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Line 126. -no idle votarist.] No insincere òr inconstant supplicant. Gold will not serve me instead of roots. JOHNSON. Line 131.
Will lug your priests and servants from your sides ;] Aristophanes, in his Plutus, Act V. sc. ii. makes the priest of Jupiter desert his service to live with Plutus. WARBURTON. Line 133. Pluck stout men's pillows from below their heads ;] i. e. men who have strength yet remaining to struggle with their distemper. This alludes to an old custom of drawing away the pillow from under the heads of men in their last agonies, to make their departure the easier. WARBURTON.
Line 139. That makes the wappen'd widow wed again ;] Waped or wappen'd signifies both sorrowful and terrified, either for the loss of a good husband, or by the treatment of a bad. But gold, he says, can overcome both her affection and her fears. WARB. Line 141. She, whom the spital-house, and ulcerous sores
Would cast the gorge at,] The meaning is,-Her whom the spital-house, however polluted, would not admit, but reject with abhorrence, this embalms, &c. or, (in a looser paraphrase) Her, at the sight of whom all the patients in the spital-house, however contaminated, would sicken and turn away with loathing and abhorrence, disgusted by the view of still greater pollution than any they had yet experience of, this embalms and spices, &c. MALONE.
Line 143. To the April day again.] That is, to the wedding day, called by the poet, satirically, April day, or fool's day. JOHNS. Line 146. Do thy right nature.] Lie in the earth where nature laid thee. JOHNSON.
-Thou'rt quick,] Thou hast life and motion in
Line 173. I will not kiss thee;] This alludes to an opinion in former times, generally prevalent, that the venereal infection transmitted to another, left the infecter free. I will not, says Timon, take the rot from thy lips, by kissing thee. JOHNSON. Line 185.
Thou wilt not promise, &c.] That is, however thou may'st act, since thou art a man, hated man, I wish thee evil. JOHNS. Line 207. To the tub-fast, and the diet.] Wiseman says, that 'formerly in England they used a tub for the purpose of perspira
tion in curing the lues venerea, as they now do abroad, a cave, or oven, or dungeon. And as for the unction, it was sometimes continued for thirty-seven days; and during this time there was necessarily an extraordinary abstinence required. Hence the term of the tub-fast. WARBURTON.
Line 240. Be as a planetary plague, when Jove
In the sick air:] This is wonderfully sublime and
I do not believe any particular satire was here intended. Lady Suffolk, Lady Somerset, and many of the celebrated beauties of the time of James 1. are thus represented in their pictures; nor were they, I imagine, thought more reprehensible than the ladies of the present day, who from the same extravagant pursuit of what is called fashion, run into an opposite extreme.
Line 255. bastard,] An allusion to the tale of Oedipus. JOHNSON.
274. And to make whores, a bawd.] That is, enough to make a whore leave whoring, and a bawd leave making whores. JOHNSON.
Line 280. I'll trust to your conditions:] You need not swear to continue whores, I will trust to your inclinations. JOHNS. Line 284. Yet may your pains, six months,
Be quite contrary:] The meaning is this: he had said before, follow constantly your trade of debauchery: that is (says he) for six months in the year. Let the other six be employed in quite contrary pains and labour, namely, in the severe discipline necessary for the repair of those disorders that your debaucheries occasion, in order to fit you anew to the trade; and thus let the whole year be spent in these different occupations. On this account he goes on, and says, Make false hair, &c. Line 286. —thatch your poor thin roofs &c.] year 1595, when the fashion was introduced in
WARB. About the
wearing a greater quantity of hair than was ever the produce of a single head, it was dangerous for any child to go about, as no
thing was more common than for women to entice such as had fine locks into private places, and there to cut them off. I have this information from Stubbes's Anatomie of Abuses, which I have often quoted on the article of dress. STEEVENS.
Line 303. that his particular to foresee.] The metaphor is apparently incongruous, but the sense is good. To foresee his particular, is to provide for his private advantage, for which he leaves the right scent of public good.
Line 311. And ditches grave you all !] To grave is to entomb. The word is now obsolete, though sometimes used by Shakspeare and his contemporary authors. STEEVENS.
Line 333. eyeless venom'd worm,] The serpent, which we, from the smallness of his eyes, call the blind-worm, and the Latins, cæcilia. Line 334. low.
JOHNSON. below crisp heaven―] i. e, curled, bent, holJOHNSON.
Line 339. Let it no more bring out ingrateful man!] It is plain that bring out is bring forth.
