Page images

this lord strives to appear foul? takes virtuous copies to be wicked; like those that, under hot ardent zeal, would set whole realms on fire.3 Of such a nature is his politick love.

[ocr errors]

plained the words, “ he crossed himself by it.”-So, in Cymbeline, Posthumous says of himself

It is I
“ That all the abhorred things o' the earth amend,

“ By being worse than they." M. Mason. The meaning, I think, is this: The devil did not know what he was about, [how much his reputation for wickedness would be diminished] when he made man crafty and interested; he thwarted himself by it; [by thus raising up rivals to contend with him in ini. quity, and at length to surpass him;] and I cannot but think that at last the enormities of mankind will rise to such a height, as to make even Satan himself, in comparison, appear (what he would least of all wish to be) spotless and innocent.

Clear is in many other places used by our author and the con. temporary writers, for innocent. So, in The Tempest:

- nothing but heart's sorrow,

“ And a clear life ensuing.” Again, in Macbeth:

This Duncan
“ Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been

“ So clear in his great office, -.” Again, in the play before us :

“Roots, ye clear gods!” Again, in Marlowe's Lust's Dominion, 1657:

I know myself am clear “ As is the new-born infant.” Malone. The devil's folly in making man politick, is to appear in this, that he will, at the long run be too many for his old master, and get free of his bonds. The villainies of man are to set himself clear, not the devil, to whom he is supposed to be in thraldom.

Ritson. Concerning this difficult passage, I claim no other merit than that of having left before the reader the notes of all the commentators. I myself am in the state of Dr. Warburton's devil,- puzzled, instead of being set clear by them. Steevens.

-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 wet whole realms on fire. So, Sempronius pretended to that warm affection and generous jealousy of friendship, that is affronted, if any other be applied to before it. At best the similitude is an aukward one; but it fitted the audience, though not the speaker.




[ocr errors]

This was my lord's best hope; now all are fled,
Save the gods only:4 Now his friends are dead,
Doors, that were ne'er acquainted with their wards
Many a bounteous year, must be employ'd
Now to guard sure their master.
And this is all a liberal course allows;
Who cannot keep his wealth, must keep his house.s

The same. A Hall in Timon's House.
Enter Two Servants of VARRO, and the Servant of Lu-

cius, meeting Titus, HORTENSIUS, and other Ser-
vants to Timon's Creditors, waiting his coming out.
Var. Serv. Well met; good-morrow, Titus and Hor-

Tit. The like to you, kind Varro.

What, do we meet together?
Luc. Serv.

Ay, and, I think,
One business does command us all; for mine
Is money.
Tit. So is theirs and ours.

Luc. Serv.

And sir
Philotus too!

Phi. Good day at once.
Luc. Serv.

Welcome, good brother.
What do you think the hour?

Labouring for nine.
Luc. Serv. So much ?

Is not my lord seen yet?
Luc. Serv.
Phi. I wonder on 't; he was wont to shine at seven.
Luc. Serv. Ay, but the days are waxed shorter with

him :

Not yet.


4 Save the gods only:] Old copy-Save only the gods. The trans. position is Sir Thomas Hanmer's. Steevens. - heep his house.] i. e. keep within doors for fear of duns.

Fohnson. So, in Measure for Measure, Act III, sc. ii : “ You will turn good husband now, Pompey; you will keep the house." Steevens..

You must consider, that a prodigal course
Is like the sun's ;6 but not, like his, recoverable.
I fear,
'Tis deepest winter in lord Timon's purse;
That is, one may reach deep enough, and yet
Find liite.?

I am of your fear for that.
Tit. I 'll show you how to observe a strange event.
Your lord sends now for money.

Most true, he does.
Tit. And he wears jewels now of Timon's gift,
For which I wait for money.

Hor. It is against my heart.
Luc. Serv.

Mark, how strange it shows,
Tiinon in this should pay more than he owes:
And e'en as if your lord should wear rich jewels,
And send for money for 'em.

Hor. I am weary of this charge,8 the gods can wit


I know, my lord hath spent of Timon's wealth,
And now ingratitude makes it worse than stealth.
I Var. Serv. Yes, mine 's three thousand crowns:

What's yours?
Luc. Serv. Five thousand mine.
I Var. Serv. 'Tis much deep: and it should seem by

the sum,

Your master's confidence was above mine;
Else, surely, his had equall'a.


a prodigal course
Is like the sun's;] That is, like him in blaze and splendor.

