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Make sacred even his stirrop, and through him
Ay, marry, what of these?
Pain. 'Tis common:
expression, calls sacrificial whisperings, alluding to the victims offered up to idols. Warburton.
Wbisperings attended with such respect and veneration as accompany sacrifices to the gods. Such, I suppose, is the meaning.
Malone. By sacrificial whisórrings, I should simply understand whisperings of officious servility, the incense of the worshipping parasite to the patron as to a god. These whisperings might probably immolate reputations for the most part, but I should not reduce the epithet in question to that notion here. Mr. Gray has excellently expressed in his Elegy these sacrificial offerings to the great from the poetick tribe :
“ To heap the shrine of luxury and pride
Johnson. A similar phrase occurs in Ben Jonson's Every Man in his Hu
“ By this air, the most divine tobacco I every drank .!" To drink, in both these instances, signifies to inhale. Steevens.
Dr. Johnson's explanation appears to me highly unnatural and unsatisfactory. “ To drink the air,” like the haustus ætherios of Virgil, is merely a poetical phrase for draw the air, or breathe. To “drink the free air,” therefore, “ through another," is to breathe freely at his will only; so as to depend on him for the privilege of life: not even to breathe freely without his permission. Wakefield. So, in our author's Venus and Adonis :
“ His nostrils drink the air." Again, in The Tempest :
“I drink the air before me." Malone.
let him sit down.
4 A thousand moral paintings I can show,] Shakspeare seems to intend in this dialogue to express some competition between the
That shall demonstrate these quick blows of fortune 5
of VENTIDIUS talking with him.
Imprison’d is he, say you ?? Ven. Serv. Ay, my good lord: five talents is his debt; His means most short, his creditors most strait: Your honourable letter he desires To those have shut him up; which failing to him, 8 Periods his comfort.9 Tim.
Noble Ventidius! Well; I am not of that feather, to shake off
two great arts of imitation. Whatever the poet declares himself to have shown, the painter thinks he could have shown better.
Fohnson these quick blows of fortune - ] [Old copy--fortune's -] This was the phraseology of Shakspeare's time, as I have already observed in a note on King Fohn, Vol. VII, p. 305, n. 8. The modern editors read, more elegantly,-of fortune. The alteration was first made in the second folio, from ignorance of Shakspeare's diction. Malone.
Though I cannot impute such a correction to the ignorance of the person who made it, I can easily suppose what is here styled the phraseology of Shakspeare, to be only the mistake of a vulgar transcriber or printer. Had our author been constant in his use of this mode of speech (which is not the case) the propriety of Mr. Malone's remark would have been readily admitted.
Steevens. mean eyes -] i. e. inferior spectators. So, in Wotton's Letter to Bacon, dated March the last, 1613: “Before their majesties, and almost as many other meaner eyes," &c. Tollet.
? Imprisond is he, say you?) Here we have another interpo.lation destructive to the metre. Omitting-is hewe ought to read:
Imprison'd, say you? Steevens..
- which failing to him,] Thus the second folio. The first omits—to him, and consequently mutilates the verse. Steevens.
9 Periods his comfort. ] To period is, perhaps, a verb of Shakspeare's introduction into the English language. I find it, how. ever, used by Heywood, after him, in A Maidenhead well. losty, 1634:
“ How easy could I period' all my care.' Again, in The Country Girl, by T. B. 1647:“ To period our vain-grievings.”. Steevenss.
My friend when he must need me. I do know him
Ven. Serv. Your lordship ever binds him.
Tim. Commend me to him: I will send his ransome; And, being enfranchis'd, bid him come to me:'Tis not enough to help the feeble up, But to support him after.2-Fare you well. Ven. Serv. All happiness to your honour!3 [Exit.
Enter an old Athenian. Old Ath. Lord Timon, hear me speak. Tim.
Freely, good father. Old Ath. Thou hast a servant nam'd Lucilius. Tim. I have so: What of him? Old with. Most noble Timon, call the man before thee. Tim. Attends he here, or no?-Lucilius!
