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Pluck the lin❜d crutch from thy old limping fire,
With it beat out his brains! piety, and fear,
Religion to the gods, peace, justice, truth,
Domestick awe, night-reft, and neighbourhood,
Inftruction, manners, myfteries, and trades,
Degrees, obfervances, cuftoms, and laws,
Decline to your confounding contraries,"
And yet confufion live!-Plagues, incident to men,
Your potent and infectious fevers heap

On Athens, ripe for ftroke! thou cold sciatica,
Cripple our fenators, that their limbs may halt
As lamely as their manners! luft and liberty
Creep in the minds and marrows of our youth;
That 'gainst the ftream of virtue they may ftrive,
And drown themselves in riot! itches, blains,
Sow all the Athenian bofoms; and their crop
Be general leprofy! breath infect breath;
That their fociety, as their friendship, may
Be merely poifon! Nothing I'll bear from thee,
But nakedness, thou déteftable town!

Take thou that too, with multiplying banns! *
Timon will to the woods; where he shall find
The unkindeft beast more kinder than mankind.


confounding contraries,] i. e. contrarieties whofe nature it is to waste or deftroy each other. So, in King Henry V:


as doth a galled rock

O'erhang and jutty his confounded bafe." STEEVENS. 8 yet confufion-] Sir T. Hanmer reads, let confufion; but the meaning may be, though by fuch confufion all things feem to haften to diffolution, yet let not diffolution come, but the miferies of confufion continue. JOHNSON.

9-liberty-] Liberty is here ufed for libertinifm. So, in The Comedy of Errors:

"And many fuch like liberties of fin;"

apparently meaning-libertines. STEEVENS.


multiplying banns!] i. e. accumulated curfes. Multiplying for multiplied: the active participle with a passive fignification. See Vol. III. p. 225, n. 3. STEEVENS.

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The gods confound (hear me, you good gods all,) The Athenians both within and out that wall! And grant, as Timon grows, his hate may grow To the whole race of mankind, high, and low! Amen.



Athens. A Room in Timon's Houfe.


Enter FLAVIUS, with two or three Servants.

1. SERV. Hear you, master steward, where's our mafter?

Are we undone? caft off? nothing remaining?

FLAV. Alack, my fellows, what should I say to you?

Let me be recorded by the righteous gods,

I am as poor as you.


Such a houfe broke!

So noble a mafter fallen! All gone! and not

One friend, to take his fortune by the arm,

And go along with him!

2. SERV.

As we do turn our backs From our companion, thrown into his grave; So his familiars to his buried fortunes 2

8 Enter Flavius,] Nothing contributes more to the exaltation of Timon's character than the zeal and fidelity of his fervants. Nothing but real virtue can be honoured by domefticks; nothing but impartial kindnefs can gain affection from dependants.


9 Let me be recorded-] In compliance with ancient elliptical phrafeology, the word me, which diforders the meafure, might be omitted. Sir Thomas Hanmer reads:

Let it be recorded &c. STEEVENS.

to his buried fortunes-] So the old copies. Sir Thomas Hanmer reads from; but the old reading might stand. JOHNSON.

Slink all away; leave their falfe vows with him,
Like empty purfes pick'd: and his poor felf,
A dedicated beggar to the air,

With his disease of all-fhunn'd poverty,
Walks, like contempt, alone.-More of our fellows.

Enter other Servants.

FLAV. All broken implements of a ruin'd house. 3. SERV. Yet do our hearts wear Timon's livery, That fee I by our faces; we are fellows ftill, Serving alike in forrow: Leak'd is our bark; And we, poor mates, ftand on the dying deck, Hearing the furges threat: we must all part Into this fea of air.


Good fellows all,

The latest of my wealth I'll fhare amongst you.
Wherever we fhall meet, for Timon's fake,
Let's yet be fellows; let's fhake our heads, and fay,
As 'twere a knell unto our master's fortunes,
We have feen better days. Let each take fome;

[Giving them money. Nay, put out all your hands. Not one word more:

I should fuppofe that the words from, in the fecond line, and to in the third line, have been mifplaced, and that the original reading was:

As we do turn our backs

To our companion thrown into his grave,

So his familiars from his buried fortunes

Slink all


When we leave a perfon, we turn our backs to him, not from him.


So his familiars to his buried fortunes, &c.] So those who were familiar to his buried fortunes, who in the most ample manner participated of them, flink all away, &c. MALONE.

Thus part we rich in forrow, parting poor.'
[Exeunt Servants.
O, the fierce wretchednefs that glory brings us!
Who would not wish to be from wealth exempt,
Since riches point to mifery and contempt?
Who'd be fo mock'd with glory? or to live
But in a dream of friendship?

To have his pomp, and all what state compounds,
But only painted, like his varnish'd friends?
Poor honeft lord, brought low by his own heart;
Undone by goodness! Strange, unusual blood,'



rich in forrow, parting poor.] This conceit occurs again in King Lear:

Faireft Cordelia, thou art moft rich, being poor."


40, the fierce wretchedness-] I believe fierce is here used for bafty, precipitate. Perhaps it is employed in the fame fenfe by Ben Jonfon in his Poetafter:

"And Lupus, for your fierce credulity,

"One fit him with a larger pair of ears."

In King Henry VIII. our author has fierce vanities. In all inftances it may mean glaring, confpicuous, violent. So, in Ben Jonfon's Bartholomew Fair, the Puritan fays:

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Thy hobby-horfe is an idol, a fierce and rank idol."

Again, in King John:

"O vanity of fickness! fierce extremes

"In their continuance will not feel themselves."

Again, in Love's Labour's Loft:

"With all the fierce endeavour of your wit." STEEVENS. 5Strange, unusual blood,] Of this paffage, I suppose, every reader would wish for a correction: but the word, harsh as it is, ftands fortified by the rhyme, to which, perhaps, it owes its introduction. I know not what to propofe. Perhaps,

Strange, unusual mood,

may, by fome, be thought better, and by others worse.


In The Yorkshire Tragedy, 1608, attributed to Shakspeare, blood feems to be used for inclination, propenfity:

"For 'tis our blood to love what we are forbidden." Strange, unufual blood, may therefore mean, ftrange unusual difpofition.

When man's worst fin is, he does too much good!
Who then dares to be half fo kind again?

For bounty, that makes gods, does ftill mar men.
My dearest lord,-blefs'd, to be most accurs'd,
Rich, only to be wretched;-thy great fortunes
Are made thy chief afflictions. Alas, kind lord!
He's flung in rage from this ungrateful feat
Of monstrous friends: nor has he with him to
Supply his life, or that which can command it.
I'll follow, and inquire him out:

I'll ever ferve his mind with my best will;
Whilft I have gold, I'll be his fteward ftill. [Exit.

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TIM. O bleffed breeding fun, draw from the earth Rotten humidity; below thy fifter's orb

Infect the air! Twinn'd brothers of one womb,Whofe procreation, refidence, and birth,

Again, in the 5th book of Gower De Confeffione Amantis, fol. iii. b:

"And thus of thilke unkinde blood

"Stant the memorie unto this daie."

Gower is fpeaking of the ingratitude of one Adrian, a lord of Rome. STEEVENS.

Throughout thefe plays blood is frequently ufed in the sense of natural propenfity or difpofition. See Vol. IV. p. 254, n. 7; and p. 456, n. 3. MALONE.

6 below thy fifter's orb-] That is, the moon's, this fublunary world. JOHNSON.

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