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Coupled to nature.
2 Sen. Our hope in him is dead: let us return,
It requires swift foot. [Exeunt.
The Walls of Athens.
I have spoke the least:
2 Sen. We stand much hazard, if they bring not Ti
Mess. I met a courier, one mine ancient friend ;%. Whom, though in general part we were oppos’d, Yet our old love made a particular force, And made us speak like friends:3--this man was riding
? In our dear peril.) So the folios, and rightly. The Oxford editor alters dear to dread, not knowing that dear, in the language of that time, signified dread, and is so used by Shakspeare in numberiess places. Warburton.
Dear, in Shakspeare's language, is dire, dreadful. So, in Hamlet :
“ Wonld I had met my dearest foe in heaven." Malone. Dear may, in the present instance, signify immediate, or immi. nent. It is an enforcing epithet with not always a distinct meaning, To enumerate each of the seemingly various senses in which it may be supposed to have been used by our author, would at once fatigue the reader and myself.
In the following situations, however, it cannot signify either tire or dreadful: “ Consort with me in loud and dear petition.”
Troilus and Cressida. Some dear cause “ Will in concealment wrap me up a while.” King Lear.
Steevens, -one mine ancient friend;] Mr. Upton would read-once mine ancient friend. Steevens. 3 Whom, though in general part we were opposid,
Yet our old love made a particular force,
From Alcibiades to Timon's cave,
Enter Senators from Timox.
Here come our brothers. 3 Sen. No talk of Timon, nothing of him expect. The enemies' drum is heard, and fearful scouring Doth choke the air with dust: In, and prepare; Ours is the fall, I fear, our foes the snare. [Exeunt.
The IIoods. Timon's Cave, and a Tomb-stone seen.
Enter a Soldier, seeking Timon. Sold. By all description this should be the place. Who's here? speak, ho!--No answer?- What is this? Timon is dead, who hath oui-stretch'd his span: Some beast rear'd this; there does not live a man.4
strong conceptions, and little attentive to minute accuracy, takes great liberties in the construction of sentences. Here he means, Whom, though we were on opposite sides in the publick cause, yet the force of our old affection wrought so much upon, as to make him speak to me as a friend. See Vol. XIII, p. 138, n 5.
Malone. I am fully convinced that this and many other passages of our auibor to which similar remarks are annexed, have been irre. trievably corrupted by transcribers or printers, and could not have proceeded, in their present state, froin the pen of Shakspeare; for what we cannot understand in the closet, must have been wholly useless on the stage.-The aukward repetition of the verb-made, very strongly countenances my present observation.
Steevens. 4 Some beast rear'd this, there does not live a man] [Old copyrend this.) Some beast read what? The soldier had yet only seen the rude pile of carth heaped up for Timon's grave, and not the inscription upon it. We should read:
Some beast rear'd this; The soldier seeking, by order, for Timon, sees such an irregular mole, as he concludes must have been the workmanship of some beast inhabiting the woods; and such a cavity as must either have been so over-arched, or happened by the casual falling in of the ground. Warburton.
“ The sollier (says Theobald) had yet only seen the rude pile of earth heaped up for Timon's grave, and not the inscripsion.
and this his grave.
upon it.” In support of his emendation, which was suggested to him by Dr. Warburton, he quotes these lines from Fletcher's Cupid's Revenge:
• Here is no food, nor beds: nor any house
“ Burli by a better architect than beasts." Malone. Notwithstanding this remark, I believe the old reading to be the right. The soldier had only seen the rude heap of earth. He had evidently seen something that told him Timon was dead; and what could tell that but his tomb? The tomb he sees and the inscription upon it, which not being able to read, and finding none to read it for him, he exclaims peevishly, some beast read this, for it must be read, and in this place it cannot be read by
There is something elaborately unskilful in the contrivance of sending a soldier, who cannot read, to take the epitaph in wax, only that it may close the play by being read with more solemnity in the last scene. Johnson.
It is evident, that the soldier, when he first sees the heap of earth, does not know it to be a tomb. He concludes Timon must be dead, because he receives no answer. It is likewise evident, that when he utters the words some beast, &c. he has not seen the inscription. And Dr. Warburton's emendation is therefore, not only just and happy, but absolutely necessary. What can this heap of earth be? says the soldier; Timon is certainly dead: some beast must have erected this, for here does not live a man to do it. Yes, he is dead, sure enough, and this must be his grave. What is this writing upon it ? Ritson.
