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SCENE I.-Athens. A Hall in TIMON's House. Enter Poet, Painter, Jeweller, Merchant, and others, at several doors.

GOOD day, sir..


Pain. I am glad you are well.

Poet. I have not seen you long; How goes the world? Pain. It wears, sir, as it grows.

Poet. Ay, that's well known:

But what particular rarity? what strange,
Which manifold record not matches? See,

Magic of bounty! all these spirits thy power

Hath conjur'd to attend.

I know the merchant.

Pain. I know them both; t'other's a jeweller.
Mer. O, 'tis a worthy lord!

Jew. Nay, that's most fix'd.

Mer. A most incomparable man; breath'd, as it were,' To an untirable and continuate goodness:

He passés.

Jew. I have a jewel here.

Mer. O pray, let's see't: For the lord Timon, sir?
Jew. If he will touch the estimate: But, for that-
Poet. When we for recompense have prais'd the vile,
It stains the glory in that happy verse

Which aptly sings the good.*

Mer. 'Tis a good form.

[Looking at the jewel.

Jew. And rich: here is a water, look you.

Pain. You are rapt, sir, in some work, some dedication

To the great lord.

Poet. A thing slipp'd idly from me.

Our poesy is as a gum, which oozes

[1] Breathed, is inured by constant practice; so trained as not to be wearied. To

breathe a horse is to exercise him for the course.

[2] Exceeds, goes beyond common bounds.

3 Come up to the price. JOHNSON.


[4] We must here suppose the poet busy in reading his own work; and that these three lines are the introduction of the poem addressed to Timon, which he afterwards gives the Painter an account of. WARBURTON.

From whence 'tis nourished: The fire i'the flint
Shows not, till it be struck; our gentle flame
Provokes itself, and, like the current, flies
Each bound it chafes. What have you there?

Pain. A picture, sir.-And when comes your book forth?

Poet. Upon the heels of my presentment, sir." Let's see your piece.

Pain. 'Tis a good piece.

Poet. So 'tis : this comes off well and excellent."
Pain. Indifferent.

Poet. Admirable : How this grace

Speaks his own standing! what a mental power
This eye shoots forth! how big imagination
Moves in this lip! to the dumbness of the gesture
One might interpret.

Pain. It is a pretty mocking of the life.
Here is a touch; Is't good?

Poet. I'll say of it,

It tutors nature: artificial strife

Lives in these touches, livelier than life.

Enter certain Senators, and pass over.

Pain. How this lord's follow'd!

Poet. The senators of Athens ;-Happy men!

Pain. Look, more!

Poet. You see this confluence, this great flood of vis


I have, in this rough work, shap'd out a man,

Whom this beneath world doth embrace and hug

[5] It should be pointed thus, and then the sense will be evident: our gentle flame

Provokes itself, and like the current flies;

Each bound it chafes.

Our gentle flame animates itself; it flies like a current; and every obstacle serves but to increase its force. M. MASON.------This jumble of incongruous images seems to have been designed, and put into the mouth of the poetaster, that the reader might appreciate his talents: his language therefore should not be considered in the abstract. HENLEY.


As soon as my book has been presented to lord Timon. The figure rises well from the canvas. Cest bien releve.' I am inclined to suppose, that the figure alluded to, was a representation of one of the Graces, and, as they are always supposed to be females, should read the passage thus:How this Grace

Speaks its own standing!

This amendment is strongly supported by the pronoun this prefixed to the word Grace, as it proves that what the Poet pointed out was some real object, not merely

en abstract idea.


[9] Strife is the contest of art with nature:

"Hic ille est Raphael, timuit, quo sospite vinci
Rerum magna parens, & moriente mori." JOHNSON.

[1] "Mane salutantum totis vomit ædibus undam."


With amplest entertainment: My free drift
Halts not particularly, but moves itself
In a wide sea of wax: no levell'd malice'
Infects one comma in the course I hold ;
But flies an eagle flight, bold, and forth on,
Leaving no tract behind.

Pain. How shall I understand you?
Poet. I'll unbolt to you.

You see how all conditions, how all minds,
(As well of glib and slippery creatures, as
Of grave and austere quality,) tender down
Their services to lord Timon: his large fortune,
Upon his good and gracious nature hanging,
Subdues and properties to his love and tendance
All sorts of hearts; yea, from the glass-fac'd flatterer,
To Apemantus,' that few things loves better
Than to abhor himself; even he drops down
The knee before him, and returns in peace
Most rich in Timon's nod.

Pain. I saw them speak together.

Poet. Sir, I have upon a high and pleasant hill, Feign'd Fortune to be thron'd: The base o'the mount Is rank'd with all deserts, all kind of natures,


That labour on the bosom of this sphere
To propagate their states: amongst them all,
Whose eyes are on this sovereign lady fix'd,
One do I personate of lord Timon's frame,
Whom Fortune with her ivory hand wafts to her;
Whose present grace to present slaves and servants
Translates his rivals,

Pain. 'Tis conceiv'd to scope.'

This throne, this Fortune, and this hill, methinks,
With one man beckon'd from the rest below,
Bowing his head against the steepy mount

To climb his happiness, would be well express'd

[2] My design does not stop at any single character. JOHNSON. Anciently they wrote upon waxen tables with an iron stile.


To level is to aim, to point the shot at a mark. Shakespeare's meaning is, my poem is not a satire written with any particular view, or levelled at any single person; I fly like an eagle into the general expanse of life, and leave not, by any private mischief, the trace of my passage. JOHNSON. JOHNSON.

[5] Slippery, smooth, unresisting.

[6] The glass-faced flatterer, that shows in his own look, as by reflection, the looks of his patron. JOHNSON.

[7 The Poet, seeing that Apemantus paid frequent visits to Timon, naturally concluded that he was equally courteous with his other guests. RITSON.

[8] Covered with ranks of all kinds of men.


[9] To advance or improve their various conditions of life. JOHNSON. Properly imagined, appositely, to the purpose. JOHNSON.

In our condition.*

Poct. 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,3

Make sacred even his stirrop, and through him
Drink the free air.*

Pain. Ay, marry, what of these?

Poet. When Fortune, in her shift and change of mood, Spurns down her late belov'd, all his dependants, Which 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.

Pain. 'Tis common :

A thousand moral paintings I can show,

That shall demonstrate these quick blows of fortune
More pregnantly than words. Yet you do well,
To show lord Timon, that mean eyes have seen
The foot above the head.

Trumpets sound. Enter TIMON attended; the Servant of
VENTIDIUS talking with him.

Tim. Imprison'd 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,
Periods his comfort.

Tim. Noble Ventidius! Well ;

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The sense is obvious, and means, in general, flattering him. The particular kind of flattery 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, Shakespeare, with the utmost beauty of thought and expression, calls sacrificial whisperings, alluding to the victims offered up to idols. WARBURTON.

By sacrificial whisperings, I should simply understand whisperings of officious servility, the incense of the worshipping parasite to the patron as to a god. Mr. Gray has excellently expresssed in his Elegy these sacrificial offerings to the great from the poetic tribe:

"To heap the shrine of luxury and pride
With incense kindled at the muse's flame."


[4] "To drink the air," like the haustus atherios 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 permission. WAKEFIELD.

[5] Shakespeare seems to intend in this dialogue to express some competition between the two great arts of imitation. Whatever the poet declares himself to have shown, the painter thinks he could have shown better. JOHNSON.

[6] Inferior spectators.


I do know him

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 ransome; And, being enfranchis'd, bid him come to me :—

'Tis not enough to help the feeble up,

But to support him after.-Fare you well.

Ven. Serv. All happiness to your honour!
Enter an old Athenian.

Old Ath. Lord Timon, hear me speak.
Tim. Freely, good father.

Old Ath. Thou hast a servant nam'd Lucilius.

Tim. I have so: What of him?


Old Ath. Most noble Timon, call the man before thee. Tim. Attends he here, or no ?-Lucilius !


Luc. Here, at your lordship's service.

Old Ath. This fellow here, lord Timon, this thy crea


By night frequents my house. I am a man

That from my first have been inclin❜d to thrift;

And my estate deserves an heir more rais'd,

Than one which holds a trencher.

Tim. Well; what further ?

Old Ath. One only daughter have I, no kin else,
On whom I may confer what I have got :
The maid is fair, o'the youngest for a bride,
And I have bred her at my dearest cost,
In qualities of the best. This man of thine
Attempts her love: I pr'ythee, noble lord,
Join with me to forbid him her resort;
Myself have spoke in vain.

Tim. The man is honest.

Old Ath. Therefore he will be, Timon:"

His honesty rewards him in itself,

It must not bear my daughter.

[6] 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.

The thought is closely expressed and obscure: but this seems the meaning. "If the man be honest, my lord, for that reason he will be so in this; and not endeavour at the injustice of gaining my daughter, without my consent." WARB.

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