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TIM. May you a better feast never behold, You knot of mouth-friends! smoke, and luke-warm
Is your perfection'. This is Timon's last;
[Throwing Water in their Faces. Your reeking villainy. Live loath'd, and long 2, Most smiling, smooth, detested parasites,
Courteous destroyers, affable wolves, meek bears, You fools of fortune, trencher-friends, time's flies*,
Cap and knee slaves, vapours, and minute-jacks3! Of man, and beast, the infinite malady"
Crust you quite o'er !-What, dost thou go?
1 Is your PERFECTION.] Your perfection, is the highest of your excellence. JOHNSON.
Live loath'd, and long,] This thought has occurred twice
"Gods keep you old enough," &c. STEEVENS.
fools of fortune,] The same expression occurs in Romeo and Juliet:
"O! I am fortune's fool." STEevens.
time's flies,] Flies of a season.
one cloud of winter showers,
"These flies are couch'd." STEEvens.
S minute-jacks!] Sir Thomas Hanmer thinks it means Jack-a-lantern, which shines and disappears in an instant. What it was I know not; but it was something of quick motion, mentioned in King Richard III. JOHNSON.
A minute-jack is what was called formerly a Jack of the clockhouse; an image whose office was the same as one of those at St. Dunstan's church in Fleet Street. See note on K. Richard III. Act IV. Sc. II. STEEVENS.
the infinite malady-] Every kind of disease incident to man and beast. JOHNSON.
Soft, take thy physick first-thou too,—and thou;[Throws the Dishes at them, and drives them
Stay, I will lend thee money, borrow none.-
[Exit. Re-enter the Lords, with other Lords and Senators.
1 LORD. How now, my lords"?
2 LORD. Know you the quality of lord Timon's fury?
3 LORD. Pish! did you see my cap?
4 LORD. I have lost my gown.
3 LORD. He's but a mad lord, and nought but humour sways him. He gave me a jewel the other day, and now he has beat it out of my hat :-Did you see my jewel?
4 LORD. Did you see my cap ?
2 LORD. Here 'tis.
4 LORD. Here lies my gown.
1 LORD. Let's make no stay.
2 LORD. Lord Timon's mad. 3 LORD.
I feel't upon my bones. 4 LORD. One day he gives us diamonds, next day
7 How now, my lords ?] This and the next speech are spoken by the newly arrived Lords. MALONE.
8 stones.] As Timon has thrown nothing at his worthless guests, except warm water and empty dishes, I am induced, with Mr. Malone, to believe that the more ancient drama described in p. 244, had been read by our author, and that he supposed he had introduced from it the " painted stones" as part of his banquet; though in reality he had omitted them. The present mention therefore of such missiles, appears to want propriety, STEEVENS.
ACT IV. SCENE I.
Without the Walls of Athens.
TIM. Let me look back upon thee, O thou wall, That girdlest in those wolves! Dive in the earth, And fence not Athens! Matrons, turn incontinent; Obedience fail in children! slaves, and fools, Pluck the grave wrinkled senate from the bench, And minister in their steads to general filths Convert o' the instant, green' virginity! Do't in your parents' eyes! bankrupts, hold fast; Rather than render back, out with your knives, And cut your trusters' throats! bound servants, steal!
Large-handed robbers your grave masters are, And pill by law: maid, to thy master's bed; Thy mistress is o' the brothel 2! son of sixteen, Pluck the lin❜d crutch from the old limping sire, With it beat out his brains! piety, and fear, Religion to the gods, peace, justice, truth, Domestick awe, night-rest, and neighbourhood,
general filths] i. e. common sewers.
green i. e. immature. So, in Antony and Cleopatra : "When I was green in judgment-." STEEVENs.
O' the brothel!] So the old copies. Sir Thomas Hanmer reads, i' the brothel. JOHNSON.
One would suppose it to mean, that the mistress frequented the brothel; and so Sir Thomas Hanmer understood it. RITSON.
The meaning is, go to thy master's bed, for he is alone; thy mistress is now of the brothel; is now there. In the old copy, ith, o'th', and a'th', are written with very little care, or rather seem to have been set down at random in different places.
"Of the brothel!" is the true reading. So, in King Lear, Act II. Sc. II. the Steward says to Kent, "Art of the house?"
Instruction, manners, mysteries, and trades,
And yet confusion live!-Plagues, incident to
Your potent and infectious fevers heap
Take thou that too, with multiplying banns!
3 - CONFOUNDING contraries.] i. e. contrarieties whose na ture it is to waste or destroy each other. So, in King Henry V.: as doth a galled rock
"O'erhang and jutty his confounded base." STEEVENS. YET Confusion] Sir Thomas Hanmer reads, let confusion; but the meaning may be, though by such confusion all things seem to hasten to dissolution, yet let not dissolution come, but the miseries of confusion continue. JOHNSON.
5-liberty-] Liberty is here used for libertinism. So, in The Comedy of Errors:
"And many such like liberties of sin;
apparently meaning-libertines. STEEVENS.
MULTIPLYING banns!] i. e. accumulated curses. tiplying for multiplied: the active participle with a passive signifiSTEEVENS.
cation. See vol. iv. p. 66, n. 1.
Athens. A Room in TIMON's House.
Enter FLAVIUS", with Two or Three Servants. 1 SERV. Hear you, master steward, where's our master ?
Are we undone ? cast off? nothing remaining? FLAV. Alack, my fellows, what should I say to you ?
Let me be recorded by the righteous gods,
I am as poor as you.
Such a house broke!
So noble a master fallen! All gone! and not
7 Enter FLAVIUS,] Nothing contributes more to the exaltation of Timon's character than the zeal and fidelity of his servants. Nothing but real virtue can be honoured by domesticks; nothing but impartial kindness can gain affection from dependants.
8 Let me be recorded-] In compliance with ancient elliptical phraseology, the word me, which disorders the measure, might be omitted. Sir Thomas Hanmer reads:
"Let it be recorded," &c. STEEVENS.
9 To his buried fortunes-] So the old copies. Sir T. Hanmer reads from ; but the old reading might stand.
I should suppose that the words from, in the second line, and to in the third line, have been misplaced, and that the original reading was :
As we do turn our backs
"To our companion thrown into his grave,
"So his familiars from his buried fortunes
When we leave a person, we turn our backs to him, not from him.
"So his familiars to his buried fortunes," &c.
So those who