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A magnificent Room in Timon's House.
Musick. Tables set out: Servants attending. Enter diver's
Lords,3 at several Doors.
2 Lord. I also wish it to you. I think, this honourable lord did but try us this other day.
1 Lord. Upon that were my thoughts tiring,“ when
A kindred expression occurs in Marlowe's Lust's Dominion, 1657:
“ He takes up Spanish hearts on trust, to pay them
“When he shall finger Castile's crown." Malone. 'Tis honour, with most lands to be at odds;] I think, with Dr. Johnson, that lands cannot be right. To assert that it is honourable to fight with the greatest part of the world, is very wild. I believe therefore our author meant that Alcibiades in his spleen against the Senate, from whom alone he has received an injury, should say:
'Tis honour with most lords to be at odds. Malone. I adhere to the old reading. It is surely more honourable to wrangle for a score of kingdoms, (as Miranda expresses it) than to enter into quarrels with lords, or any other private adversaries.
Steevens. The objection to the old reading still in my apprehension remains. It is not difficult for him who is so inclined, to quarrel with a lord; (or with any other person;) but not so easy to be at odds with his land. Neither does the observation just made, prove that it is honourable to quarrel, or to be at odds, with most of the lands or kingdoms of the earth, which must, I conceive, be proved, before the old reading can be supported. Malone.
By most lands, perhaps our author means greatest lands. So, in King Henry VI, P. I, Act IV, sc. i:
“ But always resolute in most extremes." i. e. in greatest. Alcibiades, therefore, may be willing to regard a contest with a great and extensive territory, like that of Athens, as a circumstance honourable to himself. Steevens.
3 Enter divers Lords,) In the modern editions these are called Senators ; but it is clear from what is said concerning the banishment of Alcibiades, that this must be wrong. I have therefore substituted Lords. The old copy has “ Enter divers friends."
Malone. 4 Upon that were my thoughts tiring, ] A hawk, I think, is said to tire, when she amuses herself with pecking a pheasant's wing, or any thing that puts her in mind of prey. To tire upon a thing, is therefore, to be idly employed upon it Johnson. I believe Dr. Jolmson is mistaken. Tiring means here, I think,
we encountered: I hope, it is not so low with him, as he made it seem in the trial of his several friends.
2 Lord. It should not be, by the persuasion of his new feasting
I Lord. I should think so: He hath sent me an earnest inviting, which many my near occasions did urge me to put off; but he hath conjured me beyond them, and I must needs appear.
2 Lord. In like manner was I in debt to my importuDate business, but he would not hear my excuse. I am sorry, when he sent to borrow of me, that my provision was out.
I Lord. I am sick of that grief too, as I understand how all things go.
2 Lord. Every man here's so. What would he have borrowed of you?
i Lord. A thousand pieces.
Enter Timon, and Attendants. Tim. With all my heart, gentlemen both :—And how fare you?
i Lord. Ever at the best, hearing well of your lordship.
2 Lord. The swallow follows not summer more wil. ling, than we your lordship.
Tim. [aside] Nor more willingly leaves winter; such summer-birds are men. -Gentlemen, our dinner will not recompense this long stay: feast your ears with the
fixed, fastened, as the hawk fastens its beak eagerly on its prey. So, in our author's Venus and Adonis :
“Like as an empty eagle, sbarp by fast,
“ Tires with her beak on feathers, flesh, and bone, Tirouër, that is, tiring for hawks, as Cotgrave calls it, signified any thing by which the falconer brought the bird back, and fixed him to his hand. A capon's wing was often used for this purpose. In King Henry VI, Part II, we have a kindred xpression:
your thoughts “ Beat on a crown." Malone. Dr. Johnson's explanation, I believe, is right Thus, in The Winter's Tale, Antigonus is said to be “woman-tird,” i. e. pecked by a woman, as we now say, with a similar allusion, hen-pecked.
musick awhile ; if they will fare so harshly on the trụmpet's sound: we shall to 't presently.
