Sidor som bilder


The Walls of Athens.

Enter two Senators, and a Meffenger.

1. SEN. Thou haft painfully discover'd; are his


As full as thy report?


I have spoke the least:
Befides, his expedition promises
Prefent approach.

2. SEN. We stand much hazard, if they bring not Timon.

MESS. I met a courier, one mine ancient friend; 9

Whom, though in general part we were oppos'd, Yet our old love made a particular force,

Dear, in Shakspeare's language, is dire, dreadful. So, in Hamlet: "Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven." MALONE. Dear may, in the prefent inftance, fignify immediate, or imminent. It is an enforcing epithet with not always a diftinct meaning. To enumerate each of the feemingly various fenfes in which it may be fuppofed to have been used by our author, would at once fatigue the reader and myself.

In the following fituations, however, it cannot fignify either dire or dreadful:

"Confort with me in loud and dear petition."
Troilus and Crefida.

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Some dear caufe

"Will in concealment wrap me up a while." King Lear.


a courier,] The players read-a currier. STEEVENS. one mine ancient friend;] Mr. Upton would read-once mine ancient friend. STEEVENS.


And made us fpeak like friends: 2-this man was riding

From Alcibiades to Timon's cave,

With letters of entreaty, which imported
His fellowship i' the cause against your city,
In part for his fake mov'd.


Enter Senators from Timon.

Here come our brothers.

3.SEN.No talk of Timon, nothing of him expect.The enemies' drum is heard, and fearful fcouring Doth choke the air with duft: In, and prepare; Ours is the fall, I fear, our foes the fnare. [Exeunt.

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The Woods. Timon's Cave, and a tomb-ftone feem

Enter a Soldier, seeking Timon.

SOL. By all defcription this should be the place. Who's here? fpeak, ho!-No anfwer?-What is this?

2 Whom, though in general part we were oppos'd,

Yet our old love made a particular force,

And made us fpeak like friends:] Our author, hurried away by ftrong conceptions, and little attentive to minute accuracy, takes great liberties in the conftruction of fentences. Here he means, Whom, though we were on oppofite fides in the publick caufe, yet the force of our old affection wrought fo much upon, as to make him speak to me as a friend. See Vol. XII. p. 178, n. 6. MALONE.

I am fully convinced that this and many other paffages of our author to which fimilar remarks are annexed, have been irretrievably corrupted by tranfcribers or printers, and could not have proceeded, in their prefent ftate, from the pen of Shakspeare; for what we cannot understand in the closet, muft have been wholly useless on the stage. The aukward repetition of the verb-made, very strongly countenances my prefent obfervation. STEEVENS.

Timon is dead, who hath out-ftretch'd his fpan: Some beaft rear'd this; there does not live a man."

3 Some beaft rear'd this; there does not live a man.] [Old copyread this.] Some beast read what? The foldier had yet only feen the rude pile of earth heap'd up for Timon's grave, and not the infcription upon it. We fhould read:

Some beaft rear'd this;

The foldier feeking, by order, for Timon, fees fuch an irregular mole, as he concludes must have been the workmanship of fome beast inhabiting the woods; and fuch a cavity as muft either have been fo over-arched, or happened by the cafual falling in of the ground. WARBURTON.

"The foldier (fays Theobald) had yet only feen the rude pile of earth heap'd up for Timon's grave, and not the infcription upon it." In fupport of his emendation, which was fuggefted to him by Dr, Warburton, he quotes these lines from Fletcher's Cupid's Revenge:

"Here is no food, nor beds; nor any houfe

"Built by a better architect than beafts." MALONE. Notwithstanding this remark, I believe the old reading to be the right. The foldier had only feen the rude heap of earth. He had evidently feen fomething that told him Timon was dead; and what could tell that but his tomb? The tomb he fees, and the infcription upon it, which not being able to read, and finding none to read it for him, he exclaims peevishly, fome beaft read this, for it must be read, and in this place it cannot be read by man.

