Poet.: Ay, that's well known: But what particular rarity! what strange, Which manifold record not matches? See, Magick of bounty!]
The learned commentator's [Warburton's] note must shift for itself. 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. Bat what particular rarity? what so strange, That manifold record not matches?
Poet. Magick 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.
I.i.10 (272,4) 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 a horse, is to exercise him for the course.
I.i.20 (273,8) Poet.:
A thing slipt idly from me. Our poesy is as a gum, which oozes From whence 'tis nourished. The fire i' the flint Shews not, 'till it be struck: our gentle flame Provokes itself, and, like the current flies Each bound it chafes. What have you there!]
This speech of the poet is very obscure. He seems to boast the copiousness and facility of his vein, by declaring that verses drop from a poet as gums from odoriferous trees, and that his flame kindles itself without the violence necessary to elicit sparkles from the flint. What follows next? that it, like a current, flies each bound it chafes. This may mean, that it expands itself notwithstanding all obstructions: but the images in the comparison are so ill-sorted, and the effect so obscurely expressed, that I cannot but think something omitted that connected the last sentence with the former. It is well knovn that the players often shorten speeches to quicken the representation; and it may be suspected, that they sometimes performed their amputations with more haste than judgment, (see 1765, VI, 169, 6)
I.i.27 (274,9) Poet. Upon the heels of my presentment, sir.] As soon as my book has been presented to lord Timon.
I.i.29 (274,1) This comes off weil and excellent] [By this we are to understand what the painters call the goings off of a picture, which requires the nicest execution. WARBURTON.] The note I understand less than the text. The meaning is, This figure rises weil from the canvas. C'est bien relevè.
I.i.37 (275,3) artificial strife] Strife is either the contest or act with nature.
Hic ille est Raphael, timuit, quo aospite vinci Rerum magna parens, & moriente, mori.
Or it is the contrast of forms or opposition of colours.
I.i.43 (275,4) this confluence, this great flood of visitors] Mane salutantúm totis vomit aedibus undam.
I.1.46 (275,5) Halts not particularly] My design does not stop at any single characters.
no levell'd malice Infects one comma in the course I hold; But flies an eagle-flight, bold, and forth on, Leaving no tract behind]
To level is to aim, to point the shot at a mark. Shakespeare's meaning is, my poem is not a satire written with any particular view, or levelled at any single person; I fly like an eagle into the general expanse of life, and leave not, by any private mischief, the trace of my passage.
I.i.51 (276,8) I'll unbolt] I'll open, I'll explain.
I.i.53 (276,9) glib and slippery creatures] Hanmer, and Warburton after him, read, natures. Slippery is smooth, unresisting.
I.i.58 (276,1) glass-fac'd flatterer] That shows in his own look, as by reflection, the looks of his patron.
I.i.65 (277,3) rank'd with all deserts] Cover'd with ranks of all kinds of men.
I.i.67 (277,4) To propagate their states] To advance or improve their various conditions of life.
I.i.72 (277,5) conceiv'd to scope] Properly imagined, appositely, to the purpose.
I.i.82 (278,8) through him/Drink the free air] That is, catch his breath in affected fondness.
I.i.90 (278,9) A thousand moral paintings I can shew] Shakespeare seems to intend in this dialogue to express some competition between the two great arts of imitation. Whatever the poet declares himself to have shewn, the painter thinks he could have shewn better. (1773)
I.i.107 (279,1) 'Tis not enough to help the feeble up,/But to support him after] This thought is better expressed by Dr. Madden in his elegy on archbishop Boulter.
--He thought it mean Only to help the poor to beg again.
I.i.129 (280,2) Therefore he will be, Timon] I rather think an emendation necessary, and read,
Therefore well be him, Timon. His honesty rewards him in itself.
That is, If he in honest, bene fit illi, I wish him the proper happiness of an honest man, but his honesty gives him no claim to my daughter.
The first transcriber probably wrote will be him, which the next, not understanding, changed to, he will be. (1773)
never may That state, or fortune, fall into my keeping, Which is not ow'd to you!]
The meaning is, let me never henceforth consider any thing that I possess, but as owed or due to you; held for your service, and at your disposal.
I.i.159 (281,4) pencil'd figures are/Even such as they give out] Pictures have no hypocrisy; they are what they profess to be.
I.i.165 (282,5) unclew me quite] To unclew, is to unwind a ball of thread. To unclew a man, is to draw out the whole mass of his fortunes.
I.i.171 (282,5) Are prized by their masters] Are rated according to the, esteem in which their possessor is held.
Tim. Good-morrow to thee, gentle Apemantua! Apam. 'Till I be gentle, stay for thy good-morrow. When thou art Timon's dog, and these knaves honest,--]
[Warburton conjectured a line lost and added one of his own making] I think my punctuation may clear the passage without any greater effort.
I.i.180 (283,9) Then thou art Timon's dog] When thou hast gotten a better character, and instead of being Timon, as thou art, shalt be changed to Timon's dog, and become more worth; of kindness and salutation. (1773)
I.i.241 (284,9) That I had no angry wit to be a lord] [W: so hungry a wit] The meaning may be, I should hate myself for patiently enduring to be a lord. This is ill enough expressed. Perhaps some happy change may set it right. I have tried, and can do nothing, yet I cannot heartily concur with Dr. Warburton.
I.i.259 (286,2) The strain of man's bred out/Into baboon and monkey] Man is exhausted and degenerated; his strain or lineage is worn down into monkey.
If our betters play at that game, we must not dare To imitate them. Faults that are rich, are fair]
[Warburton gave the second line to Apemantus] 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 T' imitate then; faults that are rich are fair.
