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* TIMON OF ATHENS.) The ftory of the Misaothrope is told in almost every colledion of the time, and particularly in two books, with which Shakspeare was intimately acquainted; the Palace of Pleasure, and the English Plutarch. Indeed from a passage in an old play, called Jack Drum's Entertainment, I conje&ure thai he bad before made his appearance ou tbe ftage. Farmer.
The passage in Jack Drun's Entertainment or Pasquil and Katherine, 1601, is this:
" Come, I'll be as sociable as Timon of Athens." But the allusion is to Righi, that it might as well have been borrowed from Plutarch or the novel.
Mr. Struti tbe engraver, to whom our antiquaries are under no ince afiderable obligations, has in his poftcilion a MS. play on this subje&. It appears to have been written, or transcribed, about the year 1600. There is a scene in it releuibling Shakspeare's banquet given by Timon iu lis flatterers. Julicad of warm water he sets before them fones painted like artichokes, aod afterwards beats them out of the rooni. He theu retires to the woods, attended by his faithful Iteward, wbo, (like Kent.in King Lear) lias disguised bimself to continue bis services to his master. Timon, in
the last ad is followed by his fickie mistress, &c. after he was reported to have discovered a hidden treasure by digging. The piece itself (though it appears to be the work of an academick) is a wretched one. The perfona dramatis are as follows:
• The actors names.
Two lying philosophers. • Gruonio, a lean förvant of Philargurus. 66 Olba, Tymou's builer. • Pædio, Gelafimus page. - Two lerjeants. " a failor.
Callimela, Philargurus caughter. " Blaiie, her pratiling nurse.
" SCENE, Athens."
Shakspeare undoubtedly formed this play on the passage in Pla. tarch's Life of Antony relative to Timon, and not on the twentyeighth novel of tbe first volume of Painter's Palace of Pleasure ; because he is there merely described as " a man-hater, of a frange and beaftly nature," without any cause assigned; whereas Plutarch furnilhed our author with the following hint to work' upon. “An. tonius forlook the citie, and companie of his friendes,– saying, that he would lead Timon's life, because he had the like 'wrong offered him, that was offered unto Timon; and for the unthankfulness of those he had done good unto, and whom he tooke to be his friendes, he was angry with all men, and would trus no man.
To the manufcript play mentioned by Mr. Steevens, our author I have no doubt, was also indebted for some other circumstances.' Here he found the faithful fteward, the banquet-scene, and the story of Timoo's being poffefred of great sums of gold which he lrad dung up in the woods : a circumftance which he could not have had from Lucian, there being then no tranflation of the dialogue that relates to tbis subje&.
Spon says, there is a building near Atheos, yet remaining, called Timon's Tower.
Timon of Athens was written, I imagine, in the year 1610. Sợc An Attempt to ascertain the Order of Shakspeare's Plays, Vol. II.
Timon, a noble Athenian.
Servants to Timon's Credilors.
two of Timon's Creditors.
Other Lords, Senators, Officers, Soldiers, Thieves,
* Phrynia, ] (or, as this name should have been written by Shakspeare, Phryne, ) was an Athenian courtezan so exquisitely beautiful, that when her judges were proceeding to condemn her for numerous and enormous offences, a fight of her bosom (which, as we leara from Quintilian, had been artfully denuded by her advocate, disarmed the court of its severity, aod secured her life from the fentence of the law. STEEVENS.
Enter Poet, Painter, Jeweller, Merchant,
Others, at several doors.
Poet. Good day, sir.
I am glad you are well. Poet. I have not seen you long; How goes tho
world? Pain. It wears, fir, as it grows. Poet.
Ay that's well known: But what particular rarity? - what ftrange,
Jeweller, Merchant, ]
In tbe old copy :
Enter c. Merchant and Mercer, &c. STEEVENS.
3 Poet. Good day, fer. ] It would be lefs abrupt to begin the
play thus :
Poct. Good day.
Pain. Good day, fir: I am glad you're well. FARMER. The present deficiency in the metre also pleads strongly io behalf of the supplemental words proposed by Dr. Farmer. STEEVENS.
4 But what particular rarity ? &c. ] I cannot but think that this passage is at present in confusion. The poet asks a queftion, and Aays not for an answer, nor has his queftion any apparent drift or confequence. I would range the passage thus :
Poet. Ay, that's well known.
Poet, Magick of bounty! &c. It may not be iar properly observed here, that as there is only one copy of this play, no help can be had from collation, and more liberiy must be allowed to conje&ure. JOHNSON.
Which manifold record not matches? See,
Pain. I know them both; t'other's a jeweller.
Nay, that's most fix'd. Mer. A most incomparable man; breath'd, as
To an untirable and continuate goodness : 4
Johnson supposes that there is some error in this passage, because the Poei alks a question, and ftays not for an answer; and there. fore fuggetts a new arrangement of it. But there is nothing more common in real life than questions asked in that manner. Aud with respea to bis proposed arrangement, I can by no njeans approve of it; for as the Poet and the Painter are going to pay their court to Timon, it would be strange if the latter thould point out to the former, as a particular rerily, which manifold record could agt match, a merchant and a jeweller, who came there on the same errand. M. MASON.
The poet is led by what the painter has föid, to ask whether' any thing very frange and unparalleled bad lately happened, witẠout any expedation that any such had bappened: - and is prevented from waiting for an answer by observing so many conjured by Timon's bounty to alteod. See, Magick of bounty!" &c. This surely is very natural. MALONE.
breath'd, as it were, To an untirable and continuate goodnefs: ] Breathed is inured by coxftant practice; so trained as not to be wearied. To breathe a horse, is to exercise him for the course. JOHNSON. So, in Hamlet:
" It is the breathing time of day with me." Steevens.
continuate - 1 This word is used by many ancient English writers. Thus, by Chapman, in his verfion of the fourth book of the Ody: " Her handmaids join'd in a continyale yell."
STEEVENS. He passes, ) i. e, exceeds, goes beyond common bounds. So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor :
“ Why this poles, master Ford." STEEVENS.