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Ay, even fuch heaps and fums of love and wealth, As fhall to thee blot out what wrongs were theirs, And write in thee the figures of their love,
Ever to read them thine.
You witch me in it;
Surprize me to the very brink of tears:
And of our Athens (thine, and ours) to take
not whether my reading will be thought to redify it. I take the meaning to be, We will give thee a recompenfe that our offences cannot outweigh, heaps of wealth down by the dram, or delivered according to the exadeft measure. A little diforder may perhaps have happened in tranfcribing, which may be reformed by reading: Ay, ev'n fuch heaps,
And fums of love and wealth, down by the dram,
As Jhall to thee
The speaker means, a recompence that fhall more than counterpoife their offences, though weighed with the moft fcrupulous exact--. nefs. M. MASON.
A recompence fo large, that the offence they have committed, though every dram of that offence fhould be put into the scale, cannot counterpoife it. The recompence will outweigh the offence, which, instead of weighing down the scale in which it is placed, will kick the beam. MALONE.
3 Allow'd with abfolute power,] Allowed is licensed, privileged, uncontrolled. So of a buffoon, in Love's Labour's Loft, it is faid, that he is allowed, that is, at liberty to fay what he will, a priviJeged fcoffer. JOHNSON.
like a boar too savage, doth root up-] This image
And shakes his threat'ning fword
Against the walls of Athens.
TIM. Well, fir, I will; therefore I will, fir;
If Alcibiades kill my countrymen,
Let Alcibiades know this of Timon,
That-Timon cares not. But if he fack fair Athens, And take our goodly aged men by the beards, Giving our holy virgins to the flain
Of contumelious, beaftly, mad-brain'd war; Then, let him know,-and, tell him, Timon speaks it,
In pity of our aged, and our youth,
I cannot choose but tell him, that I care not, And let him tak't at worst; for their knives care
While you have throats to anfwer: for myself,
But I do prize it at my love, before
The reverend'ft throat in Athens. So I leave
As thieves to keepers.
might have been caught from Pfalm lxxx. 13: "The wild boar out of the wood doth root it up" &c. STEEVENS.
5 There's not a whittle in the unruly camp,] A whittle is ftill in the midland counties the common name for a pocket clasp knife, fuch as children ufe. Chaucer fpeaks of a Sheffield thwittell.”
6 of the profperous gods, ] I believe profperous is used here with our poet's ufual laxity, in an active, inftead of a paffive, fenfe: the gods who are the authors of the prosperity of mankind. So, in Othello:
"To my unfolding lend a profperous ear."
I leave you, fays Timon, to the protection of the gods, the great diftributors of prosperity, that they may so keep and guard you, as failors do thieves; i. e. for final punishment. MALONE.
I do not fee why the epithet-prosperous, may not be employed
Stay not, all's in vain. TIM. Why, I was writing of my epitaph, It will be seen to-morrow; My long fickness' Of health, and living, now begins to mend, And nothing brings me all things. Go, live fill; Be Alcibiades your plague, you his,
And laft fo long enough!
We speak in vain.
TIM. But yet I love my country; and am not One that rejoices in the common wreck,
As common bruit doth put it.
That's well spoke. TIM. Commend me to my loving countrymen,1. SEN. These words become your lips as they pass through them.
2. SEN. And enter in Our ears, like great triumphers
In their applauding gates.
TIM. Commend me to them; And tell them, that, to ease them of their griefs, Their fears of hoftile ftrokes, their aches, loffes, Their pangs of love, with other incident throes
here with its common fignification, and mean-the gods who are profperous in all their undertakings. Our author, elsewhere, has bleffed gads, clear gods, &c.; nay, Euripides, in a chorus to his Medea, has not fcrupled to ftyle these men of Athens-OENN παῖδες ΜΑΚΑΡΩΝ. STEEVENS.
7 My long fickness] The disease of life begins to promife me a period. JOHNSON.
"The bruit whereof will bring you many friends."
9 Their pangs of love, &c.] Compare this part of Timon's fpeeck with part of the celebrated foliloquy in Hamlet. STEEVENS!
That nature's fragile veffel doth fuftain
In life's uncertain voyage, I will fome kindness do them: 2
I'll teach them to prevent wild Alcibiades' wrath. 2. SEN. I like this well, he will return again.
TIM. I have a tree, which grows here in my clofe, That mine own ufe invites me to cut down, And fhortly muft I fell it; Tell my friends, Tell Athens, in the fequence of degree,4 From high to low throughout, that whoso please To ftop affliction, let him take his hafie, Come hither, ere my tree hath felt the axe, And hang himself:-I pray you, do my greeting. FLAV. Trouble him no further, thus you fill fhall find him.
I will fome kindness-] i. e. I will do them fome kindnefs; for fuch, elliptically confidered, will be the fenfe of thefe words, independent of the fupplemental-do them, which only ferves to derange the metre, and is, I think, a certain interpolation.
3 I have a tree, &c.] Perhaps Shakspeare was indebted Chaucer's Wife of Bath's Prologue, for this thought. He might however have found it in Painter's Palace of Pleafure, Tom. I. Nov. 28, as well as in feveral other places.. SIGEVENS.
Our author was indebted for this thought to Plutarch's Life of Antony: It is reported of him alfo, that this Timon on a time, (the people being affembled in the market-place, about dispatch of fome affaires, got up into the pulpit for orations, where the orators commonly use to speake unto the people; and filence being made, everie man liftening to hear what he would fay, because it was a wonder to fee him in that place, at length he began to fpeak in this manner: My lordes of Athens, I have a little yard in my house where there groweth a figge tree, on the which many citizens have hanged themfelves; and because I meane to make fome building upon the place, I thought good to let you all understand it, that before the figge tree be cut downe, if any of you be defperate, you may there in time go hang yourselves.' MALONE.
in the fequence of degree,] Methodically, from highest to loweft. JOHNSON.
TIM. Come not to me again: but fay to Athens, Timon hath made his everlasting manfion Upon the beached verge of the falt flood; Which once a day with his emboffed froth" The turbulent furge fhall cover; thither come, And let my grave-ftone be your oracle.Lips, let four words go by, and language end: What is amifs, plague and infection mend! Graves only be men's works; and death, their gain! Sun, hide thy beams! Timon hath done his reign. [Exit TIMON. 1. SEN. His difcontents are unremoveably
Coupled to nature.
2. SEN. Our hope in him is dead: let us return, And ftrain what other ineans is left unto us
In our dear peril.'
It requires fwift foot. [Exeunt.
5 Which once a day] Old 'copy Who. For the correction [whom I am answerable. Whom refers to Timon. All the modern editors (following the fecond folio) read-Which once, &c.
Which, in the fecond folio (and I have followed it) is an apparent correction of Who. Surely, it is the everlasting manfion, or the beach on which it flands, that our author meant to cover with the foam, and not the corpfe of Timon. Thus we often fay that the grave in a churchyard, and not the body within it, is trodden down by cattle, or overgrown with weeds. STEEVENS.
6 embolfed froth - When a deer was run hard and foamed at the mouth, he was faid to be emboss'd. See Vol. IX.
p. 211, n. 2. The thought is from Painter's Palace of Pleasure,
Tom. I. Nov. 28. STEEVENS.
Embofed froth, is fwollen froth; from boffe, Fr. a tumour. The term emboffed, when applied to deer, is from embogar, Span, to call out of the mouth. MALONE.
7 In our dear peril.] So the folios, and rightly. The Oxford editor alters dear to dread, not knowing that dear, in the language of that time, figaified dread, and is fo ufed by Shakspeare in numberless places. WARBURTON.