« TrướcTiếp tục »
Hath a diflracted and moft wretched being,
Thou should'ft defire to die, being miserable.
TIM. Not by his breath, that is more miferable. Thou art a flave, whom Fortune's tender arm With favour never clafp'd; but bred a dog.5
Worfe than the worst, content.] Beft ftates contentlefs have a wretched being, a being worse than that of the worft ftates that are content. JOHNSON.
by his breath,]
his direction. JOHNSON.
It means, I believe, by his counsel, by
By his breath, I believe, is meant his fentence. To breathe is as licentiously used by Shakspeare in the following inftance from Hamlet:
Having ever feen, in the prenominate crimes, "The youth you breathe of guilty. STFEVENS.
By his breath means in our author's language, by his voice or perch, and fo in fact by his fentence. Shakspeare frequently ules the word in this fenfe. It has been twice fo ufed in this play, See p. 102, n. 5. MALONE.
4 Thou art a flave, whom Fortune's tender arm
With favour never clafp'd; In a Collection of Sonnets entitled Chloris, or the Complaint of the paffionate defpifed Shepheard, by William Smith, 1596, a fimilar image is found:
"Doth any live that ever had fuch hap,
but bred a dog.] Alluding to the word Cynick, of which
fea Apemantus was. WARBURTON.
For the etymology of Cynick our author was not obliged to have recourfe to the Greek language. The dictionaries of his time furnished him with it. See Cawdrey's Dictionary of hard English words, odavo, 1604 "CYNICAL, Doggish, froward." Again, in Bullokar's English Expofitor, 1616: CYNICAL, Doggish, or currish. There was in Greece an old fect of philofophers fo called, because they did ever sharply barke at men's vices," &c. After all, however, I believe Shakspeare only meant, thou wert born in a low ftate, and used from thy infancy to hardfhips. MALONE.
Hadft thou, like us, from our first swath,' proceeded The fweet degrees
that this brief world affords
6 Hadft thou, like us, ] There is in this speech a Tullen haughti. nefs, and malignant dignity, fuitable at once to the lord and the man hater. The impatience with which he bears to have his luxury reproached by one that never had luxury within his reach, is natural and graceful.
There is in a letter, written by the Earl of Effex, juft before his execution, to another nobleman, a paffage fomewhat refembling this, with which, I believe every reader will be pleafed, though it is fo ferious and folemn that it can fcarcely be inferted without irreverence:
"God grant your lordship may quickly feel the comfort I now enjoy' in my unfeigned converfion, but that you may never feel the torments I have fuffered for my long delaying it. I had none but deceivers to call upon me, to whom I faid, if my ambition could have entered into their narrow breafts, they would not have been fo humble; or if my delights had been once tafled by them, they would not have been fo precife. But your lordship hath one to call upon you, that knoweth what it is you now enjoy; and what the greatest fruit and end is of all contentment that this world can afford. Think, therefore, dear earl, that I have ftaked and buoyed all the ways of pleasure unto you, and left them as fea-marks for you to keep the channel of religious virtue. For fhut your eyes never fo long, they must be open at the laft, and then you muft fay with me, there is no peace to the ungodly." JOHNSON.
A fimilar thought occurs in a MS. metrical tranflation of an ancient French romance, preferved in the Library of King's College, Cambridge. [See note on Antony and Cleopatra, A& IV. sc. x:] For therefore of hardneffe hadeft thou never;
"But were brought forth in bliffe, as swich a burde ought,
7 -firft (wath, From infancy. Swath is the dress of a new-born child. JOHNSON.
So, in Heywood's Golden Age, 1611:
No more their cradles fhall be made their tombs, "Nor their foft Swaths become their winding-sheets,"
The Sweet degrees-]
Thus the folio. The modern editors
have, without authority, read-Through &c. but this negled of the prepofition was common to many other writers of the age of Shakspeare. STEEVENS.
To fuch as may the paffive drugs of it
Freely command, thou would'st have plung'd thy
In general riot; melted down thy youth
command] Old copy-command' ft. Corrected by Mr.
precepts of refpe&, ] Of obedience to laws. JOHNSON. Refpeft, I believe, means the qu'en dira-t-on ? the regard of Athens, that frong ft reftraint on licentioufnefs: the icy precepts, i. e. that cool hot blood; what Mr. Burke, in his admirable Reflections on the Revolution in France, has emphatically ftyled of the greateft controuling powers on earth, the fenfe of fame and eftimation." STEEVENS.
