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Slink all away; leave their false vows with him,
With his disease of all-shunn'd poverty,
Walks, like contempt, alone.-More of our fellows.
Enter other Servants.
FLAV. All broken implements of a ruin'd house. 3 SERV. Yet do our hearts wear Timon's livery, That see I by our faces; we are fellows still, Serving alike in sorrow: Leak'd is our bark; And we, poor mates, stand on the dying deck, Hearing the surges threat: we must all part Into this sea of air.
Good fellows all,
The latest of my wealth I'll share amongst you.
Nay, put out all your hands.
Let each take some;
O, the fierce wretchedness 2 that glory brings us!
were familiar to his buried fortunes, who in the most ample manner participated of them, slink all away," &c. MALONE.
RICH in sorrow, parting POOR.] This conceit occurs again in King Lear:
"Fairest Cordelia, thou art most rich, being poor." STEEVENS.
2 O, the FIERCE wretchedness-] I believe fierce is here used for hasty, precipitate. Perhaps it is employed in the same sense by Ben Jonson in his Poetaster:
"And Lupus, for your fierce credulity
"One fit him with a larger pair of ears."
In King Henry VIII. our author has fierce vanities. In all instances it may mean glaring, conspicuous, violent. So, in Ben Jonson's Bartholomew Fair, the Puritan says:
Who would not wish to be from wealth exempt,
To have his pomp, and all what state compounds,
For bounty, that makes gods, does still mar men.
"Thy hobby-horse is an idol, a fierce and rank idol."
Again, in King John:
"O vanity of sickness! fierce extremes
"In their continuance will not feel themselves."
Again, in Love's Labour's Lost:
"With all the fierce endeavour of your wit." STEEVENS. Strange, unusual BLOOD,] Of this
passage, I suppose, every reader would wish for a correction: but the word, harsh as it is, stands fortified by the rhyme, to which, perhaps, it owes its introduction. I know not what to propose. Perhaps
Strange, unusual mood,"
may, by some, be thought better, and by others worse.
In The Yorkshire Tragedy, 1608, attributed to Shakspeare, blood seems to be used for inclination, propensity:
"For 'tis our blood to love what we are forbidden." Strange, unusual blood," may therefore mean, 'strange unusual disposition.'
Again, in the 5th book of Gower, De Confessione Amantis
"And thus of thilke unkinde blood
Gower is speaking of the ingratitude of one Adrian, a lord of Rome.
Throughout these plays blood is frequently used in the sense of natural propensity or disposition. MALONE.
Supply his life, or that which can command it.
I'll serve his mind with my best will;
Whilst I have gold I'll be his steward still. [Exit.
TIM. O blessed breeding sun, draw from the earth Rotten humidity; below thy sister's orb Infect the air! Twinn'd brothers of one womb,Whose procreation, residence, and birth,
Scarce is dividant,-touch them with several for
The greater scorns the lesser: Not nature,
To whom all sores lay siege, can bear great fortune, But by contempt of nature 5.
4 below thy sister's orb-] That is, the moon's, this sublunary world. JOHNSON.
To whom all sores lay siege, can bear great fortune,
But by contempt of nature.] The meaning I take to be this: 'Brother, when his fortune is enlarged, will scorn brother; for this is the general depravity of human nature, which, besieged as it is by misery, admonished as it is of want and imperfection, when elevated by fortune will despise beings of nature like its own.'
Mr. M. Mason observes, that this passage "but by the addition of a single letter may be rendered clearly intelligible; by merely reading natures instead of nature." The meaning will then be"Not even beings reduced to the utmost extremity of wretchedness, can bear good fortune, without contemning their fellow-creatures."-The word natures is afterwards used in a similar sense by Apemantus :
Call the creatures
"Whose naked natures live in all the spite
Raise me this beggar, and deny't that lord "
It is the pasture lards the brother's sides',
Perhaps, in the present instance, we ought to complete the measure by reading:
But by is here used for without. MALONE.
