What's on this tomb I cannot read ;s 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. [Exit.


Before the Walls of Athens.

Trumpets sound. Enter ALCIBÍADES, 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
With all licentious measure, making your wills
The scope of justice; till now, myself, and such
As slept within the shadow of your power,
Have wander'd with our travers d arms, and breath'd
Our sufferance vainly: Now the time is flush,
When crouching marrow, in the bearer strong,
Cries, of itself, No more: now breathless wrong
Shall sit and pant in your great chairs of ease;

insolence shall break his wind,
With fear, and horrid flight.
1 Sen.

Noble, and young, When thy first griefs were but a mere conceit,

8 I cannot read, &c.] There is something elaborately unskilful in the contrivance of sending a Soldier, who cannot read, to take the epithet in wax, only that it may close the play by being read with more solemnity in the last scene. Johnson,

travers'd arms,] Arms across.

the time is flush,] A bird is flush when his feathers are grown, and he can leave the nest.

Flush is mature.


Ere thou hadst power, or we had cause of fear,
We sent to thee; to give thy rages balm,
To wipe out our ingratitude with loves
Above their quantity.
2 Sen.

So did we woo
Transformed Timon to our city's love,
By humble message, and by promis'd means ;
We were not all unkind, nor all deserve
The common stroke of war.
1 Sen.

These walls of ours
Were not erected by their hands, from whom
You have receiv'd your griefs: nor are they such
That these great towers, trophies, and schools should

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 ;
For those that were, it is not square, to take,
On those that are, revenges : crimes, like lands,
Are not inherited. Then, dear countryman,
Bring in thy ranks, but leave without thy rage:
Spare thy Athenian cradle, and those kin,
Which, in the bluster of thy wrath, must fall

* Shame, that they wanted cunning in excess

Hath broke their hearts.] Shame in excess, (i. e. extremity of shame) that they wanted cunning (i. e. that they were not wise enough not to banish you) hath broke their hearts.

- not square,] Not regular, not equitable.


With those that have offended : like a shepherd,
Approach the fold, and cull the infected forth,
But kill not all together.
2 Sen.

What thou wilt,
Thou rather shalt enforce it with thy smile,
Than hew to’t with thy sword.
1 Sen.

Set but thy foot
Against our rampir'd gates, and they shall ope;
So thou wilt send thy gentle heart before,
To say, thou'lt enter friendly.
2 Sen.

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 seald thy full desire.

Then there's my glove; Descend, and open your uncharged ports ;* Those enemies of Timon's, and mine own, Whom you yourselves shall set out for reproof, Fall, and no more: and,—to atone 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.

The Senators descend, and open the Gates.

uncharged ports;] uncharged means unattacked.
to atone your

With my more noble meaning,] i. e. to reconcile them to it.

Shall pass his quarter,] Not a soldier shall quit his station, or be let loose upon you; and, if any commits violence, he shall answer it regularly to the law.

not a man

Enter a Soldier.

Sol. 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: Scek 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


aye On thy low grave, on faults forgiven. 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 war ;

make each Prescribe to other, as cach other's leech. Let our drums strike.



our brain's flow,] Our brain's flow is our tears. 8 leech.] i. e. physician.

9 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.

Johnson. VOL. VII.


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