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With burdens of the dead; some that were hang'd,
these different occupations. On this account he goes on, and says, Make false hair, &c. Warburton.
The explanation is ingenious, but I think it very remote, and would willingly bring the author and his readers to meet on easier terms. We may read:
- Yet may your pains six months
Be quite contraried: Timon is wishing ill to mankind, but is afraid lest the whores should imagine that he wishes well to them; to obviate which he lets them know, that he imprecates upon them influence enough to plague others, and disappointments enough to plague them. selves. He wishes that they may do all possible mischief, and yet take pains six months of the year in vain.
In this sense there is a connection of this line with the next. Finding your pains contraried, try new expedients, thatch your thin roofs, and paint.
To contrary is an old verb. Latimer relates, that when he went to court, he was advised not to contrary the King Fohnson.
If Dr. Johnson's explanation be right, which I do not believe, the present words appear to me to admit it, as well as the reading he would introduce. Such unnecessary deviations from the text should ever be avoided. Dr. Warburton's is a very natural interpretation, which cannot often be said of the expositions of that commentator. The words that follow fully support it: “ And thatch your poor thin roofs,” &c. i.e. after you have lost the greater part of your hair by disease, and the medicines that for six months vou have been obliged to take, then procure an artifi. cial covering, &c. Malone.
I believe this means,-Yet for half the year at least, may you suffer such punishment as is inflicted on harlots in houses of correction. Steevens
These words should be inclosed in a parenthesis. Johnson wishes to connect them with the following sentences, but that cannot be, as they contain an imprecation, and the following lines contain an instruction. Timon is giving instructions to those women; but, in the middle of his instructions, his misanthropy breaks forth in an imprecation against them. I have no objection to the reading of contraried, instead of contrary, but it does not seem to be necessary. M. Mason.
thatch your poor thin roofs &c.] About the year 1595, when the fashion became general in England of wearing a greater quantity of hair than was ever the produce of a single head, it was dangerous for any child to wander, as nothing was more common than for women to entice such as had fine locks into private places, and there to cut them off. I have this information from Stubbes's Anatomie of Abuses, which I have often quoted on the article of dress. To this fashion the writers of Shakspeare's age do not appear to have been reconciled. So, in A Mad World my Masters,
No matter:-wear them, betray with them: whore still;
Phr. & Timan. Weil, more gold;- What then?
Tim. Consumptions sow In hollow bones of man; strike their sharp shins, And mar men's spurring.9 Crack the lawyer's voice, That he may never more false title plead, Nor sound his quillets shrilly :' hoar the flamen, 2
1608: " -- to wear perriwigs made of another's hair, is not this
« And with large sums they stick not to procure
“ To help their pride they nothing will disdain." Again, in Shakspeare's 68th Sonnet:
“ Before the golden tresses of the dead,
“ Ere beauty's dead fleece macle another gay.” Again, in Churchyard's Tragicall Discours of a dolorous Gentle. evoman, 1593:
“ The perwickes fine must curle wher haire doth lack
" The swelling grace that fils the empty sacke.” Warner, in his Albion's England, 1602, Book IX, ch. xlvii, is likewise very severe on this fashion. Stowe informs us, that "women's periwigs were first brought into England about the time of the massacre of Paris.” Steevens.
men's spurring. 7 Sir Thomas Hanmer reads-sparring, properly enough, if there be any ancient example of the word.
Johnson. Spurring is certainly right. The disease that enfeebled their shins would have this effect. Steevens.
Nor sound his quillets shrilly:] Quillets are subtilties. So, in Law Tricks, &c. 1608: “ a quillet well applied !" Steevens.
Cole, in his Latin Dictionary, 1679, renders quillet, res frivola recula. Malone.
2 boar the flamen,] Mr. Upton would read-hoarse, i.e. make hoarse; for to be hoary claims reverence. “ Add to this (says he) that hoarse is here most proper, as opposed to scolds. It may, however, mean,-Give the flamen the hoary leprosy." So, in Webster's Dutchess of Malfy, 1623:
" shew like leprosy,
“ The whiter the fouler." And before, in this play:
“Make the hoar leprosy ador'd.” Steevens.
