Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

Entreat thee back to Athens; who have thought
On special dignities, which vacant lie
For thy best use and wearing.

2 Sen.
They confess,
Toward thee, forgetfulness too general, gross :
Which now the public body,-Which doth seldom
Play the recanter,-feeling in itself

A lack of Timon's aid, hath sense withal
Of its own fall, restraining aid to Timon;
And send forth us, to make their sorrowed render1,
Together with a recompense more fruitful
Than their offence can weigh down by the dram;
Ay, even such heaps and sums of love and wealth,
As shall to thee blot out what wrongs were theirs,
And write in thee the figures of their love,
Ever to read them thine.

Tim.
You witch me in it;
Surprise me to the very brink of tears:
Lend me a fool's heart, and a woman's eyes,
And I'll beweep these comforts, worthy senators.
1 Sen. Therefore, so please thee to return with us,
And of our Athens (thine, and ours,) to take
The captainship, thou shalt be met with thanks,
Allow'd2 with absolute power, and thy good name
Live with authority :-so soon we shall drive back
Of Alcibiades the approaches wild;
Who, like a boar too savage, doth root up
His country's peace.

2 Sen.

Their pangs of love, with other incident throes
That nature's fragile vessel doth sustain
In life's uncertain voyage, I will some kindness do
them :

I'll teach them to prevent wild Alcibiades' wrath.
2 Sen. I like this well, he will return again.
Tim. I have a tree, which grows here in my close,
That mine own use invites me to cut down,
And shortly must I fell it; Tell my friends,
Tell Athens, in the sequence of degree,?
From high to low throughout, that whoso please
To stop affliction, let him take his haste,
Come hither, ere my tree hath felt the axe,
And hang himself:-I pray you, do my greeting.
Flav. Trouble him no further, thus you still shall
find him.

Tim. Come not to me again: but say to Athens,
Timon hath made his everlasting mansion
Upon the beached verge of the salt flood;
Which once a day with his embossed froth8
The turbulent surge shall cover; thither come,
And let my grave-stone be your oracle.-
Lips, let sour words go by, and language end;
What is amiss, plague and infection mend!
Graves only be men's works; and death, their gain!
Sun, hide thy beams! Timon hath done his reign.
[Exit Timon.

1 Sen. His discontents are unremoveably

And shakes his threat'ning swordCoupled to nature. Against the walls of Athens. 1 Sen.

Therefore, Timon,Tim. Well, sir, I will; therefore, I will, sir;

Thus,

If Alcibiades kill my countrymen,
Let Alcibiades know this of Timon,

That-Timon cares not. But if he sack fair Athens,

And take our goodly aged men by the beards,
Giving our holy virgins to the stain

Of contumelious, beastly, mad-brain'd war;

2 Sen. Our hope in him is dead: let us return, And strain what other means is left unto us In our dear9 peril. 1 Sen.

It requires swift foot. [Exeunt.
SCENE III-The walls of Athens. Enter two
Senators, and a Messenger.

1 Sen. Thou hast painfully discover'd; are his files
As full as thy report?
Mess.
I have spoke the least:

Then, let him know,--and tell him Timon speaks it, Besides, his expedition promises
In pity of our aged, and our youth,

I cannot choose but tell him, that I care not,
And let him take't at worst; for their knives care not,

While you have throats to answer: for myself,
There's not a whittle3 in the unruly camp,

But I do prize it at my love, before

Present approach.

2 Sen. We stand much hazard, if they bring not

Timon.

Mess. I met a courier, one mine ancient friend ;Whom, though in general part we were oppos'd, Yet our old love made a particular force,

The reverend'st throat in Athens. So I leave you And made us speak like friends :-this man was To the protection of the prosperous gods,4

As thieves to keepers.

Stay not, all's in vain.

Flav.
Tim. Why, I was writing of my epitaph,
It will be seen to-morrow; My long sickness
Of health, and living, now begins to mend,
And nothing brings me all things. Go, live still;
Be Alcibiades your plague, you his,

And last so long enough!

