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FLAV.I would, I could not think it; That thought is bounty's foe;
Being free itself, it thinks all others fo. [Exeunt.
A Room in Lucullus's Houfe..
FLAMINIUS waiting. Enter a Servant to him.
SERV. I have told my lord of you, he is coming down to you.
FLAM. I thank you, fir.
SERV. Here's my lord.
LUCUL. [Afide.] One of lord Timon's men? a gift, I warrant. Why, this hits right; I dreamt of a filver bafon and ewer to-night. Flaminius,
▲ I would, I could not think it; &c.] I concur in opinion with fome former editors, that the words. think it, should be omitted. Every reader will mentally infert them from the fpeech of Timon, though they are not expreffed in that of Flavius. The laws of metre, in my judgement, fhould fuperfede the authority of the players, who appear in many inftances to have taken a defigned ellipfis for an error of omiffion, to the repeated injury of our author's verfification. I would read:
I would, I could not: That thought's bounty's foe
free] is liberal, not parfimonious. JOHNSON. a filver bafon and ewer- -] Thefe utenfils of filver being much in request in Shakspeare's time, he has, as ufual, not scrupled
honest Flaminius; you are very refpectively welcome, fir.'-Fill me fome wine-[Exit Servant.] And how does that honourable, complete, freehearted gentleman of Athens, thy very bountiful good lord and mafter?
FLAM. His health is well, fir.
LUCUL. I am right glad that his health is well, fir: And what haft thou there under thy cloak, pretty Flaminius?
FLAM. 'Faith, nothing but an empty box, fir; which, in my lord's behalf, I come to entreat your honour to fupply; who, having great and inftant occafion to use fifty talents, hath fent to your lordship to furnish him; nothing doubting your present affiftance therein.
LUCUL. La, la, la, la,-nothing doubting, fays he? alas, good lord! a noble gentleman 'tis, if he would not keep fo good a house. Many a time and often I have dined with him, and told him on't; and come again to fupper to him, of purpose to have him spend lefs: and yet he would embrace no counsel, take no warning by my coming. Every
to place them in the house of an Athenian nobleman. So again, in The Taming of the Shrew:
my houfe within the city
"Is richly furnished with plate and gold;
Bafons and ewers to lave her dainty hands."
See Vol. IX. p. 319, n. 8. MALONE.
Our author, I believe, has introduced bafons and ewers where they would certainly have been found. have had them; and the forms of their copied from thofe of Greece. STEEVENS.
The Romans appear to utenfils were generally
7 very refpe&ively welcome, fir.] i. c. refpe&fully. Se,
in King John:
'Tis too refpedive," &c.
See Vol. XI. p. 309, n. 5. STEEVENS.
man has his fault, and honefty is his; I have told him on't, but I could never get him from it.
Re-enter Servant, with wine.
SERV. Please your lordship, here is the wine. LUCUL. Flaminius, I have noted thee always wife. Here's to thee.
FLA. Your lordship speaks your pleasure.
LUCUL. I have obferved thee always for a towardly
FLAM. Is't poffible, the world fhould fo much
And we alive, that liv'd? Fly, damned bafeness,
[Throwing the money awaj.
for thy mafter.
* Every man has his fault, and honefty is his ;] Honefly does not here mean probity, but liberality. M. MASON.
9 three folidares-] I believe this coin is from the mint of the poet. STEEVENS.
And be alive, that liv'd?] i. e. And we who were alive then, alive now. As much as to fay, in fo fhort a time. WARBURTON.
FLAM. May thefe add to the number that may fcald thee!
Let molten coin be thy damnation,3
Thou difeafe of a friend,4 and not himself!
It turns in less than two nights 25 O you gods,
Unto his honour,' has my lord's meat in him;
3 Let molten coin be thy damnation,] Perhaps the poet alludes to the punishment inflided on M. Aquilius by Mithridates. In The Shepherd's Calendar, however, Lazarus declares himself to have feen in bell a great number of wide cauldrons and kettles, full of boyling lead and oyle, with other hot metals molten, in the which were plunged and dipped the covetous men and women, for to fulfill and replenish them of their infatiate covetife."
Again, in an ancient bl. 1. ballad, entitled, The Dead Man's Song:
And ladles full of melled gold
Were poured downe their throates." Mr. M. Mafou thinks, that Flaminius more "probably alludes to the ftory of Marcus Craffus and the Parthians, who are faid to have poured molten gold down his throat, as a reproach and punish
ment for his avarice." STEEVENS.
Thou difeafe of a friend,] So, in King Lear:
"Or rather, a difeafe" &c. STEEVENS.
5 It turns in less than two nights] Alluding to the turning or acefcence of milk. JOHNSON,
paffion! i. e. fuffering. So, in Macbeth:
"You fhall offend him, and extend his paffion."
i. e. prolong his fuffering. STEEVENS.
7 Unto his honour,] Thus the old copy. What Flaminius feems to mean is, This flave (to the honour of his character) has, &c. The modern editors read-Unto this hour, which may be right.
I should have no doubt in preferring the modern reading, unto this hour, as it is by far the ftronger expreffion, so probably the right one. M. MASON.
Mr. Ritfon is of the fame opinion. STEEVENS.
When he is turn'd to poison?
O, may difeafes only work upon't!
And, when he is fick to death, let not that part of nature9
Which my lord paid for, be of any power
To expel fickness, but prolong his hour! [Exit.
- to death,] If these words, which derange the metre, were omitted, would the fentiment of Flaminius be impaired?
of nature] Hanmer reads-nurture.
So the common copies. Sir Thomas
Of nature is furely the moft expreffive reading. Flaminius con. fiders that nutriment which Lucullus had for a length of time received at Timon's table, as conftituting a great part of his animal fyftem. STEEVENS.
his hour!] i. e. the hour of fickness. His for its.
His in almoft every scene of these plays is used for its, but here I think his hour" relates to Lucullus, and means his life.
If my notion be well founded, we muft underftand that the Steward wishes that the life of Lucullus may be prolonged only for the purpose of his being miserable; that sickness may play the torturer by small and small," and "have him nine whole years in killing." "Live loath'd and long!" fays Timon in a subsequent fcene; and again:
"Decline to your confounding contraries,
This indeed is nearly the meaning, if, with Mr. Steevens, we underftand his hour to mean the hour of fickness: and it must be owned that a line in Hamlet adds fupport to his interpretation: "This phyfick but prolongs thy fickly days." MALONE. Mr. Malone's interpretation may receive further fupport from a paffage in Coriolanus, where Menenius fays to the Roman fentinel : "Be that you are, long; and your mifery increase with your age."