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TIM. What, doft thou weep?-Come nearer;then I love thee,

Because thou art a woman, and disclaim'st
Flinty mankind; whofe eyes do never give,
But thorough luft, and laughter. Pity's fleeping:*
Strange times, that weep with laughing, not with

FLAV. I beg of you to know me, good my lord, To accept my grief, and, whilft this poor wealth lafts, To entertain me as your fteward still.

TIM. Had I a steward so true, fo juft, and now So comfortable? It almoft turns

My dangerous nature wild. Let me behold


-Pity's fleeping] I do not know that any correction is neceffary, but I think we might read:

eyes do never give,

But thorough luft and laughter, pity fleeping.

Eyes never flow (to give is to diffolve, as faline bodies in moist weather,) but by luft or laughter, undifturb'd by emotions of pity. JOHNSON. -Pity's fleeping:] So, in Daniel's fecond Sonnet, 1594: "Waken her fleeping pity with your crying." MALONE.

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-It almoft turns

My dangerous nature wild.] i. e. It almoft turns my dangerous nature to a dangerous nature; for, by dangerous nature is meant wildness. Shakspeare wrote:

It almoft turns my dangerous nature mild.

i. e. It almoft reconciles me again to mankind. For fear of that, he puts in a caution immediately after, that he makes an exception but for one man. To which the Oxford editor fays, rectè.


This emendation is fpecious, but even this may be controverted. To turn wild is to diftract. An appearance fo unexpected, fays Timon, almoft turns my favageness to diftraction. Accordingly he examines with nicety left his phrenzy should deceive him:

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Let me behold'

Thy face. Surely, this man was born of woman.” And to this fufpected diforder of mind he alludes:



Perpetual-fober gods!"

powers whofe intellects are out of the reach of perturbation.


He who is fo much difturbed as to have no command over his actions, and to be dangerous to all around him, is already distracted,

Thy face. Surely, this man was born of woman.—
Forgive my general and exceptless rashness,
Perpetual-fober gods! I do proclaim

One honeft man,-mistake me not,-but one;
No more, I pray,-and he is a steward.-
How fain would I have hated all mankind,
And thou redeem'ft thyfelf: But all, fave thee,
I fell with curfes.

Methinks, thou art more honeft now, than wife;
For, by oppreffing and betraying me,

Thou might'ft have fooner got another service: For many fo arrive at fecond masters,

Upon their first lord's neck. But tell me true, (For I must ever doubt, though ne'er fo fure,) Is not thy kindness fubtle, covetous,

If not a ufuring kindness; and as rich men deal gifts,

and therefore it would be idle to talk of turning fuch "a dangerous nature wild:" it is wild already. Befides; the bafeness and ingratitude of the world might very properly be mentioned as driving Timon into frenzy: (So in Antony and Cleopatra:

"The ingratitude of this Seleucus does
"Even make me wild.")

but furely the kindness and fidelity of his fteward was more likely to foften and compofe him; that is, to render his dangerous nature mild. I therefore strongly incline to Dr. Warburton's emendation. MALONE.

6 Perpetual-fober-] Old copy, unmetrically,

You perpetual &c. STEEVENS.

If not a ufuring-] If not feems to have flipt in here, by an error of the prefs, from the preceding line. Both the fenfe and metre would be better without it. TYRWHITT.

I do not fee any need of change. Timon afks-Has not thy kindness fome covert defign? Is it not propofed with a view to gain fome equivalent in return, or rather to gain a great deal more than thou offereft? Is it not at least the offspring of avarice, if not of fomething worse, of ufury? In this there appears to me no difficulty.


My opinion moft perfectly coincides with that of Mr. Tyrwhitt. The fenfe of the line, with or without the contested words, is nearly the fame; yet, by the omiffion of them, the metre would become fufficiently regular. STEEVENS.

Expecting in return twenty for one?

FLAV. No, my moft worthy mafter, in whose breaft

Doubt and fufpect, alas, are plac'd too late:
You should have fear'd falfe times, when you did


Sufpect ftill comes where an estate is leaft.

That which I fhow, heaven knows, is merely love,
Duty and zeal to your unmatched mind,

Care of your food and living: and, believe it,
My most honour'd lord,

For any benefit that points to me,

Either in hope, or prefent, I'd exchange

For this one wish, That you had power and wealth To requite me, by making rich yourself.

