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With riotous feeders; when our vaults have wept With drunken spilth of wine; when every room Hath blaz'd with lights, and bray'd with minstrelsy; I have retir'd me to a wasteful cock 7,
And set mine eyes at flow.
Pr'ythee, no more.
FLAV. Heavens, have I said, the bounty of this
How many prodigal bits have slaves, and peasants, This night englutted! Who is not Timon's ?
equally erroneous. It does not follow that because feeders may sometimes have been used to signify servants, that it never should be employed in a more general sense. MALONE.
So, in Shirley's Opportunitie:
"Let all the offices of entertainment
6 With riotous FEEDERS ;] Feeders are servants,
whose low deSee a note on one who looks
And a waste
7 - a wasteful cock,] i. e, a cockloft, a garret. ful cock, signifies a garret lying in waste, neglected, put to no use. HANMER.
Sir Thomas Hanmer's explanation is received by Dr. Warburton, yet I think them both apparently mistaken. A wasteful cock is a cock or pipe with a turning stopple running to waste. In this sense, both the terms have their usual meaning; but I know not that cock is ever used for cockloft, or wasteful for lying in waste, or that lying in waste is at all a phrase. JOHNSON.
Whatever be the meaning of the present passage, it is certain, that lying in waste is still a very common phrase. FARMER.
A wasteful cock is what we now call a waste pipe; a pipe which is continually running, and thereby prevents the overflow of cisterns, and other reservoirs, by carrying off their superfluous water. This circumstance served to keep the idea of Timon's unceasing prodigality in the mind of the Steward, while its remoteness from the scenes of luxury within the house, was favourable to meditation. COLLINS.
The reader will have a perfect notion of the method taken by Mr. Pope in his edition, when he is informed that, for wasteful cock, that editor reads-lonely room. MALONE.
8 Who is not Timon's ?] I suppose we ought to read, for the sake of measure :
"Who is not lord Timon's?" STEEVENS.
What heart, head, sword, force, means, but is lord Timon's?
Great Timon, noble, worthy, royal Timon!
Ah! when the means are gone, that buy this praise, The breath is gone whereof this praise is made: Feast-won, fast-lost; one cloud of winter showers, These flies are couch'd.
Come, sermon me no further: No villainous bounty yet hath pass'd my heart; Unwisely, not ignobly, have I given.
Why dost thou weep? Canst thou the conscience lack,
To think I shall lack friends? Secure thy heart;
9 No villainous bounty yet hath pass'd my heart;
Unwisely, not ignobly, have I given.] Every reader must rejoice in this circumstance of comfort which presents itself to Timon, who, although beggar'd through want of prudence, consoles himself with reflection that his ruin was not brought on by the pursuit of guilty pleasures. STEEVENS.
And try the ARGUMENT-] The licentiousness of our author forces us often upon far-fetched expositions. Arguments may mean contents, as the arguments of a book; or evidences and proofs. JOHNSON.
The matter contained in a poem or play was in our author's time commonly thus denominated. The contents of his Rape of Lucrece, which he certainly published himself, he calls The Argument. Hence undoubtedly his use of the word. If I would, says Timon, by borrowing, try of what men's hearts are composed, what they have in them, &c. The old copy reads-argument; not, as Dr. Johnson supposed-arguments. MALONE. So, in Hamlet, vol. vii. p. 360: ment? Is there no offence in it?" same purpose might be subjoined.
"Have you heard the arguMany more instances to the STEEVENS.
2 AS I CAN bid thee speak.] Thus the old copy; but it being clear from the overloaded measure that these words are a playhouse interpolation, I would not hesitate to omit them. They are understood, though not expressed. STEEVENS.
Assurance bless your thoughts! TIM. And, in some sort, these wants of mine are crown'd 3,
That I account them blessings; for by these
Enter FLAMINIUS, Servilius, and other Servants.
TIM. I will despatch you severally.-You, to lord Lucius ;-To lord Lucullus you; I hunted with his honour to-day;-You, to Sempronius; commend me to their loves; and, I am proud, say, that my occasions have found time to use them toward a supply of money: let the request be fifty talents. FLAM. As you have said, my lord.
FLAV. Lord Lucius, and Lucullus ? humph!
[Aside. TIM. Go you, sir, [To another Serv.] to the se
(Of whom, even to the state's best health, I have Deserv'd this hearing,) bid 'em send o' the instant A thousand talents to me.
crown'd] i. e. dignified, adorned, made respectable. So, in King Henry VIII. :
"And yet no day without a deed to crown it." STEEVENS. 4 Within there, Ho!] Ho, was supplied by Sir Thomas Hanmer. The frequency of Shakspeare's use of this interjection, needs no examples. STEEVENS.
5- Flaminius!] The old copy has-Flavius. The correction was made by Mr. Rowe. The error probably arose from Fla. only being set down in the MS. MALONE.
6 LORD Lucullus ?] As the Steward is repeating the words of Timon, I have not scrupled to supply the title lord, which is wanting in the old copy, though necessary to the metre.
7 Go you, sir, to the senators,] To complete the line, we might read, as in the first scene of this play:
the senators of Athens.' STEEVENS.
I have been bold,
(For that I knew it the most general way
Is't true? can it be?
FLAV. They answer, in a joint and corporate
That now they are at fall, want treasure, can
Do what they would; are sorry-you are honour
But yet they could have wish'd-they know not1 but
Something hath been amiss-a noble nature
May catch a wrench-would all were well-'tis pity
And so, intending 2 other serious matters,
After distasteful looks, and these hard fractions 3,
8 - I knew it the most GENERAL way,] General is not speedy, but compendious, the way to try many at a time. JOHNSON. at fall,] i. e. at an ebb. STEEVENS.
but-] Was supplied by Sir Thomas Hanmer, to complete the verse. STEEVENS.
2- intending] Is regarding, turning their notice to other things. JOHNSON.
To intend and to attend had anciently the same meaning. So, in The Spanish Curate of Beaumont and Fletcher:
"Good sir, intend this business."
See vol. v. p. 314, n. 4.
See also, vol. ix. p. 264, n. 4. BOSWELL.
So, in Wits, Fits, and Fancies, &c. 1595:
"Tell this man that I am going to dinner to my lord maior, and that I cannot now intend his tittle-tattle."
Again, in Pasquil's Night-Cap, a poem, 1623:
"For we have many secret ways to spend,
"Which are not fit our husbands should intend.”
3 — and these HARD FRACTIONS,] Flavius, by fractions, means broken hints, interrupted sentences, abrupt remarks.
With certain half-caps, and cold-moving nods 5, They froze me into silence.
TIM. You gods, reward them!I pr'ythee, man, look cheerly; These old fellows Have their ingratitude in them hereditary" : Their blood is cak'd, 'tis cold, it seldom flows; "Tis lack of kindly warmth, they are not kind; And nature, as it grows again toward earth, Is fashion'd for the journey, dull, and heavy1.Go to Ventidius,-[To a Servo.] 'Pr'ythee, [To FLAVIUS,] be not sad,
Thou art true, and honest; ingeniously I speak, No blame belongs to thee:-[To Serv.] Ventidius lately
Buried his father; by whose death, he's stepp'd
4-half caps,] A half-cap is a cap slightly moved, not put off. JOHNSON.
COLD-MOVING nods,] By cold-moving I do not understand with Mr. Theobald, chilling or cold-producing nods, but a slight motion of the head, without any warmth or cordiality.
Cold-moving is the same as coldly-moving. So perpetual sober gods, for perpetually sober; lazy-pacing clouds,-loving-jealousflattering sweet, &c. Such distant and uncourteous salutations are properly termed cold-moving, as proceeding from a cold and unfriendly disposition. MALONE.
6 Have their ingratitude in them HEREDITARY:] Hereditary, for by natural constitution. But some distempers of natural constitution being called hereditary, he calls their ingratitude so. WARBURTON.
7 And nature, as it grows again toward earth,
Is fashion'd for the journey, dull, and heavy.] The same thought occurs in The Wife for a Month, by Beaumont and Fletcher:
"Beside, the fair soul's old too, it grows covetous,
pariterque senescere mentem. Lucret. I. STEEvens. 8 ingeniously-] Ingenious was anciently used instead of ingenuous. So, in The Taming of the Shrew:
“A course of learning and ingenious studies." REED.