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PHI. I wonder on't; he was wont to shine at se
LUC. SERV. Ay, but the days are waxed shorter with him:
You must consider, that a prodigal course
'Tis deepest winter in lord Timon's purse;
I am of your fear for that.
TIT. I'll show you how to observe a strange
Your lord sends now for money.
Most true, he does.
TIT. And he wears jewels now of Timon's
For which I wait for money.
HOR. It is against my heart.
Mark, how strange it shows,
Timon in this should pay more than he owes :
HOR. I am weary of this charge, the gods can witness:
6 a prodigal course
Is like the sun's ;] That is, like him in blaze and splendor. Soles occidere et redire possunt. Catull. JOHNSON. Theobald, and the subsequent editors, elegantly enough, but without necessity, read-" a prodigal's course." We have the same phrase as that in the text in the last couplet of the preceding scene:
"And this is all a liberal course allows." MALONE. - reach deep enough, and yet
Find little.] Still, perhaps, alluding to the effects of winter, during which some animals are obliged to seek their scanty provision through a depth of snow.
8 I am weary of this charge,] this employment. JOHNSON.
That is, of this commission, of
I know, my lord hath spent of Timon's wealth,
LUC. SERV. Five thousand mine.
1 VAR. SERV. "Tis much deep: and it should seem by the sum,
Your master's confidence was above mine;
9 Else, surely, HIS had equall'd.] Should it not be, "Else, surely, mine had equall'd." JOHNSON.
The meaning of the passage is evidently and simply this: "Your master, it seems, had more confidence in lord Timon than mine, otherwise his (i. e. my master's) debt (i. e. the money due to him from Timon) would certainly have been as great as your master's (i. e. as the money which Timon owes to your master;)" that is, my master being as rich as yours, could and would have advanced Timon as large a sum as your master has advanced him, if he, (my master) had thought it prudent to do so. RITSON.
The meaning may be, "The confidential friendship subsisting between your master [Lucius] and Timon was greater than that subsisting between my master [Varro] and Timon; else surely the sum borrowed by Timon from your master had been equal to, and no greater than, the sum borrowed from mine; and this equality would have been produced by the application made to my master being raised from three thousand crowns to five thousand."
Two sums of unequal magnitude may be reduced to an equality, as well by addition to the lesser sun, as by subtraction from the greater. Thus, if A has applied to B for ten pounds, and to C for five, and C requests that he may lend A precisely the same sum as he shall be furnished with by B, this may be done, either by C's augmenting his loan, and lending ten pounds as well as B, or by B's diminishing his loan, and, like C, lending only five pounds. The words of Varro's servant therefore may mean, Else surely the same sums had been borrowed by Timon from both
I have preserved this interpretation, because I once thought it probable, and because it may strike others as just. But the true explication I believe is this (which I also formerly proposed). His may refer to mine. "It should seem that the confident friendship subsisting between your master and Timon, was greater than that subsisting between Timon and my master; else surely his sum, i. e. the sum borrowed from my master, [the last antecedent] had been as large as the sum borrowed from yours."
TIT. One of lord Timon's men.
LUC. SERV. Flaminius! Sir, a word: 'Pray, is my lord ready to come forth?
FLAM. No, indeed, he is not.
TIT. We attend his lordship; 'pray, signify so much.
FLAM. I need not tell him that; he knows, you are too diligent. [Exit FLAMINIUS.
Enter FLAVIUS in a Cloak, muffled.
LUC. SERV. Ha! is not that his Steward muffled
He goes away in a cloud: call him, call him.
1 VAR. SERV. By your leave, sir,——
FLAV. What do you ask of me, my friend?
If money were as certain as your waiting, "Twere sure enough. Why then preferr'd you not Your sums and bills, when your false masters eat
The former interpretation (though I think it wrong,) I have stated thus precisely, and exactly in substance as it appeared several years ago, (though the expression is a little varied,) because a Remarker [Mr. Ritson] has endeavoured to represent it as unintelligible.
This Remarker, however, after a feeble attempt at jocularity, (to which our great satirist tells us, such criticks are much addicted,) and it is observable, saying, that he shall take no notice of such see-saw conjectures, with great gravity proposes a comment evidently formed on the latter of them, as an original interpretation of his own, on which the reader may safely rely. MALONE.
It must be perfectly clear, that the Remarker could not be indebted to a note which, so far as it is intelligible, seems diametrically opposite to his idea. It is equally so, that the editor [Mr. Malone] has availed himself of the above Remark, to vary the expression of his conjecture, and give it a sense it would otherwise never have had. RITSON.
Of my lord's meat? Then they could smile, and
Upon his debts, and take down th' interest
Into their gluttonous maws. Your do yourselves
To stir me up; let me pass quietly:
Believe't, my lord and I have made an end;
I have no more to reckon, he to spend.
LUC. SERV. Ay, but this answer will not serve. FLAV. If 'twill not serve1, 'Tis not so base as you; for you serve knaves.
[Exit. 1 VAR. SERV. How! what does his cashier'd worship mutter?
2 VAR. SERV. No matter what; he's poor, and that's revenge enough. Who can speak broader than he that has no house to put his head in? such may rail against great buildings.
Enter SERVILIUS 2.
TIT. O, here's Servilius; now we shall know some
SER. If I might beseech you, gentlemen, to repair some other hour, I should derive much from it3: for, take it on my soul, my lord leans wondrously to discontent. His comfortable temper has forsook
If 'twill not,] Old copy-If 'twill not serve. I have ventured to omit the useless repetition of the verb-serve, because it injures the metre. STEEVENS.
2 Enter SERVILIUS.] be observed that Shakspeare has unskilfully filled his Greek story with Roman names. JOHNSON.
I should much
For this slight transposition, by which the metre is restored, I am answerable. STEEVENS.
I have printed these two speeches as prose, according to the old copy. Boswell.
him; he is much out of health, and keeps his chamber.
LUC. SERV. Many do keep their chambers, are not sick :
And, if it be so far beyond his health,
Methinks, he should the sooner pay his debts,
Good gods! TIT. We cannot take this for an answer 4 sir. FLAM. [Within.] Servilius, help!-my lord! my
Enter TIMON, in a rage; FLAMINIUS following. TIM. What, are my doors oppos'd against my passage ?
Have I been ever free, and must my house
The place, which I have feasted, does it now,
TIT. My lord, here is my bill.
LUC. SERV. Here's mine.
HOR. SERV. And mine, my lord 3.
for AN answer,] The article an, which is deficient in the old copy, was supplied by Sir Thomas Hanmer. STEEVENS.
5 Hor. Serv. And mine, my lord.] In the old copy this speech is given to Varro. I have given it to the servant of Hortensius, (who would naturally prefer his claim among the rest,) because to the following speech in the old copy is prexfied, 2 Var. which from the words spoken [And ours, my lord,] meant, I conceive, "the two servants of Varro." In the modern editions this latter speech is given to Caphis, who is not upon the stage. MALONE.
This whole scene perhaps was strictly metrical, when it came from Shakspeare; but the present state of it is such, that it cannot be restored but by greater violence than an editor may be allowed to employ. I have therefore given it without the least attempt at arrangement. STEEVENS.