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Ay, even such heaps and sums of love and wealth, As shall to thee blot out what wrongs were theirs, And write in thee the figures of their love,
Ever to read them thine.
You witch me in it;
Surprize me to the very brink of tears:
Lend me a fool's heart, and a woman's eyes, And I'll beweep these comforts, worthy senators. 1 SEN. Therefore, so please thee to return with
And of our Athens (thine, and ours,) to take
Who, like a boar too savage, doth root up
I know not whether my reading will be thought to rectify it. I take the meaning to be, We will give thee a recompense that our offences cannot outweigh, heaps of wealth down by the dram, or delivered according to the exactest measure.' A little disorder may perhaps have happened in transcribing, which may be reformed by reading:
Ay, ev'n such heaps,
"And sums of love and wealth, down by the dram,
A recompense so large, that the offence they have committed, though every dram of that offence should be put into the scale, cannot counterpoise it. The recompense will outweigh the offence, which instead of weighing down the scale in which it is placed will kick the beam. MALONE.
The speaker means, a recompense that shall more than counterpoise their offences, though weighed with the most scrupulous exactness. M. MASON.
6 ALLOW'D with absolute power,] Allowed is licensed,_privileged, uncontrolled. So of a buffoon, in Love's Labour's Lost, it is said, that he is allowed, that is, at liberty to say what he will, a privileged scoffer. JOHNSON.
7 like a BOAR, too SAVAGE, doth ROOT-UP-] might have been caught from Psalm 1xxx. 13: out of the wood doth root it up," &c. STEEVENS.
This image The wild boar
And shakes his threat'ning sword
Against the walls of Athens.
TIM. Well, sir, I will; therefore, I will, sir;
If Alcibiades kill my countrymen,
Let Alcibiades know this of Timon,
That-Timon cares not. But if he sack fair Athens, And take our goodly aged men by the beards, Giving our holy virgins to the stain
Of contumelious, beastly, mad-brain'd war; Then, let him know,-and tell him, Timon speaks it,
In pity of our aged, and our youth,
I cannot choose but tell him, that—I care not,
While you have throats to answer: for myself,
The reverend'st throat in Athens. So I leave you
8 There's not a WHITTLE in the unruly camp,] A whittle is still in the midland counties the common name for a pocket clasp knife, such as children use. Chaucer speaks of a 66 Sheffield thwittell." STEEVENS.
of the PROSPEROUS gods,] I believe prosperous is used here with our poet's usual laxity, in an active, instead of a passive, 'the gods who are the authors of the prosperity of mankind.' So, in Othello:
"To my unfolding lend a prosperous ear."
I leave you, says Timon, to the protection of the gods, the great distributors of prosperity, that they may so keep and guard you, as jailors do thieves; i. e. for final punishment. MALONE.
I do not see why the epithet-prosperous, may not be employed here with its common signification, and mean- the gods who are prosperous in all their undertakings.' Our author, elsewhere,
Go, live still;
We speak in vain. TIM. But yet I love my country; and am not One that rejoices in the common wreck,
As common bruit 2 doth put it.
1 SEN. That's well spoke. TIM. Commend me to my loving countrymen,1 SEN. These words become your lips as they pass through them.
2 SEN. And enter in our ears, like great triúmphers
In their applauding gates.
TIM. Commend me to them; And tell them, that, to ease them of their griefs, Their fears of hostile strokes, their aches, losses, Their pangs of love, with other incident throes That nature's fragile vessel doth sustain
In life's uncertain voyage, I will some kindness do them 1:
has blessed gods, clear gods, &c. nay, Euripides, in a chorus to his Medea, has not scrupled to style these men of Athens-ENN παῖδες ΜΑΚΑΡΩΝ. STEVENS.
- My long sickness-] The disease of life begins to promise me a period. JOHNSON.
- bruit-] i. e. report, rumour. So, in King Henry VI. Part III.:
"The bruit whereof will bring you many friends."
3 Their pangs of love, &c.] Compare this part of Timon's speech with part of the celebrated soliloquy in Hamlet.
I will some kindness, &c.] i. e. I will do them some kindness, for such, elliptically considered, will be the sense of
I'll teach them to prevent wild Alcibiades' wrath.
That mine own use invites me to cut down,
TIM. Come not to me again: but say to Athens,
these words, independent of the supplemental-do them, which only serves to derange the metre, and is, I think, a certain interpolation. STEEvens.
5 I have a tree, &c.] Perhaps Shakspeare was indebted to Chaucer's Wife of Bath's Prologue, for this thought. He might, however, have found it in Painter's Palace of Pleasure, tom. i. Nov. 28, as well as in several other places. STEEVENS.
Our author was indebted for this thought to Plutarch's Life of Antony: "It is reported of him also, that this Timon on a time, (the people being assembled in the market-place about dispatch of some affaires,) got up into the pulpit for orations, where the orators commonly use to speake unto the people; and silence being made, everie man listeneth to hear what he would say, because it was a wonder to see him in that place, at length he began to speak in this manner: My lordes of Athens, I have a little yard in my house where there groweth a figge tree, on the which many citizens have hanged themselves; and because I meane to make some building upon the place, I thought good to let you all understand it, that before the figge tree be cut downe, if any of you be desperate, you may there in time go hang yourselves." MALONE.
6- in the sequence of degree,] Methodically, from highest to lowest. JOHNSON.
7 WHOм once a day-] Old copy-Who. For the correc
The turbulent surge shall cover; thither come,
Coupled to nature.
2 SEN. Our hope in him is dead: let us return, And strain what other means is left unto us
In our dear peril 9. 1 SEN.
It requires swift foot. [Exeunt.
tion [whom] I am answerable. Whom refers to Timon. All the modern editors (following the second folio) read-Which once, &c. MALONE.
Which, in the second folio, (and I have followed it) is an apparent correction of-Who. Surely, it is the everlasting mansion, or the beach on which it stands, that our author meant to cover with the foam, and not the corpse of Timon. Thus we often say that the grave in a churchyard, and not the body within it is trodden down by cattle, or overgrown with weeds. STEEvens.
EMBOSSED froth-] When a deer was run hard, and foamed at the mouth, he was said to be embossed. See vol. v. p. 361, n. 9. The thought is from Painter's Palace of Pleasure, tom. i. Nov. 28. STEEVENS.
It is so; and if Mr. Steevens had thought fit to have quoted the passage from Painter, it would have clearly shewn that my reading, formed the first folio, whom, was the true one: upon 'By his last will he ordained himselfe to be interred upon the sea shore, that the waves and surges might beate and vexe his dead carcas." Embossed froth, is swollen froth; from bosse, Fr. a tumour. So, in Henry IV. Part I. the Prince addresses Falstaff:
Why thou whoreson impudent embossed rascal." The term embossed, when applied to deer, is from emboçar, Span. to cast out of the mouth. MALONE.
9 In our DEAR peril.] So the folios, and rightly. The Oxford editor alters dear to dread, not knowing that dear, in the language of that time, signified dread, and is so used by Shakspeare in numberless places. WARBURTON.
Dear, in Shakspeare's language, is dire, dreadful. So, in Hamlet:
"Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven." MALONE.