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The Tragedy of Timon of Athens

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Act IV, Scene 2

Athens. A room in Timon’s house.


[Enter FLAVIUS, with two or three Servants]

  • First Servant. Hear you, master steward, where's our master?
    Are we undone? cast off? nothing remaining?
  • Flavius. Alack, my fellows, what should I say to you?
    Let me be recorded by the righteous gods, 1610
    I am as poor as you.
  • First Servant. Such a house broke!
    So noble a master fall'n! All gone! and not
    One friend to take his fortune by the arm,
    And go along with him! 1615
  • Second Servant. As we do turn our backs
    From our companion thrown into his grave,
    So his familiars to his buried fortunes
    Slink all away, leave their false vows with him,
    Like empty purses pick'd; and his poor self, 1620
    A dedicated beggar to the air,
    With his disease of all-shunn'd poverty,
    Walks, like contempt, alone. More of our fellows.

[Enter other Servants]

  • Flavius. All broken implements of a ruin'd house. 1625
  • Third Servant. Yet do our hearts wear Timon's livery;
    That see I by our faces; we are fellows still,
    Serving alike in sorrow: leak'd is our bark,
    And we, poor mates, stand on the dying deck,
    Hearing the surges threat: we must all part 1630
    Into this sea of air.
  • Flavius. Good fellows all,
    The latest of my wealth I'll share amongst you.
    Wherever we shall meet, for Timon's sake,
    Let's yet be fellows; let's shake our heads, and say, 1635
    As 'twere a knell unto our master's fortunes,
    'We have seen better days.' Let each take some;
    Nay, put out all your hands. Not one word more:
    Thus part we rich in sorrow, parting poor.
    [Servants embrace, and part several ways] 1640
    O, the fierce wretchedness that glory brings us!
    Who would not wish to be from wealth exempt,
    Since riches point to misery and contempt?
    Who would be so mock'd with glory? or to live
    But in a dream of friendship? 1645
    To have his pomp and all what state compounds
    But only painted, like his varnish'd friends?
    Poor honest lord, brought low by his own heart,
    Undone by goodness! Strange, unusual blood,
    When man's worst sin is, he does too much good! 1650
    Who, then, dares to be half so kind again?
    For bounty, that makes gods, does still mar men.
    My dearest lord, bless'd, to be most accursed,
    Rich, only to be wretched, thy great fortunes
    Are made thy chief afflictions. Alas, kind lord! 1655
    He's flung in rage from this ingrateful seat
    Of monstrous friends, nor has he with him to
    Supply his life, or that which can command it.
    I'll follow and inquire him out:
    I'll ever serve his mind with my best will; 1660
    Whilst I have gold, I'll be his steward still.