Imatges de pÓgina
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Enter ALCIBIADES, with drum and fife, in warlike manner; PHRYNIA and TIMANDRA.

Alcib.

Speak.

What art thou there?

Tim. A beast, as thou art. The canker gnaw thy heart,

For showing me again the eyes of man!

Alcib. What is thy name? Is man so hateful to thee,

That art thyself a man?

Tim. I am misanthropos, and hate mankind. For thy part, I do wish thou wert a dog,

That I might love thee something.

Alcib.

I know thee well;

But in thy fortunes am unlearn'd and strange. Tim. I know thee too; and more, than that I know thee,

I not desire to know.

Follow thy drum;

With man's blood paint the ground, gules, gules: Religious canons, civil laws are cruel;

Then what should war be? This fell whore of thine

Hath in her more destruction than thy sword,

For all her cherubin look.

Phr. Thy lips rot off! Tim. I will not kiss thee; then the rot returns To thine own lips again 15.

Alcib. How came the noble Timon to this change? Tim. As the moon does, by wanting light to give : But then renew I could not, like the moon;

There were no suns to borrow of.

Alcib.

What friendship may I do thee?

Noble Timon,

15 This alludes to the old erroneous prevalent opinion, that infection communicated to another left the infecter free. 'I will not,' says Timon, take the rot from thy lips by kissing thee.' See the fourth satire of Donne.

Tim.

Maintain my opinion.

Alcib.

None, but to

What is it, Timon?

Tim. Promise me friendship, but perform none: If Thou wilt not promise, the gods plague thee, for Thou art a man! if thou dost perform, confound thee, For thou'rt a man!

Alcib. I have heard in some sort of thy miseries.
Tim. Thou saw'st them, when I had prosperity.
Alcib. I see them now; then was a blessed time.
Tim. As thine is now, held with a brace of harlots.
Timan. Is this the Athenian minion, whom the
world

Voic'd so regardfully?

Tim.

Timan.

Art thou Timandra?

Yes.

Tim. Be a whore still! they love thee not, that

use thee;

Give them diseases, leaving with thee their lust.
Make use of thy salt hours: season the slaves
For tubs, and baths; bring down rose-cheeked youth
To the tub-fast, and the diet 16.

Timan.

Hang thee, monster! Alcib. Pardon him, sweet Timandra; for his wits Are drown'd and lost in his calamities.

I have but little gold of late, brave Timon,
The want whereof doth daily make revolt
In my penurious band: I have heard, and griev'd,
How cursed Athens, mindless of thy worth,
Forgetting thy great deeds, when neighbour states,
But for thy sword and fortune, trod upon them,
Tim. I pr'ythee, beat thy drum, and get thee gone.

-

16 See Act ii. Sc. 2, note 13. The diet was a customary term for the regimen prescribed in these cases. So in The Mastive, a Collection of Epigrams::

'She took not diet nor the sweat in season.'

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Alcib. I am thy friend, and pity thee, dear Timon. Tim. How dost thou pity him, whom thou dost trouble?

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Alcib. When I have laid proud Athens on a

heap,

Tim. Warr'st thou 'gainst Athens?

Alcib.

Ay, Timon, and have cause.

Tim. The gods confound them all i'thy conquest;

and

Thee after, when thou hast conquer'd!

Alcib.

Tim. That,

Why me, Timon?

By killing villains, thou wast born to conquer
My country.

Put up

thy gold; Go on, here's gold,-go on; Be as a planetary plague, when Jove

Will o'er some high-vic'd city hang his poison
In the sick air 17: Let not thy sword skip one:
Pity not honour'd age for his white beard,
He's an usurer: Strike me the counterfeit matron;
It is her habit only that is honest,

Herself's a bawd: Let not the virgin's cheek
Make soft thy trenchant 18 sword; for those milk-

paps,

That through the window-bars 19 bore at men's eyes,

17 Warburton justly observes, that this passage is wonderfully sublime and picturesque.' The same image occurs in King Richard II. :

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Devouring pestilence hangs in our air.'

