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Apem. So thou apprehend'st it: Take it for thy labour.
Tim. How dost thou like this jewel, Apemantus ?
Apem. Not so well as plain dealing 37, which will not cost a man a doit.
Tim. What dost thou think 'tis worth? Apem. Not worth my thinking.—How now, poet? Poet. How now, philosopher? Apem. Thou liest. Poet. Art not one ? Apem. Yes. Poet. Then I lie not. Apem. Art not a poet? Poet. Yes. Apem. Then thou liest: look in thy last work, where thou hast feign’d him a worthy fellow.
Poet. That's not feign’d, he is so.
Apem. Yes, he is worthy of thee, and to pay thee for thy labour: He, that loves to be flattered, is worthy o’the flatterer. Heavens, that I were a lord !
Tim. What would'st do then, Apemantus ?
T'im. What, thyself?
Apem. That I had no angry wit to be a lord 38.Art not thou a merchant?
37 Alluding to the proverb: Plain dealing is a jewel, but they who use it die beggars.
38 This line is corrupt undoubtedly, and none of the emendations or substitutions that have been proposed are satisfactory. Perhaps we should read. That I had (now angry) wish'd to be a lord:' or, ' That I had (so angry) will to be a lord.' Malone propos d to point the passage thus, ' That I had no angry wit.To be a lord!' and explains it, “ That I had no wit (or discretion]
Mer. Ay, Apemantus.
Apem. Traffick's thy god, and thy god confound thee!
Trumpets sound. Enter a Servant.
'Tis Alcibiades, and Some twenty horse, all of companionship 39. Tim. Pray, entertain them; give them guide to
[Exeunt some Attendants. You must needs dine with me:-Go not you hence, Till I have thank'd you; and, when dinner's done, Show me this piece.- I am joyful of your sights.
Enter ALCIBIADES, with his Company. Most welcome, sir !
[They salute. Apem.
So, so; there! Aches contract and starve your supple joints !— That there should be small love 'mongst these sweet
knaves, And all this court’sy! The strain of man's bred out Into baboon and monkey 40.
Alcib. Sir, you have sav'd my longing, and I feed Most hungrily on your sight. Tim.
Right welcome, sir :
in my anger, but was absurd enough to wish myself one of that set of men, whom I despise.' These are the best helps I can afford the reader towards a solution of this enigmatical passage, and it must be confessed they are feeble.
39 i. e. Alcibiades' companions, or such as he consorts with and sets on a level with himself.
40 Man is degenerated ; his strain or lineage is worn down into a monkey.
Ere we depart 4), we'll share a bounteous time
[Exeunt all but APEMANTUS.
Enter two Lords. 1 Lord. What time a day is't, Apemantus ? Apem. Time to be honest. 1 Lord. That time serves still. Apem. The most accursed thou “, that still omit'stit. 2 Lord. Thou art going to Lord Timon's feast. Apem. Ay; to see meat fill knaves, and wine
heat fools. 2 Lord. Fare thee well, fare thee well. Apem. Thou art a fool, to bid me farewell twice. 2 Lord. Why, Apemantus ?
Apem. Shouldst have kept one to thyself, for I mean to give thee none.
1 Lord. Hang thyself.
Apem. No, I will do nothing at thy bidding; make thy requests to thy friend.
2 Lord. Away, unpeaceable dog, or I'll spurn thee hence. Apem. I will fly, like a dog, the heels of the ass.
[Exit. 1 Lord. He's opposite to humanity. Come, shall
we in, And taste Lord Timon's bounty? he outgoes The very heart of kindness.
2 Lord. He pours it out; Plutus, the god of gold, 41 It has been before observed that to depart and to part were anciently synonymous. See vol. ii. p. 329, note 7.
So in King John, Act ii. Sc.2:
• Hath willingly departed with a part.' 42 Ritson says we should read :
• The more accursed thou.' So in The Two Gentlemen of Verona :
* The more degenerate and base art thou.'
Is but his steward: no meed 43, but he repays
The noblest mind he carries, That ever govern’d man.
2 Lord. Long may he live in fortunes! Shall we in? 1 Lord. I'll keep you company.
[Exeunt. SCENE II. The same.
A Room of State in Timon's House. Hautboys playing loud musick. A great banquet
served in; FLAVIUS and others attending; then enter TIMON, ALCIBIADES, LUCIUS, LUCULLUS, SEMPRONIUS, and other Athenian Senators, with VENTIDIUS, and Attendants.
Then comes dropping after all, APEMANTUS, discontentedly. Ven. Most honour'd Timon, 't hath pleas'd the
gods to remember My father's age, and call him to long peace. He is gone happy, and has left me rich: Then, as in grateful virtue I am bound To your free heart, I do return those talents, Doubled, with thanks, and service, from whose help I deriv'd liberty. Tim.
O, by no means,
gave it freely ever; and there's none
43 Meed here means desert.
44 i. e. all the customary returns made in discharge of obligations.
1. The faults of rich persons, and which contribute to the increase of riches, wear a plausible appearance, and as the world goes are thought fair; but they are faults notwithstanding.'
Ven. A noble spirit.
Nay, my lords, ceremony
[They sit. 1 Lord. My lord, we always have confess'd it.
Apem. Ho, ho, confess'd it? hang'd it', have you not?
Tim. O, Apemantus! you are welcome.
company, Nor is he fit for it, indeed.
Apem. Let me stay at thine apperila, Timon; I come to observe; I give thee warning on't.
2 There seems to be some allusion to a common proverbial saying of Shakspeare's time, . Confess and be hanged. See Othello, Act iv. Sc. 1. .3 The old copy reads • Yond' man's very angry.”.
4 Steevens and Malone dismissed apperil from the text, and inserted own peril: but Mr. Gifford has shown that the word occurs several times in Ben Jonson :Sir, I will bail you at mine own apperil.'
Devil is an Ass. See Ben Jonson, vol. v. p. 137 ; vol. vi. p. 117, and p. 159.