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Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty:
Thy drugs are quick.
[Drinks the poifon. Thus with a kifs I die.
merit of the alterations made in it, than for any fingular beauty of its own; Romeo's furviving till Juliet awakens, is certamly productive of great beauties, particularly in the acting. And, indeed, this play of our author's has met with better fuccefs, than any other which has been attempted to be altered: whoever reads Orway's Caius Marius will foon be convinc'd of this; and it is to be with'd, none would prefume to build upon ShakeSpear's foundation, but fuch as are equal mafters with Orway.
THIS play (fays Johnfon) is one of the most pleasing of out author's performances. The fcenes are bufy and various, the incidents numerous and important, the catastrophe irresistibly affecting, and the procefs of the action carried on with fuch probability, at least with such congruity to popular opinions, as tragedy requires.
Here is one of the few attempts of Shakespear to exhibit the converfation of gentlemen, to reprefent the airy fprightlinefs of juvenile elegance. Mr. Dryden mentions a tradition, which might eafily reach his time, of a declaration made by Shakespear, that he was obliged to kill Mercutio in the third act, left he should have been killed by him. Yet he thinks him no fuch formidable perfon, but that he might have lived through the play, and died in his bed, without danger to a poet. Dryden well knew, had he been in quest of truth, that, in a pointed fentence, more regard is commonly had to the words than the thought, and that it is very feldoni to be rigorously understood. Mercutio's wit, gaiety, and courage, will always procure him friends that with him a longer life; but his death is not precipitated, he has lived out the time allotted him in the conftruction of the play; nor do I doubt the ability of Shakespear to have continued his exiftence, though fome of his fallics are perhaps out of the reach of Dryden; whofe genius was not very fertile of merriment, nor ductile to humour, but acute, argumentative, comprehenfive, and fublime.
HE painting is almoft the natural man:
SCENE V. The Pleafure of doing Good.
Oh, you gods (think I), what need we have any friends, if we fhould never have need of 'em? they would most resemble fweet inftruments hung up in cafes, that keep their founds to themfelves. Why, I have often wish'd myself poorer, that I might come nearer to you: we are born to do benefits. And what better or properer can we call our own, than the riches of our friends? O, what a precious comfort 'tis to have fo many, like brothers, commanding one another's fortunes?
So the gods bless me,
When all our offices have been opprest
With riotous feeders; when our vaults have wept`
SCENE V. The Ingratitude of Timon's Friends.
They anfwer in a joint and corporate voice, That now they are at fall, want treasure, cannot Do what they would; are forry, you are honourable— But yet they could have wifht-they know notSomething had been amiss—a noble nature May catch a wrench-would all were well-'tis pity—
(1) Cock,] i. e. a cockloft, garret: and, a wafeful cock, fignifies, a garret lying in wafte, neglected, put to no use. Oxford editor.
And fo intending other ferious matters,
Tim. You gods reward them!
ACT III. SCENE II.
Miferable Shifts of a falfe Friend.
-My honoured lord
[To Lucius. Luc. Servilius! you are kindly met, Sir; fare thee well, commend me to thy honourable virtuous lord, my very exquifite friend.
Ser. May it pleafe your honour, my lord hath
Luc. Ha! what hath he fent? I am fo endeared to that lord; he's ever fending: how fhall I thank him, think'ft thou? and what hath he fent now?
Ser. H'as only fent his prefent occafion now, my lord; requesting your lordship to fupply his inftant ufe, with fifty talents.
Luc. I know his lordship is but merry with me, he cannot want fifty-five hundred talents.
Ser. But in the mean time he wants lefs, my lord. If his occafion were not virtuous,
I should not urge half fo faithfully.
Luc. Doft thou fpeak ferioufly, Servilius?
Luc. What a wicked beast was I, to disfurnish myfelf
(2) Fractions] i. e. These breaks in fpeech: fuch as are expreft above.