1 Sen.
We speak in vain.
Tim. But yet I love my country; and am not
One that rejoices in the common wreck,
As common bruit doth put it.
1 Sen.
That's well spoke.
Tim. Commend me to my loving countrymen,-
1 Sen. These words become your lips as they
pass through them.

2 Sen. And enter in our ears like great triumphers
In their applauding gates.
Tim.
Commend me to them;
And tell them, that to ease them of their griefs,
Their fears of hostile strokes, their aches, losses,

(1) Confession.
(3) A clasp knife.
(4) i. e. The gods who are the authors of the
prosperity of mankind.

(2) Licensed, uncontrolled.

VOL. II.

riding

From Alcibiades to Timon's cave,

With letters of entreaty, which imported
His fellowship i'the cause against your city,
In part for his sake mov'd.

Enter Senators from Timon.

1 Sen. Here come our brothers, 3.Sen. No talk of Timon, nothing of him expect.The enemies' drum is heard, and fearful scouring Doth choke the air with dust: in and prepare; Ours is the fall, I fear, our foes the snare. [Exeunt. SCENE IV.-The woods. Timon's cave, and a tomb-stone seen. Enter a Soldier, seeking Timon.

Sol. By all description this should be the place. Who's here? speak, ho!-No answer?-What is this?

Timon is dead, who hath outstretch'd his span:
Some beast rear'd this; there does not live a man.

(5) He means-the disease of life begins to promise me a period.

(6) Report, rumour.

(7) Methodically, from highest to lowest.
(8) Swollen froth. (9) Dreadful.

P

[blocks in formation]

SCENE V-Before the walls of Athens. Trumpets sound. Enter Alcibiades, and forces. Alcib. Sound to this coward and lascivious town Our terrible approach. [A parley sounded.

Enter Senators on the walls.

Till now you have gone on, and fill'd the time
With all licentious measure, making your wills
The scope of justice; till now, myself, and such
As slept within the shadow of your power,
Have wander'd with our travers'd arms, and
breath'd

Our sufferance vainly: Now the time is flush,2
When crouching marrow, in the bearer strong,
Cries, of itself, No more: now breathless wrong
Shall sit and pant in your great chairs of ease;
And insolence shall break his wind,
pursy
With fear and horrid flight.

1 Sen.
Noble and young,
When thy first griefs were but a mere conceit,
Ere thou hadst power, or we had cause to fear,
We sent to thee; to give thy rages balm,
To wipe out our ingratitude with loves
Above their quantity.

2 Sen.

So did we woo
Transformed Timon to our city's love,
By humble message, and by promis'd means ;3
We were not all unkind, nor all deserve
The common stroke of war.

1 Sen. These walls of ours Were not erected by their hands, from whom You have receiv'd your griefs: nor are they such, That these great towers, trophies, and schools, should fall

For private faults in them.
2 Sen.
Nor are they living,
Who were the motives that you first went out;
Shame, that they wanted cunning, in excess
Hath broke their hearts. March, noble lord,
Into our city with thy banners spread:
By decimation, and a tithed death,
(If thy revenges hunger for that food,
Which nature loaths,) take thou the destin'd tenth;
And by the hazard of the spotted die,
Let die the spotted.

1 Sen.
All have not offended;
For those that were, it is not square,4 to take,
On those that are, revenges: crimes, like lands,
Are not inherited. Then, dear countryman,
Bring in thy ranks, but leave without thy rage:
Spare thy Athenian cradle, and those kin,
Which, in the bluster of thy wrath, must fall
With those that have offended: like a shepherd,
Approach the fold, and cull the infected forth,
But kill not all together.

2 Sen.
What thou wilt,
Thou rather shalt enforce it with thy smile,
Than hew to't with thy sword.

1 Sen. Set but thy foot Against our rampir'd gates, and they shall ope;

(1) Arms across. (2) Mature.

(3) i. e. By promising him a competent subsis

tence.

