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Commend me to their loves; and, I am proud, | kind of people, the deed of saying is quite out

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It opens the eyes of expectation.

Performance is ever the duller for his act,

of use. To promise is most courtly and fashionable: performance is a kind of will, or testament, which argues a great sickness in his judgment that makes it.

Poet. I am thinking what I shall say I have provided for him: It must be a personating of himself: a satire against the softness of prosperity; with a discovery of the infinite flatteries that follow youth and opulency."

We have thus prepared the reader, who is familiar with the ordinary text, not to rely upon it as a transcript of the ancient copies; and we shall now endeavour to show that, by a careful examination of the original, we may arrive at some conclusions with regard to this drama which have been hitherto entirely overlooked.

The disguises of the ancient text, which have been so long accepted without hesitation, have given to the 'Timon of Athens' something of the semblance of uniformity in the structure of the verse; although in reality the successive scenes, even in the modern text, present the most startling contrarieties to the ear which is accustomed to the versification of Shakspere. The ordinary explanation of this very striking characteristic is,

And, but in the plainer and simpler kind of that the ancient text is corrupt. This is the


The deed of saying is quite out of use.

To promise is most courtly and fashionable; Performance is a kind of will and testament Which argues a great sickness in his judgment That makes it.

Poet. I am thinking

What I shall say I have provided for him:
It must be a personating of himself:
A satire against the softness of prosperity,
With a discovery of the infinite flatteries
That follow youth and opulency."



"Painter. Good as the best. Promising is the very air o' the time; it opens the eyes of expectation: performance is ever the duller for his act; and, but in the plainer and simpler

belief of the English editors. Another theory, which has been received in Germany, is, that the 'Timon,' being one of the latest of Shakspere's performances, has come down to us unfinished. The conviction to which we have ourselves arrived neither rests upon the probable corruption of the text, nor the possibility that the poet has left us only an unfinished draft of his performance; but upon the belief that the differences of style, as well as the more important differences in the cast of thought, which prevail in the successive scenes of this drama, are so remarkable as to justify the conclusion that it is not wholly the work of Shakspere. We think it will not be very difficult so to exhibit these differences in detail as to warrant us in requesting the reader's acquiescence in the principle which we seek to establish, namely, that the Timon of Athens' was a

play originally produced by an artist very inferior to Shakspere, and which probably retained possession of the stage for some time in its first form; that it has come down to us not only re-written, but so far re-modelled that entire scenes of Shakspere have been substituted for entire scenes of the elder play; and lastly, that this substitution has been almost wholly confined to the character of Timon, and that in the development of that character alone, with the exception of some few occasional touches here and there, we must look for the unity of the Shaksperean conception of the Greek Misanthropos-the Timon of Aristophanes and Lucian and Plutarch-" the enemy to mankind," of the popular story books-of the 'Pleasant Histories and excellent Novels,' which were greedily devoured by the contemporaries of the boyish Shakspere*.

The contrast of style which is to be traced throughout this drama is sufficiently striking in the two opening scenes which now constitute the first act. Nothing can be more free and flowing than the dialogue between the Poet and the Painter. It has all the equable graces of Shakspere's facility, with occasional examples of that condensation of poetical images which so distinguishes him from all other writers. For instance :

"All those which were his fellows but of late,
(Some better than his value,) on the moment
Follow his strides, his lobbies fill with tend-


Rain sacrificial whisperings in his ear,

slightest particle of arrogance; he builds his munificence upon the necessity of gratifying without restraint the deep sympathies which he cherishes to all of the human family. He is the very model too of patrons, appearing to receive instead of to confer a favour in his reward of art,-a complete gentleman even in the act of purchasing a jewel of a tradesman. That the Apemantus of this scene belongs wholly to Shakspere is not to our minds qutie so certain. There is little of wit in any part of this dialogue; and the pelting volley of abuse between the Cynic, the Poet, and the Painter, might have been produced by any writer who was not afraid of exhibiting the tu quoque style of repartee which distinguishes the angry rhetoric of fish-wives and school-boys. Shakspere, however, has touched upon the original canvas; no one can doubt to whom these lines belong :

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So, so; there!-
Aches contract and starve your supple joints!-
That there should be small love 'mongst these
sweet knaves,

And all this court'sy! The strain of man's bred

Into baboon and monkey."

These lines in the original are printed as prose; and they continued so to be printed by Theobald and the editors who succeeded him, probably from its not being considered that aches is a dis-syllable. This circumstance is a confirmation to us that the dia

Make sacred even his stirrup, and through logue with Apemantus is not entirely Shak


Drink the free air."

The foreshadowing of the fate of Timon in the conclusion of this dialogue is part of the almost invariable system by which Shakspere very early infuses into his audience a dim notion of the catastrophe,-most frequently indeed in the shape of some presentiment. When Timon enters, we feel certain that he is the Timon of Shakspere's own conception. He is as graceful as he is generous; his prodigality is without the

*The Palace of Pleasure,' in which the story of Timon is found, was first published in 1575.

spere's; for it is a most remarkable fact that, in all those passages of which there cannot be a doubt that they were wholly written by our poet, there is no confusion of prose for verse, no difficulties whatever in the metrical arrangement,-no opportunity presented for the exercise of any ingenuity in "regulation." It was this fact which first led us to perceive, and subsequently to trace, the differences between particular scenes and passages. Wherever the modern text follows the ancient text with very slight changes, there we could put our finger undoubtingly upon the work of Shakspere. Wherever the tinkering of Steevens had

been at work, we could discover that he had been attempting to repair,-not "the chinks which time had made," but something very different from the materials with which Shakspere constructed. The evidence of this is at hand.

If, in the first scene, it would be very difficult to say with certainty what is not Shakspere's, so in the second scene it appears to us equally difficult to point out what is Shakspere's. We believe that scarcely any part of this scene was written by him; we find ourselves at once amidst a different structure of verse from the foregoing. We encounter this difference remarkably in the first speech of Timon:

"I gave it freely ever; and there's none Can truly say he gives, if he receives:

If our betters play at that game, we must not dare

To imitate them; faults that are rich are fair." In the first scene we do not find a single rhyming couplet ;-in the second scene their recurrence is more frequent than in any of Shakspere's plays, even the earliest. This scene alone gives us sixteen examples of this form of verse; which, in combination with prose or blank verse, had been almost entirely rejected by the mature Shakspere, except to render emphatic the close of a scene. In the instance before us, we find the couplet introduced in the most arbitrary

and inartificial manner-in itself neither impressive nor harmonious. But the contrast between the second scene and the first is equally remarkable in the poverty of the thought, and the absence of poetical imagery. It will be sufficient, we think, to exhibit together the Cynic of this scene and of a subsequent scene, to show the impossibility of the character having been wholly minted from the same die :



"Hey day, what a sweep of vanity comes this way!

They dance! they are mad women:
Like madness is the glory of this life,
As this pomp shows to a little oil and root.
We make ourselves fools to disport ourselves;
And spend our flatteries, to drink those men,

Upon whose age we void it up again,
With poisonous spite and envy.
Who lives that 's not depraved, or depraves?
Who dies, that bears not one spurn to their

Of their friends' gift?

I should fear, those that dance before me now, Would one day stamp upon me: It has been done:

Men shut their doors against a setting sun.


"Thou hast cast away thyself, being like thyself;

A madman so long, now a fool: What, think st That the bleak air, thy boisterous chamberlain,

Will put thy shirt on warm? Will these moist


That have outliv'd the eagle, page thy heels, And skip when thou point'st out? Will the cold brook,

Candied with ice, caudle thy morning taste, To cure thy o'er-night's surfeit? call the creatures,

Whose naked natures live in all the spite
Of wreakful heaven; whose bare unhoused

To the conflicting elements expos'd,
Answer mere nature,-bid them flatter thee;
O! thou shalt find-

Let us try the Steward of the first act and the Steward of the second act by the same test. We print the speech of the first act as we find it in the original. With the exception of the two rhyming couplets, it is difficult to say whether it is prose or verse. It has been "regulated" into verse, but no change can make it metrical ;-the feebleness of the thought is the same under every disguise. On the other hand, the harmony, the vigour, the poetical elevation of the second passage, like the greater part of the fourth and fifth acts, effectually prevent all substitution and transposition :


"Flav. What will this come to? He commands us to provide, and give great gifts,

And all out of an empty coffer.

Nor will he know his purse; or yield me this,

To show him what a beggar his heart is, Being of no power to make his wishes good; His promises fly so beyond his state,

they were the fool and page of Phrynia, Timandra, or some other courtezan, upon the knowledge of which depends the greater

That what he speaks is all in debt, he owes for part of the ensuing jocularity." We shall

every word;

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Flav. Heavens, have I said, the bounty of this lord!

How many prodigal bits have slaves, and pcasants,

This night englutted! Who is not Timon's? What heart, head, sword, force, means, but is lord Timon's?

Great Timon; noble, worthy, royal Timon! Ah! when the means are gone that buy this praise,

The breath is gone whereof this praise is made: Feast-won, fast-lost; one cloud of winter showers, These flies are couch'd."

