Timon of Athens, by William Shakespeare

Act III

Scene I. A room in Lucullus’ house.

Flaminius waiting. Enter a Servant to him

Servant I have told my lord of you; he is coming down to you.

Flaminius I thank you, sir.

Enter Lucullus

Servant Here’s my lord.

Lucullus [Aside] One of Lord Timon’s men? a gift, I warrant. Why, this hits right; I dreamt of a silver basin and ewer to-night. Flaminius, honest Flaminius; you are very respectively welcome, sir. Fill me some wine.

Exit Servants

And how does that honourable, complete, free-hearted gentleman of Athens, thy very bountiful good lord and master?

Flaminius His health is well sir.

Lucullus I am right glad that his health is well, sir: and what hast thou there under thy cloak, pretty Flaminius?

Flaminius ’Faith, nothing but an empty box, sir; which, in my lord’s behalf, I come to entreat your honour to supply; who, having great and instant occasion to use fifty talents, hath sent to your lordship to furnish him, nothing doubting your present assistance therein.

Lucullus La, la, la, la! ‘nothing doubting,’ says he? Alas, good lord! a noble gentleman ’tis, if he would not keep so good a house. Many a time and often I ha’ dined with him, and told him on’t, and come again to supper to him, of purpose to have him spend less, and yet he would embrace no counsel, take no warning by my coming. Every man has his fault, and honesty is his: I ha’ told him on’t, but I could ne’er get him from’t.

Re-enter Servant, with wine

Servant Please your lordship, here is the wine.

Lucullus Flaminius, I have noted thee always wise. Here’s to thee.

Flaminius Your lordship speaks your pleasure.

Lucullus I have observed thee always for a towardly prompt spirit — give thee thy due — and one that knows what belongs to reason; and canst use the time well, if the time use thee well: good parts in thee.

To Servant

Get you gone, sirrah.

Exit Servant

Draw nearer, honest Flaminius. Thy lord’s a bountiful gentleman: but thou art wise; and thou knowest well enough, although thou comest to me, that this is no time to lend money, especially upon bare friendship, without security. Here’s three solidares for thee: good boy, wink at me, and say thou sawest me not. Fare thee well.

Flaminius Is’t possible the world should so much differ,
And we alive that lived? Fly, damned baseness,
To him that worships thee!

Throwing the money back

Lucullus Ha! now I see thou art a fool, and fit for thy master.

Exit

Flaminius May these add to the number that may scald thee!
Let moulten coin be thy damnation,
Thou disease of a friend, and not himself!
Has friendship such a faint and milky heart,
It turns in less than two nights? O you gods,
I feel master’s passion! this slave,
Unto his honour, has my lord’s meat in him:
Why should it thrive and turn to nutriment,
When he is turn’d to poison?
O, may diseases only work upon’t!
And, when he’s sick to death, let not that part of nature
Which my lord paid for, be of any power
To expel sickness, but prolong his hour!

Exit

Scene II. A public place.

Enter Lucilius, with three Strangers

Lucilius Who, the Lord Timon? he is my very good friend, and an honourable gentleman.

First Stranger We know him for no less, though we are but strangers to him. But I can tell you one thing, my lord, and which I hear from common rumours: now Lord Timon’s happy hours are done and past, and his estate shrinks from him.

Lucilius Fie, no, do not believe it; he cannot want for money.

Second Stranger But believe you this, my lord, that, not long ago, one of his men was with the Lord Lucullus to borrow so many talents, nay, urged extremely for’t and showed what necessity belonged to’t, and yet was denied.

Lucilius How!

Second Stranger I tell you, denied, my lord.

Lucilius What a strange case was that! now, before the gods, I am ashamed on’t. Denied that honourable man! there was very little honour showed in’t. For my own part, I must needs confess, I have received some small kindnesses from him, as money, plate, jewels and such-like trifles, nothing comparing to his; yet, had he mistook him and sent to me, I should ne’er have denied his occasion so many talents.

Enter Servilius

Servilius See, by good hap, yonder’s my lord;
I have sweat to see his honour. My honoured lord  —

To Lucius

Lucilius Servilius! you are kindly met, sir. Fare thee well: commend me to thy honourable virtuous lord, my very exquisite friend.

