Imatges de pàgina

as they had been by him, now proudly pass along, and know not whether his name is Timon."*

It is quite incredible, that a harmony so complete as that which exists between Shakspeare's portrait of Timon and the preceding passage, proceeded from the poet's expansion of the meagre materials of Plutarch, with no guide but the suggestions of his own imagination. Upon the expression, “ they left him, cut down to the roots and withered," it should be observed, that the dramatic Timon, contrasting his prosperous with his forlorn state, describes his friends as

“ numberless upon me stuck, as leaves
Do on the oak, have with one winter's brush
Fell from their boughs, and left me open, bare

every storm that blows.”+

Though there is no verbal coincidence, the image in both cases is the same.

When Shakspeare's Timon is demanded by Alcibiades, “ What is thy name?" His reply


* It would have been very easy to have furnished a fresh translation of Lucian, which would have made the coinci. dences between the dramatist and the satirist appear

in much stronger light. To avoid the charge of misrepresenting my author for the support of an hypothesis, I have quoted from the version of Dr. Franklin, who will surely escape the imputation of any sinister design.

+ Act IV. sc. 3.

I am misanthropos, and hate mankind," * is strikingly similar to the language of Lucian's Timon. 6. The fairest name I would wish to be distinguished by is that of misanthrope.

Lucian's Timon thus expresses his satisfaction on discovering gold in the earth. “ It is, it must be gold, fine, yellow, noble gold, heavy, sweet to behold.

Burning like fire, thou shinest day and night: come to me, thou dear delightful treasure: now do I believe that Jove himself was once turned into gold: what virgin would not spread forth her bosom to receive so beautiful a lover?"

The dramatic Timon exclaims


66 What is here? Gold ? yellow, glittering, precious gold ?" +

And in his reflections on its all seductive influence, he indulges in a train of thought perfectly of kin to that of Lucian's imputation on the corruptible nature of the virtue of the sex:

“thou bright defiler
Of Hymen's purest bed! thou valiant Mars !
Thou ever young, fresh, lov'd, and delicate wooer,
Whose blush doth thaw the consecrated snow
That lies in Dian's lap!”

* Act IV. sc. 3.

† Ibid.

# Ibid.

Exalted to an affluence, as he expresses it, beyond what “ the Persian king can boast,” the Timon of Lucian resolves to “purchase some retired spot, there build a tower to keep my gold in, and live for myself alone: this shall be my habitation ; and, when I am dead, my sepulchre also: from this time forth it is my fixed resolution to have no commerce or connection with mankind, but to despise and avoid it. I will pay no regard to acquaintance, friendship, pity, or compassion : to pity the distressed or to relieve the indigent I shall consider as a weakness, nay, as a crime; my life, like the beasts of the field, shall be spent in solitude, and Timon alone shall be Timon's friend. I will treat all beside as enemies and betrayers; to converse with them were profanation; to herd with them, impiety: accursed be the day that brings them to my sight.”

Selfishness, so detestable, would have been incompatible with the high-minded disinterestedness of Shakspeare's Timon, whose generous spirit is a stranger to the vice of avarice. But the influence of Lucian's dialogue is nevertheless, even in this instance, to be traced in the play. Spurning, himself, the possession of his newly acquired wealth, Timon still devotes it to a purpose similar to that assigned to it in Lucian ; he

bestows it on his faithful steward, with this express condition and solemn admonition:

“ Here, take :- the gods out of my misery

Have sent thee treasure. Go, live rich and happy:
But thus condition'd; thou shalt build from men:
Hate all, curse all: show charity to none;
But let the famish'd flesh slide from the bone,
Ere thou relieve the beggar : give to dogs
When thou deny'st to men; let prisons swallow them,
Debts wither them to nothing: Be men like blasted

diseases lick


their false bloods !” +

A brief notice of one or two other instances in which Lucian may be traced in the drama will suffice. In the first scene, Timon is the means of marrying the daughter of an old Athenian, by bestowing on a servant of his own, her suitor, a sum (three talents), equal to her portion; an act very much resembling what Lucian's Timon relates as having been done by himself: “ he whom I gave a large piece of ground to, and two talents for his daughter's portion.

One of the lords describes the dramatic Timon's profuse liberality, by representing the dispersion of his wealth as “ pouring it out; Plutus the god of gold is but his steward.” * In Lucian's dialogue, “ Plutus” is sent by

Act IV. sc. 3.

+ Act I. sc. 1.

Jupiter to “ carry Timon a large treasure.” In the play, we observe that the restoration of Timon to wealth, immediately brings out to him the sycophants, who in the days of his prosperity had preyed upon, and in the hour of adversity deserted him. Thus in Lucian. “ But hush! whence all this noise and hurry? What crowds are here, all covered with dust and out of breath; somehow or other they have smelt out the gold. I'll get upon this hill, and pelt them from it with stones.' To this measure he actually resorts, in order to rid himself of some of his sordid visitors; others he very unceremoniously beats. Shakspeare's Timon pelts Apemantus, and inflicts corporal chastisement on the poor poet and painter.

In the powerful contrast and nice discrimination of characters, Shakspeare is unrivalled. How few authors would have ventured to produce two madmen on the scene together, as in Lear, or two misanthropists, as in the play before us; and who, besides himself, could, amidst difficulties so complicated, have arrived at conclusions so triumphant?

Timon and Apemantus, at the first view similar, have nothing in common but their hatred of mankind. Disgusted with a world, the hollowness and ingratitude of which Timon in his own

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