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What's on this tomb I cannot read; 8 the character
Trumpets sound. Enter Alcibiades, and Forces.
Alcib. Sound to this coward and lascivious town Our terrible approach.
[A Parley sounded.
Enter Senators on the Walls. Till now you have gone on, and fill'd the time With all licentious measure, making your wills The scope of justice; till now, myself, and such As slept within the shadow of your power, Have wander'd with our travers d arms, and breath'd Our sufferance vainly: Now the time is flush, When crouching marrow, in the bearer strong, Cries, of itself, No more: now breathless wrong Shall sit and pant in your great chairs of ease; And pursy insolence shall break his wind, With fear, and horrid flight. i Sen.
Noble, and young, When thy first griefs were but a mere conceit,
8 I cannot read, &c.] There is something elaborately unskilful in the contrivance of sending a Soldier, who cannot read, to take the epithet in wax, only that it may close the play by being read with more solemnity in the last scene. Johnson.
9- travers'd arms,] Arms across.
1- the time is flush,) A bird is flush when his feathers are grown, and he can leave the nest. Flush is mature.
Ere thou hadst power, or we had cause of fear,
So did we woo
These walls of ours
fall For private faults in them. 2 Sen.
Nor are they living,
All have not offended;
. 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.
s not square,] Not regular, not equitable.
With those that have offended: like a shepherd,
What thou wilt,
Set but thy foot
Throw thy glove,
Then there's my glove; Descend, and open your uncharged ports;* Those enemies of Timon's, and mine own, Whom you yourselves shall set out for reproof, Fall, and no more: and,- to atone your fears With my more noble meaning, '—not a man Shall pass his quarter, or offend the stream Of regular justice in your city's bounds, But shall be remedied, to your publick laws At heaviest answer. Both.
'Tis most nobly spoken. Alcib. Descend, and keep your words.
The Senators descend, and open the Gates.
- uncharged ports;] uncharged means unattacked. s to atone your fears
With my more noble meaning,] i. e. to reconcile them to it. 6 - not a man
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.
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. Alcib. [Reads. Here lies a wretched corse, of
wretched soul bereft: Seek not my name : A plague consume you wicked
caitiffs left! 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 Is noble Timon; of whose memory Hereafter more.-Bring me into your city, And I will use the olive with my sword: Make war breed peace; make peace stint war;
inake each Prescribe to other, as each other's leech.8 Let our drums strike.
iL our brain's flow,] Our brains flow is our tears. 8 leech.] i, e. physician.
9 The play of Timon is a domestick tragedy, and therefore strongly fastens on the attention of the reader. In the plan there is not much 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.