« PreviousContinue »
That from it all consideration slips!
Enter APEMANTUS. More man? Plague! plague!
Apem. I was directed hither: Men report, Thou dost affect my manners, and dost use them.
Tim. 'Tis then, because thou dost not keep a dog Whom I would imitate : Consumption catch thee!
Apem. This is in thee a nature but affected ; A poor unmanly melancholy, sprung From change of fortune. Why this spade? this place? This slave-like habit? and these looks of care? Thy flatterers yet wear silk, drink wine, lie soft ; Hug their diseas'd perfumes,? and have forgot That ever Timon was. Shame not these woods, By putting on the cunning of a carper. 8 Be thou a flatterer now, and seek to thrive By that which has undone thee: hinge thy knee, And let his very breath, whom thou 'lt observe, Blow off thy cap; praise his most vicious strain, And call it excellent: Thou wast told thus; Thou gav'st thine ears, like tapsters, that bid welcome,
6 This is in thee a nature but affected;
A poor unmanly melancholy, sprung
From change of fortune.) The old copy reads infected, and change of future. Mr. Rowe made the emendation. Malone.
? Hug their diseas'd perfumes,] i. e. their diseas'd perfumed mistresses. Malone. So, in Othello: or 'Tis such another fitchew; marry, a perfum'd one."
Steevens. the cunning of a carper.] For the philosophy of a Cy. nick, of which sect Apemantus was; and therefore he concludes:
“ Do not assume my likeness." Warburton. Cunning here seems to signify counterfeit appearance. Johnson.
The cunning of a carper, is the insidious art of a critick. Shame not these woods, says Apemantus, by coming here to find fault. Maurice Kyffin in the preface to his translation of Terence's An.. dria, 1588, says: “Of the curious carper I look not to be favoured.” Again, Ursula, speaking of the sarcasms of Beatrice, ob.
“Why sure, such carping is not commendable." There is no apparent reason why Apemantus (according to Dr: Warburton's explanation) should ridicule his own sect. Steedens
hinge thy knee,] Thus, in Hamlet: • To crook the pregnant hinges of the knee." Steedens.
To knaves, and all approachers : 'Tis most just,
Tim. Were I like thee, I'd throw away myself.
Apem. Thou hast cast away thyself, being like thyself; A madman so long, now a fool : What, think'st That the bleak air, thy boisterous chamberlain, Will put thy shirt on warm? Will these moss'd trees, 2 That have outliv'd the eagle,3 page thy heels, And skip when thou point'st out? Will the cold brook, Candied with ice, caudle thy morning taste, To cure thy o'er-night's surfeit? call the creaturesWhose naked natures live in all the spite Of wreakful heaven; whose bare unhoused trunks, To the conflicting elements expos'd, Answer mere nature,4-bid them flatter thee;
like tapsters, that bid welcome,] So, in our author's Venus and Adonis :
“ Like shrill-tongu'd tapsters answering every call,
Soothing the humour of fantastick wits.” The old copy hasbad welcome. Corrected in the second folio.
Malone moss'd trees,] [Old copy-moist trees.] Sir T. Hanmer reads very elegantly:
moss'd trees. Johnson. Shakspeare uses the same epithet in As you Like it, Act IV:
“Under an oak, whose boughs were moss’d with age.” So also, Drayton, in his Mortimeriados, no date:
“Even as a bustling tempest rousing blasts
Upon a forest of old branching oakes,
“ And with his furie teyrs their mossy loaks.” Moss'd is, I believe, the true reading. Malone.
I have inserted this reading in the text, because there is less propriety in the epithet, moist; it being a known truth that trees become more and more dry, as they encrease in age. Thus, our author, in his Rape of Lucrece, observes, that it is one of the properties of time “To dry the old oak's sap
Steevens. outliv'd the eagle,] Aquile Senectus is a proverb. I learn from Turberville's Book of Falconry, 1575, that the great age of this bird has been ascertained from the circumstance of its al. ways building its eyrie, or nest, in the same place Steevens. 4 Answer mere nature,] So, in King Lear, Act II, sc. iii :
“And with presented nakedness outface
O! thou shalt find
A fool of thee: Depart.
Thou flatter'st misery.
To vex thee. 5
What! a knare too? €
5 To dex thee.} As the measure is here imperfect, we may suppose, with Sir Thomas Hanmer, our author to have written:
Only to vex thee. Stecvens. 6 What! a knave too?] Timon had just called Apemantus fool, in consequence of what he had known of him by former acquaintance; but when Apemantus tells him, that he comes to vex him, Timon determines that to vex is either the office of a villain or a fool; that to vex by design is villainy, to vex without design is folly. He then properly asks Apemantus whether he takes delight in vexing, and when he answers, yes, Timon replies,--What! a knave too? I before only knew thee to be a fool, but now I find thee likewise a knave. Fohnson.
is crown'd before: Arrives sooner at high wish; that is, at the completion of its wishes. Fohnson. So, in a former scene of this play:
“ And in some sort these wants of mine are crown'd,
“ That I account them blessings.' Again, more appositely, in Cymbeline:
- my supreme crown of grief." Malone. 8 Worse than the worst, content.] Best states contentless have a wretched being, a being worse than that of the worst of states that are content. Johnson.
