Page images
PDF
EPUB

Apem. There is no leprosy but what thou speak’st.

Tim. If I name thee.
I'll beat thee,—but I should infect

my

hands. Anem. I would, my tongue could rot them off!

Tim. Away, thou issue of a mangy dog!
Choler does kill me, that thou art alive;
I swoon to see thee.
Apem.

'Would thou would'st burst! Tim.

Away, Thou tedious rogue! I am sorry, I shall lose A stone by thee.

[Throws a Stone at him. Anem. Beast! Tim.

Slaye! Anem.

Toad ! Tim.

Rogue, rogue, rogue!

[APEM. retreats backward, as going. I am sick of this false world; and will love nought But even the mere necessities upon it. Then, Timon, presently prepare thy grave; Lie where the light foam of the sea may beat Thy grave-stone daily: make thine epitaph, That death in me at others' lives may laugh. O thou sweet king-killer, and dear divorce

[Looking on the Goll'.
'Twixt natural son and sire! thou bright defiler
Of Hymen's purest bed! thou valiant Mars!
Thou ever young, fresh, lov’d, and delicate wooer,
Whose blush doth thaw the consecrated snow
That lies on Dian's lap! thou visible god,
That solder'st close impossibilities,
And mak’st them kiss! that speak’st with every tongue,
To every purpose! O thou touch of hearts !
Think, thy slase man rebels; and by thy virtue
Set them into confounding odds, that beasts
May have the world in empire!
Apem.

'Would 'twere so;
But not till I am dead! I 'll say, thou hast gold:
Thou will be throng'd to shortly.
Tim.

Throng'd to?

4'Twixt natural son and sire!!]

« Δια τέτον έκ αδελφός
Casa TB TOS Toxñsco" Anac. Johnson.

him

Anem.

Ay.
T'im. Thy back, I pr’ythee.
Anem

Live, and love thy misery!
T'im. Long live so, and so die — I am quit.

[Exit APEM: More things like men?5-Eat, Timon, and abhor them.

Enter Thieves. 6 i Thief. Where should he have this gold ? It is some poor fragment, some slender ort of his remainder: The mere want of gold, and the falling-from, of his friends, drove him into this melancholy.

2 Thief. It is noised, he hath a mass of treasure.

3 Thief. Let us make the assay upon him ; if he care not for 't, he will supply us easily; If he covetously reserve it, how shall 's get it?

2 Thief. True; for he bears it not about him, 'uis hid.
i Thief. Is not this he?
Thieves. Where?
2 Thief. 'Tis his description.
3 Thief. He; I know him.
Thieves. Save thee, Timon.
Tim. Now, thieves?
Thieves. Soldiers, not thieves.
Tim. Both too; and women's sons.
Thieves. We are not thieves, but men that much do

want.
Tim. Your greatest want is, you want much of meat.*

5 More things like men?] This line, in the old edition, is given to Apemantus, but it apparently belongs to Timon. Sir Thomas Hanmer has transposed the foregoing dialogue according to his own mind, not unskilfully, but with unwarrantable licence.

Fohnson. I believe, as the name of Apemantus was prefixed to this line, instead of Timon, so the name of Timon was prefixed to the preceding line by a similar mistake. This line seems more proper in the mouth of Apemantus; and the words- I am quit, seem to mark his exit. Malone.

The words I am quit, in my opinion, belong to Timon, who means that he is quit or clear, has at last got rid of Apemantus; is delivered from his company. This phrase is yet current among the vulgar. Steevens. Enter Thieves.] The old copy reads,-Enter the Banditti.

Steedens. you want much of meat.] Thus both the player and poetical editor have given us this passage; quite sand-blind, as honest

Why should you want? Behold, the earth hath roots;8
Within this mile break forth a hundred springs:
The oaks bear mast, the briars scarlet hips;
The bounteous huswife, nature, on each bush
Lays her full mess before you. Want? why want?

i Thief. We cannot live on grass, on berries, water, As beasts, and birds, and fishes. Tim. Nor on the beasts themselves, the birds, and

fishes; You must eat men. Yet thanks I must you con,

9

Launcelot says, to our author's meaning. If these poor Thieves wanted meat, what greater want could they be cursed with, as they could not live on grass, and berries, and water? but I dare warrant the poet wrote:

- you much want of meet. i. e. Much of what you ought to be; much of the qualities befitting J'ou as human creatures. Theobald.

Such is Mr. Theobald's emendation, in which he is followed by Dr. Warburton. Sir Thomas Hanmer reads:

- you want much of men. They have been all busy without necessity. Observe the series of the conversation. The Thieves tell him, that they are men that much do want. Here is an ambiguity between much want and want of much. Timon takes it on the wrong side, and tells them that their greatest want is, that, like other men, they want much of meat ; then telling them where meat may be had, he asks, Want? why want? Johnson. Perhaps we should read:

Pour greatest want is, you want much of me. rejecting the two last letters of the word. The sense will then be--your greatest want is that you expect supplies of me from whom you can reasonably expect nothing. Your necessities are indeed desperate, when you apply for relief to one in my situation. Dr. Farmer, however, with no small probability, would point the passage as follows:

Your greatest want is, you want much. Of mear
Why should you want. Behold, &c. Steevens.

the earth hath roots; &c.]
“ Vile olus, & duris hærentia mora rubetis,

Pugnantis stomachi composuere famem:

“ Flumine vicino stultus sitit." I do not suppose these to be imitations, but only to be similar thoughts on similar occasions. Fohnson.

