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TIMON OF ATHENS.

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ACT I. SCENE I. Athens. A Hall in Timon's House. Enter Poet, Painter, Jeweller, Merchant, and

Others, at several Doors.

Poet. Good day, sír.

Pain.

I am glad you are well. Poet. I have not seen you long; How goes the

world? Pain. It wears, sir, as it grows. Poet.

Ay, that's well known:
But what particular rarity? what strange,
Which manifold record not matches? See,
Magick of bounty! all these spirits thy power
Hath conjur'd to attend. I know the merchant.

Pain. I know them both; t'other's a jeweller.
Mer. 0, 'tis a worthy lord!
Jew.

Nay, that's most fix'd. Mer. A most incomparable man; breath’d, as it

were, To an untirable and continuate goodness: He passes.?

Jew. I have a jewel here.

1 - breath'd, as it were,] Breathed is inured by constant practice; so trained as not to be wearied. To breathe a horse, is to 'exércise him for the course. JOIINSON, 2 He passes.] i, e. exceeds, goes beyond common bounds.

Mer. O, pray, let's see't: For the lord Timon,

sir ? Jew. If he will touch the estimate:3 But, for

that
Poet. When we for recompense* have praisd the

vile,
It stains the glory in that happy verse
Which aptly sings the good.
Mer.

'Tis a good form.

. [Looking at the Jewel. Jew. And rich: here is a water, look you. Pain. You are rapt, sir, in some work, some dedication

.

.. " To the great lord. Poet.

A thing slipp'd idly from me. Our poesy is as a gum, which oozes: From whence 'tis nourished: The fire i’the flint Shows not, till it be struck; our gentle flame Provokes itself, and, like the current, flies Each bound it chafes. What have you there?

Pain. A picture, sir.-And when comes your

Pain. A book forths of my pres

Poet. Upon the heels of my presentment, sir. Let's see your piece. Pain.

'Tis a good piece. . Poet. So 'tis: this comes off well and excellent. Pain. Indifferent.

Admirable: How this grace

Poet.

-touch the estimate:) Come up to the price. 4 JVhen we for recompense, &c.] We must here suppose the poet busy in reading in his own work; and that these three lines are the introduction of the poem addressed to Timon, which he afterwards gives the Painter an account of. WARBURTON. 5 and, like the current, fies

Each bound it chafes. 1 This jumble of incongruous images, seems to have been designed, and put into the mouth of the Poetaster, that the reader might appreciate his talents: his lan. guage therefore should not be considered in the abstract.

Speaks his own standing! what a mental power This eye shoots forth! how big imagination Moves in this lip! to the dumbness of the gesture One might interpret.

Pain. It is a pretty mocking of the life.
Here is a touch; Is't good?
· Poet..

I'll say of it,
It tutors nature: artificial strife 6
Lives in these touches, livelier than life.

Enter certain Senators, and pass over.
Pain, How this lord's follow'd!
Poet. The senators of Athens:-Happy men!
Pain. Look, inore!
Poet. You see this confluence, this great flood of

: visitors.
I have, in this rough work, shap'd out a man,
Whom this beneath world doth embrace and hug
With amplest entertainment: My free drift
Halts not particularly, but moves itself
In a wide sea of wax:8 no levelsd malice
Infecis one comma in the course I hold;
But flies an eagle flight, bold, and forth on,
Leaving no tract behind.

Pain. How shall I understand you?
Poet.

I'll unbolt to you.

h ampleorticularly's no leverse 1

6 - artificial strife-] Strife is the contest of art with nature.

? Halts not particularly,] My design does not stop at any single character. Johnson.

8 In a wide sea of wax :] Anciently they wrote upon waxen tables with an iron style.

9- no levell’d malice, &c.] To level is to aim, to point the shot at a mark. Shakspeare's meaning is, my poem is not a satire written with any particular view, or levelled at any single person; I fly like an eagle into the general expanse of life, and leave not, by any private mischief, the trace of my passage.

I'd unbolt ---] I'll open, I'll explain. Johnson.. .

Pain.

You see how all conditions, how all minds,
(As well of glib and slippery creatures, as
Of grave and austere quality,) tender down
Their services to lord Timon: his large fortune,
Upon his good and gracious nature hanging,
Subdues and properties to his love and tendance
All sorts of hearts; yea, from the glass-fac'd flatterer
To Apemantus, that few things loves better
Than to abhor himself: even he drops down
The knee before him, and returns in peace
Most rich in Timon's nod.

I saw them speak together.
Poet. Sir, I have upon a high and pleasant hill,
Feign'd Fortune to be thron'd: The base o'the mount
Is rank'd with all deserts,3 all kind of natures,
That labour on the bosom of this sphere
To propagate their states:4 amongst them all,
Whose eyes are on this sovereign lady fix'd,
One do I personate of lord Timon's frame,
Whom Fortune with her ivory hand wafts to her;
Whose present grace to present slaves and servants
Translates his rivals.
Pain.

'Tis conceiv'd to scope.”
This throne, this Fortune, and this hill, methinks,
With one man beckon'd from the rest below,
Bowing his head against the steepy mount
To climb his happiness, would be well express'd
In our condition.
Poet.

Nay, sir, but hear me on:

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glass-fac'd flatterer -] That shows in his look, as by reflection, the looks of his patron. Johnson.

3- rank'd with all deserts,] Cover'd with ranks of all kinds of men. Johnson.

4 To propagate their states:] . To advance or improve their various conditions of life. JOHNSON.

5 - conceiv'd to scope.] Properly imagined, appositely, to the purpose. JOHNSON.

0 In our condition.] Condition for art.

All those which were his fellows but of late,
(Some better than his value,) on the moment,
Follow his strides, his lobbies fill with tendance,
Rain sacrificial whisperings in his ear,
Make sacred even his stirrop, and through him
Drink the free air. 8
Pain. .

Ay, marry, what of these?
Poet. When Fortune, in her shift and change of

mood, Spurns down her late belov'd, all his dependants, Which labour'd after him to the mountain's top, Even on their knees and hands, let him slip down, Not one accompanying his declining foot.

Pain. 'Tis common: A thousand moral paintings I can show, That shall demonstrate these quick blows of fortune More pregnantly than words. Yet you do well, To show lord Timon, that mean eyes' have seen The foot above the head.

ENTI

Trumpets sound. Enter Timon, attended ; the Ser

vant of VENTIDIUS talking with him Tim.

Iinprison'd is he, say you? Ven. Serv. Ay, my good lord: five talents is his

debt;
| His means most short, his creditors most strait:

Your honourable letter he desires
To those have shut him up; which failing to him,

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* Rain sacrificial whisperings -] i. e. whisperings of officious servility, the incense of the worshipping parasite to the patron as to a god. ; 8- through him • Drink the free air.] That is, breathe only with his permission.

9 A thousand moral paintings I can show,] Shakspeare seems to intend in this dialogue to express sone competition between the two great arts of imitation. Whatever the poet declares himself to have shown, the painter thinks he could have shown bettex, .

I mean eyes ] i, e, inferior spectators.

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