So thou wilt send thy gentle heart before,
To say, thou'lt enter friendly.
Throw thy glove;

2 Sen.

Or any token of thine honour else,
That thou wilt use the wars as thy redress,
And not as our confusion; all thy powers
Shall make their harbour in our town, till we
Have seal'd thy full desire.
Alcib.
Then there's my glove;
Descend, and open your uncharged ports;5
Those enemies of Timon's and mine own,
Whom you yourselves shall set out for reproof,
Fall, and no more; and,-to atone6 your fears
With my more noble meaning,-not a man
Shall pass his quarter, or offend the stream
Of regular justice in your city's bounds,
But shall be remedied, to your public laws,
At heaviest answer.
Both.
'Tis most nobly spoken.
Alcib. Descend, and keep your words.
The Senators descend, and open the gates. Enter
a Soldier.

Sold. My noble general, Timon is dead;
Entomb'd upon the hem o'the sea:
very
And on his grave-stone, this insculpture; which
With wax I brought away, whose soft impression
Interprets for my poor ignorance.

Alcib. [Reads.] Here lies a wretched corse, of wretched soul bereft:

Seek not my name: A plague consume you wicked caitiff's left!

Here lie I Timon; who, alive, all living men did

[blocks in formation]

The play of Timon is a domestic tragedy, and therefore strongly fastens on the attention of the reader. In the plan there is not much art, but the incidents are natural, and the characters various and exact. The catastrophe affords a very powerful warning against that ostentatious liberality, which scatters bounty, but confers no benefits, and buys flattery, but not friendship.

In this tragedy, are many passages perplexed, obscure, and probably corrupt, which I have endeavoured to rectify, or explain with due diligence; but having only one copy, cannot promise myself that my endeavours shall be much applauded. JOHNSON.

(4) Not regular, not equitable. (5) Unattacked gates. (6) Reconcile. (7) i. e. Our tears. (8) Stop. (9) Physician.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

1 Cit. First you know, Caius Marcius is chief enemy to the people.

Cit. We know't, we know't.

1 Cit. Let us kill him, and we'll have corn at our own price. Is't a verdict?

Cit. No more talking on't; let it be done: away, away.

2 Cit. One word, good citizens.

scienc'd men can be content to say, it was for his country, he did it to please his mother, and to be partly proud; which he is, even to the altitude of his virtue.

2 Cit. What he cannot help in his nature, you account a vice in him: You must in no way say, b is covetous.

1 Cit. If I must not, I need not be barren of accusations; he hath faults, with surplus, to tire in repetition. [Shouts within.] What shouts are these? The other side o'the city is risen: Why stay we prating here? to the Capitol.

Cit. Come, come.

1 Cit. Soft; who comes here?

Enter Menenius Agrippa.

2 Cit. Worthy Menenius Agrippa; one that hath always loved the people.

1 Cit. He's one honest enough; 'Would, all the

rest were so!

Men. What work's, my countrymen, in hand?

Where go you

With bats and clubs? The matter? Speak, I pray

you.

1 Cit. We are accounted poor citizens: the patricians, good: What authority surfeits on, would relieve us; If they would yield us but the superfluity, while it were wholesome, we might guess, they relieved us humanely; but they think, we are 1 Cit. Our business is not unknown to the senate; too dear: the leanness that afflicts us, the object they have had inkling, this fortnight, what we inof our misery, is as an inventory to particularize tend to do, which now we'll show 'em in deeds. their abundance; our sufferance is a gain to them.-They say, poor suitors have strong breaths; they Let us revenge this with our pikes, ere we become shall know, we have strong arms too. rakes:2 for the gods know, I speak this in hunger Men. Why, masters, my good friends, mine for bread, not in thirst for revenge. honest neighbours,

1 Cit. Would you proceed especially against Caius Marcius?

Cit. Against him first; he's a very dog to the commonalty.

2 Cit. Consider you what services he has done for his country?

1 Cit. Very well; and could be content to give him good report for't, but that he pays himself with being proud.

2 Cit. Nay, but speak not maliciously.

Will you undo yourselves?

