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(4) SCENE III.-Each thing's a thief.] Timon's magnificent exemplifications of thievery, like others of a less elevated and universal kind, which are to be found in writers of his period, had their origin probably in Anacreon's graceful ode, beginning-Han melarva nivel.

Thus in the old play of Albumazar, quoted by Stee


The world 's a theatre of theft : great rivers

Rob smaller brooks, and them the ocean.
And in this world of ours, this microcosm,
Guts from the stomach steal; and what they spare
The Meseraicks filch, and lay't i' the liver;
Where (lest it should be found) turn'd to red nectar,
"Tis by a thousand thievish veins convey'd,
And hid in flesh, nerves, bones, muscles and sinews,
In tendons, skin, and hair; so that the property
Thus altered, the thest can never be discover'd.
Now all these pilfries, couch'd, and compos'd in order,
Frame thee and me; Man's a quick mass of thievery."

In farther illustration of the same idea, an antiquarian correspondent supplies the following lines, which, however, though bearing the early date of 1590, are, it is plain, but of comparatively modern composition:

Certaine fine Thoughtes gathered oute of the Greeke and Romane

Authours, and done into English. 1590.



Eache Thing that liues of somewhat else
Becomes the Foode or Prey:
So if it were that Nature tells
To take whene're we may.
For worldlie superfluitie
Here is a sure reliefe ;
When euerie Thing is made to be
A Giver, or a Theefe.


mercy, are but meer toyes, not worth a straw to be talkt of: to be sorry for him that weeps, or help him that wants, shall be a transgression and breach of our laws:

will eat alone as wolves do, and have but one friend in the world to bear me company, and that shall be Timon; all others shall be enemies and traitors, and to have speech with any of them, an absolute piacle [enormity]: If I do but see a man, that day shall be dismal and accursed : I will make no difference between them and statues of stone and brass : I will admit no messenger from them, nor contract any truce with them, but solitariness shall be the main limit betwixt me and them; to be of the same tribe, the same fraternity, the same people, or the same countrey, shall be but poor and unprofitable terms, to be respected by none but fools ; let Timon alone be rich, and live in despight of all other; let him revel alone by himself, far from flattery and odious commendations; let him sacrifice to the gods, and make good chear alone, as a neighbour conjoyned only to himself, discarding all other; and let it be further enacted, that it shall be lawful for him only to shake himself by the hand, that is, either when he is about to die, or to set a crown upon his head; and the welcomest name to him in the world is to be called Man-hater.”—HICKES' Lucian, fol. 1663, p. 174.


Common mother, thou, Whose womb unmeasurable, and infinite breast.] Warburton conjectured this image was borrowed from the ancient statues of Diana Ephesia Multimammia, called παναίολος φύσις πάντων Μήτηρ ; see Montfaucon, “l'Antiquité Expliquée,” lib. iii. ch. xv.

(4) SCENE III.- Wert thou the unicorn, pride and wrath would confound thee, and make thi ne own self the conquest of thy fury.) An allusion to the notion once current, that this fabulous animal, in the impetuosity of its attack, would sometimes strike its horn into the root of a tree so deeply, as to become transfixed :-"He is an enemy to the lions, wherefore as soon as ever a lion seeth a unicorn, he runneth to a tree for succour, that so when the unicorn maketh force at him, he may not only avoid his horn, but also destroy him ; for the unicorn in the swiftness of his course runneth against the tree, wherein his sharp horn sticketh fast, then when the lion seeth the unicorn fastened by the horn, without all danger he falleth upon him and killeth him. These things are reported by the King of Ethiopia, in an Hebrew epistle unto the Bishop of Rome.”—TOPSEL'S History of Four-footed Beasts, ed. 1658, p. 557. So too Spenser :

“ Like as a lion whose imperial power

A proud rebellious Vnicorn defies,
To avoid the rash assault and wrathful stour
of his fierce foe, him to a tree applies ;
And when him running in full course he spies,
He slips aside; the whiles the furious beast
His precious horn, sought of his enemies,
Strikes in the stock, ne thence can be releast,
But to the mighty Victor yields a bounteous feast."

Paëry Queen, b. ii. Canto V. st. 5.

A glorious Robber is the Sunne,
For with his vaste attracte
Hee robbes the boundlesse sea : the Moone
From him steales Lighte to acte
O're the broade Earthe, and Ocean too:
Whilst the rapacious Maine
Absorbs the Vapoures, Mists, and Dewe
To yielde the Cloudes their Raine.

(3.) The brutish Earthe can little give From her composture rude : Though some there be ordaind to live Upon Earthes foulest foode. Is all Creation then but fedde By Spoile, his Life to gaine! Nay, -all Things living be but made Eache other to maintaine."


