Part 1 out of 3
THE LIFE OF TIMON OF ATHENS
by William Shakespeare
TIMON, a noble Athenian
LUCULLUS flattering Lords.
VENTIDIUS, one of Timon's false Friends.
APEMANTUS, a churlish Philosopher.
ALCIBIADES, an Athenian Captain.
FLAVIUS, Steward to Timon.
LUCILIUS Servants to Timon.
PHILOTUS Servants to Timon's Creditors.
Servants of Ventidius, and of Varro and Isidore (two
of Timon's Creditor's).
AN OLD ATHENIAN.
Poet, Painter, Jeweller, and Merchant.
PHRYNIA Mistresses to Alcibiades.
Lords, Senators, Officers, Soldiers, Servants, Thieves, and
CUPID and Amazons in the Masque.
Scene.--Athens, and the neighbouring Woods.
Scene I.--Athens. A Hall in TIMON'S House
[Enter Poet, Painter, Jeweller, Merchant, and Others, at several
Good day, sir.
I am glad you're well.
I have not seen you long. How goes the world?
It wears, sir, as it grows.
Ay, that's well known;
But what particular rarity? what strange,
Which manifold record not matches? See,
Magic of bounty! all these spirits thy power
Hath conjur'd to attend! I know the merchant.
I know them both; th' other's a jeweller.
O, 'tis a worthy lord!
Nay, that's most fix'd.
A most incomparable man; breath'd, as it were,
To an untirable and continuate goodness.
I have a jewel here--
O, pray let's see't: for the Lord Timon, sir?
If he will touch the estimate: but for that--
When we for recompense have prais'd the vile,
It stains the glory in that happy verse
Which aptly sings the good.
[Looking at the jewel.]
'Tis a good form.
And rich: here is a water, look ye.
You are rapt, sir, in some work, some dedication
To the great lord.
A thing slipp'd idly from me.
Our poesy is as a gum, which oozes
From whence 'tis nourish'd: the fire i' the flint
Shows not till it be struck; our gentle flame
Provokes itself, and like the current flies
Each bound it chafes. What have you there?
A picture, sir. When comes your book forth?
Upon the heels of my presentment, sir.
Let's see your piece.
'Tis a good piece.
So 'tis: this comes off well and excellent.
Admirable! How this grace
Speaks his own standing! what a mental power
This eye shoots forth! how big imagination
Moves in this lip! to the dumbness of the gesture
One might interpret.
It is a pretty mocking of the life.
Here is a touch; is't good?
I'll say of it,
It tutors nature: artificial strife
Lives in these touches, livelier than life.
[Enter certain SENATORS, who pass over the stage.]
How this lord is followed!
The senators of Athens: happy man!
You see this confluence, this great flood of visitors.
I have, in this rough work, shap'd out a man
Whom this beneath world doth embrace and hug
With amplest entertainment: my free drift
Halts not particularly, but moves itself
In a wide sea of wax: no levell'd malice
Infects one comma in the course I hold:
But flies an eagle flight, bold and forth on,
Leaving no tract behind.
How shall I understand you?
I will unbolt to you.
You see how all conditions, how all minds--
As well of glib and slipp'ry creatures as
Of grave and austere quality--tender down
Their services to Lord Timon: his large fortune,
Upon his good and gracious nature hanging,
Subdues and properties to his love and tendance
All sorts of hearts; yea, from the glass-fac'd flatterer
To Apemantus, that few things loves better
Than to abhor himself: even he drops down
The knee before him, and returns in peace
Most rich in Timon's nod.
I saw them speak together.
Sir, I have upon a high and pleasant hill
Feign'd Fortune to be thron'd: the base o' the mount
Is rank'd with all deserts, all kind of natures
That labour on the bosom of this sphere
To propagate their states: amongst them all,
Whose eyes are on this sovereign lady fix'd
One do I personate of Lord Timon's frame,
Whom Fortune with her ivory hand wafts to her;
Whose present grace to present slaves and servants
Translates his rivals.
'Tis conceiv'd to scope.
This throne, this Fortune, and this hill, methinks,
With one man beckon'd from the rest below,
Bowing his head against the steepy mount
To climb his happiness, would be well express'd
In our condition.
Nay, sir, but hear me on.
All those which were his fellows but of late,
Some better than his value, on the moment
Follow his strides, his lobbies fill with tendance,
Rain sacrificial whisperings in his ear,
Make sacred even his stirrup, and through him
Drink the free air.
Ay, marry, what of these?
