Imatges de pÓgina

1 Serv.

Such a house broke!

So noble a master fallen! All gone! and not
One friend, to take his fortune by the arm,
And go along with him!

2 Serv.

As we do turn our backs

From our companion, thrown into his grave;

So his familiars to his buried fortunes 1

Slink all away; leave their false vows with him,
Like empty purses pick'd: and his poor self,
A dedicated beggar to the air,

With his disease of all-shunn'd poverty,
Walks, like contempt, alone.—More of our fellows.

Enter other Servants.

Flav. All broken implements of a ruin'd house.
3 Serv. Yet do our hearts wear Timon's livery,
That see I by our faces; we are fellows still,
Serving alike in sorrow: Leak'd is our bark;
And we, poor mates, stand on the dying deck,
Hearing the surges threat: we must all part
Into this sea of air.

Good fellows all,
The latest of my wealth I'll share amongst you.
Wherever we shall meet, for Timon's sake,
Let's yet be fellows; let's shake our heads, and
As 'twere a knell unto our master's fortunes,
We have seen better days. Let each take some;


[Giving them money. Not one word more:

Nay, put out all your hands.
Thus part we rich in sorrow, parting poor 2.

[Exeunt Servants.

So those who were familiar to his buried fortunes, who in the most ample manner participated them, slink all away,' &c. 2 This conceit occurs again in King Lear :

'Fairest Cordelia, thou art most rich, being poor.'

Johnson observes, that 'Nothing contributes more to the ex

O, the fierce3 wretchedness that glory brings us!
Who would not wish to be from wealth exempt,
Since riches point to misery and contempt?
Who'd be so mock'd with glory? or to live
But in a dream of friendship?

To have his pomp, and all what state compounds,
But only painted, like his varnish'd friends?
Poor honest lord, brought low by his own heart;
Undone by goodness! Strange, unusual blood*,
When man's worst sin is, he does too much good!
Who then dares to be half so kind again?
For bounty, that makes gods, does still mar men.
My dearest lord,—bless'd, to be most accurs'd,
Rich, only to be wretched; thy great fortunes
Are made thy chief afflictions. Alas, kind lord!
He's flung in rage from this ungrateful seat
Of monstrous friends: nor has he with him to
Supply his life, or that which can command it.
I'll follow, and inquire him out:

I'll ever serve his mind with my best will;
Whilst I have gold, I'll be his steward still. [Exit.

altation of Timon's character than the zeal and fidelity of his servants; nothing but real virtue can be honoured by domesticks; nothing but impartial kindness can gain affection from dependants.'

3 Fierce here means vehement; as in Love's Labour's Lost, vol. ii. p. 411:

With all the fierce endeavour of your wit.' See King Henry VIII. Act i. Sc. 1, note 15.

4 Blood is here used for passion, propensity, affection. Malone asserts that blood is used for natural propensity or disposition throughout these plays;' but he has not given a single instance, while we have many passages where it can mean nothing but passion or affection. Thus in Much Ado about Nothing, vol. ii. p. 154:- Wisdom and blood combating in so tender a body, we have ten proofs to one that blood hath the victory.' And in All's Well that Ends Well, Act iii. Sc. 2:—

Now his important blood will nought deny
That she'll demand.'

SCENE III. The Woods.

Enter TIMON.

Tim. O blessed breeding sun, draw from the earth Rotten humidity; below thy sister's orb1

Infect the air! Twinn'd brothers of one womb,— Whose procreation, residence, and birth,

Scarce is dividant,-touch them with several fortunes;

The greater scorns the lesser. Not nature,

To whom all sores lay siege, can bear great fortune, But by contempt of nature 2:


Raise me this beggar, and deny't 3 that lord;
The senator shall bear contempt hereditary,
The beggar native honour.

It is the pasture lards the brother's sides,
The want that makes him lean.

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Who dares, who

1 That is, the moon's-this sublunary world.

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2 Brother, when his fortune is enlarged, will scorn brother: such is the general depravity of mankind. Not even beings besieged with misery can bear good fortune without contemning their fellow creatures, above whom accident has elevated them.' But is here used in its exceptive sense, and signifies without.

