Imagens das páginas

What's on this tomb I cannot read; the character

I'll take with wax:

Our captain hath in every figure skill;

An ag'd interpreter, though young in days:
Before proud Athens he 's set down by this,
Whose fall the mark of his ambition is.


Before the Walls of Athens.


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,6
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;

The foregoing observations are acute in the extreme, and I have not scrupled to adopt the reading they recommend. Steevens. travers'd arms,] Arms across. Johnson.


The same image occurs in The Tempest:

"His arms in this sad knot. Steevens.

the time is flush,] A bird is flush when his feathers are grown, and he can leave the nest. Flush is mature. Johnson. 7 When crouching marrow, in the bearer strong,

Cries, of itself, No more:] The marrow was supposed to be the original of strength. The image is from a camel kneeling to take up his load, who rises immediately when he finds he has as much laid on as he can bear. Warburton.

Pliny says, that the camel will not carry more than his accustomed and usual load. Holland's translation, B. VIII, c. xviii.


The image may as justly be said to be taken from a porter or coal-heaver, who when there is as much laid upon his shoulders as he can bear, will certainly cry, no more. Malone.

I wish the reader may not find himself affected in the same manner by our commentaries, and often concur in a similar exclamation. Steevens.

And pursy insolence shall break his wind,
With fear, and horrid flight.

Noble, and young,

1 Sen.
When thy first griefs were but a mere conceit,
Ere thou hadst power, or we had cause of fear,
We sent to thee; to give thy rages balm,
To wipe out our ingratitude with loves
Above their quantity.®

2 Sen.

So did we woo

Transformed Timon to our city's love,

By humble message, and by promis'd means;
We were not all unkind, nor all deserve

The common stroke of war.

1 Sen.

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


8 Above their quantity.] Their refers to rages 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 ali 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 may as well stand. Johnson.

B promis'd means, is my promising him a competent subsistence So, in King Henry IV, P. 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

Shame, that they wanted cunning, in excess
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.

1 Sen.

All have not offended;


For those that were, it is not square, "to take, is 't not fevere

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 all together. 8

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..

4 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


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. Steevens. See the preceding speech. Malone.


-thy 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.


2 Sen.

What thou wilt,

Thou rather shalt enforce it with thy smile,

Than hew to 't with thy sword.

1 Sen.

Set but thy foot Against our rampir'd gates, and they shall ope; So thou wilt send thy gentle heart before,

To say, thou 'lt enter friendly.

2 Sen.

Throw thy glove.

Or any token of thine honour else,

That thou wilt use the wars as thy redress,
And not as our confusion, all thy powers
Shall make their harbour in our town, till we
Have seal'd thy full desire.


Then there's my glove;

Descend, and open your uncharged ports: 9
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,1—not a man
Shall pass his quarter, or offend the stream
Of regular justice in your city's bounds,
But shall be remedied, 3 to your publick laws

9---- uncharged ports:] That is, unguarded gates. Johnson. So, in King Henry IV, Part II:

"That keep'st the ports of slumber open wide." Steevens. 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. 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."

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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. Johnson.

3 But shall be remedied,] The construction is, But he shall be remedied; but Shakspeare means, that his offence shall be remedied, the word offence being 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 VOL. XV..


At heaviest answer.


'Tis most nobly spoken.

Alcib. Descend, and keep your words.4

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.5

Alcib. [reads] Here lies a wretched corse, of wretched soul bereft:

Seek not my name: A plague consume you wicked caitiffs


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

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.

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:


"My wretched cartiffe daies expired now and past,
"My carren corps enterred here, is graspt in ground,
"In weltring waves of swelling seas by sourges caste;
My name if thou desire, the gods thee doe confound!"



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