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And made us speak like friends ; —this man was riding
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.
SCENE IV. The Woods. Timon's Cave, and a
Enter a Soldier, seeking Timon.
1 This passage, Steevens, with great reason, considers corrupt; the awkward repetition of the verb made, and the obscurity of the whole, countenance his opinion. Might we not read, “ Yet our old love had a particular
force, And made us speak like friends ? " 2 The old copy has “Some beast read this.” The emendation is Warburton's.
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.
Noble and young,
So did we woo
These walls of ours
1 Traversed arms are arms crossed.
3 Crouching marrow. The marrow was supposed to be the original of strength. The image is from a camel kneeling to take up his load, who rises when he finds he has as much laid on him as he can bear.
4 Their refers to griefs. “ To give thy rages balm," must be considered as parenthetical.
You have received 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,
All have not offended ;
What thou wilt,
Set but thy foot
Throw thy glove
1 i. e. those who made the motion for your exile.
2 Cunning is used in its old sense of skill or wisdom: extremity of shame that they wanted wisdom in procuring your banishment hath broke their hearts. Theobald had nearly thus interpreted the passage; and Johnson thought he could improve it by reading
“Shame that they wanted, coming in excess
Hath broke their hearts.” 3 i. e. not regular.
That thou wilt use the wars as thy redress,
Then there's my glove;
'Tis most nobly spoken. Alcib. Descend, and keep your words. The Senators descend, and open the gates.
Enter a Soldier. Sol. My noble general, Timon is dead; Entombed upon the very hem o'the sea : And on his gravestone, 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
caitiffs left! Here lie 1, Timon; who, alive, all living men did hate. Pass by, and curse thy fill ; but pass, and stay not here
1 i. e. unattacked gates. According to Johnson, unguarded. 2 i. e. to reconcile them to it.
3 All attempts to extract a meaning from this passage, as it stands, must be vain. We should, perhaps, read :
“ But shall be remitted to your public laws
At heaviest answer.” It is evident that the context requires a word of this import: remunded might serve. The comma at remedied is not in the old copy. Johnson's explanation will then serve, “ Not a soldier shall quit his station, or commit any violence, but he shall answer it regularly to the law."
4 This epitaph is formed out of two distinct epitaphs in North’s Plu
These well express in thee thy latter spirits.
tarch. The first couplet is there said to have been composed by Timon
“But he from rocks that fountains can command
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 endeavored to rectify or explain with due diligence; but, having only one copy, cannot promise myself that my endeavors shall be much applauded.