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TIMON OF ATHENS.
LITERARY AND HISTORICAL NOTICE. THIS play, which contains many perplexed, obscure, and corrupt passages, was written about the year 1610, und was probably suggested by a passage in Plutarch's Life of Antony, wherein the latter professes to imitate the conduct of Timon, by retiring to the woods, and inveighing against the ingratitude of his friends. The finding of hidden gold, (see Act IV.) was an incident borrowed from a MS. play, apparently transcribed about the year 1600, and at one time in the possession of Mr. Strutt the antiquary. A building yet remains near Athens, called Timon's Tower. Phryuia, one of the courtezans whom Timon reviles so outrageously, was that exquisitely beautiful Phrine, who, when the Athenian Judges were about to condemn her for enormous offences, by the sight of her bosom disarmed the court of its severity, and secured her life from the sentence of the law. Alcibiades, known as a hero who, to the principles of a debauchee added the sagacity of a statesman, the intrepidity of a general, and the humanity of a philosopher, is reduced to comparative insignificance in the present production. I's relative merits, as to action and construction, are succinctly pointed out by Johnson. He describes it as "a domestic tragedy, which strongly fastens on the attention of the reader. In the plan there is not much art; but the incidents are natural, and the characters various and exact. The catastrophe affords a very powerful warning against the ostentatious liberality, which scatters bounty, but confers no benefits, and buys flattery but not friendship."
Pain. It wears, Sir, as it grows.
To an untirable and continuate goodness.
Mer. O pray let's see't: For the lord Timon
Jew. If he would touch the estimate: But, for that-
Poet. When we for recompense have prais'd
It stains the glory in that happy verse
[Looking at the Jewel. Jew, And rich: here is a water, look you. Pain. You are rapt, Sir, in some work, some dedication
Poet. The senators of Athens :-Happy men! Pain. Look, more!
Poet. You see this confluence, this great flood of visitors.
I have, in this rough work, shap'd out a man, Whom this beneath world doth embrace and hug
With amplest entertainment: My free drift
Pain. How shall I understand you?
You see how all conditions, how all minds,
Is rank'd with all deserts, all kind of natures,
Pain. 'Tis conceiv'd to scope. [thinks,
Poet. Nay, Sir, but hear me on: All those which were his fellows but of late, (Some better than his value,) on the moment Follow his strides, his lobbies fill with tendance Rain sacrificial whisperings ¶ in his ear, Make sacred even his stirrup, and through him Drink the free air.
Pain. Ay, marry, what of these?
Poet. When Fortune in her shift and change of mood,
[ants, Spurns down her late belov'd, all his dependWhich labour'd after him to the mountain's top, Even on their knees and hands, let him slip down,
Not one accompanying his declining foot.
A thousand moral paintings I can show
The contest of art with nature.
+My poem does not allude to any particular character. t Explain. Shewing, as a glass does by reflection, the looks of his patron. To advance their con dations of life. Whisperings of officious servility. Jubale.
Tim. Noble Ventidius! Well ; I am not of that feather to shake off My friend when he must need me. A gentleman that well deserves a help, Which he shall have: I'll pay the debt, and free him.
Ven. Serv. Your lordship ever binds him. Tim. Commend me to him: I will send his ransom;
And, being enfranchis'd, bid him to come to
'Tis not enough to help the feeble up, But to support him after.-Fare you well. Ven. Serv. All happiness to your honour! [Exit.
Enter an old ATHENIAN.
Old Ath. Lord Timon, hear me speak.
Old Ath. Thou hast a servant nam'd Lu cilius.
Tim. I have so: What of him?
Old Ath. Most noble Timon, call the man
Tim. Attends he here, or no?-Lucilius
Luc. Here, at your lordship's service.
By night frequents my house. I am a man
Tim. Well; what further?
Old Ath. One only daughter have I, no kin
On whom I may confer what I have got:
Tim. The man is honest.
Old Ath. Therefore he will be, Timon:
T'im. Does she love him?
Old Ath. She is young, and apt:
Tim. [To LUCILIUS.] Love you the maid? Luc. Ay, my good lord, and she accepts of it.
Old Ath. If in her marriage my consent be missing,
I call the gods to witness, I will choose
Tim. How shall she be endow'd,
If she be mated with an equal husband? Old Ath. Three talents, ou the present; iu future, all.
Tim. This gentleman of mine hath serv'd me long:
To build his fortune, 1 will strain a little,
Go not away. What have you there, my friend? Pain. A piece of painting, which I do beYour lordship to accept.
Tim. Painting is welcome.
The painting is almost the natural man;
And you shall find, I like it: wait attendance
Pain. The gods preserve you!
Tim. Well fare you, gentlemen: Give me your hand;
We must needs dine together.-Sir, your jewel Hath suffer'd under praise.
Jew. What, my lord? dispraise?
Tim. A mere satiety of commendations.
