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TIMON, a noble Athenian.
Servants to Timon's Creditors.
Mistresses to Alcibiades.
Lords, Senators, Officers, Soldiers, Thieves, and Attendants.
SCENE, Athens; and the Woods adjoining.
Appended, with some omissions, to the play in the folio, 1623.
TIMON OF ATHENS.
ACT I, SCENE I.
Athens. A Hall in TIMON's House,
Enter Poet, Painter, Jeweller, Merchant, and others, at several
Poet. Good day, sir.
Ay, that's well known;
Pain. I know them both : th’ other's a jeweller.
Nay, that's most fix’d.
1 He passes.] As we now say, He surpasses or exceeds. Shakespeare uses “ continuate" (of the preceding line) in “Othello," A. iii. sc. 4, if indeed it be not there a misprint for convenient : of course, it here means of an enduring and persevering goodness. The word occurs in other good authors.
: "When we for recompence, &c.] “We must here suppose (says Warburton) the poet busy in reading in his own work; and that these three lines are the in
It stains the glory in that happy verse
'Tis a good form. Jew. And rich : here is a water, look
A thing slipp'd idly from me.
poesy is as a gum, which issues 3
What have you there?
Poet. Upon the heels of my presentment, sir.
Admirable! How this grace
Pain. It is a pretty mocking of the life.
I'll say of it,
Enter certain Senators, who pass over the stage. Pain. How this lord is follow'd ! Poet. The senators of Athens :-happy men! Pain. Look, more! Poet. You see this confluence, this great flood of visitors.
troduction of the poem addressed to Timon, which he afterwards gives the Painter an account of.” Possibly it is only a reflection by the Poet.
3 – as a GUM, which issues] The old copy, “as a gown which uses.” Pope changed gown to “gum," and we obtain “issues" from the corr. fo. 1632 : Johnson suggested oozes, which may be right, but seems to express too slow a process for what the speaker tells us had "slipped idly" fro him.
* Each bound it chaves.] All the folios read chases for “chafes :" the last is no doubt right, and in the corr. fo. 1632 chases is amended to "cbafes :" the error was occasioned by the letter f having been mistaken by the printer for the long s. No copy of the folio, 1623, that we have ever seen, reads "chafes.”
I have in this rough work shap'd out a man,
Pain. How shall I understand you?
Poet. I will unbolt to you. You see how all conditions, how all minds, (As well of glib and slippery creatures, as Of grave and austere quality) tender down Their services to lord Timon: his large fortune, Upon his good and gracious nature hanging, Subdues and properties to his love and tendance All sorts of hearts; yea, from the glass-fac'd flatterer To Apemantus, that few things loves better Than to abhor himself: even he drops down The knee before him, and returns in peace, Most rich in Timon's nod.
Pain. I saw them speak together.
Poet. Sir, I have upon a high and pleasant hill Feign'd Fortune to be thron’d: the base o' the mount Is rank'd with all deserts, all kind of natures, That labour on the bosom of this sphere To propagate their states: amongst them all, Whose eyes are on this sovereign lady fix'd, One do I personate of lord Timon's frame; Whom Fortune with her ivory hand wafts to her, Whose present grace to present slaves and servants Translates his rivals. Pain.
'Tis conceiv'd to scope. 5 In a wide sea of VERSE:] “ In a wide sea of war" in the folios; but “a wide sea of wax was perhaps never before heard of, while “a wide sea of verse" is a figure of speech both natural and intelligible, as regards its flow, its swell, and its power. The word “verse” is derived from the corr. fo. 1632, and the adoption of it renders it needless to resort to the overstrained notion, that Shakespeare referred to the ancient mode of writing with a style upon wax tables : hitherto such has necessarily been the explanation. “Verse" might eisily have been misread waxe, which was then frequently spelt with a final e: it is not however so printed in the old copies. The Poet had written bis production in “ verse," and we feel sure that it is the true text. Prof. Mommsen entertained no doubt upon the point, when he rendered in a wide sea of verse" very happily In weitem Versemeer.
This throne, this Fortune, and this hill, methinks,
Nay, sir, but hear me on.
Ay, marry, what of these ?
Pain. 'Tis common :
Trumpets sound. Enter Timon, attended; the Servant of
VENTIDIUS talking with him.
Imprison’d is he, say you ?
Noble Ventidius! Well;
6 Drink the free air.] "To drink the air (says Wakefield), like the haustos ætherios of Virgil, is merely a poetical phrase for draw the air, or breathe. To • drink the free air,' therefore, through another, is to breathe freely at his will only."
? Even on their knees and HANDS, let him slip down.] The folio reads hand, and sit for "slip.” The emendation was made by Rowe, and it is warranted by the corr. fo. 1632.
– talking with him.] The old stage-direction is, “Trumpets sound. Enter lord Timon, addressing himself courteously to every suitor."