“ TIMON OF ATHENS, of all the works of Shakspeare, possesses most the character of satire :laughing satire in the picture of the parasites and flatterers, and Juvenalian in the bitterness of Timon's imprecations on the ingratitude of a false world. The story is very simply treated, and is definitely divided into large masses :—in the first act, the joyous life of Timon, his noble and hospitable extravagance, and around him the throng of suitors of every description; in the second and third acts, his embarrassment, and the trial which he is thereby reduced to make of his supposed friends, who all desert him in the hour of need; in the fourth and fifth acts, Timon's flight to the woods, his misanthropical melancholy, and his death. The only thing which may be called an episode is the banishment of Alcibiades, and his return by force of arms. However, they are both examples of ingratitude,-the one of a state towards its defender, and the other of private friends to their benefactor. As the merits of the General towards his fellow-citizens suppose more strength of character than those of the generous prodigal, their respective behaviours are not less different: Timon frets himself to death, Alcibiades regains his lost dignity by force. If the poet very properly sides with Timon against the common practice of the world, he is, on the other hand, by no means disposed to spare Timon. Timon was a fool in his generosity; in his discontent he is a madman; he is everywhere wanting in the wisdom which enables a man in all things to observe the due measure. Although the truth of his extravagant feelings is proved by his death, and though when he digs up a treasure he spurns the wealth which seems to tempt him, we yet see distinctly enough that the vanity of wishing to be singular, in both the parts that he plays, had some share in his liberal self-forgetfulness, as well as in his anchoritical seclusion. This is particularly evident in the incomparable scene where the cynic Apemantus visits Timon in the wilderness. They have a sort of competition with each other in their trade of misanthropy: the Cynic reproaches the impoverished Timon with having been merely driven by necessity to take to the way of living which he himself had long been following of his free choice, and Timon cannot bear the thought of being merely an imitator of the Cynic. In such a subject as this, the due effect could only be produced by an accumulation of similar features; still, in the variety of the shades, an amazing degree of understanding has been displayed by Shakspeare. What a powerfully diversified concert of flatteries and of empty testimonies of devotedness! It is highly amusing to see the suitors, when the ruined circumstances of their patron had dispersed, immediately flock to him again when they learn that he has been revisited by fortune. On the other hand, in the speeches of Timon, after he is undeceived, all hostile figures of speech are exhausted, —it is a dictionary of eloquent imprecations." -SCHLEGEL.

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The earliest known copy of this popular tragedy is a quarto published in 1597, entitled,

The Tragedy of King Richard the Third. Containing, His treacherous Plots against his brother Clarence: the pittiefull murther of his innocent nephewes : His tyrannicall vsurpation : with the whole course of his detested life, and most deserued death. As it hath beene lately acted by the Right honourable the Lord Chamberlaine, his seruants. At London, Printed by Valentine Sims, for Andrew Wise, dwelling in Paules Church-yard, at the signe of the Angell, 1597.” In 1598, another edition appeared bearing the same title, and in addition the author's name, " William Shake-speare.” The next impression, brought out in 1602, professes to be “Newly augmented;" this was followed by a fourth in 1605, and a fifth in 1613, which was the last quarto copy prior to the publication of the folio in 1623. Subsequently, three other quarto editions, dated respectively 1624, 1629, and 1634, were published, not one of which however, it is noticeable, contains the passages first found in the folio. Although an historical piece on the same subject,—The True Tragedie of Richard the Third : wherein is showne the death of Edward the fourth, with the smothering of the two young Princes in the Tower : with a lamentable ende of Shores wife, an example for all wicked women. And lastly, the conjunction and ioyning of the two noble houses, Lancaster and Yorke. As it was playd by the Queenes Maiesties Players,—was issued in 1594, there are no proofs that Shakespeare has any obligations to it: his only authorities appear to have been the old chroniclers.

Malone has remarked that the textual variations between the quarto version of this play and the folio are more numerous than in any other of our author's works. This is true, and the diversity has proved, and will continue to prove, a source of incalculable trouble and perpetual dispute to his editors, since, although it is admitted by every one properly qualified to judge, that a reasonably perfect text can only be formed from the two versions, there will always be a conflict of opinions regarding some of the readings. Upon the whole, we prefer the quarto text, though execrably deformed by printing-office blunders, and can by no means acquiesce in the decision that those passages found only in the folio are “additions" made by the poet, subsequent to the publication of the early quartos. On the contrary, we believe those very passages to have been structural portions of the piece, and the real additions to be the terse and vigorous bits of dialogue peculiar to the quartos. Is it credible that so accomplished a master of stagecraft as Shakespeare, after witnessing the representation of Richard the Third, would have added above eighty lines to the longest scene in this or perhaps any other play? Is it not far more probable that these lines in Act IV., those touching the young prince's train in Act II., the nine in Gloucester's mock reply to the Mayor and Buckingham, and some others, formed originally part of the text and were omitted to accelerate the action, and afford space for the more lively and dramatic substitutions which are met with in the quartos alone? But although in these and a few other instances the folio copy appears to have been an earlier one than that used by the printers of the quartos, it must be admitted that there are numerous places in which the text of the former has undergone minute and careful correction, and where, both in rhythm and in language, it is superior to the previous editions.

Malone conjectured that Shakespeare wrote “Richard the Third " in 1593; the received impression at the present day is, that he produced it very shortly before its first publication in 1597.

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