Imatges de pÓgina

Caph. Where's the fool now?

Apem. He last ask'd the question.-Poor rogues, and usurers' men! bawds between gold and want! All Serv. What are we, Apemantus?

Apem. Asses.

All Serv. Why?

Apem. That you ask me what you are, and do not know yourselves. Speak to 'em, fool.

Fool. How do you, gentlemen?

All Serv. Gramercies, good fool: How does your mistress?

Fool. She's e'en setting on water to scald such chickens as you are. 'Would, we could see you at Corinth

Apem. Good! gramercy.

Fool. Look you,

Enter Page.

here comes my mistress' page. Page. [To the Fool.] Why, how now, captain? what do you in this wise company?-How dost thou, Apemantus?

Apem. Would I had a rod in my mouth, that I might answer thee profitably.

Page. Pr'ythee, Apemantus, read me the superscription of these letters; I know not which is which.

Apem. Canst not read?
Page. No.

7 The reputation of the ladies of Corinth for gallantry caused the term to be anciently used for a house of ill repute. The scalding, to which the fool alludes, is the curative process for a certain disease, by means of a tub, which persons affected (according to Randle Holme, Storehouse of Armory, b. iii. p. 441), were put into, not to boyl up to an heighth, but to parboyl.' In the frontispiece to the Old Latin Comedy of Cornelianum Dolium this sweating tub is represented. It was anciently the practice to scald the feathers off poultry instead of plucking them.

Apem. There will little learning die then, that day thou art hanged. This is to Lord Timon; this to Alcibiades. Go: thou wast born a bastard, and thou❜lt die a bawd.

Page. Thou wast whelped a dog; and thou shalt famish, a dog's death. Answer not, I am gone.

[Exit Page.

Apem. Even so thou out-run'st grace. Fool, I

will go with you to Lord Timon's.

Fool. Will you leave me there?

Apem. If Timon stay at home.-You three serve three usurers?

All Serv. Ay; 'would they served us!

Apem. So would I, as good a trick as ever hangman served thief.

Fool. Are you
three usurers' men?
All Serv. Ay, fool.

Fool. I think, no usurer but has a fool to his servant: My mistress is one, and I am her fool. When men come to borrow of your masters, they approach sadly, and go away merry; but they enter my mistress' house merrily, and go away sadly: The reason of this?

Var. Serv. I could render one.

Apem. Do it then, that we may account thee a whoremaster, and a knave; which notwithstanding, thou shalt be no less esteemed.

Var. Serv. What is a whoremaster, fool?

Fool. A fool in good clothes, and something like thee. 'Tis a spirit: sometime, it appears like a lord; sometime, like a lawyer; sometime, like a philosopher, with two stones more than his artificial one: He is very often like a knight; and,

Meaning the celebrated object of all alchymical research, the philosopher's stone, at that time much talked of. Sir Thomas Smith was one of those who lost considerable sums in

generally in all shapes, that man goes up and down in, from fourscore to thirteen, this spirit walks in. Var. Serv. Thou art not altogether a fool.

Fool. Nor thou altogether a wise man: as much foolery as I have, so much wit thou lackest. Apem. That answer might have become Ape


All Serv. Aside, aside; here comes Lord Timon.

Re-enter TIMON and FLAVIUS.

Apem. Come with me, fool, come.

Fool. I do not always follow lover, elder brother, and woman; sometime, the philosopher.

[Exeunt APEMANTUS and Fool. Flav. 'Pray you, walk near; I'll speak with you [Exeunt Serv. Tim. You make me marvel: Wherefore, ere this



you not fully laid my state before me;
That I might so have rated my expense,
As I had leave of means?


You would not hear me,

Go to:

At many leisures I propos'd.


Perchance, some single vantages you took,
When my indisposition put you back;
And that unaptness made minister 9,
Thus to excuse yourself.





O my good lord!

times I brought in my accounts,

Laid them before you; you would throw them off,

seeking of it. Sir Richard Steele was one of the last eminent men who entertained hopes of being successful in this pursuit. His laboratory was at Poplar.

9 The construction is, And made that unaptness your minister.'

And say, you found them in mine honesty.
When, for some trifling present, you have bid me
Return so much 10, I have shook my head, and wept;
Yea, 'gainst the authority of manners, pray'd you
To hold your hand more close; I did endure
Not seldom, nor no slight checks; when I have
Prompted you, in the ebb of your estate,

And your great flow of debts. My dear-lov'd lord,
Though you hear now (too late!) yet now's a time 11,
The greatest of your having lacks a half

To pay your present debts.

Tim. Let all my land be sold. Flav. 'Tis all engag'd, some forfeited and gone; And what remains will hardly stop the mouth Of present dues: the future comes apace: What shall defend the interim? and at length How goes our reckoning 12?

Tim. To Lacedæmon did my land extend. Flav. O my good lord, the world is but a word 13; Were it all yours to give it in a breath,

How quickly were it gone?


You tell me true.

Flav. If you suspect my husbandry, or falsehood, Call me before the exactest auditors,

And set me on the proof. So the gods bless me,

10 He does not mean so great a sum, but a certain sum. 11 Though you now at last listen to my remonstrances, yet now your affairs are in such a state, that the whole of your remaining fortune will scarce pay half your debts: you are therefore wise too late.'

12 How will you be able to subsist in the time intervening between the payment of the present demands (which your whole substance will hardly satisfy) and the claim of future dues, for which you have no fund whatsoever; and, finally, on the settlement of all accounts, in what a wretched plight will you be,'

13 i. e. as the world itself may be comprised in a word, you might give it away in a breath.

When all our offices 14 have been oppress'd
With riotous feeders; when our vaults have wept
With drunken spilth of wine; when every room
Hath blaz'd with lights, and bray'd with minstrelsy;
I have retir'd me to a wasteful cock 15,

And set mine eyes at flow.


Pr'ythee, no more.

Flav. Heavens, have I said, the bounty of this lord! How many prodigal bits have slaves, and peasants, This night englutted! Who is not Timon's?

What heart, head, sword, force, means, but is Lord Timon's?

Great Timon, noble, worthy, royal Timon?

Ah! when the means are gone that buy this praise, The breath is gone whereof this praise is made: Feast-won, fast-lost; one cloud of winter showers, These flies are couch'd.


Come, sermon me no further: No villanous bounty yet hath pass'd my heart;

14 Steevens asserted that offices here meant apartments allotted to culinary purposes, the reception of domestics, &c.; and that feeders meant servants. Malone contended that by offices was intended' all rooms or places at which refreshments were prepared or served out;' as Steevens had explained it in Othello; and that feeders did not here mean servants. It must be confessed that the passage in Othello, All offices are open, and there is full liberty of feasting from this present hour of five until the bell has told eleven,' countenances Steevens's explanation; as does another passage, from Shirley's Opportunitie, cited by Mr. Boswell:

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

'Let all the offices of entertaiment

Be free and open.'

The cellar and the buttery are probably meant.

15 A wasteful cock is possibly what we now call a waste pipe, a pipe which is continually running, and thereby prevents the overflow of cisterns, &c. by carrying off their superfluous water. This circumstance served to keep the idea of Timon's unceasing prodigality in the mind of the steward, while its remoteness was favourable to meditation.

« AnteriorContinua »