That scolds against the quality of flesh,
teous Timon. Tim. More whore, more mischief first; I have given
you earnest. Alcib. Strike up the drum towards Athens. Farewel,
3— that his particular to foresee,] The metaphor is apparently incongruous, but the sense is good. To foresee his particular, is to provide for his private altantage, for which he leaves the right scent of publick good. In bunting, when bares have cross'd one another, it is common for some of the hounds to smell from the general weal, and foresee their own particular. Shakspeare, who seems to have been a skilful sportsman, and has alluded often to falconry, perhaps, alludes here to hunting. [Dr. Warburton would read_forefend, i. e. (as he interprets the word) provide for, secure.]
To the commentator's emendation it may be objected, that he uses forefend in the wrong meaning. 'To forefend is, I think, never to provide for, but to provide against The verbs compounded with for or fore have commonly either an evil or negative sense.
Fohnson: 4 And ditches grave you all!) To grave is to entomb. The word is now obsolete, though sometimes used by Shakspeare and his contemporary authors. So, in Lord Surrey's translation of the fourth book of Virgil's Æneid:
“Cinders (think'st thou) mind this ? or graved ghostes?" Again, in Chapman's version of the fifteenth Iliad:
" the throtes of dogs shall graoc
"His manlesse lims." To ungrade was likewise to turn out of a grave. Thus, in Mar. ston's Sophonisba: "
and me, now dead,
If I thrive well, I 'll visit thee again.
Tim. If I hope well, I'll never see thee more.
Call'st thou that harm?
We but offend him.. Strike. [Drum beats. Exeunt Alcib. Phr. and TIMAN.
Tim. That nature, being sick of man's unkindness, Should yet be hungry!-Common mother, thou,
[Digging: Whose womb unmeasurable, and infinite breast,? Teems, and feeds all; whose self-same mettle, Whereof thy proud child, arrogant man, is puff'd, Engenders the black toad, and adder blue, . The gilded newt, and eyeless venom'd worm, 8 With all the abhorred births below crisp heaven 9
5 Yes, thou spck'st well of me. Shakspeare in this as in many other places, appears to allude to the sacred writings: “ Woe unto liim of whom all men speak well!" Malone.
6 find it such. 7 For the insertion of the pronoun--such, I am answerable. It is too frequently used on similar occasions by our author, to need exemplification. Steevens.
7 Whose womb unmeasurable, and infinite breast, 7 Tbis image is taken from the ancient statues of Diana Ephesia Multimammia, called παγαλος φυσις πάντων μήτηρ ; and is a very good comment on those extraordinary figures. See Montfaucon, l'Antiquité expli. queé Lib. III, ch. xv. Hesiod, alluding to the same representations, calls the earth, ral' ErPrsTEPNOE. Warburton.
Whose infinite breast means no more than whose boundless surface. Shakspeare probably knew nothing of the statue to which the commentator alludes. Steevens.
8- eyeless venom'd worm, 7 The serpent, which we, from the smallness of his eyes, call the blind-worm, and the Latins, cæcilia.
Johnson. So, in Macbeth:
“Adder's fork, and blindworm's sting.” Steevens. 9- below crisp heaven --] We should readcript, i.e. vaulted, from the Latin crypta, a vault. Warburton. Mr Upton declares for crisp, curled, bent, bollow. Johnson.
Pe; haps Shakspeare means curld, from the appearance of the clouds. in The Tempest, Ariel talks of riding
“On the curld clouds."
Whereon Hyperion's quickening fire doth shine;
Never presented!-O, a root--Dear thanks! meadows Dry up thy'marrows,' vines, and plough-torn leas;s
Whereof ingrateful man, with liquorish draughts,
Chaucer, in his House of Fame, says-
"Her here that was oundie and crips.”
“ Her face as beauteous as the crisped morn.” Steevens.
who all thy human sons doth hate,] Old copy--the human sons du bate. The former word was corrected by Mr. Pope; the latter by Mr. Rowe. Malone 2 Ensear thy fertile and conceptious womb. So, in King Lear:
“ Dry up in her the organs of encrease.” Steevens. 3 Let it 10 more bring out ingrateful man!] It is plain that bring out is bring forth. Johnson.
Neither Dr. Warburton nor Dr. Johnson seems to have been aware of the import of this passage. It was the great boast of the Athenians that they were auTOX doves; sprung from the soil on which they lived; and it is in allusion to this, that the terms common mother, and bring out, are applied 10 the ground. Henley.
Though Mr. Henley, as a scholar, could not be unacquainted
“ Through the pure marble air ."
“Now by yon marble heaven, " Milone.