Servilius May it please your honour, my lord hath sent  —

Lucilius Ha! what has he sent? I am so much endeared to that lord; he’s ever sending: how shall I thank him, thinkest thou? And what has he sent now?

Servilius Has only sent his present occasion now, my lord; requesting your lordship to supply his instant use with so many talents.

Lucilius I know his lordship is but merry with me;
He cannot want fifty five hundred talents.

Servilius But in the mean time he wants less, my lord.
If his occasion were not virtuous,
I should not urge it half so faithfully.

Lucilius Dost thou speak seriously, Servilius?

Servilius Upon my soul,’tis true, sir.

Lucilius What a wicked beast was I to disfurnish myself against such a good time, when I might ha’ shown myself honourable! how unluckily it happened, that I should purchase the day before for a little part, and undo a great deal of honoured! Servilius, now, before the gods, I am not able to do — the more beast, I say:— I was sending to use Lord Timon myself, these gentlemen can witness! but I would not, for the wealth of Athens, I had done’t now. Commend me bountifully to his good lordship; and I hope his honour will conceive the fairest of me, because I have no power to be kind: and tell him this from me, I count it one of my greatest afflictions, say, that I cannot pleasure such an honourable gentleman. Good Servilius, will you befriend me so far, as to use mine own words to him?

Servilius Yes, sir, I shall.

Lucilius I’ll look you out a good turn, Servilius.

Exit Servilius

True as you said, Timon is shrunk indeed;
And he that’s once denied will hardly speed.

Exit

First Stranger Do you observe this, Hostilius?

Second Stranger Ay, too well.

First Stranger Why, this is the world’s soul; and just of the same piece
Is every flatterer’s spirit. Who can call him
His friend that dips in the same dish? for, in
My knowing, Timon has been this lord’s father,
And kept his credit with his purse,
Supported his estate; nay, Timon’s money
Has paid his men their wages: he ne’er drinks,
But Timon’s silver treads upon his lip;
And yet — O, see the monstrousness of man
When he looks out in an ungrateful shape! —
He does deny him, in respect of his,
What charitable men afford to beggars.

Third Stranger Religion groans at it.

First Stranger For mine own part,
I never tasted Timon in my life,
Nor came any of his bounties over me,
To mark me for his friend; yet, I protest,
For his right noble mind, illustrious virtue
And honourable carriage,
Had his necessity made use of me,
I would have put my wealth into donation,
And the best half should have return’d to him,
So much I love his heart: but, I perceive,
Men must learn now with pity to dispense;
For policy sits above conscience.

Exeunt

Scene III. A room in Sempronius’ house.

Enter Sempronius, and a Servant of Timon’s

Sempronius Must he needs trouble me in ’t — hum! —’bove all others?
He might have tried Lord Lucius or Lucullus;
And now Ventidius is wealthy too,
Whom he redeem’d from prison: all these
Owe their estates unto him.

Servant My lord,
They have all been touch’d and found base metal, for
They have au denied him.

Sempronius How! have they denied him?
Has Ventidius and Lucullus denied him?
And does he send to me? Three? hum!
It shows but little love or judgment in him:
Must I be his last refuge! His friends, like physicians,
Thrive, give him over: must I take the cure upon me?
Has much disgraced me in’t; I’m angry at him,
That might have known my place: I see no sense for’t,
But his occasion might have woo’d me first;
For, in my conscience, I was the first man
That e’er received gift from him:
And does he think so backwardly of me now,
That I’ll requite its last? No:
So it may prove an argument of laughter
To the rest, and ’mongst lords I be thought a fool.
I’ld rather than the worth of thrice the sum,
Had sent to me first, but for my mind’s sake;
I’d such a courage to do him good. But now return,
And with their faint reply this answer join;
Who bates mine honour shall not know my coin.

