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The woods. Timon's cave, and a tomb-stone seen.
(Enter a Soldier, seeking Timon.
Sol. By all description this should be the place. Who's here? speak, ho!--No answer?-What is this? Timon is dead, who hath outstretch'd his span : Some beast rear'd this; there does not live a man. Dead, sure; and this his grave.What's on this tomb I cannot read; the character I'll take with wax. Our captain hath in every figure skill; An ag'd interpreter, though young in days: Before proud Athens he's set down by this, Whose fall the mark of his ambition is, [Erit.
Before the walls of Athens.
Trumpets sound. Enter Alcibiades, and forces.
Alcib. Sound to this coward and lascivious town Our terrible approach. [A parley sounded.
Enter Senators on the walls.
Till now you have gone on, and fill'd the time
Have wander'd with our travers'd arms*, and
Noble and young,
So did we woo
These walls of ours
fall For private faults in them. 2 Sen.
Nor are they living, Who were the motives that you first went out; Shame, that they wanted cunning, in excess Hath broke their hearts. March, noble lord, Into our city with thy banners spread: By decimation, and a tithed death, (If thy revenges hunger for that food, Which nature loaths), take thou the destin'd tenth; And by the hazard of the spotted die, Let die the spotted. 1 Sen.
All have not offended;
• Arms across. + Mature. I i. e. By promising him a competent subsistence.
For those that were, it is not square*, to take,
What thou wilt,
Set but thy foot
Throw thy glove; Or any token of thine honour else, That thou wilt use the wars as thy redress, And not as our confusion; all thy powers Shall make their harbour in our town, till we Have seal'd thy full desire Alcib.
Then there's my glove; Descend, and open your uncharged ports+; Those enemies of Timon's and mine owu, Whom you yourselves shall set out for reproof, Fall, and no more: and, to atonet your fears With my more noble meaning, not a man Shall pass his quarter, or offend the stream of regular justice in your city's bounds, But shall be remedied, to your publick laws, At heaviest answer. Both.
'Tis most nobly spoken. Alcib. Descend, and keep your words.
• Not regular, not equitable.
Unattacked gates. Reconcile.
The Senators descend, and open the gates.
Enter a Soldier. Sold. My noble general, Timon is dead; Entomb'd upon the very hem o'the sea: And on his grave-stone, this insculpture; which With wax I brought away, whose soft impression Interprets for my poor ignorance. Alcib. [Reads.) Here lies a wretched corse, of
wretched soul bereft : Seek not my name: A plague consume you wicked
caitiffs left! Here lie I Timon; who, alive, all living men did
hate: Pass by, and curse thy fill; but pass, and stay not
here thy gait. These well express in thee thy latter spirits : Though thou abhorr'dst in us our human griefs, Scorn'dst our brain's flow*, and those our droplets
which From niggard nature fall, yet rich conceit Taught thee to make vast Neptune weep for aye On thy low grave, on faults forgiveu. Dead Is noble Timon; of whose memory Hereafter more. Bring me into your city, And I will use the olive with my sword: Make war breed peace; make peace stint t war;
make each Prescribe to other, as each other's leech f. Let our drums strike.
[Exeunt. • i. e. Our tears. + Stop. Physician.
The play of Timon is a domestick tragedy, and therefore strongly fastens on the attention of the reader. In the plan there is not much art, but the incidents are natural, and the characters various and exact. The catastrophe affords a very powerful warning against that ostentatious liberality, which scatters bounty, but confers no benefits, and buys flattery, but not friendship.
In this tragedy, are many passages perplexed, obscure, and probably corrupt, which I have endeavoured to rectify, or explain with due diligence; but having only one copy, cannot promise myself that my endeavours shall be much applauded.