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He has caught me in his eye: I will present
Timon comes forward from his Cave.
Have you forgot me, sir?
The gods are witness,
I love thee;
3 Grant, I may ever love, and rather woo
Those that would mischief me, than those that do!] It is plain, that in this whole speech friends and enemies are taken only for those who profess friendship and profess enmity; for the friend is supposed not to be more kind, but more dangerous than the enemy. The sense is, Let me rather woo or caress those that would mis. chief, that profess to mean me mischief, than those that really do me mischief, under false professions of kindness. The Spaniards, I think, have this proverb: Defend me from my friends, and from any enemies I will defend myself. This proverb is a sufficient com. ment on the passage. Johnson.
4 thou ’rt man,] Old copy--thou 'rt a man. Steedens.
5- that-) I have supplied this pronoun, for the metre's sake. Steevens. O k naves,] Knave is here in the compound sense of a servant and a rascal. Johnson.
1- Pity's sleeping:] I do not know that any correction is necessary, but I think we might read:
eyes do never give, But thorough lust and laughter, pity sleeping: Eyes nerer flow (to give is to dissolve, as saline bodies in moist weather,) but by lust or laughter, undisturbed by emotions of pity.
Strange times, that weep with laughing, not with weep
Tim. Had I a steward so true, so just, and now
Johnson certainly is right in reading-Pity sleeping. The following line proves it: “ Alcib. — on thy low grave, on faults forgiven."
M. Mason. Pity's sleeping:) So, in Daniel's second Sonnet, 1594:
“Waken her sleeping pity with your crying." Malone. 3.
It almost turns My dangerous nature wild.] i. e. It almost turns my dangerous nature to a dangerous nature; for, by dangerous nature is meant willness. Shakspeare wrote:
It almost turns my dangerous nature mild. i. e. It almost reconciles me again to mankind. For fear of that, he puts in a caution immediately after, that he makes an exception but for one man. To which the Oxford editor says, rectè.
Warburton. This emendation is specious, but even this may be controverted. To turn wild is to distract. An appearance so unexpected, says Timon, almost turns my savageness to distraction. Accord. ingly he examines with nicety lest his phrenzy should deceive him: 66
Let me behold 66 Thy face. Surely, this man was born of woman. " And to this suspected disorder of the mind he alludes:
“ Perpetual-sober gods!” Ye powers whose intellects are out of the reach of perturbation.
Johnson. He who is so much disturbed as to have no command over his actions, and to be dangerous to all around him, is already distracted, and therefore it would be idle to talk of turning such “a dangerous nature wild:” it is wild already. Besides; the base. ness and ingratitude of the world might very properly be mentioned as driving Timon into frenzy: (So, in Antony and Cleopatra:
" The ingratitude of this Seleucus does
“Even make me wild.”) but surely the kindness and fidélity of his Steward was more likely to soften and compose him; that is, to render his dangerous na. ture mild. I therefore strongly incline to Dr. Warburton's emer. dation. Malone.
Forgive my general and exceptless rashness,
Flav. No, my most worthy master, in whose breast
Tim. Look thee, 'tis so!-Thou single honest mang,
9 Perpetual-sober - Old copy, unmetrically
You perpetual &c. Steevens. 1 If not a usuring - If not seems to have slipt in here, by ani error of the press, from the preceding line. Both the sense and : metre would be better without it. Tyrwhitt.
I do not see any need of change. Timon asks-Has not thy kind. . ness some covert design? Is it not proposed with a view to gain some equivalent in return, or rather to gain a great deal more than thou . offerest? Is it not at least the offspring of avarice, if not of something worse, of usury? In this there appears to me no difficulty.
Malone, My opinion most perfectly coincides with that of Mr. Tyrwhitt. The sense of the line, with or without the contested words, is nearly the same; yet, by the omission of them, the metre would i become sufficiently regular. Steevens.
Here, take :-the gods out of my misery
0, let me stay, And comfort you, my master.
If thou hat'st Curses, stay not; fly, whilst thou ’rt bless'd and free: Ye'er see thou man, and let me ne'er see thee.
ACT V.... SCENE I.
Pain. As I took note of the place, it cannot be far where he abides.
2 from men;] Away from human babitations. Fohnson. 3 Debts wither them :) Old copy:
Debts wither them to nothing:I have omitted the redundant words, not only for the sake of me. tre, but because they are worthless. Our author has the same phrase in Antony and Cleopatra:
“Age cannot wither ber, R." Steevens. 4 Enter Poet and Painter;] The Poet and the Painter were within view when Apemantus parted from Timon, and might then have seen Timon, since Apemantus, standing by him could see them: But the scenes of the Thieves and Steward have passed before their arrival, and yet passed, as the drama is now conducted, within their view. It might be suspected, that some scenes are transposed, for all these difficulties would be removed by introducing the Poet and Painter first, and the thieves in this place. Yet I am afraid the scenes must keep their present order, for the Painter alludes to the Thieves when he says, he likewise enriched poor straggling sotdiers with great quantity. This impropriety is now heightened by placing the Thieves in one Act, and the Poet and
Poet. What's to be thought of him? Does the rumour hold for true, that he is so full of gold ?
Pain. Certain : Alcibiades reports it; Phrynia and Timandra had gold of him : he likewise enriched poor straggling soldiers with great quantity: 'Tis said, he gave unto his steward a mighty sum.
Poet. Then this breaking of his has been but a try for his friends.
Pain. Nothing else : you 'shall see him a palm in Athens again, and flourish 5 with the highest. There. fore, 'tis not amiss, we tender our loves to him, in this
Painter in another: but it must be remembered, that in the ori. ginal edition this play it not divided into separate Acts, so that the present distribution is arbitrary, and may be changed if any convenience can be gained, or impropriety obviated by alteration.
Johnson. In the immediately preceding scene, Flavius, Timon's steward, has a conference with his master, and receives gold from him. Between this and the present scenc, a single minute cannot be supposed to pass; and yet the Painter tells his companion :-'Tis said he gave his steward a mighty sum.-Where was it said? Why in Athens, whence, it must therefore seem, they are but newly come. Here then should be fixed the commencement of the fifth Act, in order to allow time for Flavius to return to the city, and for rumour to publish his adventure with Timon. But how are we in this case to account for Apemantus's announcing the ap. proach of the Poet and Painter in the last scene of the preceding Act, and before the Thieves appear? It is possible, that when this play was abridged for representation, all between this pas. sage, and the entrance of the Poet and Painter, may have been omitted by the players, and these words put into the mouth of Apemantus to introduce them; and that when it was published at large, the interpolation was unnoticed. Or, if we allow the Poet and Painter to see Apemantus, it may be conjectured that they did not think his presence necessary at their interview with Timon, and had therefore returned back into the city. Ritson.
I am afraid, many of the difficulties which the commentators on our author bave employed their abilities to remave, arise from the negligence of Shakspeare himself, who appears to have been less attentive to the connection of his scenes, than a less hasty writer may be supposed to have been. On the present occasion I have changed the beginning of the Act. It is but justice to ob. serve, that the same regulation has already been adopted by Mr. Capell. Reed.
5 a palm - and flourish uc. This allusion is scriptural, and occurs in Psalm xcii. 11: “The righteous shall flourish like a palm-tree.” Steerens.