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Var. Serv. Hang him, he 'll abuse us.
Isid. Serv. [to Var. Serv.] There's the fool hangs on your back already.
Apem. No, thou stand'st single, thou art not on him vet.
Caph. Where 's the fool now.
Apem. He last asked the question.- Poor rogues, and alsurers' men! bawds between gold and want !1
All Serv. What are we, Apemantus?
Apem. That you ask me, what you are, and do not know vourselves.--Speak to 'em, fool.
Fool. How do you, gentlemen?
All Serv. Gramercies, good fool: How does your mistress?
Fool. She's e'en setting on water to scald such chickens as you are.I 'Would, we could see you at Corinth.3
i Poor rogues, and usurers' men! bawds &c.] This is said so abruptly, that I am inclined to think it misplaced, and would regulate the passage thus:
Caph Where's the fool now?
Apem. That you ask me what you are, and do not know your. selves Poor rogues, and usurers' men! bawds between gold and want! Speak &c.
* Thus every word will have its proper place. It is likely that the passage transposed was forgot in the copy, and inserted in the margin, perhaps a little beside the proper place, which the transcriber wanting either skill or care to observe, wrote it where it now stands. Johnson
The transposition proposed by Dr. Johnson is unnecessary. Apemantus does not address these words to any of the others, but mutters them to himself; so that they do not enter into the dialogue, or compose a part of it. M. Mason
2 She's e’en setting on water to scald &c ] The old name for the disease got at Corinth was the brenning, and a sense of scalding is one of its first symptoms. Johnson.
The same thought occurs in The Old Law, by Massinger:
look parboil'd, “As if they came from Cupid's scalding house." Randle Holme, in his Academy of Arms and Blazon, B. III, ch. ii, p. 441, has also the following passage: “ He beareth Argent, a Doctor's tub (otherwise called a Cleansing Tub,) Sable, Hooped, Or. In this pockifyed, and such diseased persons, are for a certain time put into, not to boyl up to an heighth, but to parboil” &c. Steevens.
It was anciently the practice, and in inns perhaps still continues, to scald off the feathers of poultry, instead of plucking them. Chaucer hath referred to it in his Romaunt of the Rose, 6820:
“Without scalding they hem pulle.” Henley. 3'Would, we could see you at Corinth.] A cant name for a bawdy-house, I suppose, from the dissoluteness of that ancient Greek city; of which Alexander ab Alexandro has these words : “ Et CORINTHI supra mille prostitutas in templo Vereris assidue degere, et inflammata libidine quæstui meretricio operam dare, et velut sacrorum ministras Deæ fumulari” Milton, in bis Apology for Smectymnuus, says: “Or searching for me at the Bordellos, where, it may be, he has lost himself, and raps up, without pity, the sage and rheumatick old prelatess, with all her young Corinthian laity, to enquire for such a one." Warburton.
See Vol. VIII, p. 217, n. 6. Malone.
4_ my mistress' page ] In the first passage this Fool speaks of his master, in the second (as exhibited in the modern editions] of his mistress. In the old copy it is master in both places. It should rather, perhaps, be mistress in both, as it is in a following and a preceding passage:
“ All. How does your mistress?"
“ Fool. My mistress is one, and I am her fool.” Steevens. I have not hesitated to print mistress in both places. Master was frequently printed in the old copy instead of mistress, and vice ver. sa, from the ancient mode of writing an M only, wbich stood in the MSS. of Shakspeare's time either for the one or the other; and the copyist or printer completed the word without attending to the context. This abbreviation is found in Coriolanus, fol. 1623, p. 21:
“Where's Cotus? My M. calls for him?" Again, more appositely, in The Merchant of Venice, 1623 : “ What ho, M. (Master) Lorenzo, and M. (Mistress) Lo.
renzo.” In Vol. VI, p. 44, n. 2, and Vol. X, p. 142, n. 1, are found corruptions similar to the present, in consequence of the printer's completing the abbreviated word of the MS. improperly.
Page. [to the Fool] Why, how now, captain? what do you in this wise company ?-How dost thou, Apemantus?
Apem. 'Would I had a rod in my mouth, that I might answer thee profitably.
