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Tim. A fool of thee; depart.
s Tim. Always a villain's office, or a fool's. Doft please thyself in't?
Apem. * moif trees,] Hanmer reads very elegantly, -moss'd trees.
Johnson. Shakespeare uses the same epithet in As you like it, A&IV. “ Under an oak, whose boughs were moss’d with age.”
Tim. What! a knave too?] Mr. Warburton proposes a correction here, which, though it opposes the reading of all the printed copies, has great juftness and propriety in it. He would read;
Wbat ! and know't too? The reasoning of the text, as it stands in the books, is, in some
Apem. If thou didst put this four cold habit on
Tim. Not 8 by his breath, that is more miserable.'
sort, concluding backward ; or rather making a knave's and a villain's office different; which, surely, is absurd. The correction quite removes the absurdity, and gives this sensible rebuke. “What! Do'st thou please thyself in vexing me, and at the same "time know it to be the office of a villain or fol.” TheoBALD.
Such was Dr. Warburton's first conjecture, but afterwards he adopted Sir T. Hanmer's conjecture,
Wbat a knave thou ! Lut there is no need of alteration. Timon had just called Apemantus fool, in consequence of what he had known of him by former acquaintance; but when Apemantus tells him, that he comes 10 vex him, Timon determines that to vex is either the office of a villain or a fool; that to vex by design is villainy, to vex without defgn is folly. He then properly alks Apemantus whether he takes delight in vexing, and when he answers, yes, Timon replies, Wha!! and knave 100? I before only knew thee to be a fool, but I now find thee likewise a knave. This seems to be so clear as not to stand in need of a comment.
JOHNSON. 6 is crown'd before:] Arrives sooner at high wish; that is, at the completion of its wishes.
JOHNSON. 1 Worse than the worsi, content.] This line might have been originally completed in a manner something like the following:
Worse than the worst, contenied is moft happy. Without a supplement like this, no meaning can be drawn from it.
T.T. Best states contentless have a wretched being, a being worse than that of the worst states that are content. This one would think too plain to have been mistaken.
JOHNSON. 8 - by bis breath,-) It means, I believe, by his counsel, by his direction,
Thou are a Nave, whom fortune's tender arm With favour never claspd; but bred a dog. 'Hadst thou, like us, from our · first swath, pro
ceeded Through sweet degrees that this brief world affords, To such as may the passive drugs of it Freely command, thou wouldst have plung’d thyself In general riot; melted down thy youth In different beds of luft; and never learn'd The icy } precepts of respect, but follow'd The sugar'd game before thee.
* But myself,
The e-but bred a dog.) Alluding to the word Cynic, of which feat Apemantus was.
WARBURTON. Hadftbou, like us, -) There is in this speech a fuller haughtiness, and malignant dignity, suitable at once to the lord and the man-hater. The impatience with which he bears to have his luxury reproached by one that never had luxury within his reach, is natural and graceful.
There is in a letter, written by the earl of Esex, juft before his execution, to another nobleman, a passage fomewhat resembling this, with which, I believe every reader will be pleased, though it is so serious and solemn that it can scarcely be inserted without irreverence.
“ God grant your lordship may quickly feel the comfort I now enjoy in my unfeigned converfion, but that you may never feel the torments I have suffered for my long delaying it. I had none but deceivers to call upon me, 10 whom I said, if my ambition could kave entered into their narrow breasts, they would not bave been ja humble; or if my delights had been once tasted by tbem, they would rigt bave been so precise. But your lordship harb one to call upou yox, that knoweth what it is you now enjoy; and wbat the greateft fruit and end is of all contentment that ibis world can afford, Think, therefore, dear earl, that I have staked and buoyed all the ways of pleasure unto you, and left them as sea-marks for you to keep the channel of religious virtue. For shut your eyes never so long, they must be open at the lait, and then you must fay with me, Ibere is no peace to the ungodly.”
JOHNSON. 2 From infancy. Swarb is the dress of a new-born child.
JOHNSON, 3-precepts of respect, -] Of obedience to laws. jounson.
-But myelf,] The connection here requires some attention. Bur is here used to denote oppoftion; but what imme
Who had the world as my confectionary,
diately precedes is not opposed to that which follows. The ad. versative particle refers to the two first lines.
Thou art a Nave, whom fori une's tendir arm
Who l.ad the world as my confectionary, &c. The intermediate lines are to be considered as a parenthesis of passion.
Johnson. that poor rng,) If we read poor rrgue, it will correspond rather better to what follows.
JOHNSON In Richard III. Margaret calls Glorier
of honour. The old reading, I believe, should stand.
STEEVENS. Thou had been knave and flatterir.] Dryden has quoted two verses of Virgil to thew how well he could have written satires. Shakespeare has here given a fpecinien of the same power by a line bitter beyond all bitterness, in which Timon tells Apemantus, that he had not virtue enough for the vices which he condemns.
Dr. Warburton explains wordt by inwejl, which somewhat weakens the sense, and yet leaves it fuficiently vigorous. I have heard Mr. Bourke commend the fubtilty of discrimi.
Tim. Ay, that I am not thee.
Tim. I, that I am one now.
[Eating a rost. Apem. Here. I will mend thy feast.
[Offering bisa anstter. Tim. First mend my company, take away thyself.
Apem. So I shall mend my own, by the lack of thine.
Tim. 'Tis not well mended so, it is but botch'd; If not, I would it were.
Apem. What wouldst thou have to Athens ?
Tim. Thee thither in a whirlwind : if thou wilt, Tell them there I have gold. Look, so I have.
Apem. Here is no use for gold.
Tim. The best and cruelt:
Apem. Where ly’ft o'nights, Timon?
Tim. Under that's above me.
Apem. Where my stomach finds meat; or rather, where I eat it.
Tim. 'Would poison were obedient, and knew my mind!
Apem. Where wouldīt thou send it ?
Apem. The middle of humanity thou never knew'ft, but the extremity of both ends. When thou wait in thy gilt, and thy perfume, they mock'd thee? for too much curiosity ; in thy rags thou knowest none, but nation with which Shakespeare distinguishes the present character of Timon from that of Apemantus, whom to vulgar eyes he would now resemble.
JOHNSON for too much curiosity;] i. e. for too much finical delicacy. The Oxford editor alters it to courtesy.