19 By window-bars the poet probably means the partlet, gorget, or kerchief, which women put about their neck, and pin down over their paps,' sometimes called a niced, and translated

Are not within the leaf of pity writ,

But set them down horrible traitors: Spare not the

babe,

21

Whose dimpled smiles from fools exhaust their mercy:
Think it a bastard 20, whom the oracle
Hath doubtfully pronounc'd thy throat shall cut,
And mince it sans remorse: Swear against objects 1;
Put armour on thine ears, and on thine eyes;
Whose proof, nor yells of mothers, maids, nor babes,
Nor sight of priests in holy vestments bleeding,
Shall pierce a jot. There's gold to pay thy soldiers:
Make large confusion; and, thy fury spent,
Confounded be thyself! Speak not, be gone.
Alcib. Hast thou gold yet? I'll take the gold
thou giv❜st me,

Not all thy counsel.

Tim. Dost thou, or durst thou not, heaven's curse upon thee!

Phr. & Timan. Give us some gold, good Timon: Hast thou more?

Tim. Enough to make a whore forswear her trade, And to make whores, a bawd 22. Hold up, you sluts, Your aprons mountant: You are not oathable,— Although, I know, you'll swear, terribly swear,

Mamillare or fascia pectoralis; and described as made of fine linen: from its semitransparency arose the simile of window bars. This is the best explanation I have to offer. The late Mr. Boswell thought that windows were used to signify a woman's breasts, in a passage he has cited from Weaver's Plantagenet's Tragical Story, but it seems to me doubtful. I can hardly think the passage warrants Johnson's explanation, The virgin shows her bosom through the lattice of her chamber.'

20 An allusion to the tale of Edipus.

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21 i. e. against objects of charity and compassion. So in Troilus and Cressida, Ulysses says:

For Hector, in his blaze of wrath, subscribes

To tender objects.'

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22 That is enough to make whores leave whoring, and a bawd leave making whores.'

Into strong shudders, and to heavenly agues,
The immortal gods that hear you,-spare your oaths,
I'll trust to your conditions 23: Be whores still;
And he whose pious breath seeks to convert you,
Be strong in whore, allure him, burn him
up;
Let your close fire predominate his smoke,
And be no turncoats: Yet may your pains, six
months,

Be quite contrary 24: And thatch your poor thin roofs
With burdens of the dead;-some that were hang'd25,
No matter:-wear them, betray with them: whore
still;

Paint till a horse may mire upon your face: pox of wrinkles!

A

23 Conditions for dispositions. See vol. iii. p. 15 and 123. 24 The meaning of this passage appears to be as Steevens explains it-Timon had been exhorting them to follow constantly their trade of debauchery, but he interrupts himself and imprecrates upon them that for half the year their pains may be quite contrary, that they may suffer such punishment as is usually inflicted upon harlots. He then continues his exhortations.'

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25 The fashion of periwigs for women, which Stowe informs were brought into England about the time of the massacre of Paris,' seems to have been a fertile source of satire. Stubbes, in his Anatomy of Abuses, says that it was dangerous for any child to wander, as nothing was more common than for women to entice such as had fine locks into private places, and there to cut them off. In A Mad World my Masters, 1608, the custom is decried as unnatural, To wear periwigs made of another's hair, is not this against kind?' So Drayton, in his Mooncalf:—

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And with large sums they stick not to procure

Hair from the dead, yea, and the most unclean;
To help their pride they nothing will disdain.'

Shakspeare has reflected upon the custom in his sixty-eighth
Sonnet :-

'Before the golden tresses of the dead,

The right of sepulchres, were shorn away

To live a second life on second head,

Ere beauty's dead fleece made another gay.'

Warner, in his Albion's England, 1602, b. ix. c. xlvii. is likewise very severe on this fashion.

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