I Lord. I hope, it remains not unkindly with your lordship, that I returned you an empty messenger.
Tim. O, sir, let it not trouble you.
[The Banquet brought in. Lord. My most honourable lord, I am e'en sick of shame, that, when your lordship this other day sent to me, I was so unfortunate a beggar.
Tim. Think not on 't, sir.
Tim. Let it not cumber your better remembrance.5. Come, bring in all together.
2 Lord. All covered dishes!
3 Lord. Doubt not that, if money, and the season can yield it.
I Lord. How do you? What 's the news?
3 Lord. I 'll tell you more anon. Here's a noble fease toward.6
2 Lord. This is the old man still.
Tim. Each man to his stool, with that spur as he would to the lip of his mistress : your diet shall be in all places alike.? Make not a city feast of it, to let the meat cool ere
- your better remembrance.) i. e. your good memory: the comparative for the positive degree. Steevens.
6 Here's a noble feast toward. ] i. e. in a state of readiness. So, in Rorneo and Juliet:
“We have a foolish trifling banquet towards." Steevens. ?.- your diet shall be in all places alike.] See The Winter's Tale, Vol. VI, p. 181, n. 1. Steevens,
we can agree upon the first place : Sit, sit. The gods require our thanks.
You great benefactors, sprinkle our society with thankfulness. For your own gifts, make yourselves praised: but reserve still to give, lest your deities be despised. Lend te each man enough, that one need not lend to another: for, were your godheads to borrow of men, men would forsake the gods. Make the meat be betoved, more than the man that gives it. Let no assembly of twenty be without å score of villaine: If there sit twelve women at the table, let a dozen of them be as they are. The rest of your fee8,8 O gods,the senators of Athens, together with the common lago of people, what is amiss in them, you gods, make suitable for destruction. For these my present friends, as they are to me nothing, so in nothing bless them, and to nothing they are welcome. Uncover, dogs, and lap.
[The Dishes uncovered are full of warm Water. Some speak. What does his lordship mean? Some other. I know not.
Tim. May you a better feast never behold,
[Throwing Water in their faces. Your reeking villainy. Live loath’d, and long,
8 The rest of your fees,) We should read-foes. Warburton.
We must surely read foes instead of fees. I find no sense in the present reading. M. Mason.
- the common lag -] Old copy--leg. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. Malone.
The fag-end of a web of cloth is, in some places, called the lag-end. Steevens.
1 Is your perfection.) Your perfection, is the highest of your excel, bence. Johnson.
2 Live loath'd, and long,] This thought has occurred twice before :
let not that part
• To espel sickness, but prolong his hour." Again :
“Gods keep you old enough," &c. Steevens:
Most smiling, smooth, detested parasites,
[Throws the Dishes at them, and drives them out.
[Exit. Re-enter the Lords, with other Lords and Senators. i Lord. How now, my
lords ?9 2 Lord. Know you the quality of lord Timon's fury? 3 Lord. Pish! did you see my cap? 4 Lord. I have lost my gown.
3 Lord. He's but a mad lord, and nought but humour sways him. He gave me a jewel the other day, and now he has beat it out of my hat:-Did you see my jewel?
4 Lord. Did you see my cap?
-fools of fortune,] The same expression occurs in Romeo and Juliet:
“O! I am fortune's fool." Steevens.
time's flies,] Flies of a season. Johnson. So, before:
"One cloud of winter showers,
minute-jacks!'] Sir Thomas Hanmer thinks it means Facea-lantern, which shines and disappears in an instant. What it was I know not; but it was something of quick motion, mentioned in King Richard III. Johnson.
A minute-jack is what was called formerly a Jack of the clockhouse; an image whose office was the same as one of those at St. Dunstan's church in Fleet street. See King Richard III, Vol. XI, p. 132, n. 1. Steevens.
the infinite malady ---} Every kind of disease incident to man and beast. Johnsun.
7 How now, my lords?] This and the next speech are spoken by the newly arrived Lords. Malone.