word, harsh as it is, stands fortified by the rhyme, to which, perhaps, it owes its introduction. I know not what to propose. Perhaps
Strange, unusual mood, may, by some, be thought better, and by others worse. Johnson.
In The Yorkshire Tragedy, 1608, attributed to Shakspeare, blood seems to be used for inclination, propensity:
“ For 'tis our blood to love what we are forbidden.” Strange, unusual blood, may therefore mean, strange unusual dis. position.
Again, in the 5th Book of Gower, De Confessione Amantis, fol. iii, b:
" And thus of thilke unkinde blood
“ Stant the memorie unto this daie." Gower is speaking of the ingratitude of one Adrian, a lord of Rome. Steevens.
Throughout these plays blood is frequently used in the sense of natural propensity or disposition. Malone.
— below thy sister's orb - ] That is, the moon's, this sublunary world. Fohnson.
Whose procreation, residence, and birth,
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.
Mr. M. Mason observes, that this passage “but by the addition of a single letter may be rendered clearly intelligible; by merely reading natures instead of nature.” The meaning will then be--". Not even beings reduced to the utmost extremity of wretchedness, can bear good fortune, without contemning their fellowcreatures ”The word natures is afterwards used in a similar sense by Apemantus:
Call the creatures
“Of wreakful heaven,” &c. Perhaps, in the present instance, we ought to complete the measure by reading :
not those natures, Steevens. But by is here used for without Malone.
6 Raise me this beggar, and denude that lord;] [Old copy-de. ny't that lord.) Where is the sense and English of deny't that lord? Deny him what? What preceding noun is there to which the pronoun it is to be referred? And it would be absurd to think the poet meant, deny to raise that lord. The antithesis must be, let fortune raise this beggar, and let her strip and despoil that lord of all his pomp and ornaments, &c. which sense is completed by this slight alteration:
and denude that lord; So, Lord Rea, in bis relation of M. Hamilton's plot, written in 1650: “ All these Hamiltons had denuded themselves of their fortunes and estates.” And Charles the First, in his message to the parliament says: “ Denude ourselves of all."-Clar. Vol. III, p. 15, octavo edit. Warburton.
So, as Theobald has observed, in our author's Venus and Ado nis : “ Pluck down the rich, enrich the poor with treasures.”
Malone. Perhaps the former reading, however irregular, is the true one. Raise me that beggar, and deny a proportionable degree of elevation to that lord. A lord is not so high a title in the state, but
The senator shall bear contempt hereditary,
that a man originally poor might be raised to one above it. We might read devest that lord. Devest is an English law phrase, which Shakspeare uses in King Lear :
“Since now we will devest us both of rule,” &c. The word which Dr. Warburton would introduce, is not, however, uncommon. I find it in The Tragedie of Cræsus, 1604:
“ As one of all happiness denuded.” Steevens. ? It is the pasture lards the brother's sides,] This, as the editors have ordered it, is an idle repetition at the best; supposing it did, indeed, contain the same sentiment as the foregoing lines, But Shakspeare meant quite a different thing: and having, like a sensible writer, made a smart observation, lie illustrates it by a similitude thus:
It is the pasture lards the wether's sides,
The want that makes him lean. And the similitude is extremely beautiful, as conveying this sati. rical reflection; there is no more difference between man and man in the esteem of superficial and corrupt judgments, than be. tween a fat sheep and a lean one. Warburton.
This passage is very obscure, nor do I discover any clear sense, even though we should admit the emendation. Let us inspect the text as it stands in the original edition:
It is the pastour lards the brother's sides,
The want that makes him leave:
It is the pasture lards the beggar's sides,
The want that makes him lean. And upon this reading of no authority, raised another equally uncertain.
Alterations are never to be made without necessity. Let us see what sense the genuine reading will afford. Poverty, says the poet, bears contempt hereditary, and wealth native honour. To illustrate this position, having already mentioned the case of a poor and rich brother, he remarks, that this preference is given to wealth by those whom it least becomes; it is the pastour that greases or Aatters the rich brother, and will grease him on till want make him leave. The poet then goes on to ask, Who dares to say this man, this pastour is a flatterer ; the crime is universal, through all the world the learned pate, with allusion to the pastour, ducks to the golden fool. If it be objected, as it may justly be, that the mention of a pastour is unsuitable, we must remember the mention of grace and cherubims in this play, and many such anachronisms in many others. I would therefore read thus:
It is the pastour lards the brother's sides,
'Tis want that makes him leave. The obscurity is still great. Perhaps a line is lost. I have at least given the original reading. Johnson