Imatges de pÓgina

Tim. I take no heed of thee; thou art an Athenian; therefore welcome: I myself would have no power: pr'ythee, let my meat make thee silent5. Apem. I scorn thy meat; 'twould choke me,

for 6

I should Ne'er flatter thee.-O you gods! what a number Of men eat Timon, and he sees them not! It grieves me, to see so many dip their meat In one man's blood; and all the madness is, He cheers them up too7.


I wonder, men dare trust themselves with men :
Methinks they should invite them without knives 3;
Good for their meat, and safer for their lives.
There's much example for't; the fellow, that
Sits next him now, parts bread with him, and pledges
The breath of him in a divided draught,

Is the readiest man to kill him: it has been prov'd.
If I

Were a huge man, I should fear to drink at meals; Lest they should spy my windpipe's dangerous notes9: Great men should drink with harness 10 on their throats.

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5 I myself would have no power to make thee silent, but I wish thou wouldst let my meat stop your mouth.'

6 For in the sense of cause or because.

7 It grieves me to see so many feed luxuriously, or sauce their meat at the expense of one man, whose very blood (means of living) must at length be exhausted by them; and yet he preposterously encourages them to proceed in his destruction.'

8 It was the custom in old times for every guest to bring his own knife, which he occasionally whetted on a stone that hung behind the door. One of these whetstones was formerly to be seen in Parkinson's Museum. It is scarcely necessary to observe that they were strangers to the use of forks.

9 The windpipe's notes' were the indications in the throat of its situation when in the act of drinking; it should be remembered that our ancestors' throats were uncovered. Perhaps, as Steevens observes, a quibble is intended on windpipe and notes. 10 i. e. armour.


Tim. My lord, in heart11; and let the health go round.

2 Lord. Let it flow this way, my good lord. Flow this way!

A brave fellow!—he keeps his tides well. Timon12,
Those healths will make thee, and thy state, look ill.
Here's that, which is too weak to be a sinner,
Honest water, which ne'er left man i'the mire :
This, and my food, are equals; there's no odds.
Feasts are too proud to give thanks to the gods.

Immortal gods, I crave no pelf;
I pray for no man, but myself:
Grant I may never prove so fond 13,
To trust man on his oath or bond;
Or a harlot, for her weeping;
Or a dog, that seems a sleeping:
Or a keeper, with my freedom;
Or my friends, if I should need 'em.
Amen. So fall to't:

Rich men sin, and I eat root.

[Eats and drinks. Much good dich thy good heart, Apemantus! Tim. Captain Alcibiades, your heart's in the field


Alcib. My heart is ever at your service, my lord.

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11 My lord's health in sincerity.' So in Chaucer's Knightes Tale:

And was all his in chere, as his in herte.'.

12 This speech, except the concluding couplet, is printed as prose in the old copy, nor could it be exhibited as verse without transposing the word Timon, which follows look ill, to its present place. I think with Malone that many of the speeches in this play, which are now exhibited in a loose and imperfect kind of metre, were intended by Shakspeare for prose, in which form they are exhibited in the old copy.

13 Foolish.

Tim. You had rather be at a breakfast of enemies, than a dinner of friends.

Alcib. So they were bleeding new, my lord, there's no meat like them; I could wish my best friend at such a feast.

Apem. 'Would all those flatterers were thine enemies then; that then thou might'st kill 'em, and bid me to 'em.

1 Lord. Might we but have that happiness, my lord, that you would once use our hearts, whereby we might express some part of our zeals, we should think ourselves for ever perfect 14.

Tim. O, no doubt, my good friends, but the gods themselves have provided that I shall have much help from you: How had you been my friends else? why have you that charitable 15 title from thousands, did you not chiefly belong to my heart? I have told more of you to myself, than you can with modesty speak in your own behalf; and thus far I confirm you. O, you gods, think I, what need we have any friends, if we should never have need of them? they were the most needless creatures living, should we ne'er have use for them: and would most resemble sweet instruments hung up in cases, that keep their sounds to themselves. Why, I have often wished myself poorer, that I might come nearer to you. We are born to do benefits: and what better or properer can we call our own, than the riches of our friends? O, what a precious comfort 'tis to have so many, like brothers, commanding one another's fortunes! O joy, e'en made away ere

14 i. e. arrived at the perfection of happiness.

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15 Why are you distinguished from thousands by that title of endearment, was there not a particular connection and intercourse of tenderness between you and me?' Thus Milton:-

'Relations dear, and all the charities
Of father, son, and brother.'

it can be born 16! Mine eyes cannot hold out water, methinks to forget their faults, I drink to you.

Apem. Thou weepest to make them drink, Timon. 2 Lord. Joy had the like conception in our eyes, And, at that instant, like a babe sprung up.

Apem. Ho, ho! I laugh to think that babe a bastard. 3 Lord. I promise you, my lord, you mov'd me


Apem. Much 17 !

[Tucket sounded. Tim. What means that trump?-How now?

Enter a Servant.

Serv. Please you, my lord, there are certain ladies most desirous of admittance.

Tim. Ladies? what are their wills?

Serv. There comes with them a forerunner, my lord, which bears that office, to signify their plea


Tim. I pray, let them be admitted.

Enter CUPID.

Cup. Hail to thee, worthy Timon;—and to all That of his bounties taste! -The five best senses Acknowledge thee their patron; and come freely To gratulate thy plenteous bosom: The ear, Taste, touch, smell, all pleas'd from thy table rise; They only now come but to feast thine eyes.

Tim. They are welcome all; let them have kind admittance:

Musick, make their welcome.

[Exit CUPID. 1 Lord. You see, my lord, how ample you are be


16 O joy! e'en made away [i. e. destroyed, turned to tears] ere it can be born.' So in Romeo and Juliet:

These violent delights have violent ends,

And in their triumphs die.'

17 Much! was a common ironical expression of doubt or suspicion. See vol. iii. p. 199, note 18.


Re-enter CUPID, with a masque of Ladies as Amazons, with lutes in their hands, dancing and playing.

Apem. Hey day, what a sweep of vanity comes this way!


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They dance! they are mad women
Like madness is the glory of this life,

As this pomp shows to a little oil, and root19.
We make ourselves fools, to disport ourselves;
And spend our flatteries, to drink those men,
Upon whose age we void it up again,

With poisonous spite, and envy. Who lives, that's not
Depraved, or depraves? who dies, that bears
Not one spurn to their graves of their friends' gift?
I should fear, those, that dance before me now,
Would one day stamp upon me: It has been done;
Men shut their doors against a setting sun.

The Lords rise from table, with much adoring of
TIMON; and, to show their loves, each singles out
an Amazon, and all dance, men with women, a
lofty strain or two to the hautboys, and cease.
Tim. You have done our pleasures much grace,
fair ladies,

Set a fair fashion on our entertainment,

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18 Shakspeare probably borrowed this idea from the puritanical writers of his time. Thus Stubbes, in his Anatomie of Abuses, 8vo. 1583, Dauncers thought to be madmen.' And as in all feasts and pastimes dauncing is the last, so it is the extream of all other vice.' And again, There were (saith Ludovicus Vives) from far countries certain men brought into our parts of the world, who when they saw men daunce, ran away marvellously affraid, crying out and thinking them mad,' &c. Perhaps the thought originated from the following passage in Cicero, Pro Murena 6, Nemo enim ferè saltat sobrius, nisi fortè insanit.'

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19 The glory of this life is like [or just such] madness, in the eye of reason, as this pomp appears when opposed to the frugal repast of a philosopher feeding on oil and roots.'

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