Page images
PDF
EPUB

By humble message, and by promis'd’mends :
We were not all unkind, nor all deserve
The common stroke of war.

i Sen. These walls of ours
Were not erected by their hands, from whom
You have receiv'd your griefs: nor are they such,
That these great tow'rs, trophies, and schools should fall
For private faults in them.

2 Sen. Nor are they living, Who were the motives that you first went out: Shame, that they wanted cunning, in excess (42) Hath broke their hearts. March on, oh, noble Lord, Juto our city with thy banners spread ; By decimation and a cithed death, If thy revenges hunger for that food Which nature loaths, take thou the destin'd tenth; And by the hazard of the spotted die, Let die the spotted.

i Sen. All have not offended : For those that were, it is not square to take

By bumble mesage, and by promis’d means: ] Promis’d means mult import a supply of substance, the recruiting his sunk fortunes; but that is not all, in my mind, that the poet would aim at. The fenate had wooed him with humble message, and promise of general reparaa tion for their injuries and ingratitude. This seems included in the jlight change which I have made and by promis'd'mends : and this word, apostrophe’d, or otherwise, is used in common with amends. So in Troilus and Cresida;

Let her be as the is; if she be fair, 'tis the better for her; an the be not, the has the mends in her own hands. And so B. Jonson in his Every Man out of his Humour :

Pardon me, gentle friends, I'll make fair mends

For my foul errors past. (42) Shame, that they wanted cunning in exces,

Hath broke their hearts. ] i. e. in other terms,-Shame, that they were not the cunning'st men alive, hath been the cause of their death. For cunning in excess must mean this or nothing. O brave editors ! They had heard it said, that too much wit in some cases might be dangerous, and why not an obsolute vant of it? But had they the skill or courage to remove one perplexing comma, the easy and genuine Sense would immediately arise. is Shame in excess (i. c. extremity « of shame) that they wanted cunning (i. e. that they were not wise “ enough not to banish you;) hath broke their hearts."

On those that are, revenge: crimes, like to lands,
Are not inherited. Then, dear countryman,
Bring in thy ranks, but leave without thy rage;
Spare thy Athenian cradle, and those kin,
Which in the bluster of thy wrath must fall
With those that have offended; like a shepherd,
Approach the fold, and cull th’infected forth;
But kill not all together.

2 Sen. What thou wilt,
Thou rather shalt enforce it with thy smile,
Than hew to’t with thy sword.

i Sen. Set but thy foot
Against our rampir'd gates, and they shall ope :
So thou wilt send thy gentle heart before,
To say, thou'lt enter friendly.

2 Sen. Throw thy glove,
Or any token of thine honour elle,
That thou wilt use the wars as thy redress,
And not as our confusion: all thy powers
Shall make their harbour in our town, till we
Have seal'd thy full desire.

Alc. Then there's my glove;
Descend, and open your uncharged ports ;
Those enemies of Timon's, and mine own,
Whom you yourselves shall set out for reproof,
Fall, and no more; and to atone your fears
With my more noble meaning, not a man
Shall pass his arter, or offend the stream
Of regular justice in your city's bounds;
But shall be remedied by publick laws
At heaviest answer.

Both. 'Tis most nobly spoken.
Alc. Descend, and keep your words.

Enter a Soldier.
Sol. My noble General, Timon is dead;
Entomb'd upon

the
very

hem o' th' sea;
And on the grave-ftone this infculpture, which
With wax I brought away; whose foft impression
Interpreteth for my poor ignorance.

[Alcibiades

[ocr errors]

* (Alcibiades, reads the epitaph.]
Herelyes a wretched coarse, of wretched foul bereft: (43)
Seek not-my name: a plague consume you caitiffs left!
Here lye I Timon, who all living men did hate,
Pass by, and curle thy fill, but itay not here thy gaite.
These well express in thee thy latter fpirits :
Tho'thou abhorr'ft in us our human griefs,
Scorn'dst our brains flow, and those our droplets, which
From niggard nature fall; yet rich conceit (4:4)
Taught thee to make vaft Neptune weep for

aye
On thy low grave.On : faults forgiven.--Dead
Is noble Timan, of whose memory
Hereafter more-- Bring me into your city,

And

(43) Here lies a wretched coarse,] This epitaph the poet has formid out of two separate diftichs quoted by Plutarch in his life of M. Antony: the first, said to have been compos'd by Timon himself; the other is an epitaph on him made by Callimachus, and extant among his epis grams. The version of the latter, as our author has transmitted it to 11%, avoids those blunders which Leonard Aretine, the Latin transator of the above quoted life in Plutarch, committed in it. I once imagin’d, that Shakespeare might possibly have corrected this translator's blunder from his own acquaintance with the Greek original: but, I find, he has transcrib'd the four lines from an old English version of Plutarch, extant in his time. I have not been able to trace the time, when this play of our author's made its first appearance; but I believe, it was written before the death of Q Elizabetb; because I take it to be hinted at in a piece, callid, Jack Drum's entertainment; or, the comedy of Pasquill and Katherine, play'ó by the children of Powless and printed in 1601.

-Come, come, now I'll be as sociable as Timon of Aidensa 44)

yet rich conceit Taught thee to make vas? Neptune weep. for aye On tby low gravé, on faults forgiven. Dead fs noble Timon, of wboje memory

Hereafter more.-) All the editors, in their learning and fagacity, have suffered an unaccountable absurdity to pass them in this paffage. Why was Nip!une to weep on Timon's faults forgiven? Or, indeed, what faults had Timon committed, except against his own fortune and happy fituation in lite? But the corruption of the text lies on.y in the wad pointing, which I have disengag'd, and restor’d to the true means ing. Acibiades's whole speech, as the editors might have observ’d,

And I will use the olive with my sword;
Make war breed peace;

make
peace

ftint

war; make each Prescribe to other, as each other's leach. Let our drums Atrike.

[Exeunt. is in breaks, betwixt his reflections on Timon's death, and his address ses to the Albenian senators: and as soon as he has commented on the place of Timon's grave, he bids the senate set forward ;. tells 'em, he has forgiven their faults; and promises to use them with mercy. The very fame manner of expression occurs in Antony, and Cleopatra,

Anto. Well; what worft ?
Mell. The nature of bad news infects the teller.
Anto. When it concerns the fool or coward :

- On :
Things, that are past, are done with me,

[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »