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'Tis most nobly spoken. ALCIB, Descend, and keep your words
The Senators descend, and open the Gates.
Enter a Soldier. Sold. My noble general, Timon is dead; Entomb'd upon the very hem o' the sea : And, on his grave-stone, this insculpture: which With wax I brought away, whose soft impression Interprets for my poor ignorance". ALCIB. [Reads.] Here lies a wretched corse, of
wretched soul bereft: Seek not my name : A plague consume you wicked
be remedied ;' but Shakspeare means, that his offence shall be remedied, the word offence bring included in offend in a former line.
The editor of the second folio, for to, in the last line but one of this speech, substituted by, which all the subsequent editors adopted. Malone.
I profess my inability to extract any determinate sense from these words as they stand, and rather suppose the reading in the second folio to be the true one. To be remedied by, affords a glimpse of meaning: to be remedied to, is “the blanket of the dark.” Steevens.
Mr. Steevens has mistaken the construction. It is—“At hea. viest answer to your laws." Malone.
+ DESCEND, and keep your words.] Old copy-Defend. Cor. rected by the editor of the second folio. Malone.
for my poor ignorance.] Poor is here used as a dissyllable, as door is in The Merchant of Venice. Malone.
6 - caitiffs left!] This epitaph is found in Sir T. North's translation of Plutarch, with the difference of one word only, viz. wretches instead of caitiffs. Steevens.
This epitaph is formed out of two distinct epitaphs which Shakspeare found in Plutarch. The first couplet is said by Plutarch to have been composed by Timon himself as his epitaph ; the second to have been written by the poet Callimachus.
Perhaps the slight variation mentioned by Mr. Steevens, arose from our author's having another epitaph before him, which is found in Kendal's Flowers of grammes, 15 and in Painter's Palace of Pleasure, vol. i. Nov. 28 :
Here lie I Timon; who, alive, all living men did hate: Pass by, and curse thy fill; but pass, and stay not
here thy gait.
TIMON HIS EPITAPHE,
“My wretched caitiffe daies expired now and past,
MALONE. 7 our BRAIN's flow.] Sir Thomas Hanmer and Dr. Warburton read, -brine's flow. Our brains flow, is our tears; but we may read,
our brine's flow,"—' our salt tears.' Either will Johnson. “Our brain's flow" is right. So, in Sir Giles Goosecap, 1606 :
" I shed not the tears of my brain."
“ But he from rocks that fountains can command,
on faults forgiven.) Alcibiades's whole speech is in breaks, betwixt his reflections on Timon's death, and his addresses to the Athenian Senators : and as soon as he has commented on the place of Timon's grave, he bids the Senate set forward; tells 'em, he has forgiven their faults; and promises to use them with mercy. TheoBALD. I suspect that we ought to read :
One fault's forgiven.-Dead “ Is noble Timon ;" &c. One fault (viz. the ingratitude of the Athenians to Timon) is forgiven, i. e. exempted from punishment by the death of the injured person. TYRWHITT.
The old reading and punctuation appear to me sufficiently intelligible. Mr. Theobald asks," why should Neptune weep over Timon's faults, or indeed what fault had he committed ? " The faults that Timon committed, were, 1. that boundless prodigality which his Steward so forcibly describes and laments; and 2. his
Is noble Timon : of whose memory
becoming a Misanthrope, and abjuring the society of all men for the crimes of a few.-Theobald supposes that Alcibiades bids the Senate set forward, assuring them at the same time that he forgives the wrongs they have done him. “On ;-Faults forgiven." But how unlikely is it, that he should desert the subject immediately before him, and enter upon another quite different subject, in these three words; and then return to Timon again ? to say nothing of the strangeness of the phrase—“ faults forgiven," for“ faults are forgiven." Malone. 9 - STINT war;] i. e. stop it. So, in Spenser's Fairy Queen:
'gan the cunning thief “ Persuade us die, to stint all further strife.” STEEVENS. leech.) i. e. physician. So, in Spenser's Fairy Queen : “ Her words prevailid, and then the learned leech “ His cunning hand 'gan to his wounds to lay --"
Steevens. The play of Timon is a domestick tragedy, and therefore strongly fastens on the attention of the reader. In the plan there is not much art, but the incidents are natural, and the characters various and exact. The catastrophe affords a very powerful warning against that ostentatious liberality, which scatters bounty, but confers no benefits, and buys flattery, but not friendship.
In this tragedy, are many passages perplexed, obscure, and probably corrupt, which I have endeavoured to rectify, or explain with due diligence; but having only one copy, cannot promise myself that my endeavours shall be much applauded. Johnson.
This play was altered by Shadwell, and brought upon the stage in 1678. In the modest title-page he calls it Timon of Athens, or the Man-Hater, as it is acted at the Duke's Theatre, made into a Play. Steevens.
END OF VOL. XIII,
C. Baldwin, Printer, New Bridge-street, London.