Sidor som bilder


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.
I have, in this rough work, shap'd out a man,
Whom this beneath world 14 doth embrace and hug
With amplest entertainment: My free drift
Halts not particularly 15, but moves itself
In a wide sea of wax 16: 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.

Pain. How shall I understand you?

I'll unbolt 17 to you.
You see how all conditions, how all minds
(As well of glib and slippery creatures, as

grave and austere quality), tender down Their services to Lord Timon: his large fortune, Upon his good and gracious nature hanging, Subdues and properties to his love and tendance All sorts of hearts; yea, from the glass-fac'd flat


terer 19


To Apemantus, that few things loves better

13 · Mane salutantum totis vomit ædibus undam.'

14 So in Measure for Measure we have, “ This under yeneration ;' 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.
18 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
The knee before him, and returns in peace
Most rich in Timon's nod.

I saw them speak together.
Poet. Sir, I have upon a high and pleasant hill,
Feign’d Fortune to be thron’d: The base o’the mount
Is rank’d with all deserts, all kind of natures,
That labour on the bosom of this sphere
To propagate their states 20: amongst them all,
Whose eyes are on this sovereign lady fix’d,
One do I personate of Lord Timon's frame,
Whom Fortune with her ivory hand wafts to her:
Whose present grace to present slaves and servants
Translates his rivals.

'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 2.. 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 ear23,


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
With incense kindled at the Muse's flame.'

Make sacred even his stirrop, and through him
Drink the free air 2+.

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;

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 used 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
My friend when he must need me 27. I do know him
A gentleman, that well deserves a help,
Which he shall have: I'll pay the debt, and free him.

Ven. Serv. Your lordship ever binds him.
Tim. Commend me to him: I will send his ran-

And, being enfranchis’d, bid him come to me:-
'Tis not enough to help the feeble up,
But to support him after 28.—Fare


well. Ven. Serv. All happiness to your honour 29 !



Enter an old Athenian.
Old Ath. Lord Timon, hear me speak.

Freely, good father.
Old Ath. Thou hast a servant nam’d Lucilius.
Tim. I have so: What of him ?
Old Ath. Most noble Timon, call the man before

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


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, p. 78.

And my

estate deserves an heir more rais'd, Than one which holds a trencher. Tim.

Well; what further ?
Old Ath. One only daughter have I, no kin else,
On whom I may confer what I have got:
The maid is fair, o'the youngest for a bride,
And I have bred her at my dearest cost,
In qualities of the best. This man of thine
Attempts her love: I prythee, noble lord,
Join with me to forbid him her resort;
Myself have spoke in vain.

The man is honest.
Old Ath. Therefore he will be, Timon 30 :
His honesty rewards him in itself,
It must not bear

my daughter.

Does she love him?
Old Ath. She is young, and apt:
Our own precedent passions do instruct us
What levity's in youth.

Tim. [To Lucilius.] Love you the maid ?
Luc. Ay, my good lord, and she accepts of it.

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;
His honesty rewards him in itself,

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
If he can carry her thus.'


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