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The Tragedy of Timon of Athens

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Act II, Scene 2

The same. A hall in Timon’s house.


[Enter FLAVIUS, with many bills in his hand]

  • Flavius. 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 670
    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. 675
    Fie, fie, fie, fie!

[Enter CAPHIS, and the Servants of Isidore and Varro]

  • Caphis. Good even, Varro: what,
    You come for money?
  • Caphis. It is: and yours too, Isidore?
  • Caphis. Would we were all discharged!
  • Caphis. Here comes the lord. 685

[Enter TIMON, ALCIBIADES, and Lords, &c]

  • Timon. So soon as dinner's done, we'll forth again,
    My Alcibiades. With me? what is your will?
  • Caphis. My lord, here is a note of certain dues.
  • Timon. Dues! Whence are you? 690
  • Caphis. Of Athens here, my lord.
  • Timon. Go to my steward.
  • Caphis. Please it your lordship, he hath put me off
    To the succession of new days this month:
    My master is awaked by great occasion 695
    To call upon his own, and humbly prays you
    That with your other noble parts you'll suit
    In giving him his right.
  • Timon. Mine honest friend,
    I prithee, but repair to me next morning. 700
  • Caphis. Nay, good my lord,—
  • Timon. Contain thyself, good friend.
    He humbly prays your speedy payment.
  • Caphis. If you did know, my lord, my master's wants—
    And I am sent expressly to your lordship.
  • Timon. Give me breath. 710
    I do beseech you, good my lords, keep on;
    I'll wait upon you instantly.
    [Exeunt ALCIBIADES and Lords]
    [To FLAVIUS]
    Come hither: pray you, 715
    How goes the world, that I am thus encounter'd
    With clamourous demands of date-broke bonds,
    And the detention of long-since-due debts,
    Against my honour?
  • Flavius. Please you, gentlemen, 720
    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.
  • Timon. Do so, my friends. See them well entertain'd. 725



[Enter APEMANTUS and Fool]

  • Caphis. Stay, stay, here comes the fool with Apemantus: 730
    let's ha' some sport with 'em.
  • Apemantus. Dost dialogue with thy shadow? 735
  • Apemantus. No,'tis to thyself.
    [To the Fool]
    Come away.
  • Apemantus. No, thou stand'st single, thou'rt not on him yet.
  • Caphis. Where's the fool now?
  • Apemantus. He last asked the question. Poor rogues, and
    usurers' men! bawds between gold and want!
  • Apemantus. That you ask me what you are, and do not know
    yourselves. Speak to 'em, fool.
  • Fool. How do you, gentlemen? 750
  • All Servants. Gramercies, good fool: how does your mistress?
  • Fool. She's e'en setting on water to scald such chickens
    as you are. Would we could see you at Corinth!

[Enter Page]

  • Fool. Look you, here comes my mistress' page.
  • Page. [To the Fool] Why, how now, captain! what do you
    in this wise company? How dost thou, Apemantus?
  • Apemantus. Would I had a rod in my mouth, that I might answer
    thee profitably. 760
  • Page. Prithee, Apemantus, read me the superscription of
    these letters: I know not which is which.
  • Apemantus. There will little learning die then, that day thou 765
    art hanged. This is to Lord Timon; this to
    Alcibiades. Go; thou wast born a bastard, and thou't
    die a bawd.
  • Page. Thou wast whelped a dog, and thou shalt famish a
    dog's death. Answer not; I am gone. 770


  • Apemantus. E'en so thou outrunnest grace. Fool, I will go with
    you to Lord Timon's.
  • Fool. Will you leave me there?
  • Apemantus. If Timon stay at home. You three serve three usurers? 775
  • Apemantus. So would I,—as good a trick as ever hangman served thief.
  • Fool. Are you three usurers' men?
  • Fool. I think no usurer but has a fool to his servant: my 780
    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 this?
  • Apemantus. Do it then, that we may account thee a whoremaster
    and a knave; which not-withstanding, thou shalt be
    no less esteemed.
  • Fool. A fool in good clothes, and something like thee. 790
    'Tis a spirit: sometime't appears like a lord;
    sometime like a lawyer; sometime like a philosopher,
    with two stones moe 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 795
    to thirteen, this spirit walks in.
  • Fool. Nor thou altogether a wise man: as much foolery as
    I have, so much wit thou lackest.
  • Apemantus. That answer might have become Apemantus. 800

