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And then in post he came from Mantua,
Prince. Give me the letter, I will look on it.Where is the county's page, that rais’d the watch ?Sirrah, what made your master in this place ?
Page. He came with flowers to strew his lady's grave And bid me stand aloof, and so I did : Anon, comes one with light to ope the tomb, And, by and by, my master drew on him; And then I ran away to call the watch.
Prince. This letter doth make good the friar's words, Their course of love, the tidings of her death; And here he writes, that he did buy a poison Of a poor 'pothecary; and therewithal Came to this vault to die, and lie with Juliet.Where be these enemies ? Capulet! Montague !! See, what a scourge is laid upon your hate, That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love; And I, for winking at your discords too, Have lost a brace of kinsmen :-all are punish'd.
Cap. O, brother Montague ! give me thy hand : This is my daughter's jointure; for no more
[They shake hands. Can I demand. Mon.
But I can give thee more;
Cap. As rich shall Romeo by his lady lie;
The sun for sorrow will not show his head.
Some shall be pardon'd, and some punished:
1 The quarto, 1597, has in place of this and the next four lines : Where are these enemies? See what hate hath done! 2 Not in f. e. 3 true: in f. e. 4 In quarto, 1597 :
There shall no statue at such price be sety
As that of Romeo and loved Juliet. & gloomy : in quarto, 1597.
“ The Life of Tymon of Athens " first appeared in the folio of 1623, where it occupies, in the division of “ Tragedies,” twenty-one pages, numbered from p. 80 to p. 98 inclusive; but pp. 81 and 82, by an error, are repeated. Page 98 is followed by a leaf, headed, “The Actors' Names," and the list of characters fills the whole page: the back of it is left blank. The drama bears the same title in the later folios.
SHAKESPEARE is supposed not to have written “Timon of Athens" until late in his theatrical career, and Malone has fixed upon 1610 as the probable date when it came from his pen.
We know of no extrinsic evidence to confirm or contradict this opinion. The tragedy was printed in 1623, in the folio edited by Heminge and Condell; and having been inserted in the Registers of the Stationers' Company as a play
not formerly entered to other men,” we may infer that it had not previously come from the press. The versification is remarkably loose and irregular, but it is made to appear more so by the manner in which it was originally printed. The object, especially near the close, seems to have been to make the drama occupy as much space as could be conveniently filled : consequently, many of the lines are arbitrarily divided into two: the drama extends to p. 98 in the folio, in the division of “ Tragedies ;" what would have been p. 99, if it had been figured, contains a list of the characters, and what would have been p. 100 is entirely blank: the next leaf, being the first page of " Julius Cæsar,” is numbered 109. It is possible that another printer began with “ Julius Cæsar,” and that a miscalculation was made as to the space which would be occupied by “ Coriolanus,” (Titus Andronicus,”. “Romeo and Juliet," and " Timon of Athens." The interval between what would have been p. 100 of the folio of 1623, and which immediately follows it, may at all events be in this way explained.
There is an apparent want of finish about some portions of “ Timon of Athens," while others elaborately wrought. In his Lectures in 1815, Coleridge dwelt upon this discordance of style at considerable length, but we find no trace of it in the published fragments his Lectures in 1818. Coleridge said, in 1815, that he saw the same vigorous hand at work throughout, and gave no countenance to the notion, that any parts of a previously existing play had been retained in 1. Timon of Athens," as it had come down to us.
It was Shakespeare's throughout; and, as originally written, he apprehended that it was one of the author's most complete performances : the players, however, he felt convinced, had done the poet much injustice ; and he especially instanced (as indeed he did in 1818) the cluinsy, “clap-trap” blow at the Puritans in Act iii. sc. 3, as an interpolation by the actor of the part of Timon's servant. Coleridge accounted for the ruggedness and inequality of the versification upon the same
principle, and he was persuaded that only a corrupt and imperfect copy had come to the hands of the player-editors of The folio of 1623. Why the manuscript of " Timon of Athens" should have been more mutilated, than that from which other dramas were printed for the first time in the same volume, was a question into which he did not enter. His admiration of some parts of the tragedy was unbounded; but he maintained that it was, on the whole, a painful and disagreeable production, because it gave only a disadvantageous picture of human nature, very inconsistent with what, he firmly believed, was our great poet's real view of the characters of his fellow creatures. He said that the whole piece was a bitter dramatic satire,-a species of writing in which Shakespeare had shown, as in all other kinds, that he could reach the very highest point of excellence. Coleridge could not help suspecting that the subject might have been taken up under some temporary feeling of vexation and disappointment.
How far this notion is well founded can of course be matter of mere speculation; but a whole play could hardly be composed under a transient fit of irritation, and to us it seems more likely, that in this instance, as in others, Shakespeare adopted the story because he thought he could make it acceptable as a dramatic representation. We agree with Farmer in thinking that there probably existed some earlier popular play of which Tinion was the hero. The novels in Paynter's “Palace of Pleasure” were the common property of the poets of the day; and “the strange and beastly nature of Timon of Athens is inserted in the first volume of that collection, which came out before 1567. Paynter professes to have derived his brief materials from the life of Marc Antony, in Plutarch ; but Sir Thomas North's translation having made its appearance in 1579, all the circumstances may have been familiar to most readers. True it is, that Shakespeare does not appear to have followed these authorities at all closely, and there may have been some version of Lucian then current with which we are now unacquainted. To these sources dramatists preceding Shakespeare may have resorted; and we find Timon so often mentioned by writers of the period, that his habits and disposition, perhaps, had also been made known through the medium of the stage. Shakespeare himself introduces Timon into “ Love's Labour's Lost,” which, in its original shape, must certainly have been one of our great dramatist's early plays. În Edward Guilpin's collection of Epigrams and Satires, published, under the title of Skialetheia,', in 1598, we meet with the following line, (Epigr. 52,) which seems to refer to some scene in which Timon had been represented :
“Like hate-man Timon in his cell he sits :" And in the anonymous play of “ Jack Drum's Entertainment," printed in 1601, one of the characters uses these expressions :
“But if all the brewers' jades in the town can drag me from the love of myself, they shall do more than e'er the seven wise men of Greece could. Come, come; now I'll be as sociable as Timon of Athens."