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TIMON OF ATHENS.
ACT I. SCENE I. Athens. A Hall in Timon's House. Enter Poet, Painter, Jeweller, Merchant, and
Others, at several Doors.
Poet. Good day, sír.
I am glad you are well. Poet. I have not seen you long; How goes the
world? Pain. It wears, sir, as it grows. Poet.
Ay, that's well known:
Pain. I know them both; t'other's a jeweller.
Nay, that's most fix'd. Mer. A most incomparable man; breath’d, as it
were, To an untirable and continuate goodness: He passes.?
Jew. I have a jewel here.
1 - breath'd, as it were,] Breathed is inured by constant practice; so trained as not to be wearied. To breathe a horse, is to 'exércise him for the course. JOIINSON, 2 He passes.] i, e. exceeds, goes beyond common bounds.
Mer. O, pray, let's see't: For the lord Timon,
sir ? Jew. If he will touch the estimate:3 But, for
'Tis a good form.
. [Looking at the Jewel. Jew. And rich: here is a water, look you. Pain. You are rapt, sir, in some work, some dedication
.. " To the great lord. Poet.
A thing slipp'd idly from me. Our poesy is as a gum, which oozes: From whence 'tis nourished: The fire i’the flint Shows not, till it be struck; our gentle flame Provokes itself, and, like the current, flies Each bound it chafes. What have you there?
Pain. A picture, sir.-And when comes your
Pain. A book forths of my pres
Poet. Upon the heels of my presentment, sir. Let's see your piece. Pain.
'Tis a good piece. . Poet. So 'tis: this comes off well and excellent. Pain. Indifferent.
Admirable: How this grace
-touch the estimate:) Come up to the price. 4 JVhen we for recompense, &c.] We must here suppose the poet busy in reading in his own work; and that these three lines are the introduction of the poem addressed to Timon, which he afterwards gives the Painter an account of. WARBURTON. 5 and, like the current, fies
Each bound it chafes. 1 This jumble of incongruous images, seems to have been designed, and put into the mouth of the Poetaster, that the reader might appreciate his talents: his lan. guage therefore should not be considered in the abstract.
Speaks his own standing! what a mental power This eye shoots forth! how big imagination Moves in this lip! to the dumbness of the gesture One might interpret.
Pain. It is a pretty mocking of the life.
I'll say of it,
Enter certain Senators, and pass over.
Pain. How shall I understand you?
I'll unbolt to you.
h ampleorticularly's no leverse 1
6 - artificial strife-] Strife is the contest of art with nature.
? Halts not particularly,] My design does not stop at any single character. Johnson.
8 In a wide sea of wax :] Anciently they wrote upon waxen tables with an iron style.
9- 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 the general expanse of life, and leave not, by any private mischief, the trace of my passage.
I'd unbolt ---] I'll open, I'll explain. Johnson.. .
You see how all conditions, how all minds,
I saw them speak together.
'Tis conceiv'd to scope.”
Nay, sir, but hear me on:
glass-fac'd flatterer -] That shows in his look, as by reflection, the looks of his patron. Johnson.
3- rank'd with all deserts,] Cover'd with ranks of all kinds of men. Johnson.
4 To propagate their states:] . To advance or improve their various conditions of life. JOHNSON.
5 - conceiv'd to scope.] Properly imagined, appositely, to the purpose. JOHNSON.
0 In our condition.] Condition for art.
All those which were his fellows but of late,
Ay, marry, what of these?
mood, Spurns down her late belov'd, all his dependants, Which labour'd after him to the mountain's top, Even on their knees and hands, let him slip down, Not one accompanying his declining foot.
Pain. 'Tis common: A thousand moral paintings I can show, That shall demonstrate these quick blows of fortune More pregnantly than words. Yet you do well, To show lord Timon, that mean eyes' have seen The foot above the head.
Trumpets sound. Enter Timon, attended ; the Ser
vant of VENTIDIUS talking with him Tim.
Iinprison'd is he, say you? Ven. Serv. Ay, my good lord: five talents is his
Your honourable letter he desires
* Rain sacrificial whisperings -] i. e. whisperings of officious servility, the incense of the worshipping parasite to the patron as to a god. ; 8- through him • Drink the free air.] That is, breathe only with his permission.
9 A thousand moral paintings I can show,] Shakspeare seems to intend in this dialogue to express sone competition between the two great arts of imitation. Whatever the poet declares himself to have shown, the painter thinks he could have shown bettex, .
I mean eyes ] i, e, inferior spectators.