I.ii.34 (289,6) thou art an Athenian,/Therefore welcome: 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.
I.ii.38 (289,7) I scorn thy meat, 'twould choke me, for I should/ Ne'er flatter thee] [W: 'fore/I should e'er] Of this emendation there is little need. 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.
I.ii.41 (290,8) so many dip their meat/In one man's blood] The allusion is to a pack of hounds trained to pursuit by being gratified with the blood of the animal which they kill, and the wonder is that the animal on which they are feeding cheers them to the chase.
I.ii.52 (290,9) wind-pipe's dangerous notes] The notes of the windpipe seem to be the only indications which shew where the windpipe is. (see 1765, VI, 184, 4)
I.ii.54 (290,1) My lord, in heart] That is, my lord's health with sincerity. An emendation hat been proposed thus:
My love in heart;--
but it is not necessary.
I.ii.89 (292,2) we should think ourselves for ever perfect] That is, arrived at the perfection of happiness.
I.ii.94 (292,4) did not you chiefly belong to my heart?] I think it should be inverted thus: did I not chiefly belong to your hearts. Lacius wishes that Timon would give him and the rest an opportunity of expressing some part of their zeals. Timon answers that, doubtless the Gods have provided that I should have help from you; how else are you my friends? why are you stiled my friends, if--what? if I do not love you. Such is the present reading; but the consequence is not very clear; the proper close must be, if you do not love me, and to this my alteration restores it. But, perhaps, the old reading may stand. [The Revisal's note on this line is quoted.] The meaning is probably this. Why are you distinguished from thousands by that title of endearment, was there not a particular connection and intercourse of tenderness between you and me. (see 1765, VI, 185, 8)
I.ii.97 (293,5) I confirm you] I fix your characters firmly in my own mind.
I.ii.99 (293,7) O joy, e'en made away, ere it can be born!] For this Hanmer writes, O joy, e'en made a joy ere't can be born; and is followed by Dr. Warburton. I am always inclinable to think well of that which is approved by so much learning and sagacity, yet cannot receive this alteration. Tears being the effect both of joy and grief, supplied our author with an opportunity of conceit, which he seldom fails to indulge. Timon, weeping with a kind of tender pleasure, cries out, O joy, e'en made away, destroyed, turned to tears, before it can be born, before it can be fully possessed.
I.ii.110 (293,8) Mine eyes cannot hold water, methinks: to forget their faults, I drink to you] In the original edition the words stand thus: mine eyes cannot hold out water, methinks. To forget their faults, I drink to you. Perhaps the true reading is this, Mine eyes cannot hold out; they water. Methinks, to forget their faults, I will drink to you. Or it may be explained without any change. Mine eyes cannot hold out water, that is, cannot keep water from breaking in upon them, (see 1765, VI, 186, 2)
I.ii.113 (294,9) Apem. Thou weep'st to make them drink] Hanmer reads,
--to make then drink thee,
and is again followed by Dr. Warburton, I think without sufficient reason. The covert sense of Apemantus is, what thou losest, they get.
I.ii.118 (294,1) like a babe] That is a weeping babe.
They dance! They are mad women. Like madness is the glory of this life, As this pomp shews to a little oil and root]
[Warburton conjectured some lines lost after the second verse] When I read this passage, I was at first of the same opinion with this learned man; but, upon longer consideration, I grew less confident, because I think the present reading susceptible of explanation, with no more violence to language than is frequently found in our author. The glory of this life is very near to madness, as may be made appear from this pomp, exhibited in a place where a philosopher is feeding on oil and roots. When we see by example how few are the necessaries of life, we learn what madness there is in so much superfluity.
I.ii.146 (296,5) who dies, that bears/Not one spurn to their graves, of their friends gift?] That is, given them by their friends.(1773)
I.ii.155 (297,6) mine own device] The mask appears to have been design'd by Timon to surprise his guests.
I.ii.157 (297,7) L Lady. My lord, you take us even at the best] This answer seems rather to belong to one of the ladies. It was probably only mark'd L in the copy.
I.ii.169 (298,1) 'Tis pity, bounty has not eyes behind] To see the miseries that are following her.
I.ii.170 (298,2) That man might ne'er be wretched for his mind] For nobleness of soul.
I.ii.176 (298,3) to/Advance this jewel] To prefer it; to raise it to honour by wearing it.
all the lands thou hast Lie in a pitch'd field. Alc. I' defiled land, my lord]
This is the old reading, which apparently depends on a very low quibble. Alcibiades is told, that his estate lies in a pitch'd field. Now pitch, as Falstaff says, doth defile. Alcibiades therefore replies, that his estate lies in defiled land. This, as it happened, was not understood, and all the editors published,
I defy land,--
I.ii.237 (301,8) Serving of becks] [W: serring] The commentator conceives beck to mean the mouth or the head, after the French, bec, whereas it means a salutation made with the head. So Milton,
"Nods and becks, and wreathed smiles."
To serve a beck, is to offer a salutation.
I.ii.238 (301,9) I doubt, whether their legs] He plays upon the word leg, as it signifies a limb and a bow or act of obeisance.
I.ii.247 (302,1) I fear me, thou/Wilt give away thyself in paper shortly] [W: in proper] Hanmer reads very plausibly,
--thou Wilt give away thyself in perpetuum.
I.ii.235 (302,2) I'll lock/Thy heaven from thee] The pleasure of being flattered.
II.i.10 (304,5) No porter at his gate;/But rather one that smiles, and still invites] I imagine that a line is lost here, in which the behaviour of a surly porter was described.
