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Dead, sure, and this his grave; what's on this tomb?
SCENE, before the Walls of Athens.
'Till now, you
Trumpets found. Enter Alcibiades with his powerso Alc. Ound to this coward and lascivious town
Our terrible approach. (Sound a parley. The Senators appear upon the wallso
gone on, and fill'd the time
i Sen. Noble and young,
2 Sen. So did we woo (41)
So did we woo
By humble message, and by promis'd 'mends:
i Sen. These walls of ours
2 Sen. Nor are they living, Who were the motives that you first went out: Shame, that they wanted cunning, in excess (42) Hath broke their hearts. March on, oh, noble Lord, Into our city with thy banners spread; By decimation and a tithed death, If thy revenges hunger for that food Which nature loaths, take thou the destin'd tenth : And by the hazard of the spotted die, Let die the spotted.
i Sen. All have not offended : For those that were, it is not square to take
By bum:ble message, and by promis'd means: ] Promis’d mean mu import a supply of substance, the recruiting his sunk fortunes; but that is not all, in my mind, that the poet would aim at. The senate had wooed him with humble meslage, and promise of general reparation for their injuries and ingratitude. This feems included in the Night change which I have made--and by promis’d’mends: and this word, apofiropbe'd, or ottierwise, is ufed in common with amends. So in Troilus and Crefida;
Let her be as she is; if she be fair, 'tis the better for her: an he be not, she has the mends in her own hands. And so B. Jonson in his Every Man out of his Humour :
Pardon me, gentle friends, I'll make fair mends
For my foul errors past. (42) Shame, that they wanted cunning in exce's,
Hath broke their bearts.] i. e. in other terms,-Shame, that they were not the cunning'st men alive, hath been the cause of their death. For cunning in excess must mean this or nothing. O brave editors ! They had heard it said, that too much wit in some cases might be dangerous, and why not an obsolute vant of it? But had they the skill or courage to remove one perplexing comma, the easy and genuine Sense would immediately arise. in Shame in excess (i. c. extremity “ of shame) that they wanted cunning (i. e. that they were not wise “ enough not to banith you;) hath broke their hearts.”
On those that are, revenge: crimes, like to lands,
2 Sen. What thou wilt,
i Sen. Set but thy foot
2 Sen. Throw thy glove,
token of thine honour else,
Alc. Then there's my glove;
Both. 'Tis most nobly spoken.
Enter a Soldier.
hem o'th' sea;
(Alcibiades, reads the epitaph.] Herelyes a wretched coarse, of wretched foul bereft: (43) Seek not my name: a plague consume you caitiffs left! Here lye I Timon, who all living men did hate, Pass by, and curse thy fill, but stay not here thy gaite.
These well express in thee thy latter fpirits:
(43) Here lies a wretched coarse,] This epitaph the poet has form’d out of two separate distichs quoted by Plutarch in his life of M. Antony: the first, said to have been compos’d by Timon himself; the other is an epitaph on him made by Callimachus, and extant among his epigrams. The version of the latter, as our author has transmitted it to us, avoids those blunders whieh Leonard Aretine, the Latin translator of the above quotes life in Plutarch, committed in it. I once imagin'd, that Shakespeare might possibly have corrected this translator's blunder from his own acquaintance with the Greek original: but, I find, be has transcrib'd the four lines from an old English version of Plutarcb, extant in his time. I have not been able to trace the time, when this play of our author's made its first appearance; but I believe, it was written before the death of e Elizabetb; because I take it to be hinted at in a piece, callid, Jack Drum's entertainment; or, the comedy of Pasquill and Katherine, play'a by the children of Powles, and printed in 1601.
-Come, come, now I'll be as sociable as Timon of Arbenson
Hereafter more.-) All the editors, in their learning and fagacity, have suffer'd an unaccountable absurdity to pass them in this pallage. Why was Neptune to weep on Timon's faults forgiven? Or, indeed, what faults bad Timon committed, except against his own fortune and happy situation in life? But the corruption of the text-lies only in the bad pointing, which I have disengag d, and restor’d to the true mean.ing. Alcibiades's whole speech, as the editors might have observ’d,
yet rich conceit
And I will use the olive with my sword;
[Exeunt. is in breaks, betwixt his reflections on Timon's death, and his addierses to the Abenian senators: and as soon as he has commented on the place of Timon's grave, be bids the fenate set forward; tells 'em, he has forgiven their faults; and promises to use them with mercy. The very same manner of expression occurs in Antony, and Cleopatra,
Anto. Well; what worst?
Things, that are part, are done with me,