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TIMON OF ATHENS.] The ftory of the Mifanthrope is told in almost every collection of the time, and particularly in two books, with which Shakspeare was intimately acquainted; the Palace of Pleasure, and the English Plutarch. Indeed from a paffage in an old play, called Jack Drum's Entertainment, I conjecture that he bad before made his appearance on the ftage. FARMER.
The paffage in Jack Druni's Entertainment or Pafquil and Katherine, 160i, is this:
"Come, I'll be as fociable as Timon of Athens."
But the allufion is fo flight, that it might as well have been borrowed from Plutarch or the novel.
Mr. Strutt the engraver, to whom our antiquaries are under no inconfiderable obligations, has in his poffeffion a MS. play on this subject. It appears to have been written, or tranfcribed, about the year 1600. There is a fcene in it refembling Shakspeare's banquet given by Timon to his flatterers. Ialtead of warm water he fets before them ones painted like artichokes, and afterwards beats them out of the room. He then retires to the woods, attended by his faithful Heward, who, (like Kent in King Lear) bas disguised himfelf to continue his fervices to his mafter. Timon, in the laft a&t is followed by his fickle miftrefs, &c. after he was reported to have discovered a hidden treafuie by digging. The piece itfelf (though it appears to be the work of au academick) is a wretched one. The perfonæ dramatis are as follows:
Shakspeare undoubtedly formed this play on the paffage in Plu tarch's Life of Antony relative to Timon, and not on the twentyeighth novel of the firft volume of Painter's Palace of Pleasure; because he is there merely defcribed as "a man-hater, of a frange and beafly nature," without any cause affigned; whereas Plutarch furnished our author with the following hint to work upon. “ Antonius forfook the citie, and companie of his friendes,-faying, that be would lead Timon's life, because he had the like wrong offered him, that was offered unto Timon; and for the unthankfulnefs of thofe he had done good unto, and whom he tooke to be his friendes, he was angry with all men, and would truft no man.'
To the manuscript play mentioned by Mr. Steevens, our author I have no doubt, was alfo indebted for fome other circumstances. Here he found the faithful fteward, the banquet-fcene, and the ftory of Timon's being poffeffed of great fums of gold which he had dug up in the woods: a circumftance which he could not have had from Lucian, there being then no translation of the dialogue that relates to this fubje&.
Spon fays, there is a building near Athens, yet remaining, called Timon's Tower.
Timon of Athens, was written, I imagine, in the year 1610. See An Attempt to afcertain the Order of Shakspeare's Plays, Vol. II.
Timon, a noble Athenian.
Lords, and flatterers of Timon,
Ventidius, one of Timon's falfe Friends.
Two Servants of Varro, and the Servant of Ifidore ; two of Timon's Creditors.
Cupid and Mafkers. Three Strangers.
Timandra,} Mistresses to Alcibiades.
Other Lords, Senators, Officers, Soldiers, Thieves, and Attendants.
SCENE, Athens; and the Woods adjoining.
* Phrynia,] (or, as this name should have been written by Shakfpeare, Phryne,) was an Athenian courtezan fo exquifitely beautiful, that when her judges were proceeding to condemn her for numerous and enormous offences, a fight of her bofom (which, as we learn from Quintilian, had been arifully denuded by her advocate,} difarmed the court of its feverity, and fecured her life from the fentence of the law. STEEVENS.
ACT I. SCENE I.
Athens. A Hall in Timon's Houfe.
Enter Poet, Painter, Jeweller, Merchant, 2 and Others, at feveral doors.
I am glad you are well.
POET. I have not feen you long; How goes the
PAIN. It wears, fir, as it grows.
Jeweller, Merchant, ]
Ay that's well known:
In the old copy: Enter &c.
Merchant and Mercer, &c. STEEVENS.
3 Poet. Good day, fir.] It would be lefs abrupt to begin the play thus:
Poet. Good day.
Pain. Good day, fir: I am glad you're well. FARMER. The prefent deficiency in the metre alfo pleads ftrongly in behalf of the supplemental words proposed by Dr. Farmer. STEEVENS. 4 But what particular rarity? &c.] I cannot but think that this paffage is at present in confufion. The poet afks a queftion, and Aays not for an anfwer, nor has his queftion any apparent drift or confequence. I would range the paffage thus:
Poet. Ay, that's well known.
But what particular rarity? what fo frange,
That manifold record not matches?
Poet, Magick of bounty! &c.
It may not be improperly observed here, that as there is only one copy of this play, no help can be had from collation, and more liberty must be allowed to conje&ure. JOHNSON.
Which manifold record not matches? See,
MER. O, 'tis a worthy lord!
Nay, that's most fix'd. MER. A moft incomparable man; breath'd, as
To an untirable and continuate goodness : 4 'He paffes.
Johnfon fuppofes that there is fome error in this paffage, becaufe the Poet afks a question, and stays not for an answer; and there. fore fuggefts a new arrangement of it. But there is nothing more common in real life than queflions asked in that manner. And with refpect to his proposed arrangement, I can by no means approve of it; for as the Poet and the Painter are going to pay their court to Timon, it would be ftrange if the latter fhould point out to the former, as a particular rarity, which manifold record could not match, a merchant and a jeweller, who came there on the fame errand. M. MÁSON.
The poet is led by what the painter has faid, to ask whether any thing very ftrange and unparalleled had lately happened, without any expedation that any such had happened: -and is prevented from waiting for an answer by obferving fo many conjured by Timon's bounty to attend. "See, Magick of bounty!" &c.
This furely is very natural. MALONE.
breath'd, as it were,
To an untirable and continuate goodness:] Breathed is inured by conftant practice; fo trained as not to be wearied. To breathe a horfe, is to exercife him for the courfe. JOHNSON.
So, in Hamlet:
"It is the breathing time of day with me." STEEVENS. continuate] This word is used by many ancient English writers. Thus, by Chapman, in his verfion of the fourth book of the Odyssey:
Her handmaids join'd in a continuate yell."'
He paffes, ] i. e. exceeds, goes beyond common bounds. So, in The Merry Wives of Windfor:
"Why this paffes, mafter Ford." STEEVENS.