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The Tragedy of Timon of Athens

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Act III, Scene 2

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 1015
    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, 1020
    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. 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 1030
    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.


  • Servilius. See, by good hap, yonder's my lord; 1035
    I have sweat to see his honour. My honoured lord,—


  • Lucilius. Servilius! you are kindly met, sir. Fare thee well:
    commend me to thy honourable virtuous lord, my very
    exquisite friend. 1040
  • 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; 1045
    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. 1050
    If his occasion were not virtuous,
    I should not urge it half so faithfully.
  • Lucilius. Dost thou speak seriously, Servilius?
  • Lucilius. What a wicked beast was I to disfurnish myself 1055
    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 1060
    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, 1065
    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? 1070
  • 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. 1075


  • First Stranger. Why, this is the world's soul; and just of the
    same piece 1080
    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 1085
    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, 1090
    What charitable men afford to beggars.
  • First Stranger. For mine own part,
    I never tasted Timon in my life,
    Nor came any of his bounties over me, 1095
    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, 1100
    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.