II.i.12 (304,6) no reason/Can found his state in safety] The supposed meaning of this [Can sound his state] must be, No reason, by sounding, fathoming, or trying, his state, can find it safe. But as the words stand, they imply, that no reason can safely sound his state. I read thus,
--no reason Can found his state in safety.--
Reason cannot find his fortune to have any safe or solid foundation.
The types of the first printer of this play were so worn and defaced, that f and s are not always to be distinguished.
II.ii.5 (305,9) Never mind/Was to be so unwise, to be so kind] Of this mode of expression conversation affords many examples: "I was always to be blamed, whatever happened." "I am in the lottery, but I was always to draw blanks." (1773)
II.ii.9 (306,1) Good even, Varro] It is observable, that this good evening is before dinner; for Timon tells Alcibiades, that they will go forth again as soon as dinner's done, which may prove that by dinner our author meant not the coena of ancient times, but the mid-day's repast. I do not suppose the passage corrupt: such inadvertencies neither author nor editor can escape.
There is another remark to be made. Varro and Isidore sink a few lines afterwards into the servants of Varro and Isidore. Whether servants, in our author's time, took the names of their masters, I know not. Perhaps it is a slip of negligence.
II.ii.47 (308,4) Enter Apemantus and a Fool] I suspect some scene to be lost, in which the entrance of the fool, and the page that follows him, was prepared by some introductory dialogue, in which the audience was informed that they were the fool and page of Phrynia, Timandra, or some other courtesan, upon the knowledge of which depends the greater part of the ensuing jocularity.
II.ii.60-66 (309,4) Poor rogues] This is said so abruptly, that I am inclined to think it misplaced, and would regulate the passage thus:
Caph. Where's the fool now? Apem. He last ask'd the question. All. What are we, Apemantus? Apem. Asses. All. Why? Apem. That you ask me what you are, and do not know yourselves. Poor rogues', and usurers' men! bawds between gold and want! Speak, &c.
Thus every word will have its proper place. It is likely that the passage transposed was forgot in the copy, and inserted in the margin, perhaps a little beside the proper place, which the transcriber wanting either skill or care to observe, wrote it where it now stands.
II.ii.71 (309,5) She's e'en setting on water to scald] The old name for the disease got at Corinth was the brenning, and a sense of scalding is one of its first symptoms.
II.ii.117 (311,7) with two stones more than's artificial one] Meaning the celebrated philosopher's stone, which was in those times much talked of. Sir Thomas Smith was one of those who lost considerable sums in seeking of it.
II.ii.152 (312,9) Though you hear now, yet now's too late a time] [Warburton objected to this, an emendation by Hanmer] I think Hanmer right, and have received his emendation.
Il.ii.155 (313,1) and at length/How goes our reckoning?] [W: Hold good our] It is common enough, and the commentator knows it is common to propose interrogatively, that of which neither the speaker nor the hearer has any doubt. The present reading may therefore stand.
II.ii.171 (314,2) a wasteful cock] [i.e. a cockloft, a garret. And a wasteful cock, signifies a garret lying in waste, neglected, put to no use. HANMER.] Hanmer's explanation is received by Dr. Warburton, yet I think them both apparently mistaken. A wasteful cock is a cock or pipe with a turning stopple running to waste. In this sense, both the terms have their usual meaning; but I know not that cock is ever used for cockloft, or wasteful for lying in waste, or that lying in waste is at all a phrase.
Il.ii.187 (314,4) And try the arguments] [Arguments for natures. WARB.] How arguments should stand for natures I do not see. But the licentiousness of our author forces us often upon far fetched expositions. Arguments may mean contents, as the arguments of a book; or for evidences and proofs.
II.ii.209 (315,5) I knew it the most general way] General is not speedy, but compendious, the way to try many at a time.
II.ii.219 (316,6) And so, intending other serious matters] Intending is regarding, turning their notice to other things.
II.ii.220 (316,7) these hard fractions] [Warburton saw an allusion to fractions in mathematics] This is, I think, no conceit in the head of Flavius, who, by fractions, means broken hints, interrupted sentences, abrupt remarks.
II.ii.221 (316,8) half-caps] A half cap is a cap slightly moved, not put off.
II.ii.241 (317,3) I would, I could not] The original edition has, I would, I could not think it, that thought, &c. It has been changed ['Would], to mend the numbers, without authority.
That thought is bounty's foe; Being free itself, it thinks all other so]
Free, is liberal, not parsimonious.
III.i.57 (319,6) Has friendship such a faint and milky heart, It turns in less than two nights?] Alluding to the turning or acescence of milk.
III.ii.3 (320,3) We know him for no less] That is, we know him by report to be no less than you represent him, though we are strangers to his person.
III.ii.24 (321,5) yet had he mistook him, and sent him to me] [W: mislook'd] I rather read, yet had he not mistook him, and sent to me.
III.ii.45 (322,7) If his occasion were not virtuous] [Virtuous, for strong, forcible, pressing. WARBURTON.] The meaning may more naturally be;--If he did not want it for a good use. (1773)
III.ii.51 (322,9) that I should purchase the day before for a little part, and undo a great deal of honour?] [T: a little dirt] This emendation is received, like all others, by sir T. Hanmer, but neglected by Dr. Warburton. I think Theobald right in suspecting a corruption; nor is his emendation injudicious, though perhaps we may better read, purchase the day before for a little park.
III.ii.71 (323,1) And just of the same piece is every flatterer's soul] This is Dr. Warburton's emendation. The other editions read,
Why this is the world's soul; Of the same piece is every flatterer's sport.
Mr. Upton has not unluckily transposed the two final words, thus,
Why, this is the world's sport: Of the same piece is ev'ry flatterer's soul.
