Page images

Of health, and living, now begins to mend,
And nothing brings me all things. Go, live still;
Be Alcibiades your plague, you his,
And last so long enough!
1 Sen.

We speak in vain.
Tim. But yet I love my country; and am not
One that rejoices in the common wreck,
As common bruito doth put it.
1 Sen,

That's well spoke. Tim. Commend me to my loving countrymen, | Sen. These words become your lips as they pass

through them. 2 Sen. And enter in our ears, like great triúmphers In their applauding gates. Tim.

Commend me to them; And tell them, that, to ease them of their griefs, Their fears of hostile strokes, their aches, losses, Their pangs of love, 4 with other incident throes That nature's fragile vessel doth sustain In life's uncertain voyage, I will some kindness do them:s I'll teach them to prevent wild Alcibiades' wrath.

2 Sen. I like this well, he will return again. Tim. I have a tree, which grows here in my close,



bruit - }i. e. report, rumour. Steevens. 4 Their pangs of love, &c.) Compare this part of Timon's speech with part of the celebrated soliloquy in Hamlet. Steevens.

I will some kindness &c.] i.e. I will do them some kind. ness, for such, elliptically considered, will be the sense of these words, independent of the supplemental do them, which only serves to derange the metre, and is, I think, a certain interpolation. Steevens.

6 I have a tree, &c.] Perhaps Shakspeare was indebted to Chali. cer's Wife of Bath's Prologue, for this thought. He might, how. ever, have found it in Painter's Palace of Pleasure, Tom. I, Nov. 28, as well as in several other places. Steevens.

Our author was indebted for this thought to Plutarch's Life of Antony: “It is reported of him also, that this Timon on a time, (the people being assembled in the market-place, about dispatch of some affaires,) got up into the pulpit for orations, where the orators commonly use to speake unto the people; and silence being made, everie man listening to hear what he would say, because it was a wonder to see him in that place, at length he began to speak in this manner: "My lordes of Athens, I have a liitle yard in my house where there groweth a figge tree, on the which

That mine own use invites me to cut down,
And shortly must I fell it; Tell my friends,
Tell Athens, in the sequence of degree,
From high to low throughout, that whoso please
To stop affliction, let him take his haste,
Come hither, ere my tree hath felt the axe,
And hang himself:- I pray you, do my greeting.
Flav. Trouble him no further, thus you still shall find

Tim. Come not to me again: but say to Athens,
Timon bath made his everlasting mansion
Upon the beached verge of the salt flood;
Which once a days with his embossed frotho
The turbulent surge shall cover; thither come,
And let my grave-stone be your oracle.-
Lips, let sour words go by, and language end :
What is amiss, plague and infection mend!
Guses only be men's works; and death, their gain!
Sun, hide thy beams! Timon hath done his reign.

[Exit TIM 1 Sen. His discontents are unremoveably

many citizens have hanged themselves; and because I meane to make some building upon the place, I thought good to let you all understand it, that before the figge tree be cut downe, if any of you be desperate, you may there in time go hang yourselves.”

Malone. in the sequence of degree,] Methodically, from highest to Towest. Johnson.

8 Which once a day – ] Old copy-Who. For the correction [whom) I am answerable. Whom refers to Tinon All the mo. dern editors (following the second folio) read-Which once &c.

Malone. Which, in the second folio, (and I have followed it) is an apparent correction of_Who. Surely, it is the everlasting mansion, or the beach on which it stands, that our author meant to cover with the foam, and not the corpse of Timon Thus we often say that the grave in a churchvard, and not the body within it, is trodden down by cattle, or overgrown with weeds. Steevens.

e nbossed froth - ) When a deer was run hard, and foamed at ihe mouth, he was said to be embossed See Vol. VI, p. 16, n 9. The thought is from Painter's Palace of Pleasure, Tom. I, Nov, 28. Steevens

Embosset froth, is swollen froth; from bosse, Fr. a tumour. The tern einbossed, when applies to deer, is from embogar, Span. to cast out of the mouth. Malone.

Coupled to nature.

2 Sen. Our hope in him is dead: let us return,
And strain what other means is left unto us
In our dear peril.
I Sen.

It requires swift foot. [Exeunt.


The Walls of Athens.
Enter Two Senators, and a Messenger.
i Sen. Thou hast painfully discover’d; are his files
As full as thy report?

I have spoke the least:
Besides, his expedition promises
Present approach.

2 Sen. We stand much hazard, if they bring not Ti


Mess. I met a courier, one mine ancient friend ;2Whom, though in general part we were oppos’d, Yet our old love made a particular force, And made us speak like friends:3_this man was riding

1 In our dear peril.) So the folios, and rightly. The Oxford edi. tor alters dear to dread, not knowing that dear, in the language of that time, signified dread, and is so used by Shakspeare in num. berless places. Warburton.

