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Her beauty makes
This vault a feasting presence full of light.

      — Romeo and Juliet, Act V Scene 3


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The Tragedy of Timon of Athens

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Act I

1. Athens. A hall in Timon’s house.

2. A banqueting-room in Timon’s house.

Act II

1. A Senator’s house.

2. The same. A hall in Timon’s house.


1. A room in Lucullus’ house.

2. A public place.

3. A room in Sempronius’ house.

4. The same. A hall in Timon’s house.

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

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

Act IV

1. Without the walls of Athens.

2. Athens. A room in Timon’s house.

3. Woods and cave, near the seashore.

Act V

1. The woods. Before Timon’s cave.

2. Before the walls of Athens.

3. The woods. Timon’s cave, and a rude tomb seen.

4. Before the walls of Athens.


Act I, Scene 1

Athens. A hall in Timon’s house.

      next scene .

[Enter Poet, Painter, Jeweller, Merchant, and] [p]others, at several doors]

  • Poet. Good day, sir.
  • Poet. I have not seen you long: how goes the world? 5
  • Painter. It wears, sir, as it grows.
  • Poet. Ay, that's well known:
    But what particular rarity? what strange,
    Which manifold record not matches? See,
    Magic of bounty! all these spirits thy power 10
    Hath conjured to attend. I know the merchant.
  • Painter. I know them both; th' other's a jeweller.
  • Merchant. A most incomparable man, breathed, as it were, 15
    To an untirable and continuate goodness:
    He passes.
  • Merchant. O, pray, let's see't: for the Lord Timon, sir?
  • Poet. [Reciting to himself] 'When we for recompense have
    praised the vile,
    It stains the glory in that happy verse
    Which aptly sings the good.'

[Looking at the jewel]

  • Jeweller. And rich: here is a water, look ye.
  • Painter. You are rapt, sir, in some work, some dedication
    To the great lord.
  • Poet. A thing slipp'd idly from me. 30
    Our poesy is as a gum, which oozes
    From whence 'tis nourish'd: the fire i' the flint
    Shows not till it be struck; our gentle flame
    Provokes itself and like the current flies
    Each bound it chafes. What have you there? 35
  • Painter. A picture, sir. When comes your book forth?
  • Poet. Upon the heels of my presentment, sir.
    Let's see your piece.
  • Poet. So 'tis: this comes off well and excellent. 40
  • Poet. Admirable: how this grace
    Speaks his own standing! what a mental power
    This eye shoots forth! how big imagination
    Moves in this lip! to the dumbness of the gesture 45
    One might interpret.
  • Painter. It is a pretty mocking of the life.
    Here is a touch; is't good?
  • Poet. I will say of it,
    It tutors nature: artificial strife 50
    Lives in these touches, livelier than life.

[Enter certain Senators, and pass over]

  • Painter. How this lord is follow'd!
  • Poet. The senators of Athens: happy man!
  • Poet. You see this confluence, this great flood
    of visitors.
    I have, in this rough work, shaped out a man,
    Whom this beneath world doth embrace and hug
    With amplest entertainment: my free drift 60
    Halts not particularly, but moves itself
    In a wide sea of wax: no levell'd malice
    Infects one comma in the course I hold;
    But flies an eagle flight, bold and forth on,
    Leaving no tract behind. 65
  • Painter. How shall I understand you?
  • Poet. I will unbolt to you.
    You see how all conditions, how all minds,
    As well of glib and slippery creatures as
    Of grave and austere quality, tender down 70
    Their services to Lord Timon: his large fortune
    Upon his good and gracious nature hanging
    Subdues and properties to his love and tendance
    All sorts of hearts; yea, from the glass-faced flatterer
    To Apemantus, that few things loves better 75
    Than to abhor himself: even he drops down
    The knee before him, and returns in peace
    Most rich in Timon's nod.
  • Painter. I saw them speak together.
  • Poet. Sir, I have upon a high and pleasant hill 80
    Feign'd Fortune to be throned: the base o' the mount
    Is rank'd with all deserts, all kind of natures,
    That labour on the bosom of this sphere
    To propagate their states: amongst them all,
    Whose eyes are on this sovereign lady fix'd, 85
    One do I personate of Lord Timon's frame,
    Whom Fortune with her ivory hand wafts to her;
    Whose present grace to present slaves and servants
    Translates his rivals.
  • Painter. 'Tis conceived to scope. 90
    This throne, this Fortune, and this hill, methinks,
    With one man beckon'd from the rest below,
    Bowing his head against the sleepy mount
    To climb his happiness, would be well express'd
    In our condition. 95
  • Poet. Nay, sir, but hear me on.
    All those which were his fellows but of late,
    Some better than his value, on the moment
    Follow his strides, his lobbies fill with tendance,
    Rain sacrificial whisperings in his ear, 100
    Make sacred even his stirrup, and through him
    Drink the free air.
  • Painter. Ay, marry, what of these?
  • Poet. When Fortune in her shift and change of mood
    Spurns down her late beloved, all his dependants 105
    Which labour'd after him to the mountain's top
    Even on their knees and hands, let him slip down,
    Not one accompanying his declining foot.
  • Painter. 'Tis common:
    A thousand moral paintings I can show 110
    That shall demonstrate these quick blows of Fortune's
    More pregnantly than words. Yet you do well
    To show Lord Timon that mean eyes have seen
    The foot above the head.
    [Trumpets sound. Enter TIMON, addressing himself] 115
    courteously to every suitor; a Messenger from
    VENTIDIUS talking with him; LUCILIUS and other
    servants following]
  • Timon. Imprison'd is he, say you?
  • Messenger. Ay, my good lord: five talents is his debt, 120
    His means most short, his creditors most strait:
    Your honourable letter he desires
    To those have shut him up; which failing,
    Periods his comfort.
  • Timon. Noble Ventidius! Well; 125
    I am not of that feather to shake off
    My friend when he must need me. I do know him
    A gentleman that well deserves a help:
    Which he shall have: I'll pay the debt,
    and free him. 130
  • Timon. Commend me to him: I will send his ransom;
    And being enfranchised, bid him come to me.
    'Tis not enough to help the feeble up,
    But to support him after. Fare you well. 135