The passage is not so obscure as to provoke so much enquiry. This, says he, is the soul or spirit of the world: every flatterer plays the same game, makes sport with the confidence of his friend. (see 1765, VI, 211, 4)
III.ii.81 (324,2) He does deny him, in respect of his, What charitable men afford to beggars] That is, in respect of his fortune, what Lucius denies to Timon is in proportion to what Lucius possesses, less than the ususal alms given by good men to beggars.
III.ii.90 (324,3) I would have put my wealth into donation, And the best half should ha' return'd to him] Hanmer reads,
I would have put my wealth into partition, And the best half should have attorn'd to him.
Dr. Warbarton receives attorn'd. The only difficulty is in the word return'd, which, since he had received nothing from him, cannot be used but in a very low and licentious meaning, (see 1765, VI, 212, 6)
III.iii.5 (325,4) They have all been touch'd] That is, tried, alluding to the touchstone.
III.iii.11 (325,5) His friends, like physicians,/Thrive, give him over?] The original reading is,
--his friends, (like physicians) Thrive, give him over?
which Theobald has misrepresented. Hanmer reads, try'd, plausibly enough. Instead of three proposed by Mr. Pope, I should read thrice. But perhaps the old reading is the true.
III.iii.24 (326,6) I had such a courage] Such an ardour, such an eager desire.
III.iii.28 (326,8) The devil knew not what he did] I cannot but think that, the negative not has intruded into this passage, and the reader will think so too, when he reads Dr. Warburton's explanation of the next words.
III.iii.28 (326,9) The devil knew not what he did, when he made men politick; he cross'd himself by't: and I cannot think, but in the end the villainies of man will set him clear] [Set him clear does not mean acquit him before heaven; for then the devil must be supposed to know what he did: but it signifies puzzle him, outdo him at his own weapons. WARBURTON.] How the devil, or any other being, should be set clear by being puzzled and outdone, the commentator has not explained. When in a crowd we would have an opening made, we say, Stand clear, that is, out of the way of danger. With some affinity to this use, though not without great harshness, to set clear, may be to set aside. But I believe the original corruption is the insertion of the negative, which was obtruded by some transcriber, who supposed crossed to mean thwarted, when it meant, exempted from evil. The use of crossing, by way of protection or purification, was probably not worn out in Shakespeare's time. The sense of set clear is now easy; he has no longer the guilt of tempting man. To cross himself may mean, in a very familiar sense, to clear his score, to get out of debt, to quit his reckoning. He knew not what he did, may mean, he knew not how much good he was doing himself. There is then no need of emendation. (1773)
III.iii.42 (327,2) keep his house] i.e. keep within doors for fear of duns.
III.iv (328,3) Enter Varro, Titus, Hortense, Lucius] Lucius is here again for the servant of Lucius.
III.iv.12 (328,4) a prodigal's course/Is like the sun's] That is, like him in blaze and splendour.
Soles occidere et redire possunt. Catul.
III.iv.25 (329,5) I am weary of this charge] That is, of this commission, of this employment.
III.iv.32 (329,6) Else, surely, his had equall'd] Should it not be, else, surely, mine had equall'd.
III.iv.67 (330,7) Enter Servilius] It may be observed that Shakespeare has unskilfully filled his Greek story with Roman names.
He is a man, setting his fate aside, Of comely virtues: Nor did he soil the fact with cowardise; (An honour in him which buys out his fault)]
I have printed these lines after the original copy, except that, for an honour, it is there, and honour. All the latter editions deviate unwarrantably from the original, and give the lines thus:
He is a man, setting his fault aside, Of virtuous honour, which buys out his fault; Nor did he soil, &c.
He did behave, his anger ere 'twas spent, As if he had but prov'd an argument]
The original copy reads not behave but behoove. I do not well understand the passage in either reading. Shall we try a daring conjecture?
--with such sober and unnoted passion He did behold his adversary shent, As if he had but prov'd an argument.
He looked with such calmness on his slain adversary. I do not suppose that this is right, but put it down for want of better. (1773)
III.v.24 (334,4) You undergo too strict a paradox] You undertake a paradox too hard.
III.v.32 (334,5) and make his wrongs His outsides: to wear them like an argument, carelessly. We outside wear; hang like his] The present reading is better.
III.v.46 (335,6) What make we/Abroad?] What do we, or what have we to do in the field.
what make we Abroad? why then, women are more valiant, That stay at home, if bearing carry it; The ass, more than the lion; and the fellow, Loaden with irons, wiser than the judge, If wisdom be in suffering]
Here is another arbitrary regulation, the original reads thus,
what make we Abroad, why then women are more valiant That stay at home, if bearing carry it: And the ass more captain than the lion, The fellow, loaden with irons, wiser than the judge, If wisdom, &c.
I think it may be better adjusted thus:
what make we Abroad, why then the women are more valiant That stay at home; If bearing carry it, than is the ass More captain than the lion, and the felon Loaden with irons, wiser than the judge, If wisdom, &c.
III.v.54 (336,8) sin's extreamest gust] Gust is here in its common sense; the utmost degree of appetite for sin.
III.v.55 (336,9) by mercy, 'tis most just] [By mercy is meant equity. WARBURTON] Mercy is not put for equity. If such explanation be allowed, what can be difficult? The meaning is, I call mercy herself to witness, that defensive violence is just.
III.v.68 (338,2) a sworn rioter] A sworn rioter is a man who practises riot, as if he had by an oath made it his duty.
III.v.80 (337,3) your reverend ages love/Security] He charges them obliquely with being usurers.