Well; what further?
must need me.] i.e. when he is compelled to have need of my assistance; or, as Mr. Malone has more happily explained the phrase,"cannot but want my assistance.” Steevens.
2'Tis not enough &c.] This thought is better expressed by Dr. Madden in his Elegy on Archbishop Boulter:
“ More than they ask'd he gave; and deem'd it mean
“ Only to help the poor-to beg again.” Fohnson. It has been said that Dr. Jobnson was paid ten guineas by Dr. Madden for correcting this poem. Steevens.
your honour !] The common address to a lord in our author's time, was your honour, which was indifferently used with your lordship. See any old letter, or dedication of that age; and Vol. XI, p. 95, where a Pursuivant, speaking to Lord Hastings, says," I thank your honour." Steevens.
In qualities of the best. This man of thine
The man is honest.
Does she love him? Old Ath. She is young, and apt:
4 Therefore he will be, Timon :] The thought is closely expressed, and obscure : but this seems the meaning: "If the man be honest, my lord, for that reason he will be so in this; and not en. deavour at the injustice of gaining my daughter without my consent Warburton. I rather think an emendation necessary, and read:
Therefore well be him, Timon:
His honesty rewards him in itself. That is, “ If he is honest, bene sit illi, I wish him the proper happiness of an honest man, but his honesty gives him no claim to my daughter." The first transcriber probably wrote—will be with him, which the next, not understanding, changed 10,-he will be. Johnson.
I think Dr. Warburton's explanation is best, because it exacts no change. So, in King Henry VIII:
May he continue
“ For truth's sake and his conscience." Again, more appositely, in Cymbeline:
“ This bath been
“ He will remain so." Steenens. Therefore he will be, Timon:) Therefore he will continue to be so, and is sure of being sufficiently rewarded by the consciousness of virtue; and he does not need the additional blessing of a beautiful and accomplished wife.
It has been objected, I forget by whom, if the old Athenian means to say thať Lucilius will still continue to be virtuous, what occasion has he to apply to Timon to interfere relative to this marriage? But this is making Shakspeare write by the card. The words mean undoubtedly, that he will be honest in his general conduct through life ; in every other action except that now complained of. Malone.
bear my daughter.] A similar expression occurs in Othello:
s6 What a full fortune does the thick-lips owe,
Our own precedent passions do instruct us
the maid? Luc. Āy, my good lord, and she accepts of it.
Old Ath. If in her marriage my consent be missing, I call the gods to witness, I will choose Mine heir from forth the beggars of the world, And dispossess her all. Tim.
How shall she be endow'd, If she be mated with an equal husband ?6
Old Ath. Three talents, on the present; in future, all:
Tim. This gentleman of mine hath serv'd me long; To build his fortune, I will strain a little, For 'tis a bond in men. Give him thy daughter: What you bestow, in him I 'll counterpoise, And make him weigh with her. Old Ath.
Most noble lord, Pawn me to this your honour, she is his.
Tim. My hand to thee; mine honour on my promise.
Luc. Humbly I thank your lordship: Never may That state of fortune fall into my keeping, Which is not ow'd to you!? [Exeunt Luc. and old Ath. Poet. Vouchsafe my labour, and long live your lord
ship! Tim. I thank you; you shall hear from me anon; Go not away. What have you there, my friend?
And dispossess her all.
How shall she be endow'd, If she be mated with an equal husband?] The players, those avowed enemies to even a common ellipsis, have here again dis. ordered the metre by interpolation. Will a single idea of our au. thor's have been lost, if, omitting the useless and repeated words. she be, we should regulate the passage thus :
How shall she be
That state or fortune fall into my keeping,
Which is not ow'd to you!] The meaning is, let me never henceforth consider any thing that I possess, but as owed or due to you; held for your service, and at your disposal. Johnson. So Lady Macbeth says to Duncan:
“ Your servants ever