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2 STRAN. Ay, too well.
1 STRAN. Why this
Is the world's soul; and just of the same piece
Supported his estate; nay, Timon's money
And yet, (O, see the monstrousness of man
flatterer's SPIRIT.] This is Dr. Warburton's emendation. The other [modern] editions read:
Why, this is the world's soul;
"And just of the same piece is every flatterer's sport." Mr. Upton has not unluckily transposed the two final words, thus: Why, this is the world's sport;
Of the same piece is every flatterer's soul."
The passage is not so obscure as to provoke so much enquiry. "This," says he, "is the soul or spirit of the world: every flatterer plays the same game, makes sport with the confidence of his friend." JOHNSON.
Mr. M. Mason prefers the amendment of Dr. Warburton to the transposition of Mr. Upton. STEEVENS.
The emendation, spirit, belongs not to Dr. Warburton, but to Mr. Theobald. The word was frequently pronounced as one syllable, and sometimes, I think, written sprite. Hence the corruption was easy; whilst on the other hand it is highly improbable that two words so distant from each other as soul and sport [or spirit] should change places. Mr. Upton did not take the trouble to look into the old copy; but finding soul and sport the final words of two lines in Mr. Pope's and the subsequent editions, took it for granted they held the same situation in the original edition, which we see was not the case. I do not believe this speech was intended by the author for a verse. MALONE. After all, the reading of the old copy has not been mentioned. It is thus arranged:
Why, this is the world's soul;
This phrase is scriptural :
"He that dippeth his hand with me in the same dish." St. Matthew, xxvi. 23. STEEVENS.
When he looks out in an ungrateful shape!)
For mine own part,
I never tasted Timon in my life,
Nor came any of his bounties over me,
Had his necessity made use of me,
I would have put my wealth into donation,
1-in respect of his,]
what he asks. WARBURTON.
i. e. considering Timon's claim for
"In respect of his" fortune: what Lucius denies to Timon is in proportion to what Lucius possesses, less than the usual alms given by good men to beggars. JOHNSON.
Does not his refer to the lip of Timon?-Though Lucius himself drink from a silver cup which was Timon's gift to him, he refuses to Timon, in return, drink from any cup. HENLEY.
2 I would have put my wealth into DONATION,
And the best half should have RETURN'D to him,] Sir Thomas Hanmer reads:
"I would have put my wealth into partition,
"And the best half should have attorn'd to him,Dr. Warburton receives attorn'd. The only difficulty is in the word return'd, which, since he had receiv'd nothing from him, cannot be used but in a very low and licentious meaning. JOHNSON.
Had his necessity made use of me, I would have put my fortune into a condition to be alienated, and the best half of what I had gained myself, or received from others, should have found its way to him.' Either such licentious exposition must be allowed, or the passage remain in obscurity, as some readers may not choose to receive Sir Thomas Hanmer's emendation.
The following lines, however, in Hamlet, Act II. Sc. II. persuades me that my explanation of—" put my wealth into donation"-is somewhat doubtful:
"Put your dread pleasures more into command
So much I love his heart: But, I perceive,
Again, in Cymbeline, Act. III. Sc. IV. vol. xiii. p. 121:
"Of princely fellows," &c.
Perhaps the Stranger means to say, I would have treated my wealth as a present originally received from him, and on this occasion have returned him the half of that whole for which I supposed myself to be indebted to his bounty. Lady Macbeth has nearly the same sentiment :
"To make their audit at your highness' pleasure,
The difficulty of this passage arises from the word return'd. Warburton proposes to read attorn'd; but that word always relates to persons, not to things. It is the tenant that attorns, not the lands. The meaning of the passage appears to be this:Though I never tasted of Timon's bounty, yet I have such an esteem for his virtue, that had he applied to me, I should have considered my wealth as proceeding from his donation, and have returned half of it to him again." To put his wealth into donation, means, to put it down in account as a donation, to suppose it a donation. M. MASON.