If I should pay you for't as 'tis extoll'd,
Jew. My lord, 'tis rated
As those, which sell, would give: But you well
Tim. Well mock'd.
Apem. Then I repent not.
Jew. You know me, Apemantus. Apem. Thou know'st I do; I call'd thee by thy name.
Tim. Thou art proud, Apemantus.
Apem. Of nothing so much, as that I am not like Timon.
Tim. Whither art going?
Apem. To knock out an honest Athenian's brains.
Tim. That's a deed thou'lt die for.
Apem. Right, if doing nothing be death by the law.
Tim. How likest thou this picture, Apemantus ? Apem. The best, for the innocence.
Tim. Wrought he net well, that painted it? Apem. He wrought better, that made the painter; and yet he's but a filthy piece of work. Pain. You are a dog.
Apem. Thy mother's of my generation: What's she, if I be a dog?
Tim. Wilt dine with me, Apemantus ?
What they profess to be.
+ Draw out the whole mass of my fortunes.
Apem. Then thou iiest: look in thy last work, where thou hast fign'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? Apem. Even as Apemantus does now, hate: lord with my heart.
Tim. What, thyself?
Apem. That I had no angry wit to be a lord.Art not thou a mercbant?
Mer. Ay, Apemantus.
Apem. Traffic confound thee, if the gods will
Mer. If traffic do it, the gods do it. Apem. Trafic's thy god, and thy god confound thee!
Trumpets sound. Enter a SERVANT.
Some twenty horse, all of companionship.
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, [out And all this court'sy! The strain of man's bred Iuto baboon and monkey. +
Alcib. Sir, you have sav'd my longing, and I Most hungrily on your sight. [feed
Tim. Right welcome, Sir: Ere we depart, we'll share a bounteous time In different pleasures. Pray you, let us in. [Exeunt all but APEMANTUS. Enter two Lorus.
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'st it.
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.
Alluding to the proverb: plain-dealing is a jewel,
but they who use it beggfrs.
His lineage degenerated into a monkey,
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 [Erit. 1 Lord. He's opposite to humanity. Come, shall we in,
And taste lord Timon's bounty? he outgoes
2 Lord. He pours it out: Plutus, the god gold,
Is but his steward: no meed
but he repays
1 Lord. The noblest mind he carries, That ever govern'd man.
Apem. Let me stay at thine own peril, T mon;
I come to observe; I give thee warning on't. Tim. I take no heed of thee; thou art an Athenian; therefore welcome: I myself would have no power: pr'ythee, let my meat make thee silent.
Apem. I scorn thy meat; 'twould choke me
for I should
Ne'er flatter thee.-O you gods! what a number
I wonder men dare trust themselves with men :
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.
The breath of him in a divided draught,
Is the readiest man to kill him: it has been If I [prov'd, Were a huge man, I should fear to drink at meals;
Lest they should spy my windpipe's dangerous notes;
Great men should drink with harness + on their throats.
Tim. My lord, in heart; ‡ and let the health go round.
2 Lord. Let it flow this way, my good lord. Apem. Flow this way! [mon brave fellow !--he keeps his tides well. Ti Those healths will make thee and thy state look
Hautboys playing loud music. A great ban-
Ven. Most honour'd Timon, 't hath pleas'd the
My father's age, and call him to long peace.
To your free heart, I do return those talents,
I deriv'd liberty.
Tim. Oh! by no means,
Honest Ventidius: you mistake my love;
I gave it freely ever; and there's none
Can truly say he gives, if he receives:
If our betters play at that game, we must not dare
To imitate them: Faults that are rich, are fair. Ven. A noble spirit.
[They all stand ceremoniously looking on TIMON.
Tim. Nay, my lords, ceremony
Was but devis'd at first, to set a gloss
On faint deeds, bollow welcomes,
But where there is true friendship, there needs
Here's that which is too weak to be a sinner, Honest water, which ne'er left n an i'the mire : This and my food, are equals; there's no odds Feasts are too proud to give thanks to the gods.
Immortal gods, I crave no pelf;
Or a dog, that seems a sleeping;
Rich men sin, and I eat root.
[Eats and drinks. Much good dick thy good heart, Apemautus ! Tim. Captain Alcibiades, your heart's in the field now.
Alcib. My heart is ever at your service, my lord.
Tim. You had rather be at a breakfast of enemies, than a dinner of friends.
Alcib. So they were bleeding-new, my lord, there's no meat like them: I could wish my best friend at such a feast.
Apem. 'Would all those flatterers were thine enemies then; that then thou might'st kill 'em, and bid me to 'em.
1 Lord. Might we but have that happiness, my lord, that you would once use our hearts, whereby we might express some part of our zeals, we should think ourselves for ever perfect.
Tim. O no doubt, my good friends, but the gods themselves have provided that I shall have much help from you: How had you been my friends else? why have you that charitable ¶ title from thousands, did you not chiefly belong to my heart? I have told more of you to myself, than you can with modesty speak in your own behalf; and thus far I confirm you. O you gods, think