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O, hell! to choose love by another's eyes.

      — A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act I Scene 1


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The Tragedy of Timon of Athens


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Scene 1. A room in Lucullus’ house.

Scene 2. A public place.

Scene 3. A room in Sempronius’ house.

Scene 4. The same. A hall in Timon’s house.

Scene 5. The same. The senate-house. The Senate sitting.

Scene 6. The same. A banqueting-room in Timon’s house.


Act III, Scene 1

A room in Lucullus’ house.

      next scene .

[FLAMINIUS waiting. Enter a Servant to him]

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


  • 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. 950
    [Exit Servants]
    And how does that honourable, complete, free-hearted
    gentleman of Athens, thy very bountiful good lord
    and master?
  • 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 960
    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 965
    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 970
    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. 975
  • 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. 980
    [To Servant]
    Get you gone, sirrah.
    [Exit Servant]
    Draw nearer, honest Flaminius. Thy lord's a
    bountiful gentleman: but thou art wise; and thou 985
    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. 990
  • 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. 995


  • 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, 1000
    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? 1005
    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!


. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 2

A public place.

      next scene .

[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.


. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 3

A room in Sempronius’ house.

      next scene .

[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.


. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 4

The same. A hall in Timon’s house.

      next scene .

[Enter two Servants of Varro, and the Servant of] [p]LUCIUS, meeting TITUS, HORTENSIUS, and other [p]Servants of TIMON's creditors, waiting his coming out]

  • Titus. The like to you kind Varro. 1160
  • Hortensius. Lucius!
    What, do we meet together?
    One business does command us all; for mine Is money.
  • Titus. So is theirs and ours. 1165


  • Philotus. Good day at once.
    What do you think the hour?
  • Philotus. I wonder on't; he was wont to shine at seven. 1175
    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. 1180
  • Titus. I'll show you how to observe a strange event.
    Your lord sends now for money.
  • Titus. And he wears jewels now of Timon's gift,
    For which I wait for money.
  • Hortensius. It is against my heart.
    Timon in this should pay more than he owes:
    And e'en as if your lord should wear rich jewels, 1190
    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. 1195
  • First Servant. 'Tis much deep: and it should seem by the sun, 1200
    Your master's confidence was above mine;
    Else, surely, his had equall'd.
    Enter Flaminius.
  • Titus. One of Lord Timon's men.
    come forth? 1205
  • Titus. We attend his lordship; pray, signify so much.
  • Flaminius. I need not tell him that; he knows you are too diligent.


[Enter FLAVIUS in a cloak, muffled] [p]He goes away in a cloud: call him, call him.

  • Titus. Do you hear, 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, 1220
    '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 1225
    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. 1230
  • Flavius. If 'twill not serve,'tis not so base as you;
    For you serve knaves.


  • 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 1240
    great buildings.


  • 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, 1245
    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.
    And, if it be so far beyond his health,
    Methinks he should the sooner pay his debts, 1250
    And make a clear way to the gods.
  • Titus. We cannot take this for answer, sir.
  • Flaminius. [Within] Servilius, help! My lord! my lord! 1255

[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, 1260
    Like all mankind, show me an iron heart?
  • Titus. My lord, here is my bill.
  • Timon. Knock me down with 'em: cleave me to the girdle.
  • Timon. Cut my heart in sums.
  • Titus. Mine, fifty talents.
  • Timon. Tell out my blood.
  • Timon. Five thousand drops pays that. 1275
    What yours?—and yours?
  • Timon. Tear me, take me, and the gods fall upon you!


  • 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. 1285


[Re-enter TIMON and FLAVIUS]

  • Timon. They have e'en put my breath from me, the slaves.
    Creditors? devils!
  • Timon. What if it should be so?
  • Timon. I'll have it so. My steward!
  • Timon. So fitly? Go, bid all my friends again, 1295
    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; 1300
    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. 1305


. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 5

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

      next scene .
  • 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.

[Enter ALCIBIADES, with Attendants]

  • Alcibiades. Honour, health, and compassion to the senate!
  • Alcibiades. I am an humble suitor to your virtues;
    For pity is the virtue of the law, 1315
    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. 1320
    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, 1325
    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. 1330
  • 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 1335
    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, 1340
    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! 1345
  • 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. 1350
    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 1355
    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, 1360
    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; 1365
    But who is man that is not angry?
    Weigh but the crime with this.
  • Alcibiades. In vain! his service done
    At Lacedaemon and Byzantium 1370
    Were a sufficient briber for his life.
  • 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 1375
    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 1380
    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.
  • 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: 1390
    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 1395
    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, 1400
    I do beseech you, know me.
  • Alcibiades. I cannot think but your age has forgot me; 1405
    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; 1410
    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, 1415
    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 1420
    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? 1425
    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 1430
    My discontented troops, and lay for hearts.
    'Tis honour with most lands to be at odds;
    Soldiers should brook as little wrongs as gods.


. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 6

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


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

  • Second Lord. I also wish it to you. I think this honourable lord
    did but try us this other day. 1440
  • 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 1445
    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 1450
    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 1455

[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. 1465
  • 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. 1470
  • 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.
  • Timon. Ah, my good friend, what cheer? 1475
  • 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,— 1480
  • Timon. Let it not cumber your better remembrance.
    [The banquet brought in]
    Come, bring in all together.
  • Third Lord. Doubt not that, if money and the season can yield
  • Third Lord. Alcibiades is banished: hear you of it?
  • First Lord. [with Second Lord] Alcibiades banished! 1490
  • Timon. My worthy friends, will you draw near?
  • Third Lord. I'll tell you more anon. Here's a noble feast toward. 1495
  • Timon. Each man to his stool, with that spur as he would to 1500
    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 1505
    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 1510
    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, 1515
    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. 1520
    Uncover, dogs, and lap.
    [The dishes are uncovered and seen to be full of]
    warm water]
  • 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 1530
    Your reeking villany.
    [Throwing the water in their faces]
    Live loathed and long,
    Most smiling, smooth, detested parasites,
    Courteous destroyers, affable wolves, meek bears, 1535
    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;— 1540
    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 1545
    Of Timon man and all humanity!


[Re-enter the Lords, Senators, &c]

  • Second Lord. Know you the quality of Lord Timon's fury? 1550
  • 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? 1555
  • Fourth Lord. One day he gives us diamonds, next day stones.