« ZurückWeiter »
TIMON comes forward from his Cave.
Have you forgot me, sir ? Tim. Why dost ask that? I have forgot all men; Then, if thou grant'st thou’rt a man, I have forgot
I; all that I kept were knaves,
The gods are witness,
you. Tim. What, dost thou weep?—Come nearer;
then I love thee, Because thou art a woman, and disclaim'st Flinty mankind; whose eyes do never give 67, But thorough lust, and laughter. Pity's sleeping; Strange times, that weep with laughing, not with
weeping ! Flav. I beg of you to know me, good my lord, To accept my grief, and, whilst this poor wealth lasts, To entertain me as your steward still.
Tim. Had I a steward so true, so just, and now So comfortable? It almost turns My dangerous nature mild 68. Let me behold
67 To give is to yield, to give way to tears, 68 The old copy reads :
It almost turns My dangerous nature wild.' The emendation is Warburton's. Timon's dangerous nature is his savage wildness, a species of frenzy induced by the baseness and ingratitude of the world. So in Antony and Cleopatra :
• The ingratitude of this Seleucus does
Even make me wild.' It would be idle to talk of turning a' dangerous nature wild;'
Thy face.—Surely this man was born of woman.
pray,—and he is a steward.How fain would I have hated all mankind, And thou redeem'st thyself: But all, save thee, I fell with curses. Methinks thou art more honest now, than wise; For, by oppressing and betraying me, Thou might'st have sooner got another service: For many so arrive at second masters, Upon their first lord's neck. But tell me true (For I must ever doubt, though ne'er so sure), Is not thy kindness subtle, covetous, If not69 a usuring kindness; and as rich men deal gifts, Expecting in return twenty for one ?
Flav. No, my most worthy master, in whose breast Doubt and suspect, alas, are plac'd too late: You should have fear'd false times, when you
did feast: Suspect still comes where an estate is least. That which I show, heaven knows, is merely love, Duty and zeal to your unmatched mind, Care of your food and living: and, believe it, My most honour'd lord, For any
benefit that points to me,
and wealth To requite me, by making rich yourself.
Tim. Look thee,'tis so !—Thou singly honest man, the kindness and fidelity of Timon's steward was more likely to soften and compose him; and he does indeed show himself more mild and gentle to Flavius in consequence, being moved by the tears of his affectionate servant.
69 I think with Mr. Tyrwhitt that If not has slipped in here by an error of the compositor, caught from the Is not of the preceding line. Both sense and metre would be better without it.
Here, take:-the gods out of my misery
woods, And may diseases lick
their false bloods! And so farewell, and thrive. Flav.
0, let me stay, And comfort you, my master. Tim.
If thou hat'st Curses, stay not; fly whilst thou’rt bless'd and free: Ne'er see thou man, and let me ne'er see thee.
SCENE I. The same. Before Timon's Cave. Enter Poet and Painter?; TIMON behind, unseen.
Pain. As I took note of the place, it cannot be far where he abides.
Poet. What's to be thought of him? Does the rumour hold for true, that he is so full of gold?
70 i. e. away from human habitation.
| The poet and painter were within view when Apemantus parted from Timon; they must therefore be supposed to have been wandering about the woods in search of Timon's cave, and to have heard in the interim the particulars of Timon's bounty to the thieves and the steward. But (as Malone observes) Shakspeare was not attentive to these minute particulars, and if he and the audience knew these circumstances, he would not scruple to attribute the knowledge to persons who perhaps had not yet an opportunity of acquiring it.'
Pain. Certain : Alcibiades reports it; Phrynia and Timandra had gold of him: he likewise enriched poor straggling soldiers with great quantity: 'Tis said, he gave unto his steward a mighty sum.
Poet. Then this breaking of his has been but a try for his friends.
Pain. Nothing else; you shall see him a palm in Athens again, and flourish with the highest. Therefore, 'tis not amiss, we tender our loves to him, in this supposed distress of his : it will show honestly in us; and is very likely to load our purposes with what they travel for, if it be a just and true report that goes of his having.
Poet. What have you now to present unto him?
Pain. Nothing at this time but my visitation : only I will promise him an excellent piece.
Poet. I must serve him so too; tell him of an intent that's coming toward him.
Pain. Good as the best. Promising is the very air o'the time: it
eyes of expectation; performance is ever the duller for his act; and, but in the plainer and simpler kind of people, the deed of sayingis quite out of use. To promise is most courtly and fashionable: performance is a kind of will or testament, which argues a great sickness in his judgment that makes it
Tim. Excellent workman! Thou canst not paint a man so bad as is thyself.
Poet. I am thinking, what I shall say I have provided for him : It must be a personating: of himself: a satire against the softness of prosperity;
2 The doing of that we have said we would do. Thus in Hamlet :-
• As he in his peculiar act and force
May give his saying deed.' 3 Personating for representing simply. The subject of this projected satire was Timon's case, not his person.
with a discovery of the infinite flatteries, that follow youth and opulency.
Tim. Must thou needs stand for a villain in thine own work? Wilt thou whip thine own faults in other men? Do so, I have gold for thee.
Poet. Nay, let's seek him:
Tim. I'll meet you at the turn. What a god's gold, That he is worship’d in a baser temple, Than where swine feed! 'Tis thou that rigg'st the bark, and plough’st the
foam; Settlest admired reverence in a slave: To thee be worship! and thy saints for aye Be crown’d with plagues, that thee alone obey! 'Fit I do meet them.
[Advancing. Poet. Hail, worthy Timon ! Pain.
Our late noble master.
4 • Black-corner'd night. Many conjectures have been offered about this passage, which appears to me a corruption of the text. Some have proposed to read black-coned, alluding to the conical form of the earth's shadow; others black-crown'd, and black-cover'd. It appears to me that it should be black-curtain'd. We have the blanket of the dark’ in Macbeth, ' Night's black mantle' in the Third Part of King Henry VI. and the First Part of the same drama :
night is fled, Whose pitchy mantle overveil'd the earth.' I cannot think with Steevens that' Night as obscure as a dark corner' is meant.