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the thieves who came to visit him are also "true men” in their way.-- An exception to this general picture of selfish depravity is found in the old and honest steward Flavius, to whom Timon pays a full tribute of tenderness. Shakspeare was unwilling to draw a picture all over ugly with hypocrisy." He owed this character to the good natured solicitations of his Muse. His mind was well said by Ben Jonson to be the “sphere of humanity.”

The moral sententiousness of this play equals that of Lord Bacon's Treatise on the Wisdom of the Ancients, and is indeed seasoned with greater variety. Every topick of contempt or indignation is here exhausted; but while the sordid licentiousness of Apemantus, which turns every thing to gall and bitterness, shews only the natural virulence of his temper and antipathy to good or evil alike, Timon does not utter an imprecation without betraying the extravagant workings of disappointed passion, of love altered to hate. Apemantus sees nothing good in any object, and exaggerates whatever is disgusting: Timon is tormented with the perpetual contrast between things and appearances, between the fresh, tempting outside, and the rottenness within, and invokes mischiefs on the heads of mankind proportioned to the sense of his wrongs and of their treacheries. He impatiently cries out, when he finds the gold,

“ This yellow slave
Will knit and break religions ; bless the accurs'd;
Make the hoar leprosy ador'd; place thieves,
And give them title, knee, and approbation,
With senators on the bench; this is it,

That makes the wappen'd widow wed again;
She, whom the spital-house
Would cast the gorge at, this embalms and spices
To thApril day again."

One of his most dreadful imprecations is that which occurs immediately on his leaving Athens.

“Let me look back upon thee, O thou wall,
That girdlest in those wolves ! Dive in the earth,
And fence not Athens ! Matrons, turn incontinent;
Obedience fail in children ; slaves and fools
Pluck the grave wrinkled senate from the bench,
And minister in their steads. To general filths
Convert o'th' instant green virginity!
Do't in your parents' eyes. Bankrupts, hold fast;
Rather than render back, out with your knives,
And cut your trusters' throats ! Bound servants, steal:
Large banded robbers your grave masters are,
And pill by law. Maid, to thy master's bed :
Thy mistress is o' th’ brothel. Son of sixteen,
Pluck the lin'd crutch from thy old limping sire,
And with it beat his brains out! Fear and piety,
Religion to the Gods, peace, justice, truth,
Domestick awe, night-rest, and neighbourhood,
Instructions, manners, mysteries and trades,
Degrees, observances, customs and laws,
Decline to your confounding contraries;
And let confusion live !--Plagues, incident to men,
Your potent and infectious fevers heap
On Athens, ripe for stroke ! Thou cold sciatica,
Cripple our senators, that their limbs may halt
As lamely as their manners ! Lust and liberty
Creep in the minds and marrows of our youth,
That 'gainst the stream of virtue they may strive,
And drown themselves in riot! Itches, blains,
Sow all th' Athenian bosoms; and their crop
Be general leprosy : breath infect breath,
That their society (as their friendship) may
Be merely poison !"

Timon is here just as ideal in his passion for ill, as he had before been in his belief of good. Apemantus was satisfied with the mischief existing in the world, and with his own ill-nature. One of the most decisive intimations of Timon's morbid jealousy of appearances is in his answer to Apemantus, who asks him,

" What things in the world can’st thou nearest compare with

thy flatterers ? Timon. Women nearest : but men, men are the things them


Apemantus, it is said, "loved few things better than to abhor himself.” This is not the case with Timon, who neither loves to abhor bimself nor others. All his vehement misanthropy is forced, uphill work. From the slippery turns of fortune, from the turmoils of passion and adversity, he wishes to sink into the quiet of the grave. On that subject his thoughts are intent, on that he finds time and place to grow romantick. He digs his own grave by the sea shore; contrives his funeral ceremonies amidst the pomp of desolation, and builds his mausoleum of the elements.

“ Come not to me again; but say to Athens,
Timon hath made his everlasting mansion
Upon the beached verge of the salt flood;
Which once a day with his embossed froth
The turbulent surge shall cover.- Thither come,
And let my gravestone be your oracle."

And again, Alcibiades, after reading his epitaph, says of him,

“These well express in thee thy latter spirits :
Though thou abhorred'st in us our human griefs,
Scorn'd’st our brain's flow, and those our droplets, which
From niggard nature fall; yet rich conceit
Taught thee to make vast Neptune weep for

On thy low grave"

thus making the winds his funeral dirge, his mourner the murmuring ocean, and seeking, in the everlasting solemnities of nature, oblivion of the transitory splendour of his life-time.


SHAKSPEARE has in this play shewn himself well versed in history and state affairs. CORIOLANUS is a storehouse of political common places. Any one who studies it may save himself the trouble of reading Burke's Reflections, or Paine's Rights of Man, or the Debates in both Houses of Parliament since the French Revolution or our own. The argnments for and against aristocracy, or democracy, on the privileges of the few and the claims of the many, on liberty and slavery, power and the abuse of it, peace and war, are here very ably handled, with the spirit of a poet and the acuteness of a philosopher. Shakspeare himself seems to have had a leaning to the arbitrary side of the question, perhaps from some feeling of contempt for his own origin ; and to have spared no occasion of baiting the rabble. What he says of them is very true : what he says of their betters is also very true, though he dwells Jess upon it.—The cause of the people is indeed but little calculated as subject for poetry : it admits of rhetorick, which goes into argument and explanation, but it presents no imme

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