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of great sums of gold which he had dug up in the woods : a circumstance which he could not have had from Lucian, there being then no translation of the dialogue that relates to this subject.
Spon says, there is a building near Athens, yet remaining, called Timon's Tower. Timon of Athens was written, I imagine, in the year 1610.
MALONE. The play of Timon is a domestic tragedy, and therefore strongly fastens on the attention of the reader. In the plan there is not mych 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 and made into a play.
THE FABLE AND COMPOSITION
The whole history is exactly followed, and many of the principali speeches exactly copied from the Life of Coriolanus in Plutarch.
PoPE. Of this play there is no edition before that of the players, in folio, in 1623.
JOHNSON. The tragedy of Coriolanus is one of the most amusing of our author's performances. The old man's merriment in Menenius; the lofty lady's dignity in Volumnia; the bridal modesty in Virgilia; the patrician and military haughtiness in Coriolanus; the plebeian malignity and tribunitian insolence in Brutus and Sicinius, make a very pleasing and interesting variety; and the various revolutions of the hero's fortune fill the mind with anxious curiosity. There is, perhaps, too much bustle in the first act, and too little in the last.
JOHNSON. This play I conjecture to have been written in the year 1611. It comprehends a period of about four years, commencing with the secession to the Mons Sacer in the year of Rome 262, and ending with the death of Coriolanus, A.U.C. 266. MALONE.
Act III. Scene IJ. Wol. ............. What's this-To the Pope? The letter, as I live, with all the business I writ to his holiness.