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Thy grave-flone daily: make thine epitaph,
That death in me at others' lives may laugh.
O thou fweet king-killer, and dear divorce


[Looking on the gold.
'Twixt natural fon and fire! thou bright defiler
Of Hymen's pureft bed! thou valiant Mars!
Thou ever young, fresh, lov'd, and delicate wooer,
Whose blufh doth thaw the confecrated fnow
That lies on Dian's lap!3 thou visible god,
That folder'ft clofe impoffibilities,

And mak'ft them kifs! that fpeak'st with every

To every purpofe! O thou touch of hearts! 4
Think, thy flave man rebels; and by thy virtue
Set them into confounding odds, that beafts
May have the world in empire!

'Would 'twere fo;-
But not till I am dead!-I'll fay, thou haft gold:
Thou will be throng'd to fhortly.



? 'Twixt natural fon and fire!]

Διὰ τετον ἐκ ἀδελφὸς

Διὰ τῦτον ἐ τοκῆες. Anat. JOHNSON,

3 Whose blush doth thaw the confecrated fnow

Throng'd to?


That lies on Dian's lap!] The imagery is here exquifitely

beautiful and fublime.. WARBURTON.

Dr. Warburton might have faid Here is a very elegant turn given to a thought more coarfely expreffed in King Lear:


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yon fimpering dame,

"Whofe face between her forks prefages fnow."


O thou touch of hearts!] Touch, for touchflone. So, in

King Richard III:

"O, Buckingham, now do I play the touch,

To try if thou be'ft current gold --,' STEEVENS.

TIM. Thy back, I pr'ythee.

Live, and love thy mifery!
TIM. Long live fo, and fo die!-I am quit.—

[Exit APEMANtus. More things like men?5-Eat, Timon, and abhor them.

Enter Thieves.

1. THIEF. Where should he have this gold? It is fome poor fragment, fome flender ort of his remainder: The mere want of gold, and the fallingfrom of his friends, drove him into this melancholy.

2. THIEF. It is nois'd, he hath a mass of treasure. 3. THIEF. Let us make the affay upon him? if he care not for't, he will fupply us eafily; If he covetously reserve it, how fhall's get it?

2. THIEF. True; for he bears it not about him, 'tis hid.

1. THIEF. Is not this he?

More things like men?] This line, in the old edition, is given to Apemantus, but it apparently belongs to Timon. Sir Thomas Hanmer has tranfpofed the foregoing dialogue according to his own mind, not unfkilfully, but with unwarrantable licence.


I believe, as the name of Apemantus was prefixed to this line, inftead of Timon, fo the name of Timon was prefixed to the preceding line by a fimilar miflake. That line feems more proper in the mouth of Apemantus; and the words—I am quit, feem to mark his exit. MALONE.

The words I am quit, in my opinion, belong to Timon, who means that he is quit or clear, has at laft god rid of Apemantus; is delivered from his company. This phrafe is yet current among the vulgar. STEEVENS.

Enter Thieves.] The old copy reads, Enter the Banditti.

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2. THIEF. 'Tis his defcription. 3. THIEF. He; I know him. THIEVES. Save thee, Timon.. TIM. Now, thieves?

THIEVES. Soldiers, not thieves.

TIM. Both too; and women's fons.

THIEVES. We are not thieves, but men that much do want.

TIM. Your greatest want is, you want much of


you want much of meat.] Thus both the player and poetical editor have given us this paffage; quite fand-blind, as honeft Launcelot says, to our author's meaning. If these poor thieves wanted meat, what greater want could they be cursed with, as they could not live on grafs, and berries, and water? but I dare warrant the poet wrote:

you much want of meet.

i. e. Much of what you ought to be; much of the qualities befitting you as human creatures. THEOBALD.

Such is Mr. Theobald's emendation, in which he is followed by Dr. Warburton. Sir T. Hanmer reads:

-you want much of men.

They have been all busy without neceffity. Obferve the series of the conversation. The thieves tell him, that they are men that much do want. Here is an ambiguity between much want, and want of much. Timon takes it on the wrong fide, and tells them that their greatest want is, that, like other men, they want much of meat; then telling them where meat may be had, he afks, Want? why want? JOHNSON.