When Fortune in her shift and change of mood
Spurns down her late beloved, all his dependants,
Which labour'd after him to the mountain's top
Even on their knees and hands, let him slip down,
Not one accompanying his declining foot.
A thousand moral paintings I can show
That shall demonstrate these quick blows of Fortune's
More pregnantly than words. Yet you do well
To show Lord Timon that mean eyes have seen
The foot above the head.
[Trumpets sound. Enter LORD TIMON, addressing himself
courteously to every suitor: a MESSENGER from
VENTIDIUS talking with him; LUCILIUS and other
Imprison'd is he, say you?
Ay, my good lord. Five talents is his debt,
His means most short, his creditors most strait:
Your honourable letter he desires
To those have shut him up; which, failing,
Periods his comfort.
Noble Ventidius! Well:
I am not of that feather to shake off
My friend when he must need me. I do know him
A gentleman that well deserves a help,
Which he shall have: I'll pay the debt and free him.
Your lordship ever binds him.
Commend me to him; I will send his ransom;
And being enfranchis'd, bid him come to me.
'Tis not enough to help the feeble up,
But to support him after. Fare you well.
All happiness to your honour.
[Enter an OLD ATHENIAN.]
Lord Timon, hear me speak.
Freely, good father.
Thou hast a servant nam'd Lucilius.
I have so: what of him?
Most noble Timon, call the man before thee.
Attends he here or no? Lucilius!
Here, at your lordship's service.
This fellow here, Lord Timon, this thy creature,
By night frequents my house. I am a man
That from my first have been inclin'd to thrift,
And my estate deserves an heir more rais'd
Than one which holds a trencher.
Well; what further?
One only daughter have I, no kin else,
On whom I may confer what I have got:
The maid is fair, o' the youngest for a bride,
And I have bred her at my dearest cost
In qualities of the best. This man of thine
Attempts her love: I prithee, noble lord,
Join with me to forbid him her resort;
Myself have spoke in vain.
The man is honest.
Therefore he will be, Timon:
His honesty rewards him in itself;
It must not bear my daughter.
Does she love him?
She is young and apt:
Our own precedent passions do instruct us
What levity's in youth.
TIMON. [To Lucilius.]
Love you the maid?
Ay, my good lord, and she accepts of it.
If in her marriage my consent be missing,
I call the gods to witness, I will choose
Mine heir from forth the beggars of the world,
And dispossess her all.
How shall she be endow'd,
If she be mated with an equal husband?
Three talents on the present; in future, all.
This gentleman of mine hath serv'd me long:
To build his fortune I will strain a little,
For 'tis a bond in men. Give him thy daughter:
What you bestow, in him I'll counterpoise,
And make him weigh with her.
Most noble lord,
Pawn me to this your honour, she is his.
My hand to thee; mine honour on my promise.
Humbly I thank your lordship. Never may
That state or fortune fall into my keeping
Which is not owed to you!
[Exeunt LUCILIUS and OLD ATHENIAN.]
[Presenting his poem]
Vouchsafe my labour, and long live your lordship!
I thank you; you shall hear from me anon:
Go not away. What have you there, my friend?
A piece of painting, which I do beseech
Your lordship to accept.
Painting is welcome.
The painting is almost the natural man;
For since dishonour traffics with man's nature,
He is but outside: these pencill'd figures are
Even such as they give out. I like your work;
And you shall find I like it: wait attendance
Till you hear further from me.
The gods preserve you!
Well fare you, gentleman: give me your hand;
We must needs dine together. Sir, your jewel
Hath suffered under praise.
What, my lord! dispraise?
A mere satiety of commendations;
If I should pay you for 't as 'tis extoll'd,
It would unclew me quite.
My lord, 'tis rated
As those which sell would give: but you well know,
Things of like value, differing in the owners,
Are prized by their masters. Believe't, dear lord,
You mend the jewel by the wearing it.
No, my good lord; he speaks the common tongue,
Which all men speak with him.
Look who comes here. Will you be chid?
We'll bear, with your lordship.
He'll spare none.
Good morrow to thee, gentle Apemantus!
Till I be gentle, stay thou for thy good morrow;
When thou art Timon's dog, and these knaves honest.
Why dost thou call them knaves? thou know'st them not.
Are they not Athenians?
Then I repent not.
You know me, Apemantus?
Thou know'st I do; I call'd thee by thy name.
Thou art proud, Apemantus.
Of nothing so much as that I am not like Timon.
Whither art going?
To knock out an honest Athenian's brains.
That's a deed thou'lt die for.
Right, if doing nothing be death by the law.
How likest thou this picture, Apemantus?
The best, for the innocence.
Wrought he not well that painted it?
He wrought better that made the painter; and yet he's
but a filthy piece of work.
You're a dog.
Thy mother's of my generation: what's she, if I be a dog?
Wilt dine with me, Apemantus?
No; I eat not lords.
An thou shouldst, thou'dst anger ladies.
O! they eat lords; so they come by great bellies.
That's a lascivious apprehension.
So thou apprehendest it, take it for thy labour.
How dost thou like this jewel, Apemantus?
Not so well as plain dealing, which will not cost a man
What dost thou think 'tis worth?
Not worth my thinking. How now, poet!
How now, philosopher!
Art not one?
Then I lie not.
Art not a poet?
Then thou liest: look in thy last work, where thou hast
feigned him a worthy fellow.
That's not feigned; he is so.
Yes, he is worthy of thee, and to pay thee for thy
labour: he that loves to be flattered is worthy o' the flatterer.
Heavens, that I were a lord!
What wouldst do then, Apemantus?
Even as Apemantus does now; hate a lord with my heart.
That I had no angry wit to be a lord. Art not thou a merchant?
Traffic confound thee, if the gods will not!
If traffic do it, the gods do it.
Traffic's thy god, and thy god confound thee!
[Trumpet sounds. Enter a MESSENGER.]
What trumpet's that?
'Tis Alcibiades, and some twenty horse,
All of companionship.
Pray entertain them; give them guide to us.
[Exeunt some attendants.]
You must needs dine with me. Go not you hence
Till I have thank'd you; when dinner's done,
Show me this piece. I am joyful of your sights.
[Enter ALCIBIADES, with the his Company.]
Most welcome, sir!
So, so, there!
Aches contract and starve your supple joints!
That there should be small love 'mongst these sweet knaves,
And all this courtesy! The strain of man's bred out
Into baboon and monkey.
Sir, you have sav'd my longing, and I feed
Most hungerly on your sight.
Right welcome, sir!
Ere we depart we'll share a bounteous time
In different pleasures. Pray you, let us in.
[Exeunt all but APEMANTUS.]
[Enter two LORDS.]
What time o' day is't, Apemantus?
Time to be honest.
That time serves still.
The more accursed thou that still omitt'st it.
Thou art going to Lord Timon's feast.
Ay; to see meat fill knaves and wine heat fools.
Fare thee well, fare thee well.
Thou art a fool to bid me farewell twice.
Shouldst have kept one to thyself, for I mean to give thee none.
No, I will do nothing at thy bidding: make thy requests to thy
Away, unpeaceable dog! or I'll spurn thee hence.
I will fly, like a dog, the heels of an ass.
He's opposite to humanity. Come, shall we in,
And taste Lord Timon's bounty? he outgoes
The very heart of kindness.
He pours it out; Plutus, the god of gold,
Is but his steward: no meed but he repays
Sevenfold above itself; no gift to him
But breeds the giver a return exceeding
All use of quittance.
The noblest mind he carries
That ever govern'd man.
Long may he live in fortunes! Shall we in?
I'll keep you company.
Scene II.-- The Same. A room of state in TIMON'S House.
[Hautboys playing loud music. A great banquet served in;
FLAVIUS and Others attending: then enter LORD TIMON, ALCIBIADES,
Lords, and Senators, VENTIDIUS and Attendants. Then comes,
dropping after all, APEMANTUS, discontentedly, like himself.]
Most honour'd Timon,
It hath pleas'd the gods to remember my father's age,
And call him to long peace.
He is gone happy, and has left me rich:
Then, as in grateful virtue I am bound
To your free heart, I do return those talents,
Doubled with thanks and service, from whose help
I deriv'd liberty.
O! by no means,
Honest Ventidius: you mistake my love;
I gave it freely ever; and there's none
Can truly say he gives, if he receives:
If our betters play at that game, we must not dare
To imitate them; faults that are rich are fair.
A noble spirit.
[They all stand ceremoniously looking on TIMON.]
Nay, my lords, ceremony was but devis'd at first
To set a gloss on faint deeds, hollow welcomes,
Recanting goodness, sorry ere 'tis shown;
But where there is true friendship there needs none.
Pray, sit; more welcome are ye to my fortunes
Than my fortunes to me.
My lord, we always have confess'd it.
Ho, ho! confess'd it; hang'd it, have you not?
O! Apemantus, you are welcome.
You shall not make me welcome:
I come to have thee thrust me out of doors.
Fie! thou'rt a churl; ye've got a humour there
Does not become a man; 'tis much to blame.
They say, my lords, Ira furor brevis est;
But yond man is ever angry.
Go, let him have a table by himself;
For he does neither affect company,
Nor is he fit for it, indeed.
Let me stay at thine apperil, Timon:
I come to observe; I give thee warning on't.
I take no heed of thee; thou'rt an Athenian, therefore, welcome.
I myself would have no power; prithee; let my meat make thee
I scorn thy meat; 't'would choke me, for I should
Ne'er flatter thee. O you gods! what a number
Of men eats Timon, and he sees 'em not!
It grieves me to see so many dip their meat
In one man's blood; and all the madness is,
He cheers them up too.
I wonder men dare trust themselves with men:
Methinks they should invite them without knives;
Good for their meat, and safer for their lives.
There's much example for 't; the fellow that
Sits next him now, parts bread with him, pledges
The breath of him in a divided draught,
Is the readiest man to kill him: 't has been prov'd.
If I were a huge man, I should fear to drink at meals;
Lest they should spy my wind-pipe's dangerous notes:
Great men should drink with harness on their throats.
My lord, in heart; and let the health go round.
Let it flow this way, my good lord.
Flow this way! A brave fellow! he keeps his tides well. Those
healths will make thee and thy state look ill, Timon.
Here's that which is too weak to be a sinner,
Honest water, which ne'er left man i' the mire:
This and my food are equals; there's no odds:
Feasts are too proud to give thanks to the gods.
Immortal gods, I crave no pelf;
I pray for no man but myself.
Grant I may never prove so fond
To trust man on his oath or bond;
Or a harlot for her weeping;
Or a dog that seems a-sleeping;
Or a keeper with my freedom;
Or my friends, if I should need 'em.
Amen. So fall to't.
Rich men sin, and I eat root.
[Eats and drinks.]
Much good dich thy good heart, Apemantus!
Captain Alcibiades, your heart's in the field now.
My heart is ever at your service, my lord.
You had rather be at a breakfast of enemies than a dinner of
So they were bleeding--new, my lord, there's no meat
like 'em: I could wish my best friend at such a feast.
'Would all those flatterers were thine enemies then, that
then thou mightst kill 'em, and bid me to 'em.
Might we but have that happiness, my lord, that you
would once use our hearts, whereby we might express some part of
our zeals, we should think ourselves for ever perfect.
O, no doubt, my good friends, but the gods themselves have
provided that I shall have much help from you: how had you been
my friends else? why have you that charitable title from
thousands, did not you chiefly belong to my heart? I have told
more of you to myself than you can with modesty speak in your own
behalf; and thus far I confirm you. O you gods! think I, what
need we have any friends if we should ne'er have need of 'em?
they were the most needless creatures living, should we ne'er
have use for 'em; and would most resemble sweet instruments hung
up in cases, that keep their sounds to themselves. Why, I have
often wished myself poorer that I might come nearer to you. We
are born to do benefits; and what better or properer can we call
our own than the riches of our friends? O! what a precious
comfort 'tis to have so many, like brothers, commanding one
another's fortunes! O joy! e'en made away ere it can be born.
Mine eyes cannot hold out water, methinks: to forget their
faults, I drink to you.
Thou weepest to make them drink, Timon.
Joy had the like conception in our eyes,
And, at that instant like a babe, sprung up.
Ho, ho! I laugh to think that babe a bastard.
I promise you, my lord, you mov'd me much.
What means that trump?
[Enter a SERVANT.]
Please you, my lord, there are certain ladies most desirous of
Ladies? What are their wills?
There comes with them a forerunner, my lord, which bears
that office, to signify their pleasures.
I pray, let them be admitted.
Hail to thee, worthy Timon; and to all
That of his bounties taste! The five best Senses
Acknowledge thee their patron; and come freely
To gratulate thy plenteous bosom. Th' Ear,
Taste, Touch, Smell, pleas'd from thy table rise;
They only now come but to feast thine eyes.
They are welcome all; let 'em have kind admittance:
Music, make their welcome!
You see, my lord, how ample you're belov'd.
[Music. Re-enter CUPID, with a masque of LADIES as Amazons,
with lutes in their hands, dancing and playing.]
Hoy-day! what a sweep of vanity comes this way:
They dance! they are mad women.
Like madness is the glory of this life,
As this pomp shows to a little oil and root.
We make ourselves fools to disport ourselves;
And spend our flatteries to drink those men
Upon whose age we void it up again,
With poisonous spite and envy.
Who lives that's not depraved or depraves?
Who dies that bears not one spurn to their graves
Of their friend's gift?
I should fear those that dance before me now
Would one day stamp upon me: it has been done:
Men shut their doors against a setting sun.
[The LORDS rise from table, with much adoring of TIMON; and to
show their loves, each singles out an Amazon, and all dance, men
with women, a lofty strain or two to the hautboys, and cease.]
You have done our pleasures much grace, fair ladies,
Set a fair fashion on our entertainment,
Which was not half so beautiful and kind;
You have added worth unto 't and lustre,
And entertain'd me with mine own device;
I am to thank you for 't.
My lord, you take us even at the best.
Faith, for the worst is filthy; and would not hold taking, I
Ladies, there is an idle banquet
Attends you; please you to dispose yourselves.
Most thankfully, my lord.
[Exeunt CUPID and LADIES.]
The little casket bring me hither.
Yes, my lord. [Aside.] More jewels yet!
There is no crossing him in 's humour;
Else I should tell him well, i' faith, I should,
When all's spent, he'd be cross'd then, an he could.
'Tis pity bounty had not eyes behind,
That man might ne'er be wretched for his mind.
Where be our men?
Here, my lord, in readiness.
[Re-enter FLAVIUS, with the casket.]
O, my friends! I have one word to say to you;
Look you, my good lord,
I must entreat you, honour me so much
As to advance this jewel; accept it and wear it,
Kind my lord.
I am so far already in your gifts--
So are we all.
[Enter a SERVANT.]
My lord, there are certain nobles of the Senate
Newly alighted and come to visit you.
They are fairly welcome.
I beseech your honour,
Vouchsafe me a word; it does concern you near.
Near! why then, another time I'll hear thee.
I prithee let's be provided to show them entertainment.
I scarce know how.
[Enter another SERVANT.]
May it please vour honour, Lord Lucius,
Out of his free love, hath presented to you
Four milk-white horses, trapp'd in silver.
I shall accept them fairly; let the presents
Be worthily entertain'd.
[Enter a third SERVANT.]
How now! What news?
Please you, my lord, that honourable gentleman, Lord Lucullus,
entreats your company to-morrow to hunt with him, and has sent
your honour two brace of greyhounds.
I'll hunt with him; and let them be receiv'd,
Not without fair reward.
[Aside.] What will this come to?
He commands us to provide, and give great gifts,
And all out of an empty coffer;
Nor will he know his purse, or yield me this,
To show him what a beggar his heart is,
Being of no power to make his wishes good.
His promises fly so beyond his state
That what he speaks is all in debt; he owes
For every word: he is so kind that he now
Pays interest for 't; his land's put to their books.
Well, would I were gently put out of office
Before I were forc'd out!
Happier he that has no friend to feed
Than such that do e'en enemies exceed.
I bleed inwardly for my lord.
You do yourselves much wrong;
You bate too much of your own merits;
Here, my lord, a trifle of our love.
With more than common thanks I will receive it.
O! he's the very soul of bounty!
And now I remember, my lord, you gave
Good words the other day of a bay courser
I rode on: it is yours because you lik'd it.
O! I beseech you, pardon me, my lord, in that.
You may take my word, my lord: I know no man
Can justly praise but what he does affect:
I weigh my friend's affection with mine own.
I'll tell you true; I'll call to you.
O! none so welcome!
I take all and your several visitations
So kind to heart, 'tis not enough to give;
Methinks, I could deal kingdoms to my friends,
And ne'er be weary. Alcibiades,
Thou art a soldier, therefore seldom rich;
It comes in charity to thee; for all thy living
Is 'mongst the dead, and all the lands thou hast
Lie in a pitch'd field.
Ay, defil'd land, my lord.
We are so virtuously bound,--
And so am I to you.
So infinitely endear'd,--
All to you. Lights, more lights!
The best of happiness,
Honour, and fortunes, keep with you, Lord Timon!
Ready for his friends.
[Exeunt ALCIBIADES, Lords, and etc.].]
What a coil's here!
Serving of becks and jutting out of bums!
I doubt whether their legs be worth the sums
That are given for 'em. Friendship's full of dregs:
Methinks, false hearts should never have sound legs.
Thus honest fools lay out their wealth on curtsies.
Now, Apemantus, if thou wert not sullen,
I would be good to thee.
No, I'll nothing; for if I should be bribed too, there
would be none left to rail upon thee, and then thou wouldst sin
the faster. Thou givest so long, Timon, I fear me thou wilt give
away thyself in paper shortly: What needs these feasts, pomps,
Nay, an you begin to rail on society once, I am sworn not to
give regard to you. Farewell; and come with better music.
So: Thou wilt not hear me now; thou shalt not then;
I'll lock thy heaven from thee.
O! that men's ears should be
To counsel deaf, but not to flattery!
Scene I. Athens. A Room in a SENATOR'S House.
[Enter A SENATOR, with papers in his hand.]
And late, five thousand: to Varro and to Isidore
He owes nine thousand; besides my former sum,
Which makes it five-and-twenty. Still in motion
Of raging waste! It cannot hold; it will not.
If I want gold, steal but a beggar's dog
And give it Timon, why, the dog coins gold;
If I would sell my horse, and buy twenty more
Better than he, why, give my horse to Timon,
Ask nothing, give it him, it foals me straight,
And able horses. No porter at his gate,
But rather one that smiles and still invites
All that pass by. It cannot hold; no reason
Can found his state in safety. Caphis, ho!
Caphis, I say!
Here, sir; what is your pleasure?
Get on your cloak, and haste you to Lord Timon;
Importune him for my moneys; be not ceas'd
With slight denial, nor then silenc'd when--
'Commend me to your master'--and the cap
Plays in the right hand, thus;--but tell him,
My uses cry to me; I must serve my turn
Out of mine own; his days and times are past,
And my reliances on his fracted dates
Have smit my credit: I love and honour him,
But must not break my back to heal his finger;
Immediate are my needs, and my relief
Must not be toss'd and turn'd to me in words,
But find supply immediate. Get you gone:
Put on a most importunate aspect,
A visage of demand; for I do fear,
When every feather sticks in his own wing,
Lord Timon will be left a naked gull,
Which flashes now a phoenix. Get you gone.
I go, sir.
Take the bonds along with you,
And have the dates in compt.
I will, sir.
Scene II. The same. A Hall in TIMON'S House.
[Enter FLAVIUS, with many bills in his hand.]
No care, no stop! So senseless of expense,
That he will neither know how to maintain it,
Nor cease his flow of riot: takes no account
How things go from him, nor resumes no care
Of what is to continue: never mind
Was to be so unwise, to be so kind.
What shall be done? He will not hear, till feel:
I must be round with him. Now he comes from hunting.
Fie, fie, fie, fie!
[Enter CAPHIS, and the SERVANTS Of ISIDORE and VARRO.]
Good even, Varro. What! You come for money?
Is't not your business too?
It is: and yours too, Isidore?
It is so.
Would we were all discharg'd!
I fear it.
Here comes the lord!
[Enter TIMON, ALCIBIADES, and Lords, etc.]
So soon as dinner's done, we'll forth again.
My Alcibiades. With me? what is your will?
My lord, here is a note of certain dues.
Dues! Whence are you?
Of Athens here, my lord.
Go to my steward.
Please it your lordship, he hath put me off
To the succession of new days this month:
My master is awak'd by great occasion
To call upon his own; and humbly prays you
That with your other noble parts you'll suit
In giving him his right.
Mine honest friend,
I prithee, but repair to me next morning.
Nay, good my lord,--
Contain thyself, good friend.
One Varro's servant, my good lord,--
From Isidore; he humbly prays your speedy payment.
If you did know, my lord, my master's wants,--
'Twas due on forfeiture, my lord, six weeks and past.
Your steward puts me off, my lord; and
I am sent expressly to your lordship.
Give me breath.
I do beseech you, good my lords, keep on;
I'll wait upon you instantly.
[Exeunt ALCIBIADES and LORDS.]
Come hither: pray you,
How goes the world, that I am thus encounter'd
With clamorous demands of date-broke bonds,
And the detention of long-since-due debts,
Against my honour?
Please you, gentlemen,
The time is unagreeable to this business:
Your importunacy cease till after dinner,
That I may make his lordship understand
Wherefore you are not paid.
Do so, my friends.
See them well entertain'd.
Pray, draw near.
[Enter APEMANTUS and FOOL.]
Stay, stay; here comes the fool with Apemantus:
Let's ha' some sport with 'em.
Hang him, he'll abuse us!
A plague upon him, dog!
How dost, fool?
Dost dialogue with thy shadow?
I speak not to thee.
No; 'tis to thyself. [To the FOOL.]
ISIDORE'S SERVANT. [To VARRO'S SERVANT.]
There's the fool hangs on your back already.
No, thou stand'st single; thou'rt not on him yet.
Where's the fool now?
He last asked the question. Poor rogues and usurers'
men! bawds between gold and want!
What are we, Apemantus?
That you ask me what you are, and do not know yourselves. Speak
to 'em, fool.
How do you, gentlemen?
Gramercies, good fool. How does your mistress?
She's e'en setting on water to scald such chickens as you
are. Would we could see you at Corinth!
Look you, here comes my mistress' page.
PAGE. [To the FOOL.]
Why, how now, Captain! what do you in this wise company? How dost
Would I had a rod in my mouth, that I might answer thee
Prithee, Apemantus, read me the superscription of these
letters: I know not which is which.
Canst not read?
There will little learning die, then, that day thou art
hanged. This is to Lord Timon; this to Alcibiades. Go; thou wast
born a bastard, and thou'lt die a bawd.
Thou wast whelped a dog, and thou shalt famish a dog's death.
Answer not; I am gone.
E'en so thou outrunn'st grace.--
Fool, I will go with you to Lord Timon's.
Will you leave me there?
If Timon stay at home. You three serve three usurers?
Ay; would they served us!
So would I, as good a trick as ever hangman served thief.
Are you three usurers' men?
I think no usurer but has a fool to his servant: my mistress
is one, and I am her fool. When men come to borrow of your
masters, they approach sadly, and go away merry; but they enter
my mistress' house merrily, and go away sadly: the reason of
I could render one.
Do it, then, that we may account thee a whoremaster and a
knave; which notwithstanding, thou shalt be no less esteemed.
What is a whoremaster, fool?
A fool in good clothes, and something like thee. 'Tis a
spirit: sometime 't appears like a lord; sometime like a lawyer;
sometime like a philosopher, with two stones more than's
artificial one. He is very often like a knight; and generally,
in all shapes that man goes up and down in from fourscore to
thirteen, this spirit walks in.
Thou art not altogether a fool.
Nor thou altogether a wise man:
as much foolery as I have, so much wit thou lackest.
That answer might have become Apemantus.
Aside, aside; here comes Lord Timon.
[Re-enter TIMON and FLAVIUS.]
Come with me, fool, come.
I do not always follow lover, elder brother, and woman;
sometime the philosopher.
[Exeunt APEMANTUS and FOOL.]
Pray you walk near: I'll speak with you anon.
You make me marvel: wherefore, ere this time,
Had you not fully laid my state before me,
That I might so have rated my expense
As I had leave of means?
You would not hear me,
At many leisures I propos'd.
Perchance some single vantages you took,
When my indisposition put you back;
And that unaptness made your minister
Thus to excuse yourself.
O my good lord!
At many times I brought in my accounts,
Laid them before you; you would throw them off,
And say you found them in mine honesty.
When for some trifling present you have bid me
Return so much, I have shook my head, and wept;
Yea, 'gainst the authority of manners, pray'd you
To hold your hand more close: I did endure
Not seldom, nor no slight checks, when I have
Prompted you in the ebb of your estate
And your great flow of debts. My loved lord,
Though you hear now, too late, yet now's a time,
The greatest of your having lacks a half
To pay your present debts.
Let all my land be sold.
'Tis all engag'd, some forfeited and gone;
And what remains will hardly stop the mouth
Of present dues; the future comes apace:
What shall defend the interim? and at length
How goes our reckoning?
To Lacedaemon did my land extend.
O my good lord! the world is but a word;
Were it all yours to give it in a breath,
How quickly were it gone!
You tell me true.
If you suspect my husbandry or falsehood,
Call me before the exactest auditors
And set me on the proof. So the gods bless me,
When all our offices have been oppress'd
With riotous feeders, when our vaults have wept
With drunken spilth of wine, when every room
Hath blaz'd with lights and bray'd with minstrelsy,
I have retir'd me to a wasteful cock,
And set mine eyes at flow.
Prithee, no more.
Heavens! have I said, the bounty of this lord!
How many prodigal bits have slaves and peasants
This night englutted! Who is not Timon's?
What heart, head, sword, force, means, but is Lord Timon's?
Great Timon, noble, worthy, royal Timon!'
Ah! when the means are gone that buy this praise,
The breath is gone whereof this praise is made:
Feast--won, fast--lost; one cloud of winter showers,
These flies are couch'd.
Come, sermon me no further;
No villainous bounty yet hath pass'd my heart;
Unwisely, not ignobly, have I given.
Why dost thou weep? Canst thou the conscience lack,
To think I shall lack friends? Secure thy heart;
If I would broach the vessels of my love,
And try the argument of hearts by borrowing,
Men and men's fortunes could I frankly use
As I can bid thee speak.
Assurance bless your thoughts!
And, in some sort, these wants of mine are crown'd
That I account them blessings; for by these
Shall I try friends. You shall perceive how you
Mistake my fortunes; I am wealthy in my friends.
Within there! Flaminius! Servilius!
[Enter FLAMINIUS, SERVILIUS, and other Servants.]
My lord! my lord!
I will dispatch you severally: you to Lord Lucius; to Lord
Lucullus you: I hunted with his honour to-day; you, to
Sempronius. Commend me to their loves; and I am proud, say, that
my occasions have found time to use them toward a supply of
money: let the request be fifty talents.
As you have said, my lord.
[Aside.] Lord Lucius and Lucullus? hum!
TIMON. [To another Servant.]
Go you, sir, to the senators,--
Of whom, even to the state's best health, I have
Deserv'd this hearing,--Bid 'em send o' the instant
A thousand talents to me.
I have been bold,--
For that I knew it the most general way,--
To them to use your signet and your name;
But they do shake their heads, and I am here
No richer in return.
Is't true? can't be?
They answer, in a joint and corporate voice,
That now they are at fall, want treasure, cannot
Do what they would; are sorry; you are honourable;
But yet they could have wish'd; they know not;
Something hath been amiss; a noble nature
May catch a wrench; would all were well; 'tis pity;
And so, intending other serious matters,
After distasteful looks, and these hard fractions,
With certain half-caps and cold-moving nods,
They froze me into silence.
You gods, reward them!
Prithee, man, look cheerly. These old fellows
Have their ingratitude in them hereditary;
Their blood is cak'd, 'tis cold, it seldom flows;
'Tis lack of kindly warmth they are not kind;
And nature, as it grows again toward earth,
Is fashion'd for the journey, dull and heavy.
[To a Servant.] Go to Ventidius.--[To Flavius.]
Prithee, be not sad,
Thou art true and honest; ingenuously I speak,
No blame belongs to thee.--[To Servant.] Ventidius lately
Buried his father; by whose death he's stepp'd
Into a great estate. When he was poor,
Imprison'd and in scarcity of friends,
I clear'd him with five talents; greet him from me,
Bid him suppose some good necessity
Touches his friend, which craves to be remember'd
With those five talents.
That had, give't these fellows
To whom 'tis instant due. Ne'er speak, or think
That Timon's fortunes 'mong his friends can sink.
I would I could not think it:
That thought is bounty's foe;
Being free itself, it thinks all others so.
Scene I. Athens. A Room in LUCULLUS' House.
[Enter a SERVANT to him.]
I have told my lord of you; he is coming down to you.
I thank you, sir.
Here's my lord.
[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.
And how does that honourable, complete, freehearted
gentleman of Athens, thy very bountiful good lord and master?
His health is well, sir.
I am right glad that his health is well, sir. And what
hast thou there under thy cloak, pretty 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
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 it.
[Re-enter SERVANT with wine.]
Please your lordship, here is the wine.
Flaminius, I have noted thee always wise. Here's to thee.
Your lordship speaks your pleasure.
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.--
Draw nearer, honest Flaminius.Thy lord's a bountiful gentleman;
but thou art wise, and thou know'st 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
Is't possible the world should so much differ,
And we alive that liv'd? Fly, damned baseness,
To him that worships thee.
[Throwing the money away.]
Ha! now I see thou art a fool, and fit for thy master.
May these add to the number that may scald thee!
Let molten 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 my 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.
Scene II. A Public Place.
[Enter Lucius, with three STRANGERS.]
Who, the Lord Timon? he is my very good friend, and an
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.
Fie, no, do not believe it; he cannot want for money.
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
I tell you, denied, my lord.
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.
See, by good hap, yonder's my lord; I have sweat to see
his honour. [To LUCIUS.] My honoured lord!
Servilius! you are kindly met, sir. Fare thee well: commend
me to thy honourable virtuous lord, my very exquisite friend.
May it please your honour, my lord hath sent--
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?
Has only sent his present occasion now, my lord;
requesting your lordship to supply his instant use with so many
I know his lordship is but merry with me;
He cannot want fifty-five hundred talents.
But in the mean time he wants less, my lord.
If his occasion were not virtuous,
I should not urge it half so faithfully.
Dost thou speak seriously, Servilius?
Upon my soul, 'tis true, sir.
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 honour! 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 it
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 kin: 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?
Yes, sir, I shall.
I'll look you out a good turn, Servilius.
True, as you said, Timon is shrunk indeed;
And he that's once denied will hardly speed.
Do you observe this, Hostilius?
Ay, too well.
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.
Religion groans at it.
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.
Scene III. The Same. A Room in SEMPRONIUS' House.
[Enter SEMPRONIUS and a SERVANT of TIMON'S.]
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.
They have all been touch'd and found base metal, for
They have all denied him.
How! have they denied him?
Has Ventidius and Lucullus denied him?