Thou should'st desire to die, being miserable.
Tin. Not by his breath,' that is more miserable. Thou art a slave, whom Fortune's tender-arm With favour never clasp'd; but bred a dog.1 Hadst thou, like us,2 from our first swath,3 proceeded
by his breath,] It means, I believe, by his counsel, by his direction. Johnson.
By his breath, I believe, is meant bis sentence. To breathe is as licentiously used by Shakspeare in the following instance from Hamlet :
Having ever seen, in the prenominate crimes,
“ The youth you breathe of, guilty," &c. Steevens. By his breath means in our author's language, by his voice or speech, and so in fact by his sentence. Shakspeare frequently uses the word in this sense. It has been twice so used in this play. See p. 383, n. 4. Malone.
but bred a dog. ) Alluding to the word Cynick, of which bect Apemantus was. Warburton.
For the etymology of Cynick, our author was not obliged to have recourse to the Greek language. The dictionaries of his time fur. nished him with it. See Cawdrey's Dictionary of hard English Words, octavo, 1604: “CYNICAL, Doggish, froward.” Again, in Bullokar's English Expositor, 1616:'" CYNICAL, Doggish, or currish. There was in Greece an old sect of philosophers so called, because they did ever sharply barke at men's vices,” &c. After all, however, I believe Shakspeare only meant, thou wert born in a low state, and used from thy infancy to hardships. Malone.
2 Hadst thou, like us,] There is in this speech a sullen haughtiness, and malignant dignity, suitable at once to the lord and the man-hater. The impatience with which he bears to have his luxury reproached by one that never had luxury within his reach, is natural and graceful.
There is in a letter, written by the Earl of Essex, just before his execution, to another nobleman, a passage somewhat resem. bling this, with which, I believe, every reader will be pleased, though it is so serious and solemn that it can scarcely be inserted without irreverence:
so God grant your lordship may quickly feel the comfort I now enjoy in my unfeigned conversion, but that you may never feel the torments I have suffered for my long delaying it. I had none but deceivers to call upon nue, to whom I said, if any ambition could have entered into their narrow breasts, they would not have been so humble; or if my delights had been once tasted by them, they would not have been so precise. But your lordship hath one to call upon you, that kenoweth what it is you now enjoy; and what the greatest fruit and end is of all contentment that this world can afford Think, therefore, dear earl, that I have staked and buoyed all the ways of pleasure unto you, and left them as sea-marks for you to keep the channel
The sweet degrees that this brief world affords
of religious virtue. For shut your eyes never so long, they must be open at the last, and then you must say with me, there is no peace to the ungodly.' Fohnson.
- first swath,] From infancy. Swath is the dress of a newborn child. Johnson. So, in Heywood's Golden Age, 1611 :
“No more their cradles shall be made their tombs,
“Nor their soft swaths become their winding-sheets.". Again, in Chapman's translation of Homer's Hymn to Apollo :
- swaddled with sincere “And spotless swath-bands; Steevens. 4 The sweet degrees - ] Thus the folio. The modern editors have, without authority, read-Through &c. but this neglect of the preposition was common to many other writers of the age of Shak. speare. Steevens.
5 To such as may the passive drugs of it - ] Though the modern editors agree in this reading, it appears to me corrupt. The epithet passive is seldom applied, except in a metaphorical sense, to inanimate objects; and I cannot well conceive what Timon can mean by the passive drugs of the world, unless be means everything that the world affords.
But in the first folio the words are not "passive drugs,” but passive drugges." This leads us to he true reading-drudges, which improve the sense, and is nearer to the old reading in the trace of the letters.
Dr. Johnson says in his Dictionary, that a drug means a drudge, and cites this passage as an instance of it. But he is surely mis. tuken; and I think it is better to consider the passage as errone. ous, than to acknowledge, on such slight authority, that a drug signifies a drudge. M. Mason.
-command,] Old copy-command'st. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. Malone.
precepts of respect,] Of obedience to laws. Johnson. Respect, I believe, means the qu'en dira't on? the regard of Athens, that strongest restraint on licentiousness: the icy precepts, i. e. that cool hot blood; what Mr. Burke, in his admirable Refiections on the Revolution in France, has emphatically styled “ of the greatest controuling powers on earth, the sense of fame and estimation." Steevens.
Timon cannot mean by the word respect, obedience to the laws, as Johnson-supposes; for a poor man is more likely to be im