Perhaps we should read:

Your greatest want is, you want much of me.

rejecting the two laft letters of the word. The fenfe will then be-your greateft want is that you expe& fupplies of me from whom you can reasonably exped nothing. Your neceffities are indeed desperate, when you apply for relief to one in my fituation. Dr. Farmer, however, with no fmall probability, would point the paffage as follows:

Your greatest want is, you want much. Of meat
Why Jhould you want? Behold, &c.


Why fhould you want? Behold, the earth hath

Within this mile break forth a hundred fprings:
The oaks bear maft, the briars scarlet hips;
The bounteous housewife, nature, on each bufh
Lays her full mefs before you. Want? why want?
1. THIEF. We cannot live on grafs, on berries,


As beafts, and birds, and fifhes.

TIM. Nor on the beafts themfelves, the birds,
and fifhes?

You must eat men.
Yet thanks I muft you con,
That you are thieves profefs'd; that you work not
In holier shapes for there is boundless theft
In limited profeffions. Rafcal thieves,


Here's gold: Go, fuck the fubtle blood of the


Till the high fever seeth your blood to froth, And fo fcape hanging: truft not the physician; His antidotes are poifon, and he flays

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I do not suppose these to be imitations, but only to be fimilar thoughts on fimilar occafions. JOHNSON.


Yet thanks I must you con,]

To con thanks is a very common expreffion among our old dramatick writers. So, in The Story of King Darius, 1565, an interlude :

"Yea and well faid, I con you no thanke."

Again, in Pierce Pennileffe his Supplication to the Devil, by Nafh, 1592: "It is well done to practife my wit; but I believe our lord will con thee little thanks for it." STEEVENS.

7 In limited profeffions.] Limited, for legal. WArburton. Regular, orderly, profeffions. So, in Macbeth:

"For 'tis my limited fervice."

i. e. my appointed service, prescribed by the neceffary duty and rules of my office. MALONE,


More than you rob: take wealth and lives together;
Do villainy, do, fince you profefs to do't,'
Like workmen. I'll example you with thievery:
The fun's a thief, and with his great attraction
Robs the vaft fea: the moon's an arrant thief,
And her pale fire fhe fnatches from the fun:
The fea's a thief, whofe liquid furge refolves
The moon into falt tears:9 the earth's a thief,

8 - fince you profefs to do't,] The old copy has-proteft. The correction was made by Mr. Theobald. MALONE.

9 The fea's a thief, whofe liquid furge refolves

The moon into falt tears:] The moon is fuppofed to be humid, and perhaps a fource of humidity, but cannot be resolved by the Jurges of the fea. Yet I think moon is the true reading. Here is a circulation of thievery described: The fun, moon, and sea all rob, and are robbed. JOHNSON.

He fays fimply, that the fun, the moon, and the fea, rob one another by turns, but the earth robs them all: the fea, i. e. liquid furge, by fupplying the moon with moisture, robs her in turn of the foft tears of dew which the poets always fetch from this planet. Soft for falt is an eafy change. In this fenfe Milton fpeaks of her moift continent. Paradife Loft, Book V. 1. 422. Aud, in Hamlet, Horatio fays:

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Upon whose influence Neptune's empire ftands."


We are not to attend on fuch occafions merely to philofophical truth; we are to confider what night have been the received or vulgar notions of the time. The populace, in the days of Shakfpeare, might poffibly have confidered the waining of the moon as a gradual diffolution of it, and have attributed to this melting of the moon, the increase of the sea at the time the disappears. They might, it is true, be told, that there is a fimilar increase in the tides when the moon becomes full; but when popular notions are once eftablished, the reafons urged against them are but little attended to. It may also be observed, that the moon, when viewed through a telescope, has a humid appearance, and feems to have drops of water fufpended from the rim of it; to which circumflance Shakspeare probably alludes in Macbeth, where Hecate fays: "Upon the corner of the moon,

"There hangs a vaporous drop," &c. M. MAson.

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