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I have a jewel here."
MER. O, pray, let's fee't: For the lord Timon,
JEW. If he will touch the eflimate: But, for
[Looking on the jewel.
JEW. And rich: here is a water, look you.
PAIN. You are rapt, fir, in fome work, fome
To the great lord.
A thing flipp'd idly from me.
Our poefy is as a gum, which oozes9
From whence 'tis nourished: The fire i'the flint Shows not, till it be ftruck; our gentle flame
I have a jewel here.] The fyllable wanting in this line, might be restored by reading:
He paffes.-Look, I have a jewel here. STEEVENS.
touch the eflimate:] Come up to the price. JOHNson.
When we for recompense &c.] We muft here fuppofe the poet bufy in reading his own work; and that these three lines are the introdu&ion of the poem addreffed to Timon, which he afterwards gives the painter an account of. WARBURTON.
which oozes- -] The folio copy reads which uses. The modern editors have given it-which iffurs. JOHNSON. Gum and iffues were inferted by Mr. Pope; oozes by Dr. Johufon.
The two oldeft copies read:
Our poefie is as a gowne which uses. STELVENS,
Provokes itself, and, like the current, flies
Each bound it chafes. What have you there?
Each bound it chafes.] Thus the folio reads, and rightly. In later editions-chafes. WARBURTON.
This fpeech of the poet is very obfcure. He feems to boast the copiousness and facility of his vein, by declaring that verfes drop from a poet as gums from odoriferous trees, and that his flame kindles itself without the violence neceffary to elicit fparkles from the flint. What follows next? that it, like a current, flies each bound it chafes. This may mean, that it expands itself notwithftanding all obftructions: but the images in the comparison are fo ill-forted, and the effe& fo obfcurely expreffed, that I cannot but think fomething omitted that conne&ed the laft fentence with, the former. It is well known that the players often shorten (peeches to quicken the reprefentation: and it may be suspected, that they fometimes performed their amputations with more hafte than judge. ment. JOHNSON.
Perhaps the fenfe is, that having touch'd on one fubje&, it flies off in queft of another. The old copy feems to read:
Each bound it chafes.
The letters and ƒ are not always to be diftinguished from each other, especially when the types have been much worn, as in the firft folio. If chafes be the true reading, it is beft explained by the Je fequiturque fugitque" of the Roman poet.
fimilar occurs in The Tempeft:
"Do chafe the ebbing Neptune, and do fly him
The obfcurity of this paffage arifes merely from the mistake of the editors, who have joined in one, what was intended by Shakfpeare as two diftin& fentences.
then the fenfe will be evident:
our gentle flame
It should be pointed thus, and
Provokes itfelf, and like the current flies;
Each bound it chafes.
Our gentle flame animates itself; it flies like a current; and every obftacle ferves but to increase its force. M. MASON.
In Julius Cæfar, we have
"The troubled Tyber chafing with her fhores,-". ·
Again, in The Legend of Pierce Gaveflon, by Michael Drayton, 1594: Like as the ocean, chafing with his bounds,
"With raging billowes flies against the rocks,
And to the fhore fends forth his hideous founds," &c.
POET. So 'tis: this comes off well and excellent."
This jumble of incongruous images, feems to have been defigned, and put into the mouth of the Poetafter, that the reader might appreciate his talents: his language therefore should not be confidered in the abftra&. HENLEY.
3—— And when comes your book forth? And was fupplied by Sir T. Hanmer, to perfect the measure.
4 Upon the heels &c.] As foon as my to lord Timon. JOHNSON,
book has been prefented
prefentment] The patrons of Shakspeare's age do not appear to have been all Timons.
"I did determine not to have dedicated my play to any body, because forty fhillings I care not for, and above, few or noue will beflow on these matters. Preface to A Woman is a Weathercock, by N. Field, 1612. STEEVENS.
It should however be remembered, that forty fhillings at that time were equal to at least fix, perhaps eight, pounds at this day. MALONE.
6 'Tis a good piece.}
As the metre is here defective, it is not
improbable that our author originally wrote
'Tis a good piece, indeed.
So, in The Winter's Tale:
"'Tis grace indeed. STEEVENS.
this comes off well and excellent. ] The meaning is, the figure rifes well from the canvas. C'est bien relevé. JOHNSON.
What is meant by this term of applaufe I do not exacly know. It occurs again in The Widow, by Ben Joufon, Fletcher, and Middleton:
"It comes off very fair yet. Again, in A Trick to catch the old One, 1608: "Put a good tale in his ear, fo that it comes off cleanly, and there's a horfe and man for us. I warrant thee. Again, in the first part of Marston's Antonio and Mellida:
"Fla. Faith, the song will seem to come off hardly.
"Catz. Troth, not a whit, if you feem to come off quickly."
Admirable: How this grace
Speaks his own ftanding! what a mental power This eye fhoots forth! how big imagination Moves in this lip! to the dumbnefs of the gefture One might interpret.
How this grace
Speaks his own ftanding!] This relates to the attitude of the figure, and means that it ftands judiciously on its own centre. not only fo, but that it has a graceful standing likewife. the poet in Hamlet, fpeaking of another pidure, says: "A ftation like the herald, Mercury "New-lighted on a heaven-kiffing hill.
which lines Milton feems to have had in view, where he lays of
"At once on th' eastern cliff of Paradife
"He lights, and to his proper fhape returns.
Like Maia's fon he flood.". Warburton.
This fentence feems to me obfcure, and, however explained, not very forcible. This grace Speaks his own ftanding, is only, The gracefulness of this figure shows how it flands. I am inclined to think fomething corrupted. It would be more natural and clear thus: How this ftanding
Speaks his own graces!
How this pofture difplays its own gracefulness. But I will indulge conjecture further, and propose to read:
How this grace
Speaks understanding! what a mental power
The affage, to my apprehenfion at least, fpeaks its own meaning, which is, how the graceful attitude of this figure proclaims that it stands firm on its center, or gives evidence in favour of its own fixure. Grace is introduced as bearing witness to propriety. A fimilar expreffion occurs in Cymbeline, A& II. fc. iv:
never faw I figures
"So likely to report themselves." STEEVENS.
9 to the dumbness of the geflure
One might interpret.] The figure, though dumb, seems to have a capacity of speech. The allufion is to the puppet-shows, or motions, as they were termed in our author's time. The person
PAIN. It is a pretty mocking of the life. Here is a touch; Is't good?
I'll fay of it,
It tutors nature: artificial ftrife
Lives in these touches, livelier than life.
who spoke for the puppets was called an interpreter. See a note on Hamlet, A& III. fc. v. MALONE.
Rather-one might venture to fupply words to fuch intelligible adion. Such fignificant gefture afcertains the fentiments that should accompany it. STEEVENS.
-] Strife for action or motion.
Strife is either the couteft of art with nature:
or it is the contraft of forms or oppofition of colours. JOHNSON.
"Faithorne, with nature at a noble ftrife,
And Ben Jonfon, on the head of Shakspeare by Droefhout: "This figure which thou here feeft put,
"It was for gentle Shakspeare cut:
"Wherein the graver had a ftrife
That artificial frife means, as Dr. Johnfon has explained it, the conleft of art with nature, and not the contrast of forms or oppofition of colours, may appear from our author's Venus and Adonis, wher: the fame thought is more clearly expreffed:
"Look, when a painter would furpass the life,
In Drayton's Mortimeriados, printed I believe in 1596, (afterwards entitled The Baron's Wars,) there are two lines nearly refembling
"Done for the laft with fuch exceeding life,
"As art therein with nature were at frife. MALONE.