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who could treat excess of liberality as they would have treated excess of guilt.
STEEVENS. Not nature, To whom all sures lay siege,-] The meaning I take to be this: Brother, when his fortune is enlarged, will scorn brother; for this is the general depravity of human nature, which, besieged as it is by misery, admonished as it is of want and imperfection, when elevated by fortune, will despise beings of nature like its
36 It is the pasture lards the brother's sides,] Alterations are never to be made without necessity. Let us see what sense the genuine reading will afford. Poverty, says the poet, bears contempt hereditary, and wealth native honour. To illustrate this position, having already mentioned the case of a poor and rich brother, he semarks, that this preference is given to wealth by those whom it least becomes; it is the pastour greases or flatters the rich brother, and will grease him on till want makes him leave. The poet then goes on to ask, Who dares to
inan, this pastour, is a flatterer; the crime is universal; through all the world the learned pate, with allusion to the pastour, ducks to the golden fool. If it be objected, as it may justly be, that the mention of pastour is unsuitable, we must remember the mention of grace and cherubims in this play, and many such anachronişms in many others. I would therefore read thus :
It is the pastour lards the brother's sides,
The obscurity is still great. Perhaps a line is lost. I have at least given the original reading.
JOHNSON. 37 — wappen'd widow-) Waped or wappen'd signifies both sorrowful and terrified, either for the loss of a good husband, or by the treatment of a bad. But gold, he says, can overcome both her affection and her fears.
WARBURTON. 38 I will not kiss thee ;-] This alludes to an opinion in former times, generally prevalent, that the venereal infection transmitted to another, left the infecter free. I will not, says Timon, take the rot from thy lips by kissing thee.
JOHNSON 39 -tub-fast and the diet.] The author is alluding to the lues venerea, and its effects. At that time the cure of it was performed either by guaiacum, or mercurial unctions: and in both cases the patient was kept up very warm and close; that in the first application the sweat might be promoted; and lest, in the other, he should take cold, which was fatal. The regimen for the course of guaiacum (says Dr. Friend in his History of Physick, vol. II. p. 380.) was at first strangely circumstantial; and so rigorous, that the putient was put into a dungeon in order to make him sweat; and in that manner, as Fallopius erpresses it, the bones, and the very man himself was macerated. Wiseman says, in England they used a tub for this purpose, as abroad, a cave, or oven, or dungeon. And as for the unction, it was sometimes continued for thirty-seven days (as he observes, p. 375.) and during this time there was
necessarily an extraordinary abstinence required. Hence the term of the tub-fast.
WARBURTON. -Yet may your pains, sir months, Be quite contrary: --] This is obscure, partly from the ambiguity of the word pains, and partly from the generality of the expression. The meaning is this, he had said before, follow constantly your trade of debauchery: that is (says he) for six months in the year. Let the other six be employed in quite contrary pains and labour, namely, in the severe discipline necessary for the repair of those disorders that your debaucheries occasion, in order to fit you anew to the trade; and thus let the whole year be spent in these different occupations. On this account he goes on, and says, Make false hair, &c. But for, pains sir months, the Oxford editor reads pains exterior. What he means I know not.
WARBURTON. The explanation is ingenious, tut 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 themselves. 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. Latymer relates, that when he went to court, he was advised not to contrary the king.
JOHNSON. 41 And thatch your poor thin roofs-) About the year 1595, when the fashion was first introduced in England of wearing more hair than was ever the produce of a single head, it was dangerous for any child to go about, as nothing was more common than for women to entice such as had fine hair into private places, and there to cut it off. I have this information from Stubbs's Anatomy of Abuses, which I have often quoted on the article of dress.
STEEVENS. -eyeless venom'd worm,] The serpent, which we, from the smallness of his eyes, call the blind worm, and the Latins, cæcilia.
-but bred a dog.) In allusion to the term Cynic.
-wert thou the unicorn,] The account given of the unicorn is this: that he and the lion being enemies by nature, as soon as the lion sees the unicorn he betakes himself to a tree: the unicorn in his fury, and with all the swiftness of his course, running at him, sticks his horn fast in the tree, and then the lion falls upon him and kills him, Gesner Hist. Animal.
HANMER. 45 The sea's a thief, whose liquid surge resoltes
The moon into salt tears. -] The sea melting
the moon into tears, is, I believe, a secret in philosophy, which no body but Shakspeare's deep editors ever dreamed of. There is another opinion, which, 'tis more reasonable to believe that our author
allude to, viz. that the saltness of the sea is caused by several ranges, or mounds of rock-salt under water, with which resolving liquid the sea was impregnated. This I think a sufficient authority for changing moon into mounds.
I am not willing to receive mounds, which would not be understood but by him that suggested it. The moon is supposed to be humid, and perhaps a source of humidity, but cannot be resolved by the surges
of Yet I think moon is the true reading. Here is a circulation of thievery described: The sun, moon, and sea all rob, and are robbed.
JOHNSON. -Thou shalt build from men ;] i. e. removed from the abode of men.
47 Enter Poet and Painter.] The poet and the painter were within view when Apemantus parted from Timon, and might then have seen Timon, since Apemantus standing by him could not see them: But the scenes of the thieves and steward have passed before their arrival, and yet passed, as the drama is now conducted, within their view. It might be suspected that some scenes are transposed, for all these difficulties would be removed by introducing the poet and painter first, and the thieves in this place. Yet I am afraid the scenes must keep their present order; for the painter alludes to the thieves when he says,