1 Cit. We cannot, sir, we are undone already.
Men. I tell you, friends, most charitable care
Have the patricians of you. For your wants,
Your suffering in this dearth, you may as well
Strike at the heaven with your staves, as lift them
Against the Roman state; whose course will on
The way it takes, cracking ten thousand curbs
Of more strong link asunder, than can ever
Appear in your impediment: For the dearth,

1 Cit. I say unto you, what he hath done fa- The gods, not the patricians, make it; and mously, he did it to that end: though soft-con-Your knees to them, not arms, must help. Alack,

(1) Rich.

(2) Thin as rakes.

You are transported by calamity

Thither where more attends you; and you slander

The helms o'the state, who care for you like fathers,|| Whereby they live: And though that all at once,
When you curse them as enemies.
You, my good friends, (this says the belly,) mark

me,

1 Cit. Ay, sir; well, well.
Men.

Though all at once cannot

1 Cit. Care for us!--True, indeed!-They ne'er cared for us yet. Suffer us to famish, and their store-houses crammed with grain; make edicts for usury, to support usurers: repeal daily any whole-See what I do deliver out to each; some act established against the rich; and provide Yet I can make my audit up, that all more piercing statutes daily, to chain up and restrain From me do back receive the flower of all, the poor. If the wars eat us not up, they will; and And leave me but the bran. What say you to't? there's all the love they bear us. 1 Cit. It was an answer How apply you this? Men. The senators of Rome are this good belly, And you the mutinous members: For examine Their counsels, and their cares; digest things rightly,

Men. Either you must

Confess yourselves wondrous malicious,
Or be accus'd of folly. I shall tell you
A pretty tale; it may be, you have heard it;
But, since it serves my purpose, I will venture
To scale't a little more.

1 Cit. Well, I'll hear it, sir: yet you must not think to fob off our disgrace2 with a tale: but, an't please you, deliver.

Men. There was a time, when all the body's
members

Rebell'd against the belly; thus accus'd it :-
That only like a gulf it did remain
l'the midst o'the body, idle and inactive,
Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing
Like labour with the rest; where the other instru-

ments

Did see, and hear, devise, instruct, walk, feel,
And, mutually participate, did minister
Unto the appetite and affection common
Of the whole body. The belly answered,-

1 Cit. Well, sir, what answer made the belly?
Men. Sir, I shall tell you.-With a kind of smile.
Which ne'er came from the lungs, but even thus
(For, look you, I may make the belly smile,
As well as speak,) it tauntingly replied
To the discontented members, the mutinous parts
That envied his receipt; even so most fitly4
As you malign our senators, for that
They are not such as you.

1 Cit.
Your belly's answer: What!
The kingly crowned head, the vigilant eye,
The counsellor heart, the arm our soldier,
Our steed the leg, the tongue our trumpeter,
With other muniments and petty helps
In this our fabric, if that they

Men.

What then?

'Fore me, this fellow speaks!-what then? what then?

1 Cit. Should by the cormorant belly be restrain'd, Who is the sink o'the body,

Men.

Well, what then? 1 Cit. The former agents, if they did complain, What could the belly answer?

Men.

I will tell you;
If you'll bestow a small (of what you have little,)
Patience, a while, you'll hear the belly's answer.
1 Cit. You are long about it.
Men.
Note me this, good friend;
Your most grave belly was deliberate,
Not rash like his accusers, and thus answer'd:
True is it, my incorporate friends, quoth he,
That I receive the general food at first,
Which you do live upon: and fit it is;
Because I am the store-house, and the shop
Of the whole body: But if you do remember,
I send it through the rivers of your blood,
Even to the court, the heart,-to the seat o'the
brain;

And, through the cranks and offices of mar,
The strongest nerves, and small inferior veins,
From me receive that natural competency

(1) Spread it. (2) Hardship. (3) Whereas.

Touching the weal o'the common; you shall find,
No public benefit which you receive,

But it proceeds, or comes, from them to you,
And no way from yourselves.-What do you think?
You the great toe of this assembly?—

1 Cit. I the great toe? Why the great toe?
Men. For that being one o'the lowest, basest,

poorest,

Of this most wise rebellion, thou go'st foremost:
Thou rascal, that art worst in blood, to run
Lead'st first to win some vantage.-
But make you ready your stiff bats and clubs;
Rome and her rats are at the point of battle,
The one side must have bale.6 Hail, noble Marcius!
Enter Caius Marcius.

