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TIMON OF ATHENS. 1. Ladr. My lord,” you take us even at the best.'
APEM. 'Faith, for the worst is filthy; and would not hold taking,' I doubt me.
Tim. Ladies, there is an idle banquet
[Exeunt Cupid, and Ladies.
The little casket bring me hither.
? 1. Lady. My lord, &c.] In the old copy this speech is given to the 1 Lord. I have ventured to change it to the i Lady, as Mr. Edwards and Mr. Heath, as well as Dr. Johnson, concur in the emendation. Steevens.
The conjecture of Dr. Johnson, who observes, that I only was probably fet down in the MS. is well founded ; for that abbreviation is used in the old copy in this very scene, and in many other places, The next speech, however coarse the allusion couched under the word taking may be, puts the matter beyond a doubt. MALONE.
even at the best.] Perhaps we should read:
ever at the best. So, Act III. sc. vi:
« Ever at the best." TYRWHITT. Take is even at the best, I believe, means, you have seen the best we can do. They are supposed to be hired dancers, and therefore there is no impropriety in such a confession. Mr. Malone's subsequent explanation, however, pleases me better than my own.
STEEVENS. I believe the meaning is, “ You have conceived the faireit of as,” (to use the words of Lucullus in a subsequent scene;) you have estimated us too highly, perhaps above our deserts. So, in Spenser's Faery Queen, Book VI. c. ix: “ He would commend his guift, and make the best.”
MALOXE. would not hold taking,] i. e. bear handling, words which (if my memory does not deceive me) are employed to the same purpose in another of our author's plays. Steevens.
there is an idle banquet Attends you:] So, in Romeo and Juliet :
“ We have a foolish trifling fupper towards." STEEVENS.
FLAv. Yes, my lord.—More jewels yet ! There is no crossing him in his humour;} [Aside. Else I should tell him,- Well,-i'faith, I should, When all's spent, he'd be cross'd then, an he could.* 'Tis pity, bounty had not eyes behind ;s That man might ne'er be wretched for his mind."
[Exit, and returns, with the casket. 1. LORD. Where be our men? Serv.
Here, my lord, in readiness. 2. Lord. Our horses. TIM.
O my friends, I have one word To say to you :-Look you, my good lord, I must
3 There is no crolling him in his humour;] Read :
There is no crossing him in this bis humour. Ritson.
- he'd be cross' then, an he could.] The poet does not mean here, that he would be cross'd in humour, but that he would have his hand cross'd with money, if he could. He is playing on the word, and alluding to our old silver penny, used before K. Edward the First's time, which had a cross on the reverse with a crease, that it might be more easily broke into halves and quarters, half-pence and farthings. From this penny, and other pieces, was our common expression derived,- I have not a cross about i. e, not a piece of money. THEOBALD. So, in As
like it: “ yet I Mould bear no cross, if I did bear you; for, I think you have no money in your purse.
Steevens. The poet certainly meant this equivoque, but one of the senses intended to be conveyed was, he will then too late with that it were possible to undo what he had done : he will in vain lament that I did not [cross or] thwart him in his career of prodigality.
MALONE. had not eyes behind;] To see the miseries that are following her. JOHNSON. Persius has a similar idea, Sat. I:
cui vivere fas eft
Entreat you, honour me so much, as to
1. Lord. I am so far already in your gifts,-
Enter a Servant.
Serv. My lord, there are certain nobles of the
Tim. They are fairly welcome.
I beseech your honour,
I scarce know how.
Adrance this jewel;] To prefer it; to raise it to honour by wearing it. JOHNSON,
Accept, and &c.] Thus the second folio. The first, unme-
Things of like value, differing in the owners,
“ You mend the jewel by wearing it.” M. Mason.
I pr’ythee let us be provided straightSo, in Hamlet :
“ Make her grave fraight" i. e. immediately. STEVENS.
Enter another Servant.
2. SERV. May it please your honour, the lord
Tim. I shall accept them fairly: let the presents
Enter a third Servant.
Be worthily entertain’d.-How now, what news?
3. Serv. Please you, my lord, that honourable gentleman, lord Lucullus, entreats your company to-morrow to hunt with him; and has sent your honour two brace of greyhounds. Tim. I'll hunt with him; And let them be re
ceiv’d, Not without fair reward. Flav. [ Aside.]
What will this come to? He commands us to provide, and give great gifts, And all out of an empty coffer. Nor will he know his purse; or yield me this, To show him what a beggar his heart is, Being of no power to make his wishes good; His promises fly so beyond his state, That what he speaks is all in debt, he owes For every word; he is so kind, that he now Pays interest for’t; his land's put to their books. Well, 'would I were gently put out of office, Before I were forc'd out!
3. And all out of an empty coffer.] Read:
And all the while out of an emply coffer. Ritson.
Happier is he that has no friend to feed,
You do yourselves Much wrong, you bate too much of your own me
Here, my lord; a trifle of our love. 2. Lord. With more than common thanks I will
receive it. 3. Lori. O, he is the very soul of bounty !
Tim. And now I remember me, my lord, you gave Good words the other day of a bay courser I rode on: it is yours, because you lik'd it. 2. Lord. I beseech you," pardon me, my lord, in
that. Tim. You may take my word, my lord; I know,
Can juftly praise, but what he does affect:
3 - remember me,] I have added me, for the sake of the measure. So, in King Richard III:
“ I do remember me,-Henry the sixth
," Steevens. 4 I befeech you,] Old copy, unmetrically,
Ó, I bejeech you, The player editors have been liberal of their tragick O's, to the frequent injury of our author's measure. For the same reason I have expelled this exclamation from the beginning of the next speech but one. STEEVENS.
s I'll tell you true,] Dr. Johnson reads -- I tell you &c, in which he has been heedlessly followed; for though the change does not affect the sense of the paisage, it is quite unnecessary, as may be proved by numerous initances in our author's dialogue. Thus, in the first line of King Henry V:
“ My lord, I'll tell you, that self bill is urg'da,"