I have no doubt that the latter very happy interpretation given by Mr. Steevens is the true one, Though (says the speaker) "I never tasted Timon's bounty in my life, I would have supposed my whole fortune to have been a gift from him,' &c. So, in the common phrase,-Put yourself [i. e. suppose yourself] in my place. The passages quoted by Mr. Steevens fully support the phrase-into donation.
"Return'd to him" necessarily includes the idea of having come from him, and therefore can not mean simply-found its way, the interpretation first given by Mr. Steevens. MALONE.
I am dissatisfied with my former explanation; which arose from my inattention to a sense in which our author very frequently uses the verb to return; i. e. to reply. Thus in King Richard II. :
"Northumberland, say-thus the king returns ;
Again, in Troilus and Cressida :
"Returns to chiding fortune:"
i. e. replies to it. Again, in King Henry V.:
"Returns us-that his powers are not yet ready."
The sense of the passage before us therefore will be: :- 'The best half of my wealth should have been the reply I would have made to Timon: I would have answered his requisition with the best half of what I am worth.' STEEVENS.
The Same. A Room in SEMPRONIUS's House.
Enter SEMPRONIUS, and a Servant of TIMON's. SEM. Must he needs trouble me in't? Humph! 'Bove all others?
He might have tried lord Lucius, or Lucullus ;
Whom he redeem'd from prison3: All these
They have all been touch'd, and found base metal;
3 And now Ventidius is wealthy too,
Whom he redeem'd from prison,] This circumstance likewise occurs in the anonymous unpublished comedy of Timon: "O yee ingrateful! have I freed yee
"From bonds in prison, to requite me thus,
"To trample ore mee in my misery ?" MALONE.
these THREE] The word three was inserted by Sir T. Hanmer to complete the measure; as was the exclamation O, for the same reason, in the following speech. STEEVENS.
5 They have all been TOUCH'D,] That is tried, alluding to the touchstone. JOHNSON.
So, in King Richard III.:
"O Buckingham, now I do play the touch,
"To try, if thou be current gold, indeed."
5 Has Ventidius, &c.] With this mutilated and therefore rugged speech no ear accustomed to harmony can be satisfied. Sir Thomas Hanmer thus reforms the first part of it:
"Have Lucius and Ventidius, and Lucullus, "Denied him all? and does he send to me?" Yet we might better, I think, read with a later editor: "Denied him, say you? and does he send to me? "Three? humph!
"It shows," &c.
And does he send to me? Three? humph!-
Thrive, give him over '; Must I take the cure upon
But I can only point out metrical dilapidations which I profess my inability to repair. STEEVENS.
7 His friends, like physicians,
THRIVE, give him over;] Sir Thomas Hanmer reads, try'd, plausibly enough. Instead of three proposed by Mr. Pope, I should read thrice. But perhaps the old reading is the true. JOHNSON.
Perhaps we should read-shriv'd. They give him over shriv'd;" that is prepared for immediate death by shrift." TYRWHITT. Perhaps the following passage in Webster's Dutchess of Malfy, is the best comment after all:
"With their hands full of money, use to give o'er
The passage will then mean:-"His friends, like physicians, thrive by his bounty and fees, and either relinquish and forsake him, or give his case up as desperate." To give over in The Taming of the Shrew, has no reference to the irremediable condition of a patient, but simply means to leave, to forsake, to quit: "And therefore let me be thus bold with you
"To give you over at this first encounter,
"Unless you will accompany me thither." STEEVENS. The editor of the second folio, the first and principal corrupter of these plays, for Thrive, substituted Thriv'd, on which the conjectures of Sir Thomas Hanmer and Mr. Tyrwhitt were founded.
The passage quoted by Mr. Steevens from The Dutchess of Malfy, is a strong confirmation of the old reading; for Webster appears both in that and in another piece of his (The White Devil) to have frequently imitated Shakspeare. Thus in The Dutchess of Malfy, we find :
Use me well, you were best;
"What I have done, I have done; I'll confess nothing." Apparently from Othello:
Demand me nothing; what you know, you know; "From this time forth I never will speak word."
Again, the Cardinal, speaking to his mistress Julia, who had imnortuned him to disclose the cause of his melancholy, says: