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so hungry awish Apem. That I hadho angry wit' to be a lord. : - Art not thou a merchant?
Mer. Ay, Apemantus.
Trumpets sound. Enter a Servant.
'Tis Alcibiades, and
9 That I had no angry wit to be a lord.] This reading is absurd, and unintelligible But, as I have restored the. text:
That I had so hungry a wit to be a lord, it is satirical enough of conscience, viz. I would hate myself, for having no more wit than to covet so insignificant a title. In the same sense, Shakspeare uses lean-witted in his King Richard II:
“And thou a lunatick, lean-witted fool." Warburton. The meaning may be,-I should hate myself for patiently enduring to be a lord. This is ill enough expressed. Perhaps some happy change may set it right. I have tried, and can do nothing, yet I cannot heartily concur with Dr. Warburton. Fohnson. Mr. Heath reads:
That I had so wrong'd my wit to be a lord. But the passage before us, is, in my opinion, irremediably corrupted. Steevens.
Perhaps the compositor has transposed the words, and they should be read thus:
Angry that I had no wit,- -to be a lord. Or,
Angry to be a lord, -that I had no wit. Blackstone. Perhaps we should read:
That I had an angry wish to be a lord; Meaning, that he would hate himself for having wished in his anger to become a lord.— For it is in anger that he says:
“ Heavens, that I were a lord !!! M. Mason. I believe Shakspeare was thinking of the common expressionhe has wit in his anger; and that the difficulty arises bere, as in many other places, from the original editor's paying no attention to abrupt sentences. Our author, I suppose, wrote:
That I had no angry wit. To be a lord!
Art thou, &c. Apemantus is asked, why after having wished to be a lord, he should hate himself. He replies,-For this reason; that I had no wit (or discretion) in my anger, but was absurd enough to wish myself one of that set of men, whom I despise. He then exclaims with indignation-To be a lord !--Such is my conjecture, in which however I have not so much confidence as to depart from the mode in which this passage has been hitherto exhibited.
Some twenty horse, all of companionship. 1
[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
Alcib. Sir, you have sav'd my longing, and I feed
Right welcome, sir:
[Exeunt all but Apem,
Enter Two Lords. i Lord. What time a day is 't, Apemantus? Apem. Time to be honest. I Lord. That time serves still. Apem. The most accursed thou,s that still omit'st it.
all of companionship.] This expression does not mean barely that they all belong to one company, but that they are all such as Alcibiades honours with his acquaintance, and sets on a level with himself. Steevens.
and, when dinner 's done,] And, which is wanting in the first folio, is supplied by the second. Steedens.
The strain of man's bred out Into baboon and inonkey.] Man is exhausted and degenerated; his strain or lineage is worn down into a monkey. Johnson.
4 Ere we depart,] Who depart? Though Alcibiades was to leave Timon, Timon was not to depart. Common sense favours myemendation. Theobald.
Mr. Theobald proposes do part. Common sense may favour it, but an acquaintance with the language of Shakspeare would not have been quite so propitious to his emendation. Depart and part have the same meaning So, in King John:
“ Hath willingly departed with a part.” i. e. hath willingly parted with a part of the thing in question. See Vol. VII, p. 331, n. 4. Steevens. VOL. XV.
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 farewel twice. 2 Lord. Why, Apemantus?
Apem. Shouldst have kept one to thyself, for I mean to give thee none.
i 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.
I Lord. He's opposite to humanity. Come, shail wein, And taste lord Timon's bounty? he outgoes The very heart of kindness.
2 Lord. He pours it out; Plutus, the god of gold, Is but his steward: no meed,6 but he repays Sevenfold above itself; no gift to him, But breeds the giver a return exceeding All use of quittance.? i Lord.
The noblest mind he carries, That ever govern’d man. 2 Lord. Long may he live in fortunes! Shall we in? i Lord. I 'll keep you company.
& The most accursed thou, ] Read:
The more accursed thou, Ritson. So, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona:
“ The more degenerate and base art thou –." Steevens.
no meed,] Meed, which in general signifies reward or recompense, in this place seems to mean desert. So, in Heywood's Silver Age, 1613:
“And yet thy body meeds a better grave." i. e. deserves. Again, in a comedy called Look about you, 1600:
“ Thou shalt be rich in honour, full of speed;
“ Thou shalt win foes by fear, and friends by meed." See Vol. X, P, 315, n. 1. Steevens.
7 All use of quittance. ) i. e. all the customary returns made in discharge of obligations. Warburton,
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,
O, by no means,
gave it freely ever; and there 's none
discontentedly.] The ancient stage-direction adds-like himself. Steevens.
. Most honour'd Timon,'t hath pleas'd the gods remember -] The old copy reads—to remember. But I have omitted, for the sake of metre, and in conformity to our author's practice on other occasions, the adverb-to. Thus, in King Henry VIII, Act IV, sc. ii, Vol. XI, p. 319:
Patience, is that letter “I caus'd you write, yet sent away?" Every one must be aware that the participle-to was purposely left out, before the verb--write. Steevens.
If our betters play at that game, we must not dare
To imitate them; Faults that are rich, are fair.] These two lines are absurdly given to Timon. They should be read thus:
Tim. If our betters play at that game, we must not.
Apem. Dare to imitate them. Faults that are rich are fair. This is said satirically, and in character. It was a sober reflection in Timon; who by our betters meant the gods, which require to be repaid for benefits received; but it would be impiety in men to expect the same observance for the trifling good they do. Ape.
Ven. A noble spirit.
[They all stand ceremoniously looking on Tim. Tim.
Nay, my lords, ceremony Was but devis’d at first, to set a gloss. On faint deeds, hollow welcomes, Recanting goodness, sorry ere 'tis shown; But where there is true friendship, there needs none. Pray, sit; more welcome are ye to my fortunes, Than my fortunes to me.
[They sit. I Lord. My lord, we always have confess'd it.
Apem. Ho, ho, confess’d it? hang'd it, have you not ?2 mantus, agreeably to his character, perverts this sentiment; as if Timon had spoke of earthly grandeur and potentates, who expect largest returns for their favours; and therefore, ironically replies as above. Warburton.
I cannot see that these lines are more proper in any other mouth than Timon's, to whose character of generosity and condescen. sion they are very suitable. To suppose that by our betters are meant the gods, is very harsh, because to imitate the gods has been bitherto reckoned the highest pitch of human virtue. The whole is a trite and obvious thought, uttered by Timon with a kind of affected modesty. If I would make any alteration, it should be only to reform the numbers thus:
Our betters play that game; we must not dare
T'imitate them : faults that are rich are fair. Johnson. 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. Heath.
Dr. Warburton with his usual love of innovation, tra fers the last word of the first of these lines, and the whole of the second to Apemantus. Mr. Heath has justly observed that this cannot have been Shakspeare's intention, for thus Apemantus would be made to address Timon personally, who must therefore have seen and heard him ; whereas it appears from a subsequent speech that Timon had not yet taken notice of him, as he salutes him with some surprize
“O, Apemantus!-you are welcome.” The term our betters, being used by the inferior classes of men when they speak of their superiors in the state, Shakspeare uses these words, with his usual laxity, to express persons of high rank and fortune. Malone.
So, in King Lear, Act III, sc. vi, Edgar says, (referring to the distracted king):
“When we our betters see bearing our woes,
- confess'd it? hang'd it, hade you not?] There seems to be some allusion here to a common proverbial saying of Shakspeare's time: “Confess and be hang'd." See Othello, Act IV, sc. i. Malone.