Raise me this beggar and DENY'T that lord,] Where is the sense and English of deny't that lord? Deny him what? What preceding noun is there to which the pronoun it is to be referred? And it would be absurd to think the poet meant, deny to raise that lord. The antithesis must be, let fortune raise this beggar, and let her strip and despoil that lord of all his pomp and ornaments,' &c. which sense is completed by this slight alteration : and denude that lord ;
So, Lord Rea, in his relation of M. Hamilton's plot, written in 1650: "All these Hamiltons had denuded themselves of their fortunes and estates." And Charles the First, in his message to the parliament, says: "Denude ourselves of all."-Clar. vol. iii. p. 15, octavo edit. WARBURton.
Perhaps the former reading, however irregular, is the true one. Raise me that beggar, and deny a proportionable degree of elevation to that lord.' A lord is not so high a title in the state, but that a man originally poor might be raised to one above it. We might read devest that lord. Devest is an English law phrase, which Shakspeare uses in King Lear:
"Since now we will devest us both of rule," &c. The word which Dr. Warburton would introduce is not, however, uncommon. I find it in The Tragedie of Croesus, 1604:
"As one of all happiness denuded." STEEVENS.
The objection to the reading of the old copy is, that there is no antecedent to which the word it can be referred; but this is in Shakspeare's manner.
So in Othello:
"And bid me when my fate would have me wive
i. e. his wife, which is understood. So in this passage, "Raise me this beggar [to eminence], and deny't that lord." MALONE.
7 It is the PASTURE lards the BROTHER'S sides,] This, as the editors have ordered it, is an idle repetition at the best; supposing it did, indeed, contain the same sentiment as the foregoing lines. But Shakspeare meant quite a different thing: and having, like a sensible writer, made a smart observation, he illustrates it by a similitude thus:
"It is the pasture lards the wether's sides,
The want that makes him lean. Who dares, who dares,
And the similitude is extremely beautiful, as conveying this satirical reflection; there is no more difference between man and man in the esteem of superficial and corrupt judgments, than between a fat sheep and a lean one. WARBURTON.
This passage is very obscure, nor do I discover any clear sense, even though we should admit the emendation. Let us inspect the text as it stands in the original edition:
"It is the pastour lards the brother's sides,
"The want that makes him leave."
Dr. Warburton found the passage already changed thus:
It is the pasture lards the beggar's sides,
"The want that makes him lean."
And upon this reading of no authority, raised another equally uncertain.
Alterations are never to be made without necessity. Let us see what sense the genuine reading will afford. Poverty, says the poet, bears contempt hereditary, and wealth native honour. To illustrate this position, having already mentioned the case of a poor and rich brother, he remarks, that this preference is given to wealth by those whom it least becomes; it is the pastour that greases or flatters the rich brother, and will grease him on till want make him leave. The poet then goes on to ask, Who dares to say this man, this pastour, is a flatterer; the crime is universal; through all the world, the learned pate, with allusion to the pastour, ducks to the golden fool. If it be objected, as it may justly be, that the mention of a pastour is unsuitable, we must remember the mention of grace and cherubims in this play, and many such anachronisms in many others. I would therefore read thus : "It is the pastour lards the brother's sides,
"'Tis want that makes him leave."
The obscurity is still great. Perhaps a line is lost. I have at least given the original reading. JOHNSON.
Perhaps Shakspeare wrote pasterer, for I meet with such a word in Greene's Farewell to Follie, 1617 : Alexander, before he fell into the Persian delicacies, refused those cooks and pasterers that Ada queen of Caria sent to him." There is likewise a proverb among Ray's Collection, which seems to afford much the some meaning as this passage in Shakspeare:-"Every one basteth the fat hog, while the lean one burneth." Again, in Troilus and Cressida, Act II.:
"That were to enlard his fat-already pride." STEEVens. In this very difficult passage, which still remains obscure, some liberty may be indulged. Dr. Farmer proposes to read it thus: "It is the pasterer lards the broader sides, "The gaunt that makes him leave."