Yet thanks I must you con,] To con thanks is a very common expression among our old dramatick writers. So, in The Story of King Darius, 1565, an interlude:

so Yea and well said, I com you no thanke."

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

That you are thieves profess'd ; that you work not
In holier shapes: for there is boundless theft
In limited professions. Rascal thieves,
Here's gold: Go, suck the subtle blood of the grape,
Till the high fever seeth your blood to froth,
And so 'scape hanging : trust not the physician;
His antidotes are poison, and he slays
More than you rob: take wealth and lives together;
Do villainy, do, since you profess to do 't, 2
Like workmen. I'll example you with thievery:
The sun 's a thief, and with his great attraction
Robs the vast sea: the moon 's an arrant thief,
And her pale fire she snatches from the sun:
The sea 's a thief, whose liquid surge resolves
The moon into salt tears :3 the earth 's a thief,

Again, in Pierce Pennilesse his Supplication to the Devil, by Nasli, 1592: “It is well done to practise my wit; but I believe our lord will con thee little thanks for it.” Steevens.

1 In limited professions,] Limited, for legal. Warburton. Regular, orderly, professions. So, in Macbeth:

“ For 'tis my limited service.” i.e. my appointed service, prescribed by the necessary duty and rules of my office. Malone.

2-since you profess to do’t,] The old copy has-protest. The correction was made by Mr. Theobald. Malone. 3 The sea 's a thief, whose liquid surge resolves

The moon into salt tears :) The moon is supposed to be humid, and perhaps a source of humidity, but cannot be resolved by the zurges of the sea. Yet I think moon is the true reading. Here is a circulation of thievery described : The sun, moon, and sea, all rob, and are robbed. Fohnson.

He says simply, that the sun, the moon, and the sea, rob one another by turns, but the earth robs them all: the sea, i. e. liquid surge, by supplying the moon with moisture, robs her in turn of the soft tears of dew which the poets always fetch from this planet. Soft for salt is an easy change. In this sense Milton speaks of her moist continent. Paradise Lost, Book V, 1. 422. And, in Hamlet, Horatio says:

the moist star
“Upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands."

Steevens. We are not to attend on such occasions merely to philosophical truth ; we are to consider what might have been the received or vulgar notions of the time. The populace, in the days of Shak. speare, might possibly have considered the waining of the moon as a gradual dissolution of it, and have attributed to this melting

H

That feeds and breeds by a composture“ stolen
From general excrement: each thing's a thief;
The laws, your curb and whip, in their rough power
Have uncheck'd theft. Love not yourselves; away;
Rob one another. There's more gold; Cut throats;
All that you meet are thieves: To Athens, go,
Break open shops; nothing can you steal,5
But thieves do lose it: Steal not less, for this
I give you; and gold confound

you

howsoever! Amen.

[Tim. retires to his Cave. 3 Thief. He has almost charmed me from my profession, by persuading me to it.

1 Thief. 'Tis in the malice of mankind, that he thus advises us; not to have us thrive in our mystery.7

of the moon, the increase of the sea at the time she disappears. They might, it is true, be told, that there is a similar increase in the tides when the moon becomes full; but when popular notions are once established, the reasons urged against them are but little attended to. It may also be observed, that the moon, when view. ed through a telescope, has a humid appearance, and seems to have drops of water suspended from the rim of it; to which circumstance Shakspeare probably alludes in Macbeth, where Hecate says:

“Upon the corner of the moon

“ There hangs a vaporous drop,” &c. M. Mason. Shakspeare knew that the moon was the cause of the tides, [See The Tempest, Vol. II, p. 134,] and in that respect the liquid surge, that is, the waves of the sea, rising one upon another, in the progress of the tide, may be said to resolve the moon into salt tears; the moon, as the poet chooses to state the matter, losing some part of her humidity, and the accretion to the sea, in consequence of her tears, being the cause of the liquid surge. Add to this the popular notion, yet prevailing, of the moon's influence on the weather; which, together with what has been already stated, probably induced our author here and in other places to allude to the watry quality of that planet. In Romeo and Juliet, he speaks of her " watry beams." Malone.

by a composture -] i. e. composition, compost. Steevens.

- nothing can you steal,] To complete the measure I would read:

- where nothing can you steal,-. Steevens.

Steal not less,] Not, which was accidentally omitted in the old copy, was inserted by Mr. Rowe. Malone.

7 'Tis in the malice of mankind, that he thus advises us; not te have us thrive in our mystery.] The reason of his advice, says the

VOL. XV.

4

Рp

« PreviousContinue »