Page. Pr’ythee, Apemantus, read me the superscription of these letters; I know not which is which.
Apem. Canst not read?
Apem. There will little learning die then, that day thou art hanged. This is to lord Timon; this to Alcibiades. Go; thou wast born a bastard, and thou ’lt die a bawd.
Page. Thou hast whelped a dog; and thou shalt famish, a dog's death. Answer not, I am gone. [Exit Page.
Aprem. Even so thou out-run'st grace. Fool, I will go with you to lord Timon's.
Fool. Will you leave me there?
Apem. If Timon stay at home. You three serve three usurers?
All Serv. Ay; 'would they served us!
Apem. So would I, as good a trick as ever hangman served thief.
Fool. Are you three usurers' men?
Fool. I think, no usurer but has a fool to his servant: My mistress is one, and I am her fool. When men come to borrow of your masters, they approach sadly, and go away merry; but they enter my mistress' house 5 merrily, and go away sadly: The reason of this?
Var, Serv. I could render one.
Apem. Do it then, that we may account thee a whoremaster, and a knave; which notwithstanding, thou shalt be no less esteemed.
Var. Serv. What is a whoremaster, fool?
Fool. A fool in good clothes, and something like thee. 'Tis a spirit: sometime, it appears like a lord; sometime, like a lawyer; sometime, like a philosopher, with two stones more than his artificial one:6 He is very often
5 -my mistress' house - Here again the old copy reads naster's. I have corrected it for the reason already assigned. The context puts the matter beyond a doubt. Mr. Theobald, I find, had silently made the same emendation; but in subsequent editions the corrupt reading of the old copy was again restored.
like a knight; and, generally in all shapes, that man goes up and down in, from fourscore to thirteen, this spirit:. walks in.
Var. Serv. Thou art not altogether a fool.
Fool. Nor thou altogether a wise man: as much foolery as I have, so much wit thou lackest.
Apem. That answer might have become Apenantus.
Re-enter Timon and Flavius.
Fool. I do not always follow lover, elder brother, and woman; sometime, the philosopher.
[Exeunt ApEm. and Fool. Flav. 'Pray you, walk near; I'll speak with you anon.
You would not hear me,
O my good lord!
6 his artificial one:) Meaning the celebrated philosopher's stone, which was in those times much talked of. Sir Thomas Smith was one of those who lost considerable sums in seeking of it.
Johnson. Sir Richard Steele was one of the last eminent men who entertained hopes of being successful in this pursuit. His laboratory was at Poplar, a village near London, and is now converted into a garden house. Steevens.
7— made your minister,] So the original. The second folio and the later editions have all:
- made you minister. Johnson. The construction is :- And made that unnptness your minister.
When, for some trifling present, you have bid me
Let all my land be sold.2 Flav. 'Tis all engag'd, some forfeited and gone; And what remains will hardly stop the mouth
& Return so much,] He does not mean so great a sum, but a certain sum, as it might happen to be. Our author frequently uses this kind of expression. See a note on the words with so many talents," in the second scene of the next act. Malone.
9 My dear-lou'd lord, 1 Thus the second folio. The first omits the epithet-dear, and consequently vitiates the measure.
Steevens. i Though you hear now, (too late) yet now's a time,] i. e. Though it be now too late to retrieve your former fortunes, yet it is not too late to prevent by the assistance of your friends, your future miseries. Had the Oxford editor understood the sense, he would not have altered the text to, Though you hear me now, yet now 's tou late a time.
Warburton. I think Sir Thomas Hanmer right, and have received his emendation. Fohnson
The old reading is not properly explained by Dr. Warburton. “ Though I tell you this (says Flavius) at too late a period, perhaps, for the information to be of any service to you, yet late as it is, it is necessary that you should be acquainted with it.” It is evident, that the steward had very little hope of assistance from his master's friends. Ritson.
Though you now at last listen to my remonstrances, yet now your affairs are in such a state that the whole of your remaining fortune will scarce pay half your debts. You are therefore wise too late. Malone 2 The greatest of your having lacks a half To pay your present debts.
Let all my lands be sold | The redundancy of measure in this passage persuades me that it stood originally thus:
Your greatest having lacks a half to pay
Let all my land be sold. Steevens.