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From niggard nature fall, yet rich conceit
7 our brain's flow,] Sir Thomas Hanmer and Dr. Warburton read, brine's flow. Our brains flow is our tears; but we may read, our brine's flow, our salt tears. Either will serve.
Our brain's flow is right. So, in Sir Giles Goosecap, 1606: "I shed not the tears of my brain"
Again, in The Miracles of Moses, by Drayton :
"But he from rocks that fountains can command,
on faults forgiven ] Alcibiades's whole speech is in breaks, betwixt his reflections on Timon's death, and his addresses to the Athenian Senators: and as soon as he has commented on the place of Timon's grave, he bids the Senate set forward; tells 'em, he has forgiven their faults; and promises to use them with mercy. Theobald.
I suspect that we ought to read
One fault's forgiven.-Dead
Is noble Timon; &c.
One fault (viz. the ingratitude of the Athenians to Timon) is forgiven, i. e. exempted from punishment by the death of the injured person. Tyrwhitt.
The old reading and punctuation appear to me sufficiently intelligible. Mr. Theobald asks, "why should Neptune weep over Timon's faults, or indeed what fault had he committed?" The faults that Timon committed, were, 1. that boundless prodigality which his Steward so forcibly describes and laments; and 2. his becoming a Misanthrope, and abjuring the society of all men for the crimes of a few.-Theobald supposes that Alcibiades bids the Senate set forward, assuring them at the same time that he forgives the wrongs they have done him. On:-Faults forgiven But how unlikely is it, that he should desert the subject immediately before him, and enter upon another quite different subject, in these three words; and then return to Timon again? to say nothing of the strangeness of the phrase—faults forgiven, for "faults are forgiven." Malone.
stint war ;] i. e. stop it. So, in Spenser's Fairy Queen: 'gan the cunning thief
"Persuade us die, to stint all further strife." Steevens.
Prescribe to other, as each other's leech.1—
leech. i. e. physician. So, in Spenser's Fairy Queen:
2 The play of Timon is a domestick 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 ostentatious 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.
Johnson. This play was altered by Shadwell, and brought upon the stage in 1678. In the modest title-page he calls it Timon of Athens, or the Man-hater, as it is acted at the Duke's Theatre, made into a Play. Steemens.
END OF VOL. XV.