Soles occidere & redire possunt. Catull. Johnson. Theobald, and the subsequent editors, elegantly enough, but without necessity, read-a prodigal's course. We have the same phrase as that in the text in the last couplet of the preceding scene:

“ And this is all a liberal course allows." Malone.

reach deep enough, and yet Find little.] Still, perhaps, alluding to the effects of winter, during which some animals are obliged to seek their scanty provision through a depth of snow. Steevens.

8 I am weary of this charge,] That is, of this commission, of this employment. Fohnson.

Else, surely, his had equalld.] Should it not be, Else, surely, mine had equalld. Johnson.


[ocr errors]

Enter FLAMINIUS. Tit. One of lord Timon's men.

Luc. Serv. Flaminius! sir, a word : 'Pray, is any lord ready to come forth?

[ocr errors]

The meaning of the passage is evidently and simply this: Your master, it seems, had more confidence in lord Timon than mine, other. wise his (i. e. my master's) debt (i. e. the money due to him from Timon) would certainly have been as great as your master's (i. e. as the money which Timon owes to your master ;) that is, my master being as rich as yours, could and would have advanced Timon as large a sum as your master has advanced him, if he, (my master) had thought it prudent to do so. Ritson.

The meaning may be, “The confidential friendship subsisting between your master (Lucius) and Timon, was greater than that subsisting between my master (Varro] and Timon; else surely , the sum borrowed by Timon from your master had been equal to, and not greater than, the sum borrowed from mine; and this equality would have been produced by the application made to my master being raised from three thousand crowns to five thousand."

Two sums of unequal magnitude may be reduced to an equali. ty, as well by addition to the lesser sum, as by subtraction from the greater. Thus, if A has applied to B for ten pounds, and to C for five, and C requests that he may lend A precisely the same sum as he shall be furnished with by B, this may be done, either by C's augmenting his loan, and lending ten pounds as well as B, or by B’s diminishing his loan, and, like C, lending only five pounds. The words of Varro's servant therefore may mean, Else surely the same sums had been borrowed by Timon from both our masters.

I have preserved this interpretation, because I once thought it probable, and because it may strike others as just. But the true explication I believe is this (which I also formerly proposed). His may refer to mine. It should seem that the confidential friendship subsisting between your master and Timon, was greater than that subsisting between Timon and my master; else surely his sum, i. e. the sum borrowed from my master, [the last antecedent) had been as large as the sum borrowed from yours.”

The former interpretation (though I think it wrong,) I have stated thus precisely, and exactly in substance as it appeared several years ago, (though the expression is a little varied,) because a REMARKER [Mr. Ritson) has endeavoured to represent it as unintelligible.

This Remarker, however, it is observable, after saying, that lie shall take no notice of such see-saw conjectures, with great gravity proposes a comment evidently formed on the latter of them, as an original interpretation of his own, on which the reader may safely rely. Malone. It must be perfectly clear, that the Reinarker could not be in.

Flam. No, indeed, he is not.
Tit. We attend his lordship; 'pray, signify so much.

Flam. I need not tell him that; he knows, you are too diligent.

[Exit Flam
Enter FLAVIUS in a Cloak, muffled.
Luc. Serv. Ha! is not that his steward muffled so?
He goes away in a cloud: call him, call him.

Tit. Do you hear, sir?
1 Var. Serv. By your leave, sir,
Flav. What do you ask of me, my friend?
Tit. We wait for certain money here, sir.

If money were as certain as your waiting,
Twere sure enough. Why then preferr'd you not
Your sums and bills, when your false masters eat
Of my lord's meat? Then they could smile, and fawn
Upon his debts, and take down th' interest
Into their gluttonous maws. You do yourselves but wrong,
To stir me up; let me pass quietly:
Believe 't, my lord and I have made an end;
I have no more to reckon, he to spend.

Luc. Serv. Ay, but this answer will not serve.

If 'twill not? 'Tis not so base as you; for you serve knaves. [Exit.

1 Var. Serv. How! what does his cashier'd worship mutter?

2 Var. Serv. No matter what; he's poor, and that's revenge enough. Who can speak broader than he that has no house to put his head in? such may rail against great buildings.

Tit. O, here 's Servilius; now we shall know
Some answer:

debted to a note which, so far as it is intelligible, seems diametrically opposite to his idea. It is equally so, that the editor (Mr. Malone] bas availed himself of the above Remark, to vary the expression of his conjecture, and gave it a sense it would other. wise never have had. Ritson.

1 If 'twill not,] Old copy-if 'twill not serve. I have ventured to omit the useless repetition of the verb-serve, because it injures the metre. Stcevens.

2 Enter Servilius.] It may be observed that Shakspeare has unskilfully filled his Greek story with Roman names. Johnson.


« PreviousContinue »