Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE story of the Misanthrope is told in almost every collec. tion of the time, and particularly in two books, with which Shak. speare was intimately acquainted; the Palace of Pleasure, and the English Plutarch. Indeed from a passage in an old play, called Fack Drum's Entertainment, I conjecture that he had before made his appearance on the stage. Farmer.

The passage in Jack Drum's Entertainment, or Pasquil and Katherine, 1601, is this:

“Come, I 'll be as sociable as Timon of Athens." But the allusion is so slight, that it might as well have been borrowed from Plutarch or the novel.

Mr. Strutt the engraver, to whom our antiquaries are under no inconsiderable obligations, has in his possession a MS. play on this subject. It appears to have been written, or transcribed, about the year 1600. There is a scene in it resembling Shakspeare's banquet given by Timon to his flatterers. Instead of warm water he sets before them stones painted like artichokes, and after. wards beats them out of the room. He then retires to the woods, attended by his faithful steward, who, (like Kent in King Lear) has disguised himself to continue his services to his master. Ti. mon, in the last Act, is followed by his fickle mistress, &c. after he was reported to have discovered a hidden treasure by digging. The piece itself (though it appears to be the work of an academick) is a wretched one. The persona dramatis are as follows:

“ The actors names. « Timon. “ Laches, his faithful servant. “ Eutrapelus, a dissolute young man. “ Gelasimus, a cittie heyre. “ Pseudocheus, a lying travailer. "Demeas, an orator.

Philargurus, a covetous churlish ould man.

Hermogenes, a fidler. * Abyssus, a usurer. “ Lollio, a cuntrey clowne, Philargurus sonne. "Speusippus

, }Two lying philosophers. “ Grunnio, a lean servant of Philargurus.

Obba, Tymon's butler. « Pædio, Gelasimus page. - Two serjeants. “ A sailor. “ Callimela, Philargurus daughter. " Blatte, her prattling nurse. “ SCENE, Athens."

Steevens. Shakspeare undoubtedly formed this play on the passage in Plu. tarch's Life of Antony relative to Timon, and not on the twentyeighth novel of the first volume of Painter's Palace of Pleasure; because he is there merely described as “a man-hater, of a strange and beastly nature," without any cause assigned; whero.

as Plutarch furnished our author with the following hint to work upon: “ Antonius forsook the citie, and companie of his friendes, --saying, that he would lead Timon's life, because he had the like wrong offered him, that was offered unto Timon; and for the unthankfulness of those he had done good unto, and whom he tooke to be his friendes, he was angry with all men, and would trust no man."

To the manuscript play mentioned by Mr. Steevens, our au. thor, I have no doubt, was also indebted for some other circum. stances. Here he found the faithful steward, the banquet-scene, and the story of Timon's being possessed of great sums of gold which he had dug up in the woods: a circumstance which he could not have had from Lucian, there being then no translation of the dialogue that relates to this subject.

Spon says, there is a building near Athens, yet remaining, called Timon's Tower. Timon of Athens was written, I imagine, in the year 1610.

Malone.

PERSONS REPRESENTED.

}

Timon, a noble Athenian.
Lucius,
Lucullus, lords, and flatterers of Timon.
Sempronius,
Ventidius, one of Timon's false friends.
Apemantus, a churlish philosopher,
Alcibiades, an Athenian general.
Flavius, steward to Timon.
Flaminius,
Lucilius, Timon's servants.
Servilius,
Caphis,
Philotus,
Titus,

servants to Timon's creditors.
Lucius,
Hortensius,
Two servants of Varro, and the servant of Isidore; two

af Timon's creditors. Cupid and maskers. Three strangers. Poet, painter, jeweller, and merchant. An old Athenian. A page. A fool.

}

Phrynia, Timandra,

}

mistresses to Alcibiades.

Other lords, senators, officers, soldiers, thieves,

and attendants.

SCENE,
Athens; and the woods adjoining.

Phrynia,] (or as this name should have been written by Shakspeare, Phryne,) was an Athenian courtezan so exquisitely beau. tiful, that when her judges were proceeding to condemn her for numerous and enormous offences, a sight of her bosom (which as we learn from Quintilian, had been artfully denuded by her ad. vocate,) disarmed the court of its severity, and secured her life from the sentence of the law. Steevens.

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, sir.3
Pain.

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: But what particular rarity ?* what strange,

2

- Feweller, Merchant,] In the old copy: Enter &c. Merchant and Mercer, C. Steevens.

3 Poet. Good day, sir.] It would be less abrupt to begin the play thus:

Poet. Good day.

Pain. Good day, sir: I am glad you 're well. Farmer. The present deficiency in the metre also pleads strongly in behalf of the supplemental words proposed by Dr. Farmer.

Steevens: 4 But what particular rarity ? &c.] I cannot but think that this passage is at present in confusion. The poet asks a question, and stays not for an answer, nor has his question any apparent drift or consequence. I would range the passage thus:

Poet. Ay, that 's well known.
But what particular rarity? what so strange,
That manifold record not matches?

Pain. See!

Poet. Magick of bounty! &c. It may not be improperly observed here, that as there is only one copy of this play, no help can be had from collation, and more liberty must be allowed to conjecture. Fohnson.

Johnson supposes that there is some error in this passage, be. cause the Poet asks a question, and stays not for an answer; and therefore suggests a new arrangement of it. But there is nothing more common in real life than questions asked in that manner. And with respect to his proposed arrangement, I can by no means approve of it; for as the Poet and the Painter are going to pay their court to Timon, it would be strange if the latter should point out to the former, as a particular rarity, which manifold rea

Which manifold record not matches? See,
Magick of bounty! all these spirits thy power
Hath conjur’d to attend. I know the merchant.

Pain. I know them both; t'other's a jeweller.
Mer. O, 'tis a worthy lord!
Jew.

Nay, that's most fix'd.
Mer. A most incomparable man; breath’d, as it were,
To an untirable and continuate goodness:5
He passes.

Jew. I have a jewel here.?
Mer. O, pray, let's see 't: For the lord Timon, sir?
Jew. If he will touch the estimate:8 But, for that
Poet. When we for recompense' have prais'd the vile,

5

cord could not match, a merchant and a jeweller, who came there on the same errand. M. Mason.

The Poet is led by what the Painter has said, to ask whether any thing very strange and unparalleled had lately happened, without any expectation that any such had happened ;-and is prevented from waiting for an answer by observing so many conjured by Ti. mon's bounty to attend. “See, Magick of bounty ?" &c. This surely is very natural. Malone.

-breath'd, as it were, To an untirable and continuate goodness: ] Breathed is inured by constant practice; so trained as not to be wearied. To breathe à horse, is to exercise him for the course. Johnson. So, in Hamlet:

“ It is the breathing time of day with me.” Steevens.

- continuate – ] This word is used by many ancient English writers. Thus, by Chapman, in his version of the fourth Book of the Odyssey:

“ Her handmaids join'd in a continuate yell." Again, in the tenth Book:

environ'd round “ With one continuate rock: -" Steevens. 6 He passes.] i. e. exceeds, goes beyond common bounds. So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor:

* Why this passes, master Ford.” Steevens. 7 He passes:

I have a jewel here.] The syllable wanting in this line, might: be restored by reading

He passes.-Look, I have a jewel here. Steevens.

touch the estimate:] Come up to the price. Johnson. 9 When we for recompense &c.] We must here suppose the poet busy in reading 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.

8

« PreviousContinue »