« ZurückWeiter »
We were not all unkind, nor all deserve
These walls of ours
fall For private faults in them. 2 Sen.
Nor are they living, Who were the motives that you first went out); Shame, that they wanted cunningo, in excess Hath broke their hearts. March, noble lord, Into our city with thy banners spread : By decimation, and a tithed death (If thy revenges hunger for that food, Which nature loathes), take thou the destin'd tenth; And by the hazard of the spotted die, Let die the spotted. 1 Sen.
All have not offended: For those that were, it is not square?, to take, On those that are, revenges: crimes, like lands, Are not inherited. Then, dear countryman, Bring in thy ranks, but leave without thy rage: Spare thy Athenian cradle, and those kin, Which, in the bluster of thy wrath, must fall
5 • The motives that you first went out,' i. e. those who made the motion for your exile. This word is used in the same manner in Troilus and Cressida :
her wanton spirits look out At every joint and motive of her body.' 6 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.' Johnson perbaps was not aware of the old meaning of cunning. 7.i. e. not regular, not equitable.
Jovis incunabula Crete. Ovid Metam. viii. 99.
With those that have offended : like a shepherd,
What thou wilt,
Set but thy foot
Throw thy glove; Or any
token of thine honour else,
Then there's my glove;
more noble meaning,—not a man Shall
pass his quarter, or offend the stream Of regular justice in your city's bounds, But shall be remedied, to your public laws At heaviest answer11.
i. e. Unattacked gates. 10 i. e. to reconcile them to it. The general sense of this word in Shakspeare. Thus in Cymbeline :- I was glad I did atone my countryman and you.'
11 All attempts to extract a meaning from this passage as it stands must be vain. We should certainly read :
• But shall be remitted to your public laws
At heaviest answer.' It is evident that the context requires a word of this import : remanded might serve. The comma at remedied is not in the old copy. Remedied to, as Steevens observes, is nonsense. Johnson's explanation will then serve, ‘Not a soldier shall quit his station, or commit any violence, but be shall answer it regularly to the law.'
"Tis most nobly spoken. Alcib. Descend, and keep your words.
The Senators descend, and
hem o'the sea :
wretched soul bereft: Seek not my name: A plague consume you wicked
caitiffs left! Here lie I Timon; who, alive, all living men did
hate: Pass by, and curse thy fill; but pass, and stay not
here thy gait 12
12 This epitaph is formed out of two distinct epitaphs in North's Plutarch. The first couplet is there said to have been composed by Timon himself; the second by the poet Callimachus. The epithet caitiffs was probably suggested by another epitaph, to be found in Kendal's Flowers of Epigrammes, 1577, and in the Palace of Pleasure, vol. i. Nov. 28. 13 So in Drayton's Miracles of Moses :
• But he from rocks that fountains can command,
Cannot yet stay the fountains of his brain.' VOL. VIII.
And I will use the olive with my sword:
war; make each Prescribe to other, as each other's leech 15. Let our drums strike.
THE play of Timon is a domestick 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 endeavoured to rectify, or explain with due diligence; but having only one copy, cannot promise myself that my endeavours shall be much applauded.