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Enter certain Senators, and pass over.

PAIN. HOW this lord's follow'd!
POET. The fenators of Athens;-Happy men!
PAIN. Look, more!


POET. You fee this confluence, this great flood of visitors. 4

I have, in this rough work, fhap'd out a man,
Whom this beneath world5 doth embrace and hug
With ampleft entertainment: My free drift
Halts not particularly, but moves itself



In a wide fea of wax: no levell'd malice &

3 Happy men!] Mr. Theobald reads - happy man; and certainly the emendation is fufficiently plausible, though the old reading may well ftand.


The 'text is right. The poet envies or admires the felicity of the fenators in being Timon's friends, and familiarly admitted to his table, to partake of his good cheer, and experience the effects of his bounty. RITSON.



this confluence, this great flood of visitors,]

Mane falutantum totis vomit ædibus undam. JOHNSON.

this beneath world] So, in Meafure for Meafure, we "This under generation;" and in King Richard II: “— -the lower world. STEEVENS.


6 Halts not particularly, ] My defign does not ftop at any fingle charader. JOHNSON.

7 In a wide fea of wax: ]

Anciently they wrote upon waxen tables with an iron file. HANMER.

I once thought with Sir T. Hanmer, that this was only an al. lufion to the Roman practice of writing with a file on waxeu tablets; but it appears that the fame cuftom prevailed in England about the year 1395, and might have been heard of by Shakspeare. It seems alfo to be pointed out by implication in many of our old collegiate eftablishments. See Warton's Hiftory of English Poetry, Vol. III. p. 151. STEEVENS.

Mr. Aftle observes in his very ingenious work On the Origin and Progress of Writing, quarto, 1784, that the practice of writing on.

Infects one comma in the courfe I hold;
But flies an eagle flight, bold, and forth on,
Leaving no tract behind.

PAIN. How fhall I understand you?


POET. I'll unbolt to you. You see how all conditions, how all minds, (As well of glib and flippery creatures, as Of grave and auftere quality,) tender down Their fervices to lord Timon: his large fortune,' Upon his good and gracious nature hanging, Subdues and properties to his love and tendance All forts of hearts; yea, from the glafs-fac'd flatterer 4


To Apemantus, that few things loves better

table-books covered with wax was not entirely laid afide till the commencement of the fourteenth century." As Shakspeare, I believe, was not a very profound English antiquary, it is furely improbable that he thould have had any knowledge of a practice which had been difufed for more than two centuries before he was born. The Roman practice he might have learned from Golding's Tranflation of the ninth book of Ovid's Metamorphofes:

"Her right hand holds the pen, her left doth hold the emptie waxe, &c. MALONE.

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no levell'd malice &c.] To level is to aim, to point the fhot at a mark. Shakspeare's meaning is, my poem is not a fatire written with any particular view, or levelled at any fingle person; I fly like an eagle into the general expanfe of life, and leave not, by any private mifchief, the trace of my paffage. JOHNSON.


I'll unbolt — ] I'll open, I'll explain. JOHNSON.

glib and flippery creatures, ]

Sir T. Hanmer, and Dr. Warburton after him, read. -natures. Slippery is Smooth, unrefifting.

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"Even to the very quality of


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my lord: STEEVENS,

glafs-fac'd flatterer That fhows in his look, as by

refledion, the looks of his patron. JOHNSON.

Than to abhor himfelf: even he drops down. The knee before him,5 and returns in peace

Moft rich in Timon's nod.


PAIN. I faw them fpeak together. POET. Sir, I have upon a high and pleasant hill, Feign'd Fortune to be thron'd: The bafe o'the





Is rank'd with all deferts, all kind of natures,
That labour on the bofom of this sphere
To propagate their flates: amongst them all,
Whofe eyes are on this fovereign lady fix'd,
One do I perfonate of lord Timon's frame,
Whom Fortune with her ivory hand wafts to her;
Whofe prefent grace to prefent flaves and fervants
Tranflates his rivals.

even he drops down &.] Either Shakspeare meant to put a falfehood into the mouth of his poet, or had not yet thoroughly planned the chara&er of Apemantus; for in the enfuing scenes, his behaviour is as cynical to Timon as to his followers.