Exit

Servant Excellent! Your lordship’s a goodly villain. The devil knew not what he did when he made man politic; he crossed himself by ’t: and I cannot think but, in the end, the villainies of man will set him clear. How fairly this lord strives to appear foul! takes virtuous copies to be wicked, like those that under hot ardent zeal would set whole realms on fire: Of such a nature is his politic love.
This was my lord’s best hope; now all are fled,
Save only the gods: now his friends are dead,
Doors, that were ne’er acquainted with their wards
Many a bounteous year must be employ’d
Now to guard sure their master.
And this is all a liberal course allows;
Who cannot keep his wealth must keep his house.

Exit

Scene IV. The same. A hall in Timon’s house.

Enter two Servants of Varro, and the Servant of Lucius, meeting Titus, Hortensius, and other Servants of Timon’s creditors, waiting his coming out

Varro’s

First Servant Well met; good morrow, Titus and Hortensius.

Titus The like to you kind Varro.

Hortensius Lucius!
What, do we meet together?
Lucilius’ Servant Ay, and I think
One business does command us all; for mine Is money.

Titus So is theirs and ours.

Enter Philotus

Lucilius’ Servant And Sir Philotus too!

Philotus Good day at once.
Lucilius’ Servant Welcome, good brother.
What do you think the hour?

Philotus Labouring for nine.
Lucilius’ Servant So much?

Philotus Is not my lord seen yet?
Lucilius’ Servant Not yet.

Philotus I wonder on’t; he was wont to shine at seven.
Lucilius’ Servant Ay, but the days are wax’d shorter with him:
You must consider that a prodigal course
Is like the sun’s; but not, like his, recoverable.
I fear ’tis deepest winter in Lord Timon’s purse;
That is one may reach deep enough, and yet
Find little.

Philotus I am of your fear for that.

Titus I’ll show you how to observe a strange event.
Your lord sends now for money.

Hortensius Most true, he does.

Titus And he wears jewels now of Timon’s gift,
For which I wait for money.

Hortensius It is against my heart.
Lucilius’ Servant Mark, how strange it shows,
Timon in this should pay more than he owes:
And e’en as if your lord should wear rich jewels,
And send for money for ’em.

Hortensius I’m weary of this charge, the gods can witness:
I know my lord hath spent of Timon’s wealth,
And now ingratitude makes it worse than stealth.
Varro’s

First Servant Yes, mine’s three thousand crowns: what’s yours?
Lucilius’ Servant Five thousand mine.
Varro’s

First Servant ’Tis much deep: and it should seem by the sun,
Your master’s confidence was above mine;
Else, surely, his had equall’d.
Enter Flaminius.

Titus One of Lord Timon’s men. Lucilius’ Servant Flaminius! Sir, a word: pray, is my lord ready to come forth?

Flaminius No, indeed, he is not.

Titus We attend his lordship; pray, signify so much.

Flaminius I need not tell him that; he knows you are too diligent.

Exit

Enter Flavius in a cloak, muffled

Lucilius’ Servant Ha! is not that his steward muffled so?
He goes away in a cloud: call him, call him.

Titus Do you hear, sir?
Varro’s

Second Servant By your leave, sir  —

Flavius What do ye ask of me, my friend?

Titus We wait for certain money here, sir.

Flavius Ay,
If money were as certain as your waiting,
’Twere sure enough.
Why then preferr’d you not your sums and bills,
When your false masters eat of my lord’s meat?
Then they could smile and fawn upon his debts
And take down the interest into their gluttonous maws.
You do yourselves but wrong to stir me up;
Let me pass quietly:
Believe ’t, my lord and I have made an end;
I have no more to reckon, he to spend.
Lucilius’ Servant Ay, but this answer will not serve.

Flavius If ’twill not serve,’tis not so base as you;
For you serve knaves.

Exit

Varro’s

First Servant How! what does his cashiered worship mutter?
Varro’s

Second Servant No matter what; he’s poor, and that’s revenge enough. Who can speak broader than he that has no house to put his head in? such may rail against great buildings.

Enter Servilius

Titus O, here’s Servilius; now we shall know some answer.

Servilius If I might beseech you, gentlemen, to repair some other hour, I should derive much from’t; for, take’t of my soul, my lord leans wondrously to discontent: his comfortable temper has forsook him; he’s much out of health, and keeps his chamber. Lucilius’ Servant: Many do keep their chambers are not sick:
And, if it be so far beyond his health,
Methinks he should the sooner pay his debts,
And make a clear way to the gods.

Servilius Good gods!

Titus We cannot take this for answer, sir.

Flaminius [Within] Servilius, help! My lord! my lord!

Enter Timon, in a rage, Flaminius following

Timon What, are my doors opposed against my passage?
Have I been ever free, and must my house
Be my retentive enemy, my gaol?
The place which I have feasted, does it now,
Like all mankind, show me an iron heart?
Lucilius’ Servant Put in now, Titus.

Titus My lord, here is my bill.
Lucilius’ Servant Here’s mine.

Hortensius And mine, my lord.
Both
Varro’s Servants And ours, my lord.

Philotus All our bills.

Timon Knock me down with ’em: cleave me to the girdle.
Lucilius’ Servant Alas, my lord,-

Timon Cut my heart in sums.

Titus Mine, fifty talents.

Timon Tell out my blood.
Lucilius’ Servant Five thousand crowns, my lord.

Timon Five thousand drops pays that.
What yours? — and yours?
Varro’s

First Servant My lord —
Varro’s

Second Servant My lord  —

Timon Tear me, take me, and the gods fall upon you!

Exit

Hortensius ’Faith, I perceive our masters may throw their caps at their money: these debts may well be called desperate ones, for a madman owes ’em.

Exeunt

Re-enter Timon and Flavius

Timon They have e’en put my breath from me, the slaves.
Creditors? devils!

Flavius My dear lord  —

Timon What if it should be so?

Flavius My lord  —

Timon I’ll have it so. My steward!

Flavius Here, my lord.

Timon So fitly? Go, bid all my friends again,
Lucius, Lucullus, and Sempronius:
All, sirrah, all:
I’ll once more feast the rascals.

Flavius O my lord,
You only speak from your distracted soul;
There is not so much left, to furnish out
A moderate table.

Timon   Be’t not in thy care; go,
I charge thee, invite them all: let in the tide
Of knaves once more; my cook and I’ll provide.

Exeunt

Scene V. The same. The senate-house. The Senate sitting.

First Senator My lord, you have my voice to it; the fault’s
Bloody; ’tis necessary he should die:
Nothing emboldens sin so much as mercy.

Second Senator Most true; the law shall bruise him.

Enter Alcibiades, with Attendants

Alcibiades Honour, health, and compassion to the senate!

First Senator Now, captain?

Alcibiades I am an humble suitor to your virtues;
For pity is the virtue of the law,
And none but tyrants use it cruelly.
It pleases time and fortune to lie heavy
Upon a friend of mine, who, in hot blood,
Hath stepp’d into the law, which is past depth
To those that, without heed, do plunge into ’t.
He is a man, setting his fate aside,
Of comely virtues:
Nor did he soil the fact with cowardice —
An honour in him which buys out his fault —
But with a noble fury and fair spirit,
Seeing his reputation touch’d to death,
He did oppose his foe:
And with such sober and unnoted passion
He did behave his anger, ere ’twas spent,
As if he had but proved an argument.

First Senator You undergo too strict a paradox,
Striving to make an ugly deed look fair:
Your words have took such pains as if they labour’d
To bring manslaughter into form and set quarrelling
Upon the head of valour; which indeed
Is valour misbegot and came into the world
When sects and factions were newly born:
He’s truly valiant that can wisely suffer
The worst that man can breathe, and make his wrongs
His outsides, to wear them like his raiment, carelessly,
And ne’er prefer his injuries to his heart,
To bring it into danger.
If wrongs be evils and enforce us kill,
What folly ’tis to hazard life for ill!

Alcibiades My lord  —

First Senator   You cannot make gross sins look clear:
To revenge is no valour, but to bear.

Alcibiades My lords, then, under favour, pardon me,
If I speak like a captain.
Why do fond men expose themselves to battle,
And not endure all threats? sleep upon’t,
And let the foes quietly cut their throats,
Without repugnancy? If there be
Such valour in the bearing, what make we
Abroad? why then, women are more valiant
That stay at home, if bearing carry it,
And the ass more captain than the lion, the felon
Loaden with irons wiser than the judge,
If wisdom be in suffering. O my lords,
As you are great, be pitifully good:
Who cannot condemn rashness in cold blood?
To kill, I grant, is sin’s extremest gust;
But, in defence, by mercy, ’tis most just.
To be in anger is impiety;
But who is man that is not angry?
Weigh but the crime with this.

Second Senator You breathe in vain.

Alcibiades In vain! his service done
At Lacedaemon and Byzantium
Were a sufficient briber for his life.

First Senator What’s that?

Alcibiades I say, my lords, he has done fair service,
And slain in fight many of your enemies:
How full of valour did he bear himself
In the last conflict, and made plenteous wounds!

Second Senator He has made too much plenty with ’em;
He’s a sworn rioter: he has a sin that often
Drowns him, and takes his valour prisoner:
If there were no foes, that were enough
To overcome him: in that beastly fury
He has been known to commit outrages,
And cherish factions: ’tis inferr’d to us,
His days are foul and his drink dangerous.

First Senator He dies.

Alcibiades Hard fate! he might have died in war.
My lords, if not for any parts in him —
Though his right arm might purchase his own time
And be in debt to none — yet, more to move you,
Take my deserts to his, and join ’em both:
And, for I know your reverend ages love
Security, I’ll pawn my victories, all
My honours to you, upon his good returns.
If by this crime he owes the law his life,
Why, let the war receive ’t in valiant gore
For law is strict, and war is nothing more.

First Senator We are for law: he dies; urge it no more,
On height of our displeasure: friend or brother,
He forfeits his own blood that spills another.

Alcibiades Must it be so? it must not be. My lords,
I do beseech you, know me.

Second Senator How!

Alcibiades Call me to your remembrances.

Third Senator What!

Alcibiades I cannot think but your age has forgot me;
It could not else be, I should prove so base,
To sue, and be denied such common grace:
My wounds ache at you.

First Senator Do you dare our anger?
’Tis in few words, but spacious in effect;
We banish thee for ever.

Alcibiades Banish me!
Banish your dotage; banish usury,
That makes the senate ugly.

First Senator If, after two days’ shine, Athens contain thee,
Attend our weightier judgment. And, not to swell our spirit,
He shall be executed presently.

Exeunt Senators

Alcibiades Now the gods keep you old enough; that you may live
Only in bone, that none may look on you!
I’m worse than mad: I have kept back their foes,
While they have told their money and let out
Their coin upon large interest, I myself
Rich only in large hurts. All those for this?
Is this the balsam that the usuring senate
Pours into captains’ wounds? Banishment!
It comes not ill; I hate not to be banish’d;
It is a cause worthy my spleen and fury,
That I may strike at Athens. I’ll cheer up
My discontented troops, and lay for hearts.
’Tis honour with most lands to be at odds;
Soldiers should brook as little wrongs as gods.

Exit

Scene VI. The same. A banqueting-room in Timon’s house.

Music. Tables set out: Servants attending. Enter divers Lords, Senators and others, at several doors

First Lord The good time of day to you, sir.

Second Lord I also wish it to you. I think this honourable lord did but try us this other day.

First Lord Upon that were my thoughts tiring, when we encountered: I hope it is not so low with him as he made it seem in the trial of his several friends.

Second Lord It should not be, by the persuasion of his new feasting.

First Lord I should think so: he hath sent me an earnest inviting, which many my near occasions did urge me to put off; but he hath conjured me beyond them, and I must needs appear.

Second Lord In like manner was I in debt to my importunate business, but he would not hear my excuse. I am sorry, when he sent to borrow of me, that my provision was out.

First Lord I am sick of that grief too, as I understand how all things go.

Second Lord Every man here’s so. What would he have borrowed of you?

First Lord A thousand pieces.

Second Lord A thousand pieces!

First Lord What of you?

Second Lord He sent to me, sir — Here he comes.

Enter Timon and Attendants

Timon With all my heart, gentlemen both; and how fare you?

First Lord Ever at the best, hearing well of your lordship.

Second Lord The swallow follows not summer more willing than we your lordship.

Timon [Aside] Nor more willingly leaves winter; such summer-birds are men. Gentlemen, our dinner will not recompense this long stay: feast your ears with the music awhile, if they will fare so harshly o’ the trumpet’s sound; we shall to ’t presently.

First Lord I hope it remains not unkindly with your lordship that I returned you an empty messenger.

Timon O, sir, let it not trouble you.

Second Lord My noble lord  —

Timon Ah, my good friend, what cheer?

Second Lord My most honourable lord, I am e’en sick of shame, that, when your lordship this other day sent to me, I was so unfortunate a beggar.

Timon Think not on ’t, sir.

Second Lord If you had sent but two hours before  —

Timon Let it not cumber your better remembrance.

The banquet brought in

Come, bring in all together.

Second Lord All covered dishes!

First Lord Royal cheer, I warrant you.

Third Lord Doubt not that, if money and the season can yield it.

First Lord How do you? What’s the news?

Third Lord Alcibiades is banished: hear you of it?

First Lord, Second Lord Alcibiades banished!

Third Lord ’Tis so, be sure of it.

First Lord How! how!

Second Lord I pray you, upon what?

Timon My worthy friends, will you draw near?

Third Lord I’ll tell you more anon. Here’s a noble feast toward.

Second Lord This is the old man still.

Third Lord Will ’t hold? will ’t hold?

Second Lord It does: but time will — and so —

Third Lord I do conceive.

Timon Each man to his stool, with that spur as he would to the lip of his mistress: your diet shall be in all places alike. Make not a city feast of it, to let the meat cool ere we can agree upon the first place: sit, sit. The gods require our thanks. You great benefactors, sprinkle our society with thankfulness. For your own gifts, make yourselves praised: but reserve still to give, lest your deities be despised. Lend to each man enough, that one need not lend to another; for, were your godheads to borrow of men, men would forsake the gods. Make the meat be beloved more than the man that gives it. Let no assembly of twenty be without a score of villains: if there sit twelve women at the table, let a dozen of them be — as they are. The rest of your fees, O gods — the senators of Athens, together with the common lag of people — what is amiss in them, you gods, make suitable for destruction. For these my present friends, as they are to me nothing, so in nothing bless them, and to nothing are they welcome. Uncover, dogs, and lap.

The dishes are uncovered and seen to be full of warm water

Some Speak What does his lordship mean?

Some Others I know not.

Timon May you a better feast never behold,
You knot of mouth-friends I smoke and lukewarm water
Is your perfection. This is Timon’s last;
Who, stuck and spangled with your flatteries,
Washes it off, and sprinkles in your faces
Your reeking villany.

Throwing the water in their faces

Live loathed and long,
Most smiling, smooth, detested parasites,
Courteous destroyers, affable wolves, meek bears,
You fools of fortune, trencher-friends, time’s flies,
Cap and knee slaves, vapours, and minute-jacks!
Of man and beast the infinite malady
Crust you quite o’er! What, dost thou go?
Soft! take thy physic first — thou too — and thou; —
Stay, I will lend thee money, borrow none.

Throws the dishes at them, and drives them out

What, all in motion? Henceforth be no feast,
Whereat a villain’s not a welcome guest.
Burn, house! sink, Athens! henceforth hated be
Of Timon man and all humanity!

Exit

Re-enter the Lords, Senators, & c

First Lord How now, my lords!

Second Lord Know you the quality of Lord Timon’s fury?

Third Lord Push! did you see my cap?

Fourth Lord I have lost my gown.

First Lord He’s but a mad lord, and nought but humour sways him. He gave me a jewel th’ other day, and now he has beat it out of my hat: did you see my jewel?

Third Lord Did you see my cap?

Second Lord Here ’tis.

Fourth Lord Here lies my gown.

First Lord Let’s make no stay.

Second Lord Lord Timon’s mad.

Third Lord I feel ’t upon my bones.

Fourth Lord One day he gives us diamonds, next day stones.

Exeunt

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Last updated Saturday, April 26, 2014 at 23:01