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"For pity is the virtue of the law, And none but tyrants use it cruelly." "To revenge is no valour, but to bear." "To be in anger is impiety,

But who is man that is not angry?"

The form of expression in these scenes with Alcibiades appears to us as remarkably unShaksperean as the character of the thought. By nothing is our poet more distinguished than by his conciseness, the quality that makes him so often apparently obscure. Shakspere would have dismissed the following idea in three words instead of three lines:

"By decimation, and a tithed death,

(If thy revenges hunger for that food

Which nature loathes,) take thou the destin'd tenth."

The original stage direction of the sixth scene of the fourth act is, "Enter divers Friends at several doors;" and there is a subsequent direction at the end of the scene -"Enter the Senators with other Lords." Ulrici, looking at the modern stage direction, "Enter divers Lords," is surprised that Timon's most intimate friends (Lucius, Lucullus, Sempronius) are omitted. We doubt whether the previous scenes in which these friends are introduced are those of Shakspere; and in the same way it appears to us that our poet took the scene before us as he found it, adding perhaps Timon's vehement imprecations against his

"Most smiling, smooth, detested parasites.” The scene concludes with this line

"One day he gives us diamonds, next day stones."

Steevens had seen a MS. play, written or transcribed about 1600, entitled 'Timon,' which was in the possession of Mr. Strutt. Of this play he says "There is a scene in it resembling Shakspere's banquet given by Timon to his flatterers. Instead of warm water, he sets before them stones painted like artichokes." This manuscript has passed into the possession of the Rev. A. Dyce; and the Shakspere Society have printed the play under Mr. Dyce's superintendence. We transcribe the passage (modernizing the or

thography) in which Timon, having invited his false friends to a banquet, resents their perfidy and ingratitude. Laches is the faithful steward of this old play. The guests are Gelasimus, Eutrapelus, Demeas, Philargurus, Hermogenes, and Stilpo:

"Timon. O happy me, equal to Jove himself! I going touch the stars. Break out, O joy, And smother not thyself within my breast! So many friends, so many friends I see; Not one hath falsified his faith to me. What if I am oppressed with poverty? And grief doth vex me? fortune left me poor? All this is nothing: they relieve my wants; The one doth promise help, another gold, A third a friendly welcome to his house, And entertainment; each man acts his part; All promise counsel and a faithful heart.

Gelas. Timon, thou art forgetful of thy feast. Tim. Why do ye not fall to? I am at home: I'll standing sup, or walking, if I please.— Laches, bring here the artichokes with speed.-Eutrapelus, Demeas, Hermogenes,

I'll drink this cup, a health to all your healths!
Lach. Convert it into poison, O ye gods!
Let it be ratsbane to them!


Gelas. What, wilt thou have the leg or else

the wing?

Eutr. Carve ye that capon.

Dem. I will cut him up,

And make a beast of him.

Phil. Timon, this health to thee.

Tim. I'll pledge you, sir.

These artichokes do no man's palate please.

Dem. I love them well, by Jove!

Tim. Here, take them, then!

[Stones painted like to them: and

throws them at them.

Nay, thou shalt have them, thou, and all of ye!
Yo wicked, base, perfidious rascals,
Think ye my hate 's so soon extinguished?
[Tim. beats Herm. above all the rest.
Dem. O my head!
Herm. O my cheeks!
Phil. Is this a feast?

Gelas. Truly, a stony one.

Stil. Stones sublunary have the same matter with the heavenly.

Tim. If I Jove's horrid thunderbolt did hold Within my hand, thus, would I dart it!

[He hits Herm. Herm. Woe and alas, my brains are dashed



Gelas. Alas, alas, 'twill never be my hap
To travel now to the Antipodes !
Oh! that I had my Pegasus but here!
I'd fly away, by Jove!

[Exeunt all except Tim. and Lach.
Tim. Ye are a stony generation,
Or harder, if aught harder may be found;
Monsters of Scythia inhospital,
Nay, very devils, hateful to the gods.

Lach. Master, they are gone."

