Open Source Shakespeare

The Tragedy of Timon of Athens

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Act III, Scene 3

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, 1110
    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. 1115
  • 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 1120
    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; 1125
    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 1130
    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; 1135
    Who bates mine honour shall not know my coin.


  • 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 1140
    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 1145
    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 1150
    Now to guard sure their master.
    And this is all a liberal course allows;
    Who cannot keep his wealth must keep his house.