III.v.96 (337,5) Do you dare our anger?/'Tis in few words, but spacious in effect] This reading may pass, but perhaps the author wrote,
our anger? 'Tis few in words, but spacious in effect.
I'll cheer up My discontented troops, and play for hearts. 'Tis honour with most hands to be at odds]
[Warburton had substituted "hands" for "lands"] I think hands is very properly substituted for lands. In the foregoing line, for, lay for hearts, I would read, play for hearts.
III.vi.4 (339,7) Upon that were my thoughts tiring] A hawk, I think, is said to tire, when she amuses herself with pecking a pheasant's wing, or any thing that puts her in mind of prey. To tire upon a thing, is therefore, to be idly employed upon it.
III.vi.100 (342,9) Is your perfection] Your perfection, is the highest of your excellence.
III.vi.101 (342,1) and spangled you with flatteries] [W: with your] The present reading is right.
III.vi.106 (342,2) time-flies] Flies of a season.
III.vi. 107 (342,5) minute-jacks!] Hanmer thinks it means Jack-a-lantern, which shines and disappears in an instant. What it was I know not; but it was something of quick motion, mentioned in Richard III.
III.vi.108 (342,4) the infinite malady] Every kind of disease incident to man and beast.
Degrees, observances, customs and laws, Decline to your confounding contraries, And yet confusion live!]
Hanmer reads, let confusion; but the meaning may be, though by such confusion all things seem to hasten to dissolution, yet let not dissolution come, but the miseries of confusion continue.
IV.ii (345,1) Enter Flavius] Nothing contributes more to the exaltation of Timon's character than the zeal and fidelity of his servants. Nothing but real virtue can be honoured by domesticks; nothing but impartial kindness can gain affection from dependants.
IV.ii.10 (345,2) So his familiars from his buried fortunes/Slink all away] The old copies have to instead of from. The correction is Hanmer's; but the old reading might stand (see 1765, VI, 231, 2)
IV.ii.38 (346,4) strange unusual blood] Of this passage, I suppose, every reader would wish for a correction; but the word, harsh as it is, stands fortified by the rhyme, to which, perhaps, it owes its introduction. I know not what to propose. Perhaps,
--strange unusual mood,
may, by some, be thought better, and by others worse.
IV.iii.1 (347,5) O blessed, breeding sun] [W: blessing breeding] I do not see that this emendation much strengthens the sense.
IV.iii.2 (347,6) thy sister's orb] That is, the moon's, this sublunary world.
IV.iii.6 (348,7) Not nature,/To whom all sores lay siege] I have preserved this note rather for the sake of the commentator [Warburton] than of the author. How nature, to whom all sores lay siege, can so emphatically express nature in its greatest perfection, I shall not endeavour to explain. The meaning I take to be this: Brother, when his fortune is inlarged, will scorn brother; for this is the general depravity of human nature, which, besieged as it is by misery, admonished as it is of want and imperfection, when elevated by fortune, will despise beings of nature like its own.
IV.iii.12 (349,9) It is the pastor lards the brother's sides,/The want that makes him leave] [W: weather's sides] This passage is very obscure, nor do I discover any clear sense, even though we should admit the emendation. Let us inspect the text as I have given it from the original edition,
It is the pastour lards the brother's sides, The want that makes him leave.
Dr. Warburton found the passage already changed thus,
It is the pasture lards the beggar's sides, The want that makes him lean.
And upon this reading of no authority, raised another equally uncertain.
Alterations are never to be made without necessity. Let us see what sense the genuine reading will afford. Poverty, says the poet, bears contempt hereditary, and wealth native honour. To illustrate this position, having already mentioned the case of a poor and rich brother, he remarks, that this preference is given to wealth by those whom it least becomes; it is the pastour that greases or flatters the rich brother, and will grease him on till want makes him leave. The poet then goes on to ask, Who dares to say this man, this pastour, is a flatterer; the crime is universal; through all the world the learned pate, with allusion to the pastour, ducks to the golden fool. If it be objected, as it may justly be, that the mention of pastour is unsuitable, we must remember the mention of grace and cherubims in this play, and many such anachronisms in many others. I would therefore read thus:
It is the pastour lards the brother's sides, 'Tis want that makes him leave.
The obscurity is still great. Perhaps a line is lost. I have at least given the original reading.
IV.iii.27 (350,2) no idle votarist] No insincere or inconstant supplicant. Gold will not serve me instead of roots.
IV.iii.38 (351,5) That makes the wappen'd widow wed again] Of wappened I have found no example, nor know any meaning. To awhape is used by Spenser in his Hubberd's Tale, but I think not in either of the senses mentioned. I would read wained, for decayed by time. So our author in Richard the Third, A beauty-waining and distressed widow.
IV.iii.41 (352,6) To the April day again] That is, to the wedding day, called by the poet, satirically, April day, or fool's day.
IV.iii.44 (352,7) Do thy right nature] Lie in the earth where nature laid thee.
IV.iii.44 (352,8) Thou'rt quick] Thou hast life and motion in thee.
IV.iii.64 (353,9) I will not kiss thee] This alludes to an opinion in former times, generally prevalent, that the venereal infection transmitted to another, left the infecter free. I will not, says Timon, take the rot from thy lips by kissing thee.
Tim. Promise me friendship, but perform none. If Thou wilt not promise, the Gods plague thee, for Thou art a man; if thou dost perform, confound thee, For thou art a man!]
That is, however thou may'st act, since thou art man, hated man, I wish thee evil.