The Poet, feeing that Apemantus paid frequent visits to Timon, naturally concluded that he was equally courteous with his other guefts. RITSON.

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6 I faw them speak together.] The word together, which only ferves to interrupt the measure, is, I believe, an interpolation, being occafionally omitted by our author, as unneceffary to fenfe, on fimilar occafious. Thus, in Measure for Measure: - Bring me to hear them fpeak;" i. e. to fpeak together, to converfe. Again, in another of our author's plays: "When spoke you laft?" Nor is the fame phrafeology, even at this hour, out of use.

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of men. JOHNSON.


Cover'd with ranks of all kinds

8 To propagate their fates:] To advance or improve their various conditions of life. JOHNSON.

9 Feign'd Fortune to be thron'd:

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on this fovereign lady &c.] So, in The Tempeft:
bountiful fortune,

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"Now my dear lady, &c, MALONE.


'Tis conceiv'd to scope."

This throne, this Fortune, and this hill, methinks, With one man beckon'd from the reft below, Bowing his head against the fteepy mount

To climb his happinefs, would be well exprefs'd In our condition. 3

POET. Nay, fir, but hear me on: All thofe which were his fellows but of late, (Some better than his value,) on the moment Follow his ftrides, his lobbies fill with tendance, Rain facrificial whifperings in his ear, Make facred even his flirrop, and through him Drink the free air. 5

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Ay, marry, what of thefe?

-conceiv'd to Scope.] Properly imagined, appofitely, to the purpose. JOHNSON.

3 In our condition. ] Condition for art. WARBURTON.

Rain facrificial whisperings in his ears, ] The feufe is obvious, and means, in general, flattering him. The particular kind of Aattery may be colle&ed from the circumftance of its being offered up in whispers: which fhows it was the calumniating those whom Timon hated or envied, or whofe vices were oppofite to his own. This offering up, to the perfon flattered, the murdered reputation of others, Shakspeare, with the utmost beauty of thought and expreffion, calls facrificial whifp'rings, alluding to the vi&ims offered up to idols. WARBURTON.

Whisperings attended with fuch refpe& and veneration as accompany facrifices to the gods. Such, I fuppofe, is the meaning. MALONE.

6 through him

Drink the free air. ] That is, catch his breath in affected fond. nefs. JOHNSON,

A fimilar phrase occurs in Ben Jonfon's Every Man in his Humour: By this air, the most divine tobacco I ever drank!" To drink, in both these instances, fignifies to inhale. STEEVENS. So, in our autho'rs Venus and Adonis :

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POET. When Fortune, in her shift and change of mood,

Spurns down her late belov'd, all his dependants, Which labour'd after him to the mountain's top, Even on their knees and hands, let him flip down, Not one accompanying his declining foot.

PAIN. "Tis common:

A thousand moral paintings I can show," That shall demonftrate these quick blows of fortune 8


More pregnantly than words. Yet you do well, To fhow lord Timon, that mean eyes have feen The foot above the head.

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7 A thousand moral paintings I can show,] Shakspeare feems to intend in this dialogue to exprefs fome competition between the two great arts of imitation. Whatever the poet declares himself to have shown, the painter thinks he,could have shown better. JOHNSON.





thefe quick blows of fortune-] [Old copy fortune's-] This was the phrafeology of Shakspeare's time, as I have already observed in a note on King John, Vol. XI. p. 322, n. 3. moderu editors read, more elegantly,, of fortune. The alteration was firft made in the fecond folio, from ignorance of Shakspeare's di&ion. MALONE.

Though I cannot impute fuch a correction to the ignorance of the person who made it, I can easily suppose what is here ftyled the phraseology of Shakspeare, to be only the mistake of a vulgar tranfcriber or printer. Had our author been conftant in his use of this mode of fpeech (which is not the cafe) the propriety of Mr. Malone's remark would have been readily admitted. STEEVENS. mean eyes] i. e. inferior fpectators. So, in Wotton's Letter to Bacon, dated March the laft, 1613: "Before their majefties, and almoft as many other meaner eyes," &c. TOLLET.


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