Dear, in Sbakspeare's language, is dire, dreadful. So, in Hamlet :

“Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven.” Malone. Dear may, in the present instance, signify immediate, or immi. nent. It is an enforcing epithet with not always a distinct meaning. To enumerate each of the seemingly various senses in which it may be supposed to have been used by our author, would at once fatigue the reader and muself.

In the following situations, however, it cannot signify either dire e or dreadful: • Consort with me in loud and dear petition.”

Troilus and Cressida. Some dear cause “ Will in concealment wrap me up a while." King Lear.

Steevens 2-one mine ancient friend;] Mr. Upton would read-once mine ancient friend. Steevens. 3 Whom, though in general part we were oppos’d,

Yet our old love made a particular force,
And made us speak like friends : ) Our author, hurried away bay

From Alcibiades to Timon's cave,
With letters of entreaty, which imported
His fellowship i'the cause against your city,
In part for his sake mov’d.

Enter Senators from Timon.
I Sen.

Here come our brothers. 3 Sen. No talk of Timon, nothing of him expect. The enemies' drum is heard, and fearful scouring Doth choke the air with dust: In, and prepare; Ours is the fall, I fear, our foes the snare. [Exeunt.


The Woods. Timon's Cave, and a Tomb-stone seen.

Enter a Soldier, seeking Timon. Sold. By all description this should be the place. Who's here? speak, ho! -No answer?- What is this? Timon is dead, who hath out-stretch'd his span: Some beast rcar'd this; there does not live a man.

strong conceptions, and little attentive to minute accuracy, takes great liberties in the construction of sentences. Here he means, Whom, though we were on opposite sides in the publick cause, yet the force of our old affection wrought so much upon, as to make him speak to me as a friend. See Vol. XIII, p. 138, n. 5.

Malone, I am fully convinced that this and many other passages of our author to which similar remarks are annexed, have been irretrievably corrupted by transcribers or printers, and could not have proceeded, in their present state, from the pen of Shakspeare; for what we cannot understand in the closet, must have been wholly useless on the stage. The aukward repetition of the verb-made, very strongly countenances my present observation..

Steevens. * Some beast rear'd this, there does not live a man.] [Old copyread this.] Some beast read what? The soldier had yet only seen the rude pile of earth heaped up for Timon's grave, and not the inscription upon it. We should read:

Somne beast rear'd this; The soldier seeking, by order, for Timon, sees such an irregular mole, as he concludes must have been the workmanship of some beast inhabiting the woods; and such a cavity as must either have been so over-arched, or happened by the casual falling in of the ground. Warburton.

“ The soldier (says Theobald) had yet only seen the rude pile of earth beaped up for Timon's grave, and not the inscription

Dead, sure; and this his



upon it." In support of his emendation, which was suggested to him by Dr. Warburton, he quotes these lines from Fletcher's Cupid's Revenge:

“ Here is no food, nor beds: nor any house

“Built by a better architect than beasts.Malone. Notwithstanding this remark, I believe the old reading to be the right. The soldier had only seen the rude heap of earth. He had evidently seen something that told him Timon was dead; and what could tell that but his tomb? The tomb be sees and the inscription upon it, which not being able to read, and finding, none to read it for him, he exclaims peevishly, some beast read this, for it must be read, and in this place it cannot be read by

There is something elaborately unskilful in the contrivance of sending a soldier, who cannot read, to take the epitaph in wax, only that it may close the play by being read with more solemnity in the last scene. Johnson

It is evident, that the soldier, when he first sees the heap of earth, does not know it to be a tomb. He concludes Timon must be dead, because he receives no answer. It is likewise evident, that when he utters the words some beast, &c. he has not seen the inscription. And Dr. Warburton's emendation is therefore, not only just and happy, but absolutely necessary. What can this heap of earth be? says the soldier; Timon is certainly dead: some beast must have erected this, for here does not live a man to do it. Yes, he is dead, sure enough, and this must be his grave. What is this writing upon it? Ritson.

I am now convinced that the emendation made by Mr. Theo. bald is right, and that it ought to be admitted into the text:Some beast rear'd this. Our poet certainly would not make the soldier call on a beast to read the inscription, before he had informed the audience that he could not read it himself; which he does afterwards.

Besides; from the time he asks, “What is this?! “. e. what is this cave, tomb, &c. not what is this inscription?” to the words, “What's on this tomb,”-the observation evidently relates to Timon himself, and his grave; whereas, by the erroneous reading of the old copy, “Some beast read this,”-the soldier is first made to call on a beast to read the inscription, without assigning any reason for so extraordinary a requisition ;-then to talk of Timon's death and of his grave; and, at last, to inform the audience that he cannot read the inscription. Let me add, that a beast being as unable to read as the soldier, it would be absurd to call on one for assistance; whilst on the other hand, if a den or cave, or any rude heap of earth resembling a tomb, be found where there does not live a man, it is manifest that it must have been formed by a beast. A passage in King Lear also adds support to the emendation:

this hard house, " More hard than are the stones whereof 'tis rais'd." Malone.

« PreviousContinue »