Be a whore still! They love thee not that use thee; Give them diseases, leaving with thee their lust: Make use of thy salt hours]
There is here a slight transposition. I would read,
--They love thee not that use thee, Leaving with thee their lust; give them diseases; Make use of thy salt hours; season the slaves For tubs and baths;--
IV.iii.115 (356,6) milk-paps,/That through the window-bars bore at mens' eyes] [W: window-lawn] The reading is more probably,
The virgin that shews her bosom through the lattice of her chamber.
IV.iii.119 (356,8) exhaust their mercy] For exhaust, sir T. Hanmer, and after him Dr. Warburton, read extort; but exhaust here signifies literally to draw forth.
Think it a bastard, whom the oracle Hath doubtfully prunounc'd thy throat shall cut]
An allusion to the tale of OEdipus.
IV.iii.134 (357,8) And to make whores a bawd] [W: make whole] The old edition reads,
And to make whores a bawd.
That is, enough to make a whore leave whoring, and a bawd leave making whores.
IV.iii.139 (357,9) I'll trust to your conditions] You need not swear to continue whores, I will trust to your inclinations.
IV.iii.140 (358,1) Yet may your pains, six months,/Be quite contrary] The explanation [Warburton's] is ingenious, but I think it very remote, and would willingly bring the author and his readers to meet on easier terms. We may read,
--Yet may your pains six months Be quite contraried.--
Timon is wishing ill to mankind, but is afraid lest the whores should imagine that he wishes well to them; to obviate which he lets them know, that he imprecates upon them influence enough to plague others, and disappointments enough to plague themselves. He wishes that they may do all possible mischief, and yet take pains six months of the year in vain.
In this sense there is a connection of this line with the next. Finding your pains contraried, try new expedients, thatch your thin roofs, and paint.
To contrary is on old verb. Latymer relates, that when he went to court, he was advised not to contrary the king.
IV.iii.153 (359,3) mens' spurring] Hanmer reads sparring, properly enough, if there be any ancient example of the word.
take the bridge quite away Of him, that his particular to foresee Smells from the general weal]
[W: to forefend] The metaphor is apparently incongruous, but the sense is good. To foresee his particular, is to provide for his private advantage, for which he leaves the right scent of publick good. In hunting, when hares have cross'd one another, it is common for some of the hounds to smell from the general weal, and foresee their own particular. Shakespeare, who seems to have been a skilful sportsman, and has alluded often to falconry, perhaps, alludes here to hunting.
To the commentator's emendation it may be objected, that he used forefend in the wrong meaning. To forefend, is, I think, never to provide for, but to provide against. The verbs compounded with for or fore have commonly either an evil or negative sense.
IV.iii.182 (361,8) eyeless venom'd worm] The serpent, which we, from the smallness of his eyes, call the blind worm, and the Latins, caecilia.
IV.iii.183 (361,9) below crisp heaven] [W: cript] Mr. Upton declares for crisp, curled, bent, hollow.
IV.iii.188 (361,1) Let it no more bring out ingrateful man!] [W: out to ungrateful] It is plain that bring out is bring forth, with which the following lines correspond so plainly, that the commentator might be suspected of writing his note without reading the whole passage.
IV.iii.193 (362,2) Dry up thy marrows, vines, and plough torn leas] I cannot concur to censure Theobald [as Warburton did] as a critic very unhappy. He was weak, but he was cautious: finding but little power in his mind, he rarely ventured far under its conduct. This timidity hindered him from daring conjectures, and sometimes hindered him happily.
This passage, among many others, may pass without change. The genuine reading is not marrows, veins, but marrows, vines: the sense is this; O nature! cease to produce men, ensear thy womb; but if thou wilt continue to produce them, at least cease to pamper them; dry up thy marrows, on which they fatten with unctuous morsels, thy vines, which give them liquorish draughts, and thy plow-torn leas. Here are effects corresponding with causes, liquorish draughts with vines, and unctuous morsels with marrows, and the old reading literally preserved.
IV.iii.209 (363,3) the cunning of a carper] Cunning here seems to signify counterfeit appearance.
IV.ii.223 (364,4) moist trees] Hanmer reads very elegantly,
Tim. Always a villain's office, or a fool's. Dost please thyself in't?
Tim. What! a knave too?]
Such was Dr. Warburton's first conjecture ["and know't too"], but afterwards he adopted Sir T. Hanmer's conjecture,
What a knave thou!
but there is no need of alteration. Timon had just called Apemantus fool, in consequence of what he had known of him by former acquaintance; but when Apemantus tells him, that he comes to vex him, Timon determines that to vex is either the office of a villain or a fool; that to vex by design is villainy, to vex without design is folly. He then properly asks Apemantus whether he takes delight in vexing, and when he answers, yes, Timon replies, What! and knave too? I before only knew thee to be a fool, but I now find thee likewise a knave. This seems to be so clear as not to stand in need of a comment.
IV.iii.242 (365,6) Willing misery/Out-lives incertain pomp; is crown'd before] Arrives sooner at high wish; that is, at the completion of its wishes.
IV.iii.247 (365,7) Worse than the worst, content] Best states contentless have a wretched being, a being worse than that of the worst states that are content. This one would think too plain to have been mistaken. (1773)
IV.iii.249 (365,8) by his breath] It means, I believe, by his counsel, by his direction.
IV. iii. 252 (366,l) Hadst thou, like us] There is in this speech a sullen haughtiness, and malignant dignity, suitable at once to the lord and the man-hater. The impatience with which he bears to have his luxury reproached by one that never had luxury within his reach, is natural and graceful.
There is in a letter, written by the earl of Essex, just before his execution, to another nobleman, a passage somewhat resembling this, with which, I believe every reader will be pleased, though it is so serious and solemn that it can scarcely be inserted without irreverence.