The modern division of this play into acts and scenes has given us a remarkable short second act. The Senator of the first scene may be Shakspere's. The scene between the Servants, the Fool, and the Cynic, has very little of his animation or his wit. But who is the Fool's mistress? Johnson saw the want of connexion between this dialogue and what had preceded it :-"I suspect some scene to be lost, in which the entrance of the Fool and the Page that follows him was prepared by some introductory dialogue, in which the audience was informed that

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have occasion to notice this want of connexion in other scenes of the play. In that before us, if the Timon' were an older drama remodelled by Shakspere, the reason for the retention of the scene, disjointed as it is, is obvious.-The audience had been accustomed to the Fool; and it was of little consequence whether his speeches had any very strict connexion with the more important scenes. The whole thing wants the spirit of Shakspere, and it wants also the play upon words which he almost invariably employed upon such occasions. The Fool, the Page, the Cynic, and the Servants, are simply abusive.


The scene between Timon and the Steward, to the end of the act, is unquestionably from the master-hand of our poet. character of Timon as his ruin is approaching him is beautifully developed. His reproach of his Steward, slightly unjust as it is, is in a tone perfectly in accordance with the kindness of his nature; and his rising anger is forgotten in a moment in his complete conviction of the integrity of that honest servant. His entire reliance upon the gratitude of his friends is most touching. Thoroughly Shaksperean is the Steward's description of the coldness of the Senators; and Timon's answer is no less characteristic of the great interpreter of human feelings.

We venture to express a conviction that very little of the third act is Shakspere's. The ingratitude of Lucullus in the first scene, and of Lucius in the second, is amusingly displayed; but there is little power in the development of character-little discrimination. The passionate invective of Flaminius is forcible; but the force is not exactly that of Shakspere. The dialogue between the Strangers, at the end of the second scene, is unmetrical enough in the original; Steevens has made it hobble still

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so unmusical, as we find in the speech of Sempronius. The fourth scene, again, has little peculiarity. It might be Shakspere's, or it might be the work of an inferior writer. Of the fifth scene we venture to say most distinctly that it is not Shakspere's. Independently of the internal evidence of thought and style (which we shall come to presently), this scene of the banishment of Alcibiades, and the concluding scene of his return to Athens, appear to belong to a drama of which the story of this brave and profligate Athenian formed a much more important feature than in the present play. That story stands here strictly as an episode. The banishment of Alcibiades is perfectly unconnected with the misanthropy of Timon ;the return of Alcibiades takes place after Timon's death. We feel no interest in either event. Ulrici has noticed the uncertain connexion of this drama as a whole, particularly in the scene before us," where it remains quite unknown who is the unfortunate friend for whom Alcibiades petitions so earnestly that he is banished for it." In Shakspere's hand the banishment of Alcibiades is only used in connexion with the wonderful scene in the fourth act. In the older drama we have no doubt that it formed an integral portion of the action, and that Timon himself was only incidental to the catastrophe. Shakspere was satisfied to take the frame-work, as he found it, of the story which he might connect with his display of the character of Timon. The scene before us, and the concluding scene of the fifth act, present, we think, nearly every characteristic by which the early contemporaries of Shakspere are to be distinguished from him; and the negation, in the same degree, of all those qualities which render him so immeasurably superior to every other dramatic poet.

The scene between Alcibiades and the Senate consists of about a hundred and twenty lines. Of these lines twenty-six form rhyming couplets. This of itself is enough to make us look suspiciously upon the scene, when presented as the work of Shakspere. Could the poet have proposed any object to himself, by this extraordinary

departure from his usual principle of versification, presenting even in this play an especial contrast to the mighty rush and sustained grandeur of the blank verse in the speeches of Timon in the fourth and fifth acts? Is not the perpetual and offensive recurrence of the couplet an evidence that this and other scenes of the play were of the same school as 'The History of King Lear and his Three Daughters,' upon which Shakspere founded his own ‘Lear?'

The whole of the senate scene in Timon is singularly unmetrical; but, wherever the verse becomes regular, it is certainly not the metre of Shakspere. Mark the pause, for example, that occurs at the end of every line of the first speech of Alcibiades. "The linked sweetness long drawn out" is utterly wanting. The last scene of the fifth act has the same peculiarity. But, in addition to the structure of the verse, the character of the thought is essentially different from that of the true Shaksperean drama. Where is our poet's imagery? From the first line of this scene to the last, the speeches, though cast into the form of verse, are in reality nothing but measured prose. The action of this scene admitted either of passion or reflection; and we know how Shakspere puts forth either power whenever the occasion demands it. The passion of Alcibiades is of the most vapid character:

"Now the gods keep you old enough; that you may live

Only in bone that none may look on you!" Let us contrast for a moment the Shaksperean Coriolanus, under somewhat similar circumstances:

"You common cry of curs, whose breath I hate,
As reek o' th' rotten fens: whose loves I prize,
As the dead carcasses of unburied men,
That do corrupt my air: I banish you."

In this scene between Alcibiades and the senate, the usually profound reflection of Shakspere, which plunges us into the depths of our own hearts, and the most unfathomable mysteries of the world around us and beyond us, is exchanged for such slight axioms as the following :—

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