TIM. Look thee, 'tis fo!-Thou fingly honest


Here, take:-the gods out of my mifery

Have fent thee treasure. Go, live rich, and happy:
But thus condition'd; Thou fhalt build from men;"
Hate all, curfe all: fhow charity to none;
But let the famish'd flesh flide from the bone,
Ere thou relieve the beggar: give to dogs


What thou deny'ft to men; let prifons fwallow them, Debts wither them: Be men like blafted woods, And may diseases lick up their falfe bloods!

And fo, farewell, and thrive.


And comfort you, my master.


O, let me stay,

· from men ;] Away from human habitations. JOHNSON.

8 Debts wither them:] Old copy

Debts wither them to nothing:

I have omitted the redundant words, not only for the fake of metre, but because they are worthlefs. Our author has the fame phrafe in Antony and Cleopatra:

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Age cannot wither her,-." STEEVENS.


If thou hat'st

Curfes, ftay not; fly, whilft thou'rt blefs'd and free: Ne'er fee thou man, and let me ne'er fee thee.

[Exeunt feverally.


The fame. Before Timon's Cave.

Enter Poet and Painter; TIMON behind, unfeen.

PAIN. As I took note of the place, it cannot be far where he abides.

9 Enter Poet and Painter;] The Poet and the Painter were within view when Apemantus parted from Timon, and might then have feen Timon, fince Apemantus, ftanding by him could fee them: But the scenes of the thieves and steward have paffed before their arrival, and yet paffed, as the drama is now conducted, within their view. It might be fufpected, that fome scenes are tranfpofed, for all thefe difficulties would be removed by introducing the Poet and Painter first, and the thieves in this place. Yet I am afraid the fcenes must keep their present order, for the Painter alludes to the thieves when he fays, be likewife enriched poor ftraggling foldiers with great quantity. This impropriety is now heightened by placing the thieves in one act, and the Poet and Painter in another: but it must be remembered, that in the original edition this play is not divided into feparate acts, fo that the prefent diftribution is arbitrary, and may be changed if any convenience can be gained, or impropriety obviated by alteration. JOHNSON.

In the immediately preceding fcene, Flavius, Timon's fteward, has a conference with his mafter, and receives gold from him. Between this and the prefent fcene, a fingle minute cannot be fuppofed to pafs; and yet the Painter tells his companion :-'Tis said be gave his fteward a mighty fum.-Where was it faid? Why in Athens, whence, it must therefore feem, they are but newly come. Here then should be fixed the commencement of the fifth Act, in order to allow time for Flavius to return to the city, and for rumour

POET. What's to be thought of him? Does the rumour hold for true, that he is fo full of gold?

to publish his adventure with Timon. But how are we in this cafe to account for Apemantus's announcing the approach of the Poet and Painter in the last scene of the preceding act, and before the thieves appear? It is poffible, that when this play was abridged for representation, all between this paffage, and the entrance of the Poet and Painter, may have been omitted by the players, and these words put into the mouth of Apemantus to introduce them; and that when it was published at large, the interpolation was unnoticed. Or, if we allow the Poet and the Painter to fee Apemantus, it may be conjectured that they did not think his presence necessary at their interview with Timon, and had therefore returned back into the city. RITSON.

I am afraid, many of the difficulties which the commentators on our author have employed their abilities to remove, arife from the negligence of Shakspeare himself, who appears to have been lefs attentive to the connection of his fcenes, than a lefs hafty writer may be fuppofed to have been. On the prefent occafion I have changed the beginning of the act, as I conceive fome impropriety is obviated by the alteration. It is but justice to observe, that the fame regulation has already been adopted by Mr. Capell. REED.

I perceive no difficulty. It is easy to fuppofe that the Poet and Painter, after having been feen at a diftance by Apemantus, have wandered about the woods feparately in fearch of Timon's habitation. The Painter might have heard of Timon's having given. gold to Alcibiades, &c. before the Poet joined him; for it does not appear that they fet out from Athens together; and his intelligence concerning the Thieves and the Steward might have been gain'd in his rambles: Or, having fearched for Timon's habitation in vain, they might, after having been defcried by Apemantus, have returned again to Athens, and the Painter alone have heard the particulars of Timon's bounty.-But Shakspeare was not very attentive to these minute particulars; and if he and the audience knew of the feveral perfons who had partaken of Timon's wealth, he would not fcruple to impart this knowledge to perfons who perhaps had not yet an opportunity of acquiring it. See Vol. X. P. 364, n. 6.

The news of the Steward's having been enriched by Timon, though that event happened only in the end of the preceding scene, has, we here find, reached the Painter; and therefore here undoubtedly the fifth Act ought to begin, that a proper interval may be fuppofed to have elapfed between this and the laft.


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