Timon of Athens

 

The only "Shakespeare" play of which we can trace no hint of its existence prior to its first publication in the First Folio is the play of "Timon of Athens." We are, therefore, jusitified in assuming that it was a brand new play, fresh from the hand of its author in 1623, seven years after the death of Will Shaksper.

In the play we find Timon's ruin was due to an excess of generosity and a fatal inability to appreciate the value of money. His hand and purse were always ready to help his friends and servants. The consequence was that, falling at last apparently into great pecuniary straits and seeking in vain to supply his wants from those whom he had befriended, he became a misanthrope.

Is it a coincidence that Francis Bacon was one of the most prodigal men that ever lived, entirely indifferent to money, which he kept in an open chest from which he allowed his servants to help themselves, and that on his downfall all his parasites forsook him? His experiences are precisely those of Timon in the play, except that Timon became a misanthrope whereas Francis Bacon retained his sweet disposition to the last.

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