"God grant your lordship may quickly feel the comfort I now enjoy in my unfettered conversion, but that you may never feel the torments I have suffered for my long delaying it. I had none but deceivers to call upon me, to whom I said, if my ambition could have entered into their narrow breasts, they would not have been so precise. But your lordship hath one to call upon you, that knoweth what it is you now enjoy; and what the greatest fruit and end is of all contentment that this world can afford. Think, therefore, dear earl, that I have staked and buoyed all the ways of pleasure unto you, and left them as sea-marks for you to keep the channel of religious virtue. For shut your eyes never so long, they must be open at the last, and then you must say with me, there is no peace to the ungodly."
IV.iii.252 (366,2) from our first swath] From infancy. Swath is the dress of a new-born child.
IV.iii.258 (366,3) precepts of respect] Of obedience to laws.
IV.iii.259 (366,4) But myself] The connection here requires some attention. But is here used to denote opposition; but what immediately precedes is not opposed to that which follows. The adversative particle refers to the two first lines.
Thou art a slave, whom fortune's tender arm With favour never claspt; but bred a dog. --But myself, Who had the world as my confectionary, &c.
The intermediate lines are to be considered as a parenthesis of passion.
IV.iii.271 (367,5) If thou wilt curse, thy father, that poor rag,/ Must be thy subject] If we read poor rogue, it will correspond rather better to what follows.
IV.iii.276 (367,6) Thou hadst been knave and flatterer] Dryden has quoted two verses of Virgil to shew how well he could have written satires. Shakespeare has here given a specimen of the same power by a line bitter beyond all bitterness, in which Timon tells Apemantus, that he had not virtue enough for the vices which he condemns.
Dr. Warburton explains worst by lowest, which somewhat weakens the sense, and yet leaves it sufficiently vigorous.
I have heard Mr. Bourke commend the subtilty of discrimination with which Shakespeare distinguishes the present character of Timon from that of Apemantus, whom to vulgar eyes he would now resemble. (see 1763, VI, 249, 6) (rev. 1778, VIII, 424, 4)
IV.iii.308 (369,8) Ay, though it look like thee] Timon here supposes that an objection against hatred, which through the whole tenor of the conversation appears an argument for it. One would have expected him to have answered,
Yes, for it looks like thee.
The old edition, which always gives the pronoun instead of the affirmative particle, has it,
I, though it look like thee.
Perhaps we should read,
I thought it look'd like thee.
IV,iii.363 (371,2) Thou art the cap] i.e. the property, the bubble. WARBURTON.] I rather think, the top, the principal.
The remaining dialogue has more malignity than wit.
IV.iii.383 (372,4) 'Twixt natural, son and sire!']
[Greek: dia touton ouk adelphoi dia touton ou toxaeas. ANAC.]
IV.iii.398 (373,6) More things like men?] This line, in the old edition, is given to Aremantus, but it apparently belongs to Timon. Hanmer has transposed the foregoing dialogue according to his own mind, not unskilfully, but with unwarrantable licence.
IV.iii.419 (373,7) you want much of meat] [T: of meet] Such is Mr. Theobald's emendation, in which he is followed by Dr. Warburton. Sir T. 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? (see 1765, VI, 254, 5)
IV.iii.420 (374,8) the earth hath roots;/Within this mile break forth an hundred springs]
Vile plus, et duris haerentia mora rubetis Pugnantis stomachi composuere famen: Flumine vicino stultus sitit.
I do not suppose these to be imitations, but only to be similar thoughts on similar occasions.
IV.iii.442 (375,2) The sea's a thief, whose liquid surge resolves/The moon into salt tears] [W: The mounds] I am not willing to receive mounds, which would not be understood but by him that suggested it. The moon is supposed to be humid, and perhaps a source of humidity, but cannot be resolved by the surges of the sea. Yet I think moon is the true reading. Here is a circulation of thievary described: The sun, moon, and sea all rob, and are robbed.
IV.iii.456 (376,3) 'Tis in the malice of mankind, that he thus advises us; not to have us thrive in our mystery] [Hanmer: his malice to] Hanmer's emendation, though not necessary, is very probable, and very unjustly charged with nonsense [by Warburton]. The reason of his advice, says the thief, is malice to mankind, not any kindness to us, or desire to have us thrive in our mystery.
IV.iii.468 (378,5) What an alteration of honour has/Desperate want made!] [W: of humour] The original copy has,
What an alteration of honour has desperate want made!
The present reading is certainly better, but it has no authority. To change honour to humour is not necessary. An alteration of honour, is an alteration of an honourable state to a state of disgrace.
Grant, I may ever love, and rather woe Those that would mischief me, than those that do!]
[W: rather too/...that woo] In defiance of this criticism, I have ventured to replace the former reading, as more suitable to the general spirit of these scenes, and as free from the absurdities charged upon it. It is plain, that in this whole speech friends and enemies are taken only for those who profess friendship and profess enmity; for the friend is supposed not to be more kind, but more dangerous than the enemy. In the amendation, those that would mischief are placed in opposition to those that woo, but in the speaker's intention those that woo are those that mischief most. The sense is, Let me rather woo or caress those that would mischief, that profess to mean me mischief, than those that really do me mischief under false professions of kindness. The Spaniards, I think, have this proverb; Defend me from my friends, and from my enemies I will defend myself. This proverb is a sufficient comment on the passage.
IV.iii.484 (379,9) all/I kept were knaves, to serve in meat to villains] Knave is here in the compounded sense of a servant and a rascal.
IV.iii.492 (379,1) Pity's sleeping] I do not know that any correction is necessary, but I think we might read,
--eyes do never give But thorough lust and laughter, pity sleeping.
