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Infects one comma in the course I hold;
Pain. How shall I understand you?
I'll unbolt to you.
I saw them speak together.
" Her right hand holds the pen, her left doth hold the
emptie waxe,” &c. Malone.
no levell’d malice &c.] To level is to aim, to point the shot at a mark. Shakspeare's meaning is, my poem is not a satire written with any particular view, or levelled at any single person ; 1 fly like an eagle into a general expanse of life, and leave not, by any private mischief, the trace of my passage.
Fohnson. 8 I'll unbolt - ] I'll open, I 'll explain. Johnson.
glib and slippery creatures,] Sir T. Hanmer, and Dr. War. burton after him, read-natures. Slippery is smooth, unresisting,
Johnson. 1 Subdues All sorts of hearts;7 So, in Othello:
" My heart's subdued
-glass-fac'd flatterer -] That shows in his look, as by reflection, i he looks of his patron. Johnson.
3 — even he drops down &c.] Either Shakspeare meant to put a falsehood into the mouth of his Poet, or had not yet thoroughly planned the character of Apemantus; for in the ensuing scenes, his behaviour is as cynical Timon as to his followers. Steevens.
The Poet, seeing that Apemantus paid frequent visits to Timon, naturally concluded that he was equally courteous with his other guests. Ritson.
4 I saw them speak together.] The word together, which only serves to interrupt the measure, is, I believe, an interpolation, being occasionally omitted by our author, as unnecessary to sense,
Poet. Sir, I have upon a high and pleasant hill,
'Tis conceiv'd to scope. 8
Nay, sir, but hear me on:
on similar occasions. Thus, in Measure for Measure: “ Bring me to hear them speak;” i. e. to speak together, to converse. Again, in another of our author's plays: “When spoke you last !" Nor is the same phraseology, even at this hour, out of use.
Steevens. rank'd with all deserts,] Cover'd with ranks of all kinds of men. Johnson.
6 To propagate their stares :] To advance or improve their va.. rious conditions of life. Johnson. 7 Feign'd Fortune to be thron'd:on this sovereign lady &c.] So, in The Tempest :
bountiful fortune, “ Now my dear lady," &c. Malone. i-conceio'd to scope.] Properly imagined, appositely, to the purpose. Johnson.
9 In our condition.] Condition for art. Warburton.
1 Rain sacrificial whisperings in his ear,] The sense is obvious, and means, in general,
flattering him. The particular kind of flat. tery may be collected from the circumstance of its being offered up in whispers: which shows it was the calumniating those whom Timon hated or envied, or whose vices were opposite to his own. This offering up, to the person flattered, the murdered reputation of others, Shakspeare, with the utmost beauty of thought and
Mike sacred even his stirrop, and through him
Ay, marry, what of these?
Pain. 'Tis common:
expression, calls sacrificial whisperings, alluding to the victims offered up to idols. Warburton.
Whisperings aitended with such respect and veneration as accompany sacrifices to the gods. Such, I suppose, is the meaning.
Malone. By sacrificial whisperings, I should simply understand whisper. ings of officious servility, the incense of the worshipping parasite to the patron as to a god. These whisperings might probably immolate reputations for the most part, but I should not reduce the epithet in question to that notion here. Mr. Gray has excellently expressed in his Elegy these sacrificial offerings to the great from the poetick tribe:
“ To heap the shrine of luxury and pride
through him Drink the free air.) That is, catch his breath in affected fondness. Johnson. A similar phrase occurs in Ben Jonson's Every Man in his Hu
“ By this air, the most divine tobacco I every drank!" To drink, in both these instances, signifies to inhale. Steevens.
Dr. Johnson's explanation appears to me highly unnatural and unsatisfactory. "To drink the air,” like the haustus ætherios of Virgil, is merely a poetical phrase for draw the air, or breathe. To « drink the free air,” therefore, “through another," is to breathe freely at his will only; so as to depend on him for the privilege of life: not even to breathe freely without his permis. sion. Wakefield. So, in our author's Venus and Adonis :
6 His nostrils drink the air.” Again, in The Tempest:
" I drink the air before me.” Malone.
4 A thousand moral paintings I can show,] Shakspeare seems to intend in tbis dialogue to express some competition between the
That shall demonstrate these quick blows of fortunes
of VENTIDIUS talking with him. Tim.
Imprison's is he, say you ?? Ven. Serv. Ay, my good lord: five talents is his debt; His means most short, his creditors most strait : Your honourable letter he desires To those have shut him up; which failing to him, 8 Periods his comfort.9 Tim.
Noble Ventidius! Well; I am not of that feather, to shake off
two great arts of imitation. Whatever the poet declares himself to have shown, the painter thinks he could have shown better.
Johnson. these quick blows of fortune – ) [Old copy--fortune's -] This was the phraseology of Shakspeare's time, as I have already observed in a note on King John, Vol. VII, p. 305, n. 8. The mo." dern editors read, more elegantly,--of fortune. The alteration was first made in the second folio, from ignorance of Shakspeare's diction. Malone.
Though I cannot impute such a correction to the ignorance of the person who made it, I can easily suppose what is here styled the phraseology of Shakspeare, to be only the mistake of a vulgar transcriber or printer. Had our author been constant in his use of this mode of speech (which is not the case) the propriety of Mr. Malone's remark would have been readily admitted.
Steevens. mean eyes ---] i. e. inferior spectators. So, in Wotton's Letter to Bacon, dated March the last, 1613: “ Before their majesties, and almost as many other meaner eyes,” &c. Tollet.
Imprison’d is he, say you.?] Here we have another interpolation destructive to the metre. Omitting-is he, we ought to read:
Imprison'd, say you? Steevens.
- which failing to him,] Thus the second folio. The first omits-to him, and consequently mutilates the verse. Steevens.
9 Periods his comfort.) To period is, perhaps, a verb of Shak. speare's introduction into the English language. I find it, however, used by Heywood, after him, in A Maidenhead well lost, , 1634:
“ How easy could I period all my care." Again, in The Country Girl, by T. B. 1647: “ To period our vain-grievings.” Steevens, .
My friend when he must need me. I do know him
Ven. Serv. Your lordship ever binds him.
Tim. Commend me to him: I will send his ransome;
Enter an old Athenian.
Freely, good father,
Well; what further?
must need me.] i. e. when he is compelled to have need of my assistance; or, as Mr. Malone has more happily explained the phrase,-“cannot but want my assistance.” Steevens.
2 'Tis not enough &c.] This thought is better expressed by Dr. Madden in his Elegy on Archbishop Boulter:
“ More than they ask'd he gave; and deem'd it mean
“Only to help the poor-to beg again.” Johnson. It has been said that Dr. Johnson was paid ten guineas by Dr. Madden for correcting this poem. Steevens.
your honour .!] The common address to a lord in our author's time, was your honour, which was indifferently used with your lordship. See any old letter, or dedication of what age; and Vol XI. p 95, where a Pursuivant, speaking to Lord Hastings, says,—“I thank your honour." Sicevens.