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That feeds and breeds by a composture stolen
[Exis. 3 Thief. He has almost charm’d me from my profeßion, by perfuading me to it.
1 I bief. ; 'fis in the malice of mankind, that he thus advises us; not to have us thrive in our mystery.
STEEVENS. Puttenham, in his Arte of English Pofie, 1589, quotes fome one fa“ reasonable good facilitie in crantlation, who finding ceriaine of Anacreon's odes very well translated by Ronsard the French poet-comes our minion, and translates the same out of French into English :” and his frieures upon him evince the publication. Now this identical ode is to be met with in Ronsard ! and as his works are in few hands, I will take the liberty of transcribing it.
“ La terre les eaux va boivant,
Edit. fol. p. 507.
FARMER. 3 'Tis in the malice of mankind, that be ibus advises us; not to bave us thrive in our mystery.] i, e. 'Tis the common malice of mankind
2 Thief. I'll believe him as an enemy; and give over my trade.
1 Thief. + Let us first see peace in Athens.
2 Thief. There is no time so miserable, but a man may be true.
The Woods, and Timon's Cave.
OH, you Gods !
FLAVI U S.
that makes one give such advice to another, as may prove to his detriment. One would think this easy enough. But the Oxford editor reads, 'Tis in his malice to mankind, that be thus advises us, nt to have us thrive in our mystery. Which is making compleat nonsense of the whole reflection: For if Timon gave
this advice out of his malice to his species, he was in earnest, and so far from having any design that they should not terive in their myflery, that his utmost wish was that they might.
WARBURTON. Hanmer's emendation, though not necessary, is very probable, and very unjustly charged with nonsense. The reason of his ad vice, says the thief, is malice to mankind, not any kindness to us, or desire 10 have us thrive in our mystery.
JOHNSON. + Let us first fee peace in Albens, &c.] This and the concluding little speech have in all the editions been placed to one speaker: But, it is evident, the latter words ought to be put in the mouth of the second thief, who is repenting, and leaving off his trade.
s What an alteration of honour has Desperate want made! What viler thing upon the earth, than friends, Who can bring noblest minds to baseft ends! • How rarely does it meet with this time's guise, 7 When man was wish'd to love his enemies: 'Grant, i may ever love, and rather woo 'Those that would mischief me, than those that do!
5 What change of honour desperate want has made !) We should
What an alteration of humour
WARBURTOX. The original copy has,
What an alteration of honour bas desperate want made! The present reading is certainly better, but it has no authority. To change honour to humour is not necessary. An alteration of bonour, is an alterarion of an konourable start to a fate of disgrace.
JOHNSON I have replaced the old reading.
STEEVENS. • How rarely does it meet-] Rarely for fitly; not for seldom.
WARBURTON. M'ben man was wish?d-] We should read will d
He for. gets his Pagan system here again.
WARBURTON. 8 Grant, I may ever love, and rather woo
Thofe i hat would mis bief me, than rbose that do!] But why so: Was there ever such an ass, I mean, as the transcriber. Shakespeare wrote it,
Grant, I may ever love, and rather too,
Tbose ibat would miscbief me, than those that woo! The steward, affected with his master's misfortunes and meditating on the cause of it, says, What an excellent precept is that of loving our enemies ; grant that I might love them to chufe, rather than fatterers. All here is sensible, and to the purpose, and makes the whole coherent. But when once the transcribers had blondered 100 to woo in the first line, they were obliged, in their own defence, in the second line, to alter woo to do. WARBURTON.
In defiance of this criticism, I have ventured to replace the former reading, as more suitable to the general spirit of these scenes, and as free from the absurdities charged upon it. It is plain, that in this whole speech fiends and enemies are taken only for those who profejs friendship and profess enmity; for the friend is !
He has caught me in his eye: I will present
Timon comes forward from bis cave.
Tim. Why dost thou ask that? I have forgot all men.
Flav. An honest poor servant of yours.
Tim. Then I know thee not :
Flav. The Gods are witness,
I love thee, Because thou art a woman, and disclaim'ft Flinty mankind; whose eyes do never give But thorough lust and laughter. 'Pity's Neeping: Strange times, that weep with laughing, not with weeping!
fupposed not to be more kind, but more dangerous than the enemy. In the emendation, those that would mischief are placed in opposition to those tbat woo, but in the speaker's intention those that woo are those that mischief most
. The sense is, Let me rather woo or caress those that would mischief, that profess to mean me mischief, iban those that really do me mischiefs under false professions of kindness. The Spaniards, I think, have this proverb; Defend me from my friends, and from my enemies I will defind myself. This proverb is a sufficient comment on the passage. JOHNSON.
Knave is here in the compounded sense of a servant and rascal.
JOHNSON -Pity's flerping :) I do not know that any correction is pecessary, but I think we might read,
-eyes do never give
Flav. I beg of you to know me, good my lord, To accept my grief, and, whilst this poor wealth lafts, To entertain me as your fteward ftill.
Tim. Had I a steward
Let me behold my face. Surely, this man
Eyes never flow (to give is to diffolve as faline bodies in moit weather) i ut by luft or laughter, undisturbed by emotions of pity.
JOHNSON. It almofit turns my dangerous nature wild.) i. e. It almost turns my dangerous nature to a dangerous nature; for, by dangerous nature is meant wildness. Shakespeare wrote,
It almost turns my dangerous nature mild. i. e. It almost reconciles me again to mankind. For fear of that, be puts in a caution immediately after, that he makes an exception but for one man, To which the Oxford editor says, realè.
WAR BURTON, This emendation is specious, but even this
be controvert ed. To turn wild is to distract. An appearance so unexpected, says Timon, almost turns my favagerejs to diítraction. Accordingly he examines with nicety left his phrenzy, should deceive him,
Let me behold thy face. Surely this man
Was born of woman.
Perpetual, sob:r, Gods!-