[Re-enter TIMON and FLAVIUS]

  • Fool. I do not always follow lover, elder brother and
    woman; sometime the philosopher. 805

[Exeunt APEMANTUS and Fool]

  • Flavius. Pray you, walk near: I'll speak with you anon.

[Exeunt Servants]

  • Timon. You make me marvel: wherefore ere this time
    Had you not fully laid my state before me, 810
    That I might so have rated my expense,
    As I had leave of means?
  • Flavius. You would not hear me,
    At many leisures I proposed.
  • Timon. Go to: 815
    Perchance some single vantages you took.
    When my indisposition put you back:
    And that unaptness made your minister,
    Thus to excuse yourself.
  • Flavius. O my good lord, 820
    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; 825
    Yea, 'gainst the authority of manners, pray'd you
    To hold your hand more close: I did endure
    Not seldom, nor no slight cheques, when I have
    Prompted you in the ebb of your estate
    And your great flow of debts. My loved lord, 830
    Though you hear now, too late—yet now's a time—
    The greatest of your having lacks a half
    To pay your present debts.
  • Timon. Let all my land be sold.
  • Flavius. 'Tis all engaged, some forfeited and gone; 835
    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?
  • Timon. To Lacedaemon did my land extend. 840
  • Flavius. 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!
  • Timon. You tell me true.
  • Flavius. If you suspect my husbandry or falsehood, 845
    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 850
    Hath blazed with lights and bray'd with minstrelsy,
    I have retired me to a wasteful cock,
    And set mine eyes at flow.
  • Timon. Prithee, no more.
  • Flavius. Heavens, have I said, the bounty of this lord! 855
    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! 860
    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.
  • Timon. Come, sermon me no further: 865
    No villanous 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, 870
    And try the argument of hearts by borrowing,
    Men and men's fortunes could I frankly use
    As I can bid thee speak.
  • Flavius. Assurance bless your thoughts!
  • Timon. And, in some sort, these wants of mine are crown'd, 875
    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]

  • Timon. 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 885
    found time to use 'em toward a supply of money: let
    the request be fifty talents.
  • Flavius. [Aside] Lord Lucius and Lucullus? hum!
  • Timon. Go you, sir, to the senators— 890
    Of whom, even to the state's best health, I have
    Deserved this hearing—bid 'em send o' the instant
    A thousand talents to me.
  • Flavius. I have been bold—
    For that I knew it the most general way— 895
    To them to use your signet and your name;
    But they do shake their heads, and I am here
    No richer in return.
  • Timon. Is't true? can't be?
  • Flavius. They answer, in a joint and corporate voice, 900
    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;— 905
    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.
  • Timon. You gods, reward them! 910
    Prithee, man, look cheerly. These old fellows
    Have their ingratitude in them hereditary:
    Their blood is caked, 'tis cold, it seldom flows;
    'Tis lack of kindly warmth they are not kind;
    And nature, as it grows again toward earth, 915
    Is fashion'd for the journey, dull and heavy.
    [To a Servant]
    Go to Ventidius.
    [To FLAVIUS]
    Prithee, be not sad, 920
    Thou art true and honest; ingeniously I speak.
    No blame belongs to thee.
    [To Servant]
    Ventidius lately
    Buried his father; by whose death he's stepp'd 925
    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 930
    With those five talents.
    [Exit Servant]
    [To FLAVIUS]
    That had, give't these fellows
    To whom 'tis instant due. Ne'er speak, or think, 935
    That Timon's fortunes 'mong his friends can sink.
  • Flavius. I would I could not think it: that thought is
    bounty's foe;
    Being free itself, it thinks all others so.