Eyes never flow (to give is to dissolve as saline bodies in moist weather) but by lust or laughter, undisturbed by emotions of pity.
IV.iii.499 (380,2) It almost turns my dangerous nature wild] [W: mild] This emendation is specious, but even this may be controverted. To turn wild is to distract. An appearance so unexpected, says Timon, almost turns my savageness to distraction. Accordingly he examines with nicety lest his phrenzy, should deceive him,
Let me behold thy face. Surely this man Was born of woman.
And to this suspected disorder of mind he alludes,
Perpetual, sober, Gods!-- Ye powers whose intellects are out of the reach of perturbation.
IV.iii.533 (381,3) thou shalt build from men] Away from human habitations.
V.i (382,5) Enter Poet and Painter] The poet and the painter were within view when Apemantus parted from Timon, and might then have seen Timon, since Apemantus, standing by him could not see them: But the scenes of the thieves and steward have passed before their arrival, and yet passed, as the drama is now conducted within their view. It might be suspected that some scenes are transposed, for all these difficulties would be removed by introducing the poet and painter first, and the thieves in this place. Yet I am afraid the scenes must keep their present order; for the painter alludes to the thieves when he says, he likewise enriched poor straggling soldiers with great quantity. This impropriety is now heightened by placing the thieves in one act, and the poet and painter in another: but it must be remembered, that in the original edition this play is not divided into separate acts, so that the present distribution is arbitrary, and may be changed if any convenience can be gained, or impropriety obviated by alteration.
V.i.47 (384,6) While the day serves, before black-corner'd night] [W: black-cornette] Black-corner'd night is probably corrupt, but black-cornette can hardly be right, for it should be black-cornetted night. I cannot propose any thing, but must leave the place in its present state. (1773)
V.i.101 (386,8) a made-up villain] That is a villain that adopts qualities and characters not properly belonging to him; a hypocrite.
V.i.105 (386,9) drown them in a draught] That is, in the jakes.
But two in company-- Each man apart, all single and alone, Yet an arch villain keeps him company]
This passage is obscure. I think the meaning is this: but two in company, that is, stand apart, let only two be together; for even when each stands single there are two, he himself and a villain.
V.i.151 (388,3) Of its own fall] [The Oxford editor alters fall to fault, not knowing that Shakespeare uses fall to signify dishonour, not destruction. So in Hamlet,
What a falling off was there! WARBURTON.]
The truth is, that neither fall means disgrace, nor is fault a necessary emendation. Falling off in the quotation is not disgrace but defection. The Athenians had sense, that is, felt the danger of their own fall, by the arms of Alcibiades.
V.i.151 (388,4) restraining aid to Timon] I think it should be refraining aid, that is, with-holding aid that should have been given to Timon.
V.i.154 (389,5) Than their offence can weigh down by the dram] This which was in the former editions can scarcely be right, and yet I know not whether my reading will be thought to rectify it. I take the meaning to be, We will give thee a recompence that our offences cannot outweigh, heaps of wealth down by the dram, or delivered according to the exactest measure. A little disorder may perhaps have happened in transcribing, which may be reformed by reading,
--Ay, ev'n such heaps And sums of love and wealth, down by the dram, As shall to thee--
V.i.165 (389,6) Allow'd with absolute power] Allowed is licensed, privileged, uncontrolled. So of a buffoon, in Love's Labour lost, it is said, that he is allowed, that is, at liberty to say what he will, a privileged scoffer.
V.i.139 (390,7) My long sickness/Of health and living now begins to mend] The disease of life begins to promise me a period.
V.i.211 (391,8) in the sequence of degree] Methodically, from highest to lowest.
V.iii.4 (393,2) Some beast read this; here does not live a man] [W: rear'd] 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 he 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 man.
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.
V.iv.7 (394, 3) traverst arms] Arms across.
V.iv.8 (394,4) the time is flush] A bird is flush when his feathers are grown, and he can leave the nest. Flush is mature.
So did we woo Transformed Timon to our city's love, By humble message, and by promis'd means]
[T: promis'd mends] Dr. Warburton agrees with Mr. Theobald, but the old reading may well stand.
V.iv.28 (395,8) Shame, that they wanted cunning, in excess/Hath broke their hearts] [Theobald had emended the punctuation] I have no wish to disturb the means of Theobald, yet think some emendation nay be offered that will make the construction less harsh, and the sentence more serious. I read,
Shape that they wanted, coming in excess, Hath broke their hearts.
Shame which they had so long wanted at last coming in its utmost excess.
V.iv.36 (396,8) not square] Not regular, not equitable.
V.iv.35 (397,9) uncharged ports] That is, unguarded gates.
V.iv.59 (397,1) not a man/Shall pass his quarter] Not a soldier shall quit his station, or be let loose upon you; and, if any commits violence, he shall answer it regularly to the law.
V.iv.76 (308.,3) our brain's flow; Hanmer and Dr. Warburton read,
Our brain's flow is our tears; but we any read our brine's flow, our salt tears. Either will serve. (see 1765, VI, 276, 6)
(399) General Observation. The play of Timon is a domestic tragedy, and therefore strongly fastens on the attention of the reader. In the plan there is not much art, but the incidents are natural, and the characters various and exact. The catastrophe affords a very powerful warning against that ostentations liberality, which scatters bounty, but confers no benefits, and buys flattery, but not friendship.
In this tragedy are many passages perplexed, obscure, and probably corrupt, which I have endeavoured to rectify, or explain, with due diligence; but having only one copy, cannot promise myself that my endeavours shall be much applauded.