Timon cannot mean by the word respect, obedience to the laws, as Johnfou fuppofes; for a poor man is more likely to be impreffed with a reverence for the laws, than one in a flation of nobility and affluence. Refpect may poffibly mean, as Steevens fuppofes, a regard to the opinion of the world: but I think it has a more enlarged fignification, and implies a confideration of confequences, whatever they may be In this fenfe it is ufed by Hamlet:
There's the respect
"That makes calamity of fo long life." M. MASON.
"The icy precepts of respe&" mean the cold admonitions of cautious prudence, that deliberately weighs the confequences of every adion. So, in Troilus and Creffida:
Reafon and respect,
"Makes livers pale, and luftihood deje&."
Again, in our poet's Rape of Lucrece:
"Then, childith fear, avaunt! debating die!
Refpet and reafon wait on wrinkled age?
"Sad pause and deep regard become the fage."
Hence in King Richard III. the King fays:
I will converfe with iron-witted fools,
And unrespective boys; none are for me,
"That look into me with confiderate eyes." MALONE.
But myfelf, ] 1he connection here requires fome attention.
But is here used to denote oppofition; but what immediately precedes is not oppofed to that which follows. The adverfative particle refers to the two firft lines:
Who had the world as my confectionary;
At duty, more than I could frame employment;
They never flatter'd thee: What haft thou given? If thou wilt curfe,-thy father, that poor rag,
Thou art a flave, whom fortune's tender arm
Who had the world as my confectionary; &c.
The intermediate lines are to be confidered as a parenthesis of paffion. JOHNSON.
4 than I could frame employment; ] i. e. frame employment for. Shakspeare frequently writes thus. See Vol. XVI. p. 185, n. 2 ; and Vol. XVII. p. 340, n. 8. MALONE.
Fell from their boughs, and left me open, bare &c.] So, in Maffinger's Maid of Honour:
O fummer friendship,
"Whofe flatt'ring leaves that fhadow'd us in our
Profperity, with the leaft guft drop off
In the autumn of adverfity." STEEVENS.
Somewhat of the famè imagery is found in our author's 73d Sonnet:
"That time of year thou may'ft in me behold,
that poor rag,] If we read-poor rogue, it will correfpond rather better to what follows. JOHNSON.
In King Richard 111. Margaret calls Glofter rag of honour; in
Muft be thy fubject; who in fpite, put stuff
If thou hadit not been born the worst of men,
Art thou proud yet?
TIM. Ay, that I am not thee.
I, that I was
I, that I am one now:
Were all the wealth I have, fhut up in thee,
I'd give thee leave to hang it.
Get thee gone.
That the whole life of Athens were in this!
[Eating a root.
the fame play, the overweening rags of France are mentioned s and John Florio fpeaks of a "tata-rag. player." STEEVENS.
We now use the word ragamuffin in the fame fenfe.
The term is yet ufed. The loweft of the people are yet denominated Tag, rag, &c. So, in Julius Cæfar: tag-rag people did not clap him and hiss him,—I am no true man.' MALONE.
7 Thou had been a knave, and flatterer.] Dryden has quoted two verses of Virgil to show how well he could have written satires. Shakspeare has here given a fpecimen of the fame power by a line bitter beyond all bitterness, in which Timon tells Apemantus, that he had not virtue enough for the vices which he condemos.
Dr. Warburton explains worst by lowest, which fomewhat weakens the fenfe, and yet leaves it fufficiently vigorous.
I have heard Mr. Burke commend the fubtilty of difcrimination with which Shakspeare distinguishes the present charader of Timoa from that of Apemantus, whom to vulgar eyes he would now refemble. JOHNSON.
Knave is here to be underflood of a man who endeavours to recommend himself by a hypocritical appearance of attention, and fuperfluity of fawning officioufnefs; fuch a one as is called in King Lear, a finical fuperferviceable rogue.If he had had virtue enough to attain the profitable vices, he would have been profitably vicious.