It is pretty clear that Shakspere owed no obligation to the writer of this scene. Mr. Dyce justly says, "I entertain considerable doubts of his having been acquainted with a drama which was certainly never performed in the metropolis, and which was likely to have been read only by a few of the author's particular friends, to whom transcripts of it had been presented." We have little doubt, however, that Timon was familiar to the stage before Shakspere took up the subject; although it is tolerably evident that the play which Mr. Dyce has given to the world was not the play which Shakspere, as we believe, partly made his own. Shakspere, according to our belief, did what he undertook to do, and perhaps he did more than he intended. He completely remodelled the character of Timon. He left it standing apart in its naked power and majesty, without much regard to what surrounded it. It might have been a hasty experiment to produce a new charaeter for Burbage, the greatest of Elizabethan actors. That Timon is so all in all in the play is, to our minds, much better explained by the belief that Shakspere engrafted it upon the feebler Timon of a feeble drama that held possession of the stage, than by the common opinion that he, having written the play entirely, had left us only a corrupt text, or left it unfinished, with parts not only out of harmony with the drama as a whole, in action, in sentiment, in versification, but altogether different from anything he had himself produced in his early, his mature, or his later years.

It is scarcely necessary for us very minutely to follow the successive passages of the fourth and fifth acts, in our endeavours to trace the hand of Shakspere. We may,

however, briefly point out the passages which we believe not to be his. The second scene of the fourth act, between the Steward and his servants, has some touches undoubtedly of the master's hand; the Steward's speech, after the servants have left, again presents us the rhyming couplets, and the unmetrical blank verse. The scene between the Poet and the Painter, at the commencement of the fifth act, is so unmetrical, that it has been printed as prose by all modern editors. We have already exhibited a specimen of this hobbling approach to metre-the characteristic of several of the rude plays which preceded Shakspere, such as The Famous Victories of Henry the Fifth.' Mr. Collier considers that play to be wholly prose; but he adds, "by the time it was printed, blank verse had completely superseded both rhyme and prose: the publisher seems, on this account, to have chopped up much of the original prose into lines of various lengths, in order to look like some kind of measure, and now and then he has contrived to find lines of ten syllables each, that run with tolerable smoothness, and as if they had been written for blank verse." We venture to think, that, although the greater part of 'The Famous Victories' was intended for prose, "the lines of ten syllables each that run with tolerable smoothness" were written for blank verse; and this, we believe, is the case with parts of the scene in Timon' which we are now describing. But, whether they speak in prose or verse, the Poet and the Painter of this scene are as unlike the Poet and the Painter of the first act, in the tone of their dialogues, as can be well imagined. Timon, in the lines which he speaks aside, has caught this infection of unmetrical blank verse which reads like prose, and jingling couplets which want the spirit of poetry. The soldier at Timon's tomb is marked by the same characteristics. Of the concluding scene of the return of Alcibiades to Athens, we have already spoken.


It is not by looking apart at the scenes and passages which we have endeavoured to separate from the undoubted scenes and passages of Shakspere in this play, that we can rightly judge of their inferiority. They must

be contrasted with the great scenes of the fourth act, and with Timon's portion of the fifth, the essentially tragic portions of this extraordinary drama. In power those scenes are almost unequalled. They are not pleasing-they are sometimes positively repulsive in the images which they present to us: but in the tremendous strength of passionate invective we know not what can be compared to them. In 'Lear,' the deep pity for the father is an ever-present feeling, mingling with the terror which he produces by his denunciations of his daughters; but, in 'Timon, the poet has not once sought to move our pity: by throwing him into an attitude of undiscriminating hostility to the human race, he scarcely claims any human sympathy. | Properly to understand the scenes of the fourth and fifth acts, we must endeavour to form a general estimate of the character which Shakspere has here created.

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the ordinary cynic, such as he is described by Lucian:-" But now, mind how you are to behave you must be bold, saucy, and abusive to everybody, kings and beggars alike; this is the way to make them look upon you, and think you a great man. Your voice should be barbarous, and your speech dissonant, as like a dog as possible; your countenance rigid and inflexible, and your gait and demeanour suitable to it: everything you say savage and uncouth: modesty, equity, and moderation you must have nothing to do with: never suffer a blush to come upon your cheek: seek the most public and frequented place; but, when you are there, desire to be alone, and permit neither friend nor stranger to associate with you; for these things are the ruin and destruction of power and empire." * The contrast in Shakspere between Timon and Apemantus, as developed in the fourth act, is one of the most remarkable proofs of our poet's wonderful sagacity in depicting the nicer shades of character. Johnson, speaking of the scene between the misanthrope and the cynic in the fourth act, says, "I have heard Mr. Burke commend the subtlety of discrimination with which Shakspere distinguishes the present character of Timon from that of Apemantus, whom to vulgar eyes he would now resemble." The Timon' of Shakspere is in many respects essentially different from any model with which we are acquainted, but it approaches nearer, as Mr. Skottowe first observed, to the Timon' of Lucian than the commentators have chosen to point out:

The Timon of Shakspere is not the Timon of the popular stories of Shakspere's day. The twenty-eighth novel of 'The Palace of Pleasure' has for its title, 'Of the strange and beastly nature of Timon of Athens, enemy to mankind? According to this authority, "he was a man but by shape only,”—he lived "a beastly and churlish life." The story further tells us, "at the same time there was in Athens another of like quality called Apemantus, of the very same nature, different from the natural kind of man." Neither was the Timon of Plutarch the Timon of Shakspere. The Greek biographer, indeed, tells us, that he was angry with all men, and would trust no man, " for the unthankfulness" It has been deemed a satisfactory concluof those he had done good unto, and whom he took to be his friends," but that he was represented as "a viper and malicious man unto mankind, to shun all other men's companies but the company of young Alcibiades, a bold and insolent youth, whom he would greatly feast, and make much of, and kissed him very gladly." Plutarch also adds, "This Timon sometimes would have Apemantus in his company, because he was much liked to his nature and conditions, and also followed him in manner of life." The Timon, therefore, of Plutarch, and of the popular stories of Shakspere's time, was little different from

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sion that he derived none of his materials from Lucian, because no translation of the dialogue of Timon' is known to have existed in Shakspere's age. But it should rather have been inferred, from the many striking coincidences between the play and the dialogue, that Lucian had some influence over the composition of Timon,' although the channel through which that influence was communicated is no longer to be traced.Ӡ Before we proceed to an analysis of the

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*Lucian's Sale of Philosophers.'-Franklin's Transla


+ Life of Shakspeare,' vol. ii. p. 280.

Shaksperean 'Timon,' it may be well to take a rapid glance at the dialogue of Lucian, to which Mr. Skottowe refers.

Timon, or the Misanthrope,' opens with an address of Timon to Jupiter, the protector of friendship and of hospitality. The misanthrope asks what has become of the god's thunderbolt, that he no longer revenges the wickedness of men? He then describes his own calamities. After having enriched a crowd of Athenians that he had rescued from misery,-after having profusely distributed his riches amongst his friends, those ungrateful men despise him because he has become poor. Timon speaks from the desert, where he is clothed with skins, and labours with a spade. Jupiter inquires of Mercury who it is cries so loud from the depth of the valley near Mount Hymettus; and Mercury answers that he is Timon-that rich man who so frequently offered whole hecatombs to the gods; and adds, that it was at first thought that he was the victim of his goodness, his philanthropy, and his compassion for the unfortunate, but that he ought to attribute his fall to the bad choice which he made of his friends, and to the want of discernment which prevented him seeing that he was heaping benefits upon wolves and ravens: "Whilst these vultures were preying upon his liver, he thought them his best friends, and that they fed upon him out of pure love and affection. After they had gnawed him all round, eaten his bones bare, and if there was any marrow in them sucked it carefully out, they left him, cut down to the roots and withered, and, so far from relieving or assisting him in their turns, would not so much as know or look upon him. This has made him turn digger; and here, in his skin garment, he tills the earth for hire; ashamed to show himself in the city, and venting his rage against the ingratitude of those who, enriched as they had been by him, now proudly pass along, and know not whether his name is Timon." Jupiter resolves to despatch Mercury and Plutus to bestow new wealth upon Timon, and the god of riches very reluctantly consents to go, because, if he return to Timon, he should again become the prey of parasites and courtezans.

The subsequent dialogue between Mercury and Plutus, upon the use of riches, is exceedingly acute and amusing. The gods, upon approaching Timon, descry him working with his spade, in company with Labour, Poverty, Wisdom, Courage, and all the virtues that are in the train of indigence. Poverty thus addresses Plutus:-" You come to find Timon; and as to me who have received him enervated by luxury, he would forsake me when I have rendered him virtuous; you come to enrich him anew, which will render him as before, idle, effeminate, and besotted." Timon rejects the offers which Plutus makes him; and the gods leave him, desiring him to continue digging. He then finds gold, and thus apostrophizes it:"It is, it must be, gold, fine, yellow, noble gold; heavy, sweet to behold. . . . . Burning like fire, thou shinest day and night: come to me, thou dear delightful treasure! now do I believe that Jove himself was once turned into gold: what virgin would not spread forth her bosom to receive so beautiful a lover?" But the Timon of Lucian has other uses for his riches than Plutus anticipated;-he will guard them without employing them; he will, as he says, purchase some retired spot, there build a tower* to keep my gold in, and live for myself alone: this shall be my habitation; and, when I am dead, my sepulchre also: from this time forth it is my fixed resolution to have no commerce or connexion with mankind, but to despise and avoid it. I will pay no regard to acquaintance, friendship, pity, or compassion: to pity the distressed, or to relieve the indigent, I shall consider as a weakness,— nay, as a crime; my life, like the beasts of the field, shall be spent in solitude, and Timon alone shall be Timon's friend. I will treat all beside as enemies and betrayers; to converse with them were profanation; to herd with them, impiety: accursed be the day that brings them to my sight!" The most agreeable name to me, he adds, shall be that of Misanthrope. A crowd approach who have heard of his good fortune; and first comes Gnathon, a parasite, who brings

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* A building called the Tower of Timon is mentioned by Pausanias.

him a new poem-a dithyrambe. Timon strikes him down with his spade. Another, and another, succeeds; and one comes from the senate to hail him as the safeguard of the Athenians. Each in his turn is welcomed with blows. The dialogue concludes with Timon's determination to mount upon a rock, and to receive every man with a shower of stones.

There can be no doubt, we think, that a great resemblance may be traced between the Greek satirist and the English dramatist. The false friends of Timon are much more fully described by Lucian than by Plutarch. The finding the gold is the same, the rejection of it by the Timon of Shakspere is essentially the same: the Poet of the play was perhaps suggested by the flatterer who came with the new ode;-the senator with his gratulations is not very different from the senators in the drama;-the blows and stones are found both in the ancient and the modern. There are minor similarities which might be readily traced, if we believed that Shakspere had gone direct to Lucian. But our opinion is that he found those similarities in the play which we are convinced he remodelled. It is in the conception and the execution of the character of Timon that the original power of Shakspere is to be traced.

The vices of Shakspere's Timon are not the vices of a sensualist. It is true that his offices have been oppressed with riotous feeders, that his vaults have wept with drunken spilth of wine,-that every room "Hath blaz'd with lights, and bray'd with minstrelsy;"

but he has nothing selfish in the enjoyment of his prodigality and his magnificence. He himself truly expresses the weakness, as well as the beauty, of his own character: "Why, I have often wished myself poorer, that I might come nearer to you. We are born to do benefits, and what better or properer can we call our own, than the riches of our friends? O, what a precious comfort 't is, to have so many, like brothers, commanding one another's fortunes!" Charles Lamb, in his contrast between Timon of Athens' and Hogarth's 'Rake's Progress,' has scarcely done justice

to Timon: "The wild course of riot and extravagance, ending in the one with driving the Prodigal from the society of men into the solitude of the deserts; and, in the other, with conducting Hogarth's Rake through his several stages of dissipation into the still more complete desolations of the mad-house, in the play and in the picture are described with almost equal force and nature." Hogarth's Rake is all sensuality and selfishness; Timon is essentially high-minded and generous: he truly says, in the first chill of his fortunes,―

"No villainous bounty yet hath pass'd my heart. Unwisely, not ignobly, have I given."

In his splendid speech to Apemantus in the fourth act, he distinctly proclaims that, in the weakness with which he had lavished his fortunes upon the unworthy, he had not pampered his own passions

"Hadst thou, like us, from our first swath, ceeded


The sweet degrees that this brief world affords
To such as may the passive drugs of it
Freely command, thou wouldst have plunged


In general riot; melted down thy youth
In different beds of lust; and never learn'd
The icy precepts of respect, but follow'd
The sugar'd game before thee. But myself,
Who had the world as my confectionary;
The mouth, the tongues, the eyes, and hearts
of men

At duty, more than I could frame employment;

That numberless upon me stuck, as leaves
Do on the oak, have with one winter's brush
Fell from their boughs, and left me open, bare
For every storm that blows."

The all-absorbing defect of Timon-the root of those generous vices which wear the garb of virtue-is the entire want of discrimination, by which he is also characterized in Lucian's dialogue. Shakspere has seized upon this point, and held firmly to it. He releases Ventidius from prison,-he bestows an estate upon his servant,-he lavishes jewels upon all the dependants who crowd his board;

"Methinks I could deal kingdoms to my friends, And ne'er be weary."

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