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So did we woo
Transformed Timon to our city's love,
By humble message, and by promis'd means ';
The common stroke of war.
These walls of ours
Were not erected by their hands, from whom
You have receiv'd your griefs': nor are they such, That these great towers, trophies, and schools should fall
For private faults in them 2.
2 SEN. Nor are they living, Who were the motives that you first went out 3 ; Shame, that they wanted cunning, in excess
Their refers to griefs. "To give thy rages balm," must be considered as parenthetical. The modern editors have substituted ingratitudes for ingratitude. MALONE.
9 So did we woo
Transformed Timon to our city's love,
By humble message, and by promis'd MEANS ;] Promis'd means must import the recruiting of his sunk fortunes; but this is not all. The senate had wooed him with humble message, and promise of general reparation. This seems included in the slight change which I have made :
and by promis'd mends."
Dr. Warburton agrees with Mr. Theobald, but the old reading well stand.
By promis'd means," is 'by promising him a competent subsistence. So, in King Henry IV. Part II.: " Your means are very slender, and your waste is great." MALONE.
1 You have receiv'd your GRIEFS:] The old copy has-grief; but as the Senator in his preceding speech uses the plural, grief was probably here an error of the press. The correction was made by Mr. Theobald. MALONE.
2 For private faults in THEM.] That is, in the persons from whom you have received your griefs. MAlone.
the MOTIVES that you first went out ;] i. e. those who made the motion for your exile. This word is as perversely employed in Troilus and Cressida :
her wanton spirits look out
"At every joint and motive of her body." STEEVENS.
Hath broke their hearts.
March, noble lord,
Into our city with thy banners spread :
By decimation, and a tithed death,
(If thy revenges hunger for that food,
Which nature loaths,) take thou the destin'd tenth; And by the hazard of the spotted die,
Let die the spotted.
All have not offended;
For those that were, it is not square, to take, On those that are, revenges: crimes, like lands, Are not inherited. Then, dear countryman, Bring in thy ranks, but leave without thy rage: Spare thy Athenian cradle, and those kin, Which, in the bluster of thy wrath, must fall With those that have offended: like a shepherd, Approach the fold, and cull the infected forth, But kill not altogether 9.
+ Shame, that they wanted CUNNING, in excess
Hath broke their hearts.] Shame in excess (i. e. extremity of shame) that they wanted cunning (i. e. that they were not wise enough not to banish you) hath broke their hearts. THEOBALD.
I have no wish to disturb the manes of Theobald, yet think some emendation may be offered that will make the construction less harsh, and the sentence more serious. I read :
Shame that they wanted, coming in excess, "Hath broke their hearts."
"Shame which they had so long wanted, at last coming in its utmost excess." JOHNSON.
I think that Theobald has, on this occasion, the advantage of Johnson. When the old reading is clear and intelligible, we should not have recourse to correction.-Cunning was not, in Shakspeare's time, confined to a bad sense, but was used to express knowledge or understanding. M. MASON.
5- not square,] Not regular, not equitable. JOHNSON.
revenges:] Old copy-revenge. Corrected by Mr. SteeSee the preceding speech. MALONE.
7thy ATHENIAN CRADLE,] Thus Ovid, Met. viii. 99: Jovis incunabula Crete. STEEVENS.
8 But kill not ALL TOGETHER.] The old copy reads-altogether. Mr. M. Mason suggested the correction I have made. STEEVENS.
What thou wilt,
Thou rather shalt enforce it with thy smile,
Than hew to't with thy sword.
Set but thy foot
Against our rampir'd gates, and they shall ope;
To say, thou'lt enter friendly.
Throw thy glove, Or any token of thine honour else,
That thou wilt use the wars as thy redress,
9 — UNCHARGED ports ;] That is, unguarded gates.
So, in King Henry IV. Part II.:
"That keep'st the ports of slumber open wide."
Uncharged means unattacked, not unguarded. M. MASON. Mr. M. Mason is right. So, in Shakspeare's 70th Sonnet: "Thou hast pass'd by the ambush of young days,
"Either not assail'd, or victor, being charg'd." MALOne. 1 to ATONE your fears
With my more noble meaning,] i. e. to reconcile them to it, So, in Cymbeline: "I was glad I did atone my countryman and you." STEEVENS.
Shall pass his quarter,] Not a soldier shall quit his station, or be let loose upon you; and, if any commits violence, he shall answer it regularly to the law.
3 But shall be REMEDIED,] The construction is, 'But he shall
"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 3.
ALCIB. [Reads.] Here lies a wretched corse, of wretched soul bereft:
Seek not my name: A plague consume you wicked caitiff's left!
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 heaviest answer to your laws." MALONE.
4 DESCEND, and keep your words.] Old copy-Defend. Corrected 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 Epigrammes, 1577, 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.
These well express in thee thy latter spirits: Though thou abhorr'dst in us our human griefs, Scorn'dst our brain's flow", and those our droplets which
From niggard nature fall, yet rich conceit Taught thee to make vast Neptune weep for aye On thy low grave, on faults forgiven. Dead
66 TIMON HIS EPITAPHE.
My wretched caitiffe daies expired now and past,
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.'
"Our brain's flow" is right. So, in Sir Giles Goosecap, 1606:
"I shed not the tears of my brain."
Again, in The Miracles of Moses, by Drayton :
"But he from rocks that fountains can command,
"Cannot yet stay the fountains of his brain." STeevens. 8 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