Mar. Thanks.-What's the matter, you dissen-
tious rogues,
That, rubbing the
poor
itch of your opinion,
Make yourselves scabs?
1 Cit.

We have ever your good word. Mar. He that will give good words to thee, will

flatter

[blocks in formation]

Deserves your hate and your affections are
A sick man's appetite, who desires most that
Which would increase his evil. He that depends
Upon your favours, swims with fins of lead,
And hews down oaks with rushes. Hang ye! Trust
ye?

With every minute you do change a mind;
And call him noble, that was now your hate,
Him vile, that was your garland. What's the
matter,

That in these several places of the city
You cry against the noble senate, who,
Under the gods, keep you in awe, which else
Would feed on one another?-What's their seeking?
Men. For corn at their own rates; whereof, they
say,
The city is well stor❜d.
Mar.
Hang 'em! They say?
They'll sit by the fire, and presume to know
What's done i'the Capitol who's like to rise,
Who thrives, and who declines: side factions, and
give out

Conjectural marriages; making parties strong,
And feebling such as stand not in their liking,
(6) Bane

(4) Exactly.

(5) Windings.

[blocks in formation]

to vent

Our musty superfluity :-See, our best elders. Enter Cominius, Titus Lartius, and other Senators; Junius Brutus, and Sicinius Velutus.

1 Sen. Marcius, 'tis true, that you have lately told us; The Volces are in arms.

Mar. They have a leader, Tullus Aufidius, that will put you to't. I sin in envying his nobility:

And were I any thing but what I am,

I would wish me only he.

Com.
You have fought together.
Mar. Were half to half the world by the ears,

and he

Upon my party, I'd revolt, to make

Only my wars with him: he is a lion
That I am proud to hunt.

1 Sen.
Then, worthy Marcius,
Attend upon Cominius to these wars.
Com. It is your former promise.

Mar.

Sir, it is;

And I am constant.-Titus Lartius, thou
Shalt see me once more strike at Tullus' face:
What, art thou stiff? stand'st out?

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

The Volces have much corn; take these rats thither, To

gnaw their garners 7-Worshipful mutineers, Your valour puts well forth: pray follow.

[Exeunt Senators, Com. Mar. Tit. and Menen Citizens steal away.

Sic. Was ever man so proud as is this Marcius? Bru. He has no equal.

Sic. When we were chosen tribunes for the people,

Bru. Mark'd you his lip, and eyes?

Sic.
Nay, but his taunts.
Bru. Being mov'd, he will not spare to gird9 the

gods.

Sic. Be-mock the modest moon.

Bru. The present wars devour him: he is grown Too proud to be so valiant. Sic. Such a nature, Tickled with good success, disdains the shadow Which he treads on at noon: But I do wonder, His insolence can brook to be commanded Under Cominius.

Bru.

Fame, at the which he aims,In whom already he is well graced, cannot Better be held, nor more attain'd, than by A place below the first; for what miscarries Shall be the general's fault, though he perform To the utmost of a man; and giddy censure Will then cry out of Marcius, O, if he Had borne the business!

Sic.

Besides, if things go well, Opinion, that so sticks on Marcius, shall Of his demerits10 rob Cominius.

[blocks in formation]

Upon his present action.

Bru.

Let's along. [Exeunt. SCENE II.-Corioli. The senate-house. Enter Tullus Aufidius, and certain Senators.

1 Sen. So, your opinion is, Aufidius, That they of Rome are enter'd in our counsels, And know how we proceed. Auf. Is it not yours? What ever hath been thought on in this state, That could be brought to bodily act ere Rome Had circumvention? 'Tis not four days gone, Since I heard thence; these are the words: I think, I have the letter here; yes, here it is: [Reads. They have press'd a power, but it is not known

[blocks in formation]

(4) Faction.

(5) For insurgents to debate upon.

(6) Right worthy of precedence. (7) Granaries.

(9) Sneer.

(10) Demerits and merits had anciently the same meaning. (11) Pre-occupation.

« AnteriorContinua »