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Enter certain Senators, and
pass over. Pain. How this lord's follow'd! Poet. The senators of Athens : -Happy men! Pain. Look, more! Poet. You see this confluence, this great flood
of visitors 13.
Pain. How shall I understand you?
I'll unbolt 17 to you.
To Apemantus, that few things loves better
13 · Mane salutantum totis vomit ædibus undam.'
14 So in Measure for Measure we have,' This under generation ;' and in King Richard III. the lower world.
15 My design does not stop at any particular character.
16 An allusion to the Roman practice of writing with a style on tablets, covered with wax : a custom which also prevailed in England until about the close of the fourteenth century. 17 i. e. open, explain.
i. e. subjects and appropriates. 19 One who shows by reflection the looks of his patron. The poet was mistaken in the character of Apemantus; but seeing that he paid frequent visits to Timon, he naturally concluded that he was equally courteous with his other guests.
Than to abhor himself: even he drops down
I saw them speak together.
'Tis conceiv'd to scope 21. This throne, this Fortune, and this hill, methinks, With one man beckon'd from the rest below, Bowing his head against the steepy mount To climb his happiness, would be well express'd In our condition 22. Poet.
Nay, sir, but hear me on: All those which were his fellows but of late (Some better than his value), on the moment Follow his strides, his lobbies fill with tendance, Rain sacrificial whisperings in his ear 23,
20 i. e. to improve or promote their conditions. See vol. ii. p. 14, note 6.
21 i. e. extensively imagined, largely conceived.
22 i. e. in our art, in painting. Condition was used for profession, quality; façon de faire. See vol. i. p. 145, note 14.
23 Whisperings of officious servility, the incense of the worshiping parasite to the patron as a god. Gray has excellently expressed in his Elegy these sacrificial offerings to the great from the poetic tribe :
• To heap the shrine of luxury and pride
Make sacred even his stirrop, and through him
Ay, marry, what of these? Poet. When Fortune, in her shift and change of
mood, Spurns down her late belov'd, all his dependants, Which labour'd after him to the mountain's top, Even on their knees and hands, let him slip down, Not one accompanying his declining foot.
Pain. 'Tis common : A thousand moral paintings I can show, That shall demonstrate these quick blows of fortune More pregnantly than words. Yet you do well, To show Lord Timon, that mean eyes The foot above the head.
25 have seen
Trumpets sound. Enter Timon, attended; the Ser
vant of Ventidius talking with him. Tim.
Imprison'd is he, say you? Ven. Serv. Ay, my good lord: five talents is his
debt; His means most short, his creditors most strait : Your honourable letter he desires To those have shut him up; which failing to him, Periods 26 his comfort. Tim.
Noble Ventidius! Well;
24 • To drink the air,' like the haustos ætherios of Virgil, is merely a poetic phrase for draw the air, or breathe. To drink the free air,' therefore, through another,' is to breathe freely at his will only, so as to depend on him for the privilege of life; not even to breathe freely without his permission.
25 i. e. inferior spectators.
26 To period is perhaps a verb of Shakspeare's coinage. It is ușed by Heywood, after him, in A Maidenhead Well Lost, 1634
• How easy could I period all my care,' And in The Country Girl, by T. B. 1647 :
• To period our vain grieving.'
I am not of that feather, to shake off
Ven. Serv. Your lordship ever binds him.
well. Ven. Serv. All happiness to your honour 29 !
Enter an old Athenian.
Freely, good father.
thee. Tim. Attends he here, or no ?-Lucilius!
Enter LUCILIUS. Luc. Here, at your lordship's service. Old Ath. This fellow here, Lord Timon, this thy
creature, By night frequents my house. I am a man That from my first have been inclin’d to thrift;
27 Should we not read. When he most needs me?'
28 Johnson says this thought is better expressed by Dr. Madden in his Elegy on Archbishop Boulter:
• More than they ask'd he gave; and deem'd it mean
Only to help the poor-to beg again.' It is said that Dr. Madden gave Johnson ten guineas for correcting this poem.
29 See note on King Richard III. Act iii. Sc. 2, note 3, 78.
And my estate deserves an heir more rais’d,
Well; what further? Old Ath. One only daughter have I, no kin else, On whom I
confer what I have got:
The man is honest.
Does she love him?
Tim. [TO LUCILIUS.) Love you the maid?
Old Ath. If in her marriage my consent be missing, I call the gods to witness, I will choose
30 It appears to me that a word is omitted in this line. Perhaps we should read :
Therefore he will be (rewarded], Timon;
It must not bear my daughter. It is true that Shakspeare often uses elliptical phrases, and this has been thought to mean:-You say the man is honest; therefore he will continue to be so, and is sure of being sufficiently rewarded by the consciousness of virtue; he does not need the additional blessing of a beautiful and accomplished wife.' But • it must not bear my daughter' means ' His honesty is its own reward, it must not carry my daughter. A similar expression occurs in Othello:
• What a full fortune does the thick-lips owe