There is fomething elaborately unskilful in the contrivance of fending a foldier, who cannot read, to take the epitaph in wax, only that it may clofe the play by being read with more folemnity in the laft fcene, JOHNSON.

It is evident, that the foldier, when he firft fees the heap of earth, does not know it to be a tomb. He concludes Timon must be dead, because he receives no answer. It is likewife evident, that when he utters the words fome beaft, &c. he has not feen the infcription. And Dr. Warburton's emendation is therefore, not only juft and happy, but abfolutely neceffary. What can this heap of earth be? fays the foldier; Timon is certainly dead: fome beaft must have erected this, for here does not live a man to do it. Yes, he is dead, fure enough, and this must be his grave. What is this writing upon it? RITSON.

I am now convinced that the emendation made by Mr. Theobald is right, and that it ought to be admitted into the text :Some beat rear'd this. Our poet certainly would not make the foldier call on a beast to read the infcription, before he had informod

Dead, fure; and this his grave.

What's on this tomb I cannot read; the character I'll take with wax:

Our captain hath in every figure skill;

An ag'd interpreter, though young in days:
Before proud Athens he's fet down by this,
Whofe fall the mark of his ambition is.

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Trumpets found. Enter ALCIBIADES, and Forces.

ALCIB. Sound to this coward and lascivious town Our terrible approach.

[A parley founded.

Enter Senators on the Walls.

Till now you have gone on, and fill'd the time

the audience that he could not read it himself; which he does afterwards.

Befides; from the time he afks, "What is this?" [i. e. what is this cave, tomb, &c. not what is this infcription?] to the words, "What's on this tomb,"-the obfervation evidently relates to Timon himself, and his grave; whereas, by the erroneous reading of the old copy, "Some beaft read this," the foldier is firft made to call on a beast to read the infcription, without affigning any reafon for fo extraordinary a requifition;-then to talk of Timon's death and of his grave; and at laft, to inform the audience that he cannot read the infcription. Let me add, that a beast being as unable to read as the foldier, it would be abfurd to call on one for 'affiftance; whilft on the other hand, if a den or cave, or any rude heap of earth refembling a tomb, be found where there does not live a man, it is manifeft that it must have been formed by a beaft. A paffage in King Lear alfo adds fupport to the emendation: this hard house,


"More hard than are the stones whereof 'tis rais’d.”

With all licentious measure, making your wills
The scope of juftice; till now, myself, and fuch
As flept within the fhadow of your power,
Have wander'd with our travers'd arms,' and

Our fufferance vainly: Now the time is flufh,*
When crouching marrow, in the bearer strong,
Cries, of itself, No more: now breathless wrong
Shall fit and pant in your great chairs of ease;
And purfy infolence shall break his wind,
With fear, and horrid flight.

Noble, and young,
When thy first griefs were but a mere conceit,
Ere thou hadst power, or we had cause of fear,
We fent to thee; to give thy rages balm,
To wipe out our ingratitude with loves
Above their quantity."

The foregoing obfervations are acute in the extreme, and I have not fcrupled to adopt the reading they recommend. STEEVENS. travers'd arms,] Arms acrofs. JOHNSON.

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The fame image occurs in The Tempest:

"His arms in this fad knot." STEEVENS.

the time is flush,] A bird is flush when his feathers are grown, and he can leave the nest. Flush is mature. JOHNSON. 5 When crouching marrow, in the bearer ftrong,

Cries, of itself, No more:] The marrow was fuppofed to be the original of strength. The image is from a camel kneeling to take up his load, who rifes immediately when he finds he has as much laid on as he can bear. WARBURTON.

Pliny fays, that the camel will not carry more than his accuftomed and ufual load. Holland's tranflation, B. VIII. c. xviii. REED.

The image may as juftly be faid to be taken from a porter or coal-heaver, who when there is as much laid upon his shoulders as he can bear, will certainly cry, no more. MALONE.

I wish the reader may not find himself affected in the fame manner by our commentaries, and often concur in a fimilar exclamation. STEEVENS.

• Above their quantity.] Their refers to rages. WARBURTON,

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