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STEEVENS. Shakspeare undoubtedly formed this play, in some measure, on the passage in Plutarch's Life of Antony relative to Timon, and not altogether on the twenty-eighth novel of the first volume of Painter's Palace of Pleasure; because he is there merely described as “a manhater,of a strange and beastly nature," without any cause assigned; whereas Plutarch furnished our author with the following hint to work upon : “ Antonius forsook the citie, and companie of his friendes,-saying that he would lead Timon's life, because he had the like wrong offered him, that was offered unto Timon; and for the unthankfulness of those he had done good unto, and whom "he tooke to be his friendes, he was angry
and would trust no man.”
To the manuscript play mentioned by Mr. Steevens, our author, I have no doubt, was also indebted for some other circumstances. Here he found the faithful steward, the banquet-scene, and the story of Timon's being possessed of great sums of gold which he had dug up in the woods : a circumstance which he could not have had from Lucian, there being then no translation of the dialogue that relates to this subject.
Spon says, there is a building near Athens, yet remaining, called Timon's Tower.
Timon of Athens was written, I imagine, in the year 1610. See An Attempt to Ascertain the Order of Shakspeare's Plays, vol. ii.
TIMON, a noble Athenian.
two of Timon's Creditors. Cupid and Maskers. Three Strangers. Poet, Painter, Jeweller, and Merchant. An old Athenian. A Page. A Fool.
Mistresses to Alcibiades.
Other Lords, Senators, Officers, Soldiers, Thieves,
SCENE, Athens; and the Woods adjoining.
Phrynia,] (Or as this name should have been written by Shakspeare, Phryne,) was an Athenian courtezan so exquisitely beautiful, that when her judges were proceeding to condemn her for numerous and enormous offences, a sight of her bosom (which, as we learn from Quintillian, had been artfully denuded by her advocate,) disarmed the court of its severity, and secured her life from the sentence of the law. STEEVENS.
TIMÓN OF ATHENS.
ACT I. SCENE I
Athens. A Hall in TIMON'S House.
Enter Poet, Painter, Jeweller, Merchant', and
Others, at several Doors.
I am glad you are well. Poer. I have not seen you long ; How goes the
world? Pain. It wears, sir, as it grows. PoET.
Ay, that's well known: But what particular rarity *? what strange,
2 - Jeweller, Merchant,] In the old copy: “Enter, &c. Merchant, and Mercer, &c." Steevens. 3 Poet. Good day sir.] It would be less abrupt to begin the
“ Poet. Good day.
“ Pain. Good day, sir: I am glad you're well." Farmer. The present deficiency in the metre also pleads strongly in behalf of the supplemental words proposed by Dr. Farmer.
STEEVENS. 4 But what particular rarity ? &c.] I cannot but think that this passage is at present in confusion. The poet asks a question, and stays not for an answer, nor has his question any apparent drift or consequence. I would range the passage thus :
“ Poet. Ay, that's well known.
" Pain. See !
“ Poet. Magic of bounty !" &c. It may not be improperly observed here, that as there is only one copy of this play, no help can be had from collation, and more liberty must be allowed to conjecture. JOHNSON.
Which manifold record not matches? See,
Pain. I know them both; t other's a jeweller.
Nay, that's most fix'd.
Johnson supposes that there is some error in this
because the Poet asks a question, and stays not for an answer; and therefore suggests a new arrangement of it. But there is nothing more common in real life than questions asked in that manner. And with respect to his proposed arrangement, I can by no means approve
of it; for as the Poet and the Painter are going to pay their court to Timon, it would be strange if the latter should point out to the former, as a particular rarity, which manifold record could not match, a merchant and a jeweller, who came there on the same errand. M. Mason.
The Poet is led by what the Painter has said, to ask whether any thing very strange and unparalleled had lately happened, without any expectation that any such had happened ;-and is prevented from waiting for an answer by observing so many conjured by Timon's bounty to attend. «See, Magick of bounty!" &c. This surely is very natural. MALONE.
BREATH'D, as it were, To an untirable and conTINUATE goodness :] Breathed is inured by constant practice ; so trained as not to be wearied. To breathe à horse, is to exercise him for the course. Johnson. So in Hamlet:
“ It is the breathing time of day with me." STEEVENS.
- continuate This word is used by many ancient English writers. Thus, by Chapman, in his version of the fourth book of the Odyssey :
* Her handmaids join'd in a continuate yell." Again, in the tenth book :
environ'd round “ With one continuate rock :- " STEEVENS. • He passes.] i. e. exceeds, goes beyond common bounds. So in The Merry Wives of Windsor :
Why this passes, master Ford.” STEBYENS.
JEW. I have a jewel here?.
sir ? Jew. If he will touch the estimate 8: But, for
that Poet. When we for recompense have prais’d the
'Tis a good form.
[Looking at the Jewel. Jew. And rich : here is a water, look you. Pain. You are rapt, sir, in some work, some de
dication To the great lord. PoET.
A thing slipp'd idly from me.
? He passes:
I have a jewel here.] The syllable wanting in this line might be restored by reading
"He passes.--Look, I have a jewel here." Steevens. -touch the estimate:] Come up to the price. Johnson. 9 When we for recompense, &c.] We must here suppose the poet busy in reading in his own work; and that these three lines are the introduction of the poem addressed to Timon, which he afterwards gives the Painter an account of. WARBURTON.
' - which oozes —] The folio copy reads—which uses. The modern editors have given it—which issues. Johnson. Gum and issues were inserted by Mr. Pope ; oozes by Dr. John
“ Our poesie is as a gowne which uses.” STBEVENS.
Each bound it СHAFES.] Thus the folio reads, and rightly. In later editions—chases. WARBURTON.
This speech of the Poet is very obscure. He seems to boast the copiousness and facility of his vein, by declaring that verses