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Far less has been made of Alcibiades. The underplot in which he figures is conceived in Shakespeare's manner, but its execution suggests imitation. The great soldier, banished by his fellow-citizens in spite of his services, who avenges his wrongs not with the spoken daggers of Timon, but with energetic military reprisals, plays the part of Coriolanus, but plays it in the simple, straightforward temper of Fortinbras. The scene of his banishment (iii. 5.) is as remote in passion and force from the great climax of the Roman play as it is proximate in motive. In the closing scene-his vengeful return—the Coriolanus motive is still visible; but Fortinbras predominates. Alcibiades announces his impending vengeance to the trembling senators; but he is a gentle conqueror, and returns, with facile accommodation, to the citizenship of the coward and lascivious town' whose baseness had provoked Timon's annihilating hatred, as the Norwegian prince succeeds; blithe and high-hearted, to the rule of the rotten Denmark that had blasted the genius of Hamlet.

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A hall in Timon's house.

Enter Poet, Painter, Jeweller, Merchant, and

others, at several doors. Poet. Good day, sir. Pain.

I am glad you 're 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,
Magic of bounty ! all these spirits thy power
Hath conjured to attend. I know the merchant.

Pain. I know them both; th' other 's a jeweller.
Mer. O, 'tis a worthy lord.

Nay, that's most fix'd. Mer. A most incomparable man, breathed, as it

were, To an untirable and continuate goodness :


He passes.

10. breathed, exercised.


Jew. I have a jewel here--
Mer. O, pray, let's see 't: for the Lord Timon,

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

thatPoet. [Reciting to himself] When we for re

compense have praised the vile,
It stains the glory in that happy verse
Which aptly sings the good.

'Tis a good form.

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

dedication To the great lord. Poet.

A thing slipp'd idly from me.

is as a gum, which oozes
From whence 'tis nourish'd: 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


there? Pain. A picture, sir. When comes your book

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

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

Admirable: how this grace 30
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

30. how this grace, etc. The of the portrait expresses that of poet speaks with the preciosity the man himself, on which it is of art - coteries. He possibly founded.' means: How vividly the grace

One might interpret.

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

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



Enter certain Senators, and pass over.
Pain. How this lord is follow'd !
Poet. The senators of Athens : happy man !
Pain. Look, more!
Poet. You see this confluence, this great flood

of visitors.
I have, in this rough work, shaped 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: no leveli'd malice
Infects 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?

I will unbolt to you.
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
44. beneath, under.

doubt. Ingleby and Littledale 45. my free drift, etc., my take 'sea of wax' to mean a spontaneous tribute is not a flood-tide (' he waxed like a sea,' straggling isolated current of Cor. ii. 2. 103); I cannot beopinion, but moves in consort lieve this. A sea of wax' would with a tide of literary eulogy.- be as natural an expression in The poet's affected jargon is the days of tablets as a sea of obscure to his hearer, as the

ink in ours. painter's question shows. Its 47. levell'd, intended. interpretation is not free from

50. tract, trace. VOL. X





Subdues and properties to his love and tendance
All sorts of hearts ; yea, from the glass-faced 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 throned: the base o' the

Is rank'd with all deserts, all kind of natures,
That labour on the bosom of this sphere
To propagate their states : 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.

'Tis conceived 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.

Nay, sir, but hear me on.
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 stirrup, and through him
Drink the free air.

Ay, marry, what of these? Poet. When Fortune in her shift and change of mood 72. to scope, to the purpose.


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