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1 Sen. These words become your lips as they pass through
2 Sen. And enter in our ears, like great triumphers
In their applauding gates.
In life's uncertain voyage, I will some kindness do them.
Flav. Trouble him no farther; thus you still shall find him.
1 Sen. His discontents are unremovably coupled to nature.
let him take his HALTER,] This is one of the most noticeable of all the verbal emendations in the corr. fo. 1632: the words have hitherto been "let him take his haste," a very unpredecented expression and not, we may be pretty sure, what the poet wrote: the old compositor misread "halter" haste, the r at the end of "halter" having been imperfectly written. Malone quoted Plutarch's "Life of Mark Antony;" but the following from Painter's "Palace of Pleasure," Vol. i. fo. 546, edit. Marsh, seems more applicable :-" The citizens [of Athens] on every part of the citie ranne to heare him to whom he saide that he purposed to cutte downe his figge-tree, to builde a house upon the place where it stoode : 'Wherefore, (quoth he) if there be any man, amonges you all in this company, that is disposed to hange himselfe, let him come betimes, before it be cutte downe.""
2 Sen. Our hope in him is dead. Let us return, And strain what other means is left unto us
Enter two Senators, and a Messenger.
1 Sen. Thou hast painfully discover'd: are his files
As full as thy report.
Besides, his expedition promises
I have spoke the least;
2 Sen. We stand much hazard, if they bring not Timon. Mess. I met a courier, one mine ancient friend,
Whom, though in general part we were oppos'd,
Yet our old love made a particular force,
And made us speak like friends: this man was riding
From Alcibiades to Timon's cave,
With letters of entreaty, which imported
His fellowship i' the cause against your city,
In part for his sake mov'd.
Enter Senators from TIMON.
Here come our brothers.
3 Sen. No talk of Timon; nothing of him expect.—
3 In our DEAR peril.] i. e. In our dire or dread peril. In short-hand, dire and "dear" were spelt with the same letters; and if short-hand were used in taking down the dialogue of plays, this circumstance may sometimes account for the peculiar way in which Shakespeare in many places seems to use "dear." See however, Vol. ii. p. 714.
+ and fearful SCOURING] Shakespeare and other dramatists not unfrequently use the word skirr or scurr for "scour:" see "Henry V.," A. iv. sc. 7, Vol. iii. p. 620.
The Woods near TIMON's Cave.
Enter a Soldier, seeking TIMON.
Sold. By all description this should be the place. Who's here? speak, ho!-No answer?-What is this?
[Finding TIMON's grave.
Timon is dead, who hath outstretch'd his span:
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
5 Some beast REAR'D this;] The old copies have read for “rear'd." Johnson was in favour of read, instead of "rear'd," which was substituted by Theobald. It would however be strange for the Soldier to call upon a beast to read that which, he tells us, just afterwards, he could not read himself. The stage-direction "Finding Timon's grave" is from the corr. fo. 1632, where also read is amended to "rear'd" and no (peculiar to that edition) altered to "not," as it stands in the folios, 1623, 1664, and 1685. We are to suppose tomb," in the next line, to mean merely some appearance of a place of sepulture.
Have wander'd with our travers'd arms, and breath'd
Noble, and young,
When thy first griefs were but a mere conceit,
So did we woo
Transformed Timon to our city's love
By humble message, and by promis'd means:
The common stroke of war.
These walls of our's
Were not erected by their hands, from whom
You have receiv'd your grief: nor are they such,
That these great towers, trophies, and schools should fall
For private faults in them.
Nor are they living,
Who were the motives that you first went out;
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.
All have not offended;
For those that were, it is not square to take',
On those that are, revenge: crimes, like lands,
6 Shame, that they wanted CUNNING,] i. e. That they wanted knowledge—the etymological meaning of the word. Sax. connan, to know.
- it is not square to take,] It is fit to mention that the phrase "it is not square" does not seem to have been understood in the time of the old corrector, and he changes it in the fo. 1632, to a question, Is't not severe to take, &c. We prefer the old reading: "not square" means out of ordinary rule.
Bring in thy ranks, but leave without thy rage:
What thou wilt,
Thou rather shalt enforce it with thy smile,
Set but thy foot
Against our rampir'd gates, and they shall ope,
thou❜lt enter friendly.
Throw thy glove,
Or any token of thine honour else,
That thou wilt use the wars as thy redress,
Then, there's my glove:
"Tis most nobly spoken.
Alcib. Descend, and keep your words.
[The Senators descend, and the gates are opened.
Enter a Soldier1.
Sold. My noble general, Timon is dead;
to ATONE your fears] i. e. To reconcile your fears. See Vol. iv. p. 694, &c. Massinger uses atonement in the same sense. Gifford's edit. Vol. i. p. 315. 9 But shall be RENDER'D to your public laws] In our former edition we suggested that remedied, of the old copies, was a misprint for "render'd:" it was an error probably arising out of mishearing. We now place "render'd" in our text; an emendation which the Rev. Mr. Dyce subsequently advocated in his "Remarks," p. 183. The corr. fo. 1632 suggests no change.
1 Enter a Soldier.] This is the same Soldier who had taken a wax impression