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2 LORD. Why, Apemantus?
APEM. Shouldst have kept one to thyself, for I mean to give thee none.
1 LORD. Hang thyself.
APEM. No, I will do nothing at thy bidding; make thy requests to thy friend.
2 LORD. Away, unpeaceable dog, or I'll spurn thee
APEM. I will fly, like a dog, the heels of the ass. [Exit.
1 LORD. He's opposite to humanity. Come, shall we in,
And taste lord Timon's bounty? he outgoes
2 LORD. He pours it out; Plutus, the god of gold,
Is but his steward: no meed, but he repays
The noblest mind he carries,
That ever govern'd man.
2 LORD. Long may he live in fortunes! Shall we in?
1 LORD. I'll keep you company.
6 - no MEED,] Meed, which in general signifies reward or recompense, in this place seems to mean desert. So, in Heywood's Silver Age, 1613:
"And yet thy body meeds a better grave."
i. e. deserves. Again, in a comedy called Look About You, 1600:
"Thou shalt be rich in honour, full of speed;
"Thou shalt win foes by fear, and friends by meed."
7 All use of quittance.] i. e. all the customary returns made in discharge of obligations. WArburton.
The Same. A Room of State in TIMON'S House.
Hautboys playing loud Musick. A great Banquet served in; FLAVIUS and others attending; then enter TIMON, ALCIBIADES, LUCIUS, LUCULLUS, SEMPRONIUS, and other Athenian Senators, with VENTIDIUS, and Attendants. Then comes, dropping after all, APEMANTUS, discontentedly. VEN. Most honour'd Timon, it hath pleas'd the gods to remember 9
My father's age, and call him to long peace.
O, by no means,
Honest Ventidius: you mistake my love;
If our betters play at that game, we must not dare To imitate them; Faults that are rich, are fair 1.
8-discontentedly.] The ancient stage-direction adds-like himself. STEEVENS.
9 Most honour'd Timon, it hath pleas'd the gods remember-] The old copy reads-to remember. But I have omitted, for the sake of metre, and in conformity to our author's practice on other occasions, the adverb-to. Thus, in King Henry VIII. Act IV. Sc. II. :
Patience, is that letter
"I caus'd you write, yet sent away?"
Every one must be aware that the participle-to was purposely left out, before the verb-write. STEEVENS.
If our betters play at that game, we must not dare
To imitate them; Faults that are rich are fair.] These two lines are absurdly given to Timon. They should be read thus:
VEN. A noble spirit.
[They all stand ceremoniously looking on
"Tim. If our betters play at that game, we must not.
"Apem. Dare to imitate them. Faults that are rich are fair." This is said satirically, and in character. It was a sober reflection in Timon; who by our betters meant the gods, which require to be repaid for benefits received; but it would be impiety in men to expect the same observance for the trifling good they do. Apemantus, agreeably to his character, perverts this sentiment as if Timon had spoke of earthly grandeur and potentates, who expect largest returns for their favours; and therefore ironically replies as above. WARBURTON.
I cannot see that these lines are more proper in any other mouth than Timon's, to whose character of generosity and condescension they are very suitable. To suppose that by our betters are meant the gods, is very harsh, because to imitate the gods has been hitherto reckoned the highest pitch of human virtue. The whole is a trite and obvious thought, uttered by Timon with a kind of affected modesty. If I would make any alteration, it should be only to reform the numbers thus:
"Our betters play that game; we must not dare
The faults of rich persons, and which contribute to the increase of riches, wear a plausible appearance, and as the world goes are thought fair; but they are faults notwithstanding.
Dr. Warburton with his usual love of innovation, transfers the last word of the first of these lines, and the whole of the second, to Apemantus. Mr. Heath has justly observed that this cannot have been Shakspeare's intention, for thus Apemantus would be made. to address Timon personally, who must therefore have seen and heard him; whereas it appears from a subsequent speech that Timon had not yet taken notice of him, as he salutes him with some surprize
"O, Apemantus !-you are welcome."
The term-our betters, being used by the inferior classes of men when they speak of their superiors in the state. Shakspeare uses these words with his usual laxity to express persons of high rank and fortune. MALONE.
So, in King Lear, vol. x. p. 179, Edgar says (referring to the distracted king):
"When we our betters see bearing our woes,
"We scarcely think our miseries our foes." STEEVENS.
Nay, my lords, ceremony
TIM. Was but devis'd at first, to set a gloss On faint deeds, hollow welcomes, Recanting goodness, sorry ere 'tis shown: But where there is true friendship, there needs
Pray, sit; more welcome are ye to my fortunes, Than my fortunes to me. [They sit.
1 LORD. My lord, we always have confess'd it. APEM. Ho, ho, confess'd it? hang'd it, have you not 2?
TIM. O, Apemantus !-you are welcome.
You shall not make me welcome :
I come to have thee thrust me out of doors.
TIM. Fye, thou art a churl; you have got a humour there
Does not become a man, 'tis much to blame :-
Go, let him have a table by himself;
APEM. Let me stay at thine apperil 3, Timon ;
confess'd it? hang'd it, have you not?] There seems to be some allusion here to a common proverbial saying of Shakspeare's time: "Confess and be hang'd." See Othello, Act. IV. Sc. I., vol. ix. p. 414. MALONE.
3 They say, my lords, THAT ] That was inserted by Sir T. Hanmer, for the sake of metre. STEEVENS.
4 But yond' man's EVER angry.] The old copy has-very angry; which can hardly be right. The emendation now adopted was made by Mr. Rowe. MALONE.
Perhaps we should read-But yon man's very anger; i. e. anger itself, which always maintains its violence. STEEVENS.
I see no difficulty in the old reading. Since yond' man is very angry, which is a humour which does not become a man, let him have a table by himself, as he is not fit company for others.
BOSWELL. reads-at thine ap
I come to observe; I give thee warning on't.
TIM. I take no heed of thee; thou art an Athenian; therefore welcome: I myself would have no power: pr'ythee, let my meat make thee silent.
APEM. I scorn thy meat; 'twould choke me, for
Ne'er flatter thee.-O you gods! what a number
peril. I have not been able to find such a word in any Dictionary, nor is it reconcileable to etymology. I have therefore adopted an emendation made by Mr. Steevens. MALONE.
Apperil, the reading of the old editions, may be right, though no other instance of it has been, or possibly can be produced. It is, however, in actual use in the metropolis, at this day. RITSON.
I have restored the original text, because, as Mr. Gifford has observed, the word which they would discard, occurs more than once in Ben Jonson :
'Sir, I will bail you at mine own apperil."
Devil is an Ass, Gifford's edition, vol. v. p. 137.
Tale of a Tub. vol. vi. p. 159.
I myself would have no POWER :] If this be the true reading, the sense is, all Athenians are welcome to share my fortune: I would myself have no exclusive right or power in this house. Perhaps we might read, I myself would have no poor.' I would have every Athenian consider himself as joint possessor of my fortune. JOHNSON.
I understand Timon's meaning to be: I myself would have no power to make thee silent, but I wish thou would'st let my meat make thee silent.' Timon, like a polite landlord, disclaims all power over the meanest or most troublesome of his guests.
These words refer to what follows, not to that which precedes. 'I claim no extraordinary power in right of my being master of the house I wish not by my commands to impose silence on any one; but though I myself do not enjoin you to silence, let my meat stop your mouth.' MALONE.
7 I scorn thy meat; 'twould choke me, FOR I should
Ne'er flatter thee.] The meaning is,-I could not swallow thy meat, for I could not pay for it with flattery; and what was given me with an ill will would stick in my throat. JOHNSON.