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Tim. Consumptions sow
your activity may defeat and quell
bounteous Timon. Tim. More whore, more mischief first; I have given
you earnest. Alcib. Strike up the drum towards Athens. Farewell,
Tim. If I hope well, I'll never see thee more.
Call'st thou that harm?
7 Nor sound his quillets shrilly:] Quillets are subtilties.
hoar the flamen,] This may mean, - Give the flamen the hoary leprosy.
that his particular to foresee,] The metaphor is apparently incongruous, but the sense is good. To foresee his particular, is to provide for his private advantage, for which he leaves the right scent of publick good.
And ditches grave you all.] To grave is to entomb. The word is now obsolete, though sometimes used by Shakspeare and his contemporary authors.
Tim. Men daily find it such. Get thee away,
We but offend himStrike.
[Drum beats. Exeunt ALCIBIADES, PHRYNIA,
and TIMANDRA. Tim. That nature, being sick of man's unkindness, Should yet be hungry!- Common mother, thou,
[Digging. Whose womb unmeasurable, and infinite breast, ? Teems, and feeds all ; whose self-same mettle, Whereof thy proud child, arrogant man, is puff’d, Engenders the black toad, and adder blue, The gilded newt, and eyeless venom'd worm, With all the abhorred births below crisp * heaven Whereon Hyperion's quickening fire doth shine; Yield him, who all thy human sons doth hate, From forth thy plenteous bosom, one poor root ! Ensear thy fertile and conceptious womb, Let it no more bring out ingrateful man ! Go great with tigers, dragons, wolves, and bears; Teem with new monsters, whom thy upward face Hath to the marbled mansion all above Never presented !—0, a root, - Dear thanks! Dry up thy marrows, vines, and plough-torn leas; Whereof ingrateful man, with liquorish draughts, And morsels unctuous, greases his pure mind, That from it all consideration slips !
2 Whose — infinite breast – ] means whose boundless surface.
eyeless venom'd worm,] The serpent, which we, from the smallness of his eyes, call the blind-worm, and the Latins, cæcilia.
below crisp heaven - ] i. e. curled, bent, hollow. 3 Dry up thy marrows, vines, and plow-torn leas ;] The sense is this : O nature! cease to produce men, ensear thy womb; but if thou wilt continue to produce them, at least cease to pamper them : dry up thy marrows, on which they fatten with unctuous morsels, thy vines, which give them liquorish draughts, and thy plow-torn leas,
More man? Plague! plague !
report, Thou dost affect my manners, and dost use them.
Tim. 'Tis then, because thou dost not keep a dog Whom I would imitate : Consumption catch thee!
Apem. This is in thee a nature but affected ; A poor unmanly melancholy, sprung From change of fortune. Why this spade ? this place ? This slave-like habit ? and these looks of care ? Thy flatterers yet wear silk, drink wine, lie soft; Hug their diseas'd perfumes, and have forgot That ever Timon was. Shame not these woods, By putting on the cunning of a carper.
6 Be thou a flatterer now, and seek to thrive By that which has undone thee: hinge thy knee, And let his very breath, whom thou'lt observe, Blow off thy cap; praise his most vicious strain, And call it excellent; Thou wast told thus; Thou gav'st thine ears, like tapsters, that bid welcome, To knaves, and all approachers : 'Tis most just, That thou turn rascal; had'st thou wealth again, Rascals should have't. Do not assume my likeness.
Tim. Were I like thee, I'd throw away myself.
Apem. Thou hast cast away thyself, being like thyself; A madman so long, now a fool: What, think'st That the bleak air, thy boisterous chamberlain, Will put thy shirt on warm? Will these moss'd trees, That have out-liv'd the eagle, page thy heels, And skip when thou point'st out? Will the cold brook, Candied with ice, caudle thy morning taste, To cure thy o’er-night's surfeit? call the creatures, Whose naked natures live in all the spite Of wreakful heaven ; whose bare unhoused trunks,
the cunning of a carper.] i.e. the insidious art of a critick.
To the conflicting elements expos’d,
A fool of thee: Depart.
Thou flatter'st misery.
To vex thee.
What! a knave too ?? Apem. If thou didst put this sour-cold habit on To castigate thy pride, 'twere well : but thou Dost it enforcedly; thou’dst courtier be again, Wert thou not beggar. Willing misery Outlives incertain pomp, is crown'd before: 8 The one is filling still, never complete ; The other, at high wish : Best state, contentless, Hath a distracted and most wretched being, Worse than the worst, content. Thou should'st desire to die, being miserable.
7 What! a knave too?) Timon had just called Apemantus fool, in consequence of what he had known of him by former acquaintance; but when Apemantus tells him that he comes to vex hin, Timon determines that to vex is either the office of a villain or a fool; that to vex by design is villainy, to vex without design is folly. He then properly asks Apemantus whether he takes delight in vering, and when he answers, yes, Timon replies, – What! a knave too? I before only knew thee to be a fool, but now I find thee likewise a knave. JOHNSON.
- is crown'd before :) Arrives sooner at high wish; that is, at the completion of its wishes. Johnson.
9 Worse than the worst, content.] Best states contentless have a wretched being, a being worse than that of the worst states that are content. Johnson.
Tim. Not by his breath', that is more miserable. Thou art a slave, whom Fortune's tender arm With favour never clasp'd; but bred a dog. Hadst thou, like us ?, from our first swath, proceeded The sweet degrees that this brief world affords To such as may the passive drugs of it 4 Freely command, thou would'st have plung’d thyself In general riot; melted down thy youth In different beds of lust; and never learn'd The icy precepts of respect", but follow'd The sugar'd game before thee. But myself, Who had the world as my confectionary ; The mouths, the tongues, the eyes, and hearts of men At duty, more than I could frame employment; 6 That 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 For every storm that blows; — 1, to bear this, That never knew but better, is some burden : Thy nature did commence in sufferance, time Hath made thee hard in't. Why should’st thou hate
by his breath,] By his breath means in our author's language, by his voice or speech, and so in fact by his sentence. Shakspeare frequently uses the word in this sense. It has been twice used in
? Hadst thou, like us,1 There is in this speech a sullen haughtiness, and malignant dignity, suitable at once to the lord and the manhater. The impatience with which he bears to have his luxury reproached by one that never had luxury within his reach, is natural and graceful. Johnson.
- first swath,] From infancy. Swath is the dress of a newborn child.
passive drugs of it-] or drudges.
precepts of respect,] “ The icy precepts of respect” mean the cold admonitions of cautious prudence, that deliberately weighs the consequences of every action.
than I could frame employment ;] i. e. frame employment for. Shakspeare frequently writes thus.