3 This is the reading of the old copy. Steevens reads ' denude.' It has been said that there is no antecedent to which 'deny it' can be referred. I think that it clearly refers to great fortune in the preceding sentence, with which I have now connected it, by placing a colon instead of a period at nature. The construction will be, Raise me this beggar to great fortune, and deny it to that lord,' &c.

4 The folio of 1623 reads:

'It is the pastour lards the brother's sides,

The want that makes him leave.'


The second folio changes leave to leane. The probable meaning of the passage as it now stands is, ' Men are courted and flattered according to their riches.' It is the possessions of a man that makes sycophants enlards his fat-already pride;' if he wants wherewith to pasture his flatterers, his vanity will be starved. The poet is still thinking of the rich and poor brother he had before mentioned.

In purity of manhood stand upright,
And say, This man's 5 a flatterer? if one be,
So are they all; for every grize" of fortune
Is smooth'd by that below: the learned pate
Ducks to the golden fool: All is oblique;
There's nothing level in our cursed natures,
But direct villany. Therefore, be abhorr'd
All feasts, societies, and throngs of men!
His semblable, yea, himself, Timon disdains:
Destruction fang? mankind!-Earth, yield me roots!
Who seeks for better of thee, sauce his palate
With thy most operant poison! What is here?
Gold? yellow, glittering, precious gold? No, gods,
I am no idle votarist. Roots, you clear heavens9!
Thus much of this, will make black, white; foul, fair;
Wrong, right; base, noble; old, young; coward,

Ha, you gods! why this? What this, you gods?
Why this

Will lug your priests and servants from your sides 10; Pluck stout men's pillows from below their heads 11: This yellow slave

Will knit and break religions; bless the accurs'd;

5 This man does not refer to any particular person, but to any supposed individual. So in As You Like It:

Who can come in and say that I mean her,

When such a one as she such is her neighbours.'

6 Grize, step or degree.

7 i. e. seize, gripe.

8 No insincere or inconstant supplicant: gold will not serve me instead of roots.

9 You clear heavens, is you pure heavens. So in Lear:— the clearest gods, who make them honours

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Of men's impossibilities, have preserv'd thee.'

10 Aristophanes, in his Plutus, makes the priest of Jupiter desert his service to live with Plutus.

11 This alludes to an old custom of drawing away the pillow from under the heads of men, in their last agonies, to accelerate their departure.

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 12 widow wed again;
She, whom the spital-house, and ulcerous sores
Would cast the gorge at, this embalms and spices
To the April day again 13. Come, damned earth,
Thou common whore of mankind, that put'st odds
Among the rout of nations, I will make thee
Do thy right nature 14.—[March afar off.]—Ha! a
drum? Thou'rt quick,

But yet I'll bury thee: Thou'lt go, strong thief,
When gouty keepers of thee cannot stand:-
Nay, stay thou out for earnest. [Keeping some gold.

12 It is not clear what is meant by wappen'd in this passage; perhaps worn out, debilitated. In Fletcher's Two Noble Kinsmen (which tradition says was written in conjunction with Shakspeare), we have unwappered in a contrary sense :

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we prevent

The loathsome misery of age, beguile

The gout, the rheum, that in lag hours attend
For gray approachers: we come toward the gods
Young and unwapper'd, not halting under crimes
Many and stale.'

Grose, in his provincial Glossary, cites wapper'd as a Gloucestershire word, and explains it 'restless or fatigued [perhaps worn out with disease], as spoken of a sick person.' Steevens cites a passage from Middleton's and Decker's Roaring Girl, in which wappening and niggling are said to be all one. Niggling, in cant language, was company keeping with a woman. Wed is used for wedded. 'It is gold that induces some one to accept in marriage this "wappen'd widow," that the inhabitants of a spitalhouse or those afflicted with ulcerous sores would cast the gorge at, i. e. reject with loathing, were she not gilded o'er by wealth.' 13 Restores to all the freshness and sweetness of youth.' Youth is called by the old poets the April of man's life.' Young Fenton, in the Merry Wives of Windsor, smells April and May.'

14 i. e. lie in the earth, where nature laid thee; thou'rt quick, means thou hast life and motion in thee.

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