Line 344. Dry up thy marrows, vines, and plow-torn leas;] The sense is this: O nature! cease to produce men, ensear thy womb; but if thou wilt continue to produce them, at least cease to pamper them; dry up thy marrows, on which they fatten with unctuous morsels, thy vines, which give them liquorish draughts, and thy plow-torn leas. Here are effects corresponding with causes, liquorish draughts, with vines, and unctuous morsels with marrows, and the old reading literally preserved. JOHNSON.
Line 359. Hug their diseas'd perfumes,] i. e. their diseas'd perfumed mistresses. MALONE.
Line 361. the cunning of a carper.] For the philosophy of a Cynick, of which sect Apemantus was; and therefore he concludes:
-Do not assume my likeness." Cunning here seems to signify counterfeit appearance. JOHNS. Line 400. What, a knave too!] Timon had just called Apemantus fool, in consequence of what he had known of him by former acquaintance; but when Apemantus tells him that he comes to vex him, Timon determines that to vex is either the office of a villain or a fool; that to vex by design is villainý, to vex without design is folly. He then properly asks Apemantus
whether he takes delight in vering, and when he answers, yes, Timon replies,-What! a knave too? I before only knew thee to be a fool, but now I find thee likewise a knave. JOHNS. Line 405. is crown'd before:] Arrives sooner at high wish; that is, at the completion of its wishes. JOHNSON.
Line 409. Worse than the worst, content.] Best states contentless have a wretched being, a being worse than that of the worst states that are content. JOHNSON.
Line 411. by his breath,] By his breath means in our author's language, by his voice or speech, and so in fact by his sentence. Shakspeare frequently uses the word in this sense. It has been twice used in this play. MALONE.
Line 414. but bred a dog.] Alluding to the word Cynick, of which sect Apemantus was. WARBURTON.
Line 415. Hadst thou, like us.] There is in this speech a sullen haughtiness, and malignant dignity, suitable at once to the lord and the man-hater. The impatience with which he bears to have his luxury reproached by one that never had luxury within his reach, is natural and graceful. JOHNSON.
first swath.] From infancy. Swath is the
dress of a new-born child.
precepts of respect,] Of obedience to laws. JOHNS. that poor rag.] The term is yet used. The
lowest of the people are yet denominated-Tag, rag, &c. So, in Julius Cæsar: "-if the tag-rag people did not clap him and hiss him,—I am no true man." MALONE.
Line 442. Thou hast been a knave, and flatterer.] Dryden has quoted two verses of Virgil to show how well he could have written satires. Shakspeare has here given a specimen of the same power by a line bitter beyond all bitterness, in which Timon tells Apemantus, that he had not virtue enough for the vices which he condemns.
Dr. Warburton explains worst by lowest, which somewhat weakens the sense, and yet leaves it sufficiently vigorous.
I have heard Mr. Burke commend the subtilty of discrimination with which Shakspeare distinguishes the present character of Timon from that of Apemantus, whom to vulgar eyes he would now resemble. JOHNSON.
Line 477. -for too much curiosity;] i. e. for too much finical delicacy. The Oxford editor alters it to courtesy. WARB. Line 482. Ay, though it look like thee.] Timon here supposes that an objection against hatred, which through the whole tenor of the conversation appears an argument for it. One would have expected him to have answered
Yes, for it looks like thee.
Line 511. the unicorn, &c.] The account given of the unicorn is this: that he and the lion being enemies by nature, as soon as the lion sees the unicorn he betakes himself to a tree: the unicorn in his fury, and with all the swiftness of his course, running at him, sticks his horn fast in the tree, and then the lion falls upon him and kills him. Gesner Hist. Animal. HANMER. Line 517. ware remotion;] Remotion means, I apprehend, merely remoteness, the being placed at a distance from the lion.
Thou art the cap &c.] The top, the principal. The remaining dialogue has more malignity than wit.
Line 565. 'Twixt natural son and sire!
σε Διὰ τῦτον ἐκ ἀδελφὸς
σε Διὰ τᾶτον 8 τοκῆες.” Anac.
Line 566. Whose blush doth thaw the consecrated snow
exquisitely beautiful and sublime.
Line 571. O thou touch of hearts !] Touch, for touchstone.
-you want much of meat.] The Thieves tell
Here is an ambiguity
Timon takes it on the
him, that they are men that much do want. between much want and want of much. wrong side, and tells them that their greatest want is, that, like other men, they want much of meat; then telling them where JOHNSON. meat may be had, he asks, Want? why want?
Line 622. In limited professions,] Limited for legal.
634. The sea's a thief, whose liquid surge resolves
The moon into salt tears:] The moon is supposed to be humid, and perhaps a source of humidity, but cannot be resolved by the surges of the sea. Yet I think moon is the true