I am now convinced that the emendation made by Mr. Theobald is right, and that it ought to be admitted into the text:Some beast rear'd this. Our poet certainly would not make the soldier call on a beast to read the inscription, before he had informed the audience that he could not read it himself; which he dloes afterwards.
Besides; from the time he asks, “What is this?” “j. e. what is this cave, tomb, &c. not what is this inscription?” to the words, “ What's on this tomb,”-the observation evidently relates to Timon himself, and his grave; whereas, by the erroneous read. ing of the old copy, “ Some beast read this,”-the soldier is first made to call on a beast to read the inscription, without assigning any reason for so extraordinary a requisition ;-then to talk of Timon's death and of his grave; and, at last, to inform the audience that he cannot read the inscription. Let me add, that a beast being as unable to read as the soldier, it would be absurd to call on one for assistance; whilst on the other hand, if a den or cave, or any rude heap of earth resembling a tomb, be found where there does not live a man, it is manifest that it must have been formed by a beast. A passage in King Lear also adds support to the emendation:
this hard house, " More hard than are the stones whereof 'tis rais'd.” Malone.
What's on this tomb I cannot read; the character
Before the Ilalls of Athens. Trumfiets sound. Enter ALCIBIADES, and Forces. Alcib. Sound to this coward and lascivious town Our terrible approach.
[A Parley sounded. Enter Senators on the Walls. Till now you have gone on, and fill’d the time With all licentious measure, making your wills The scope of justice; till now, myself, and such As slept within the shadow of your power, Have wander'd with our travers’d arms, 5 and breath'd Our sufferance vainly: Now the time is flush,6 When crouching marrow, in the bearer strong, Cries, of itself, No more:7 now breathless wrong Shail sit and pant in your great chairs of case;
The foregoing observations are acute in the extreme, and I have not scrupled to adopt the reading they recommend. Steevens.
- travers'd arms,] Arms across. Fohnson. The same image occurs in The Tempest :
“His arms in this sad knot. Steevens.
- the time is fush,] A bird is Aush when his feathers are grown, and he can leave the nest. Flush is mature. Johnson. 7 When crouching marrow, in the bearer strong,
Cries, of itself, No more:) The marrow was supposed to be the original of strength. The image is from a camel kneeling to take up his load, who rises immediately when he finds he has as much laid on as he can bear. Warburton.
Pliny says, that the camel will not carry more than his accus. tomed and usual load. Holland's translation, B. VIII, c. xviii.
Reed. The image may as justly be said to be taken from a porter or coal-heaver, who when there is as much laid upon his shoulders as he can bear, will certainly cry, no more. Malone.
I wish the reader may not find himself affected in the same manner by our commentaries, and often concur in a similar exclamation. Steevens.
insolence shall break his wind,
Noble, and young,
So did we woo
These walls of ours.
Nor are they living, Vho were the motives that you first went out;3
3 Above their quantity.] Their refers to rages, Warburton.
Their refers to griefs. “To give thy rages balm,” must be considered as parenthetical. The modern editors have substituted ingratitudes for ingratituile. Malone. 9 So did we woo
Transformed Timon to our city's love,
By humble message, and by promis’d means;] Promis'd means must import the recruiting of his sunk fortunes; but this is not all. The senate had wooed bim with humble message, and promise of general reparation. This seems includel in the slight change which I have made:
and by proinis'l mencls. Theobald. Dr. Warburton agrees with Mr. Theobald, but the old reading may as well stand. Johnson.
By promis’d means, is my promising him a competent subsist. ence. So, in King Henry IV, P.II: “Your mears are very slender, and your waste is great." Malone.
1 You have receiv'd your griefs:] The old copy has-grief; but as the Senator in his preceding speech uses the plural, grief was probably here an error of the press. The correction was made by Mr. Theobald. Malone.
2 For private faults in them.] That is, in the persons from whom you have received your griefs. Malore.
the motives that you first went out:) i. c. thoje who made