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TIMON, a noble Athenian.
two flattering Lords.
Several Servants to Usurers.
Phrynia,... } Mifresses to Alcibiades.
Thieves, Senators, Poet, Painter, Jeweller, Mercer and
Merchant; with divers servants and attendants.
SCE N E, Athens; and the Woods not far
TIMON of ATHEN S.
A C T I.
SCENE, A Hall in Timon's House.
Enter Poet, Painter, Jeweller, Merchant, and
Mercer, at several doors.
Poet. I have not seen you long; how goes the world? Pain. It wears, Sir, as it goes.
Poet. Ay, that's well known.
Pain. I know them both; th' other's a jeweller.
Mer. A most incomparable man, breath'd as it were
Jew. I have a jewel here.
Mer. O, pray, let's-fee't: For the Lord Timon, Sir ? Vol. VI.
Jewe Jew. If he will touch the estimate : but for that
Poet. When we for recompence have prais’d the vile, It stains the glory in that happy verse Which aptly sings the good.
Mer. 'Tis a good form. (Looking on the jewel. Jew. And rich ; here is a water, look ye.
Pain. You're rapt, Sir, in some work, some dedication To the great Lord.
Poet. A thing slipt idly from me.
Pain. A picture, Sir:—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,
Pcet. Admirable! how this grace
Pain. It is a pretty mocking of the life :
Poet. I'll say of it,
(1) Each bound it chases.--] How, chases? The flood, indeed beata ing up upon the shore, covers a part of it, but cannot be said to drive the shore away. The poet's allusion is to a wave, which, foaming and chafing on the thore, breaks; and then the water seems to the eye to retire. So, in Lear.
-The murmuring surge,
The troubled Tiber, chafing with his shores,
Enter certain Senators.
Poet. You see this confluence, this great food of visiters.
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 flipp’ry creatures, as Of grave and austere quality, tender down Their service 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; ev’n he drops down The knee before him, and returns in peace Most rich in Timon's nod.
Pain. I saw them speak together.
Poet. I have upon a high and pleasant hill Feign'd Fortune to be thron'd. The base o'th' 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 sov'reign Lady fixt, One do I personate of Timon's frame, Whom Fortune with her iv'ry hand wafts to her,
(2) Happy mer!] Thus the printed copies: but I cannot think the poet meant, that the senators were happy in being admitted to ‘Timon; Elleir quality might command that: but that Timon was happy in being follow'd, and caress’d, by those of their rank and dignity.
Whose present grace to present llaves and servants
Pain. 'Tis conceiv'd to th’ scope. (3)
Poet. Nay, but hear me on:
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 to the mountain's top, Even on their knees and hands,) let him sip down, Not one accompanying his declining foot.
Pain. 'Tis common: A thousand moral paintings I can shew, That shall demonstrate these quick blows of fortune More pregnantly than words. Yet you do well To Thew Lord Timom, that mean eyes have seen The foot above the head.
(3) 'Tis conceiv'd, to scope
Ibis throne, ibis fortune, &c.] Thus all the editors hitherto have nonsensically writ, and pointed, this paslage. But, sure, the painter would tell the poet, your conception, Sir, hits the very scope you aim at. This the Greeks would have render'd, tő omotað tuxeis, recia ad fcopum tendis: and Cicero has thus express'd on the like occasion, Signum oculis diftinatum feris. This sense our author, in his Henry Sth, expresles;
I think, you've hit the mark.
Him, anu his worth, and our great need of him,