[Enter an old Athenian]

  • Timon. Freely, good father. 140
  • Timon. I have so: what of him?
  • Timon. Attends he here, or no? Lucilius!
  • Lucilius. Here, at your lordship's service. 145
  • Old Athenian. This fellow here, Lord Timon, this thy creature,
    By night frequents my house. I am a man
    That from my first have been inclined to thrift;
    And my estate deserves an heir more raised
    Than one which holds a trencher. 150
  • Timon. Well; what further?
  • Old Athenian. One only daughter have I, no kin else,
    On whom I may confer what I have got:
    The maid is fair, o' the youngest for a bride,
    And I have bred her at my dearest cost 155
    In qualities of the best. This man of thine
    Attempts her love: I prithee, noble lord,
    Join with me to forbid him her resort;
    Myself have spoke in vain.
  • Timon. The man is honest. 160
  • Old Athenian. Therefore he will be, Timon:
    His honesty rewards him in itself;
    It must not bear my daughter.
  • Timon. Does she love him?
  • Old Athenian. She is young and apt: 165
    Our own precedent passions do instruct us
    What levity's in youth.
  • Timon. [To LUCILIUS] Love you the maid?
  • Lucilius. Ay, my good lord, and she accepts of it.
  • Old Athenian. If in her marriage my consent be missing, 170
    I call the gods to witness, I will choose
    Mine heir from forth the beggars of the world,
    And dispossess her all.
  • Timon. How shall she be endow'd,
    if she be mated with an equal husband? 175
  • Old Athenian. Three talents on the present; in future, all.
  • Timon. This gentleman of mine hath served me long:
    To build his fortune I will strain a little,
    For 'tis a bond in men. Give him thy daughter:
    What you bestow, in him I'll counterpoise, 180
    And make him weigh with her.
  • Old Athenian. Most noble lord,
    Pawn me to this your honour, she is his.
  • Timon. My hand to thee; mine honour on my promise.
  • Lucilius. Humbly I thank your lordship: never may 185
    The state or fortune fall into my keeping,
    Which is not owed to you!

[Exeunt LUCILIUS and Old Athenian]

  • Poet. Vouchsafe my labour, and long live your lordship!
  • Timon. I thank you; you shall hear from me anon: 190
    Go not away. What have you there, my friend?
  • Painter. A piece of painting, which I do beseech
    Your lordship to accept.
  • Timon. Painting is welcome.
    The painting is almost the natural man; 195
    or since dishonour traffics with man's nature,
    He is but outside: these pencill'd figures are
    Even such as they give out. I like your work;
    And you shall find I like it: wait attendance
    Till you hear further from me. 200
  • Timon. Well fare you, gentleman: give me your hand;
    We must needs dine together. Sir, your jewel
    Hath suffer'd under praise.
  • Timon. A more satiety of commendations.
    If I should pay you for't as 'tis extoll'd,
    It would unclew me quite.
  • Jeweller. My lord, 'tis rated
    As those which sell would give: but you well know, 210
    Things of like value differing in the owners
    Are prized by their masters: believe't, dear lord,
    You mend the jewel by the wearing it.
  • Merchant. No, my good lord; he speaks the common tongue, 215
    Which all men speak with him.
  • Timon. Look, who comes here: will you be chid?


  • Timon. Good morrow to thee, gentle Apemantus!
  • Apemantus. Till I be gentle, stay thou for thy good morrow;
    When thou art Timon's dog, and these knaves honest.
  • Timon. Why dost thou call them knaves? thou know'st them not.
  • Apemantus. Thou know'st I do: I call'd thee by thy name.
  • Timon. Thou art proud, Apemantus. 230
  • Apemantus. Of nothing so much as that I am not like Timon.
  • Timon. Whither art going?
  • Apemantus. To knock out an honest Athenian's brains.
  • Timon. That's a deed thou'lt die for.
  • Apemantus. Right, if doing nothing be death by the law. 235
  • Timon. How likest thou this picture, Apemantus?
  • Timon. Wrought he not well that painted it?
  • Apemantus. He wrought better that made the painter; and yet
    he's but a filthy piece of work. 240
  • Apemantus. Thy mother's of my generation: what's she, if I be a dog?
  • Timon. Wilt dine with me, Apemantus?
  • Timon. An thou shouldst, thou 'ldst anger ladies. 245
  • Apemantus. O, they eat lords; so they come by great bellies.
  • Timon. That's a lascivious apprehension.
  • Apemantus. So thou apprehendest it: take it for thy labour.
  • Timon. How dost thou like this jewel, Apemantus?
  • Apemantus. Not so well as plain-dealing, which will not cost a 250
    man a doit.
  • Timon. What dost thou think 'tis worth?
  • Apemantus. Not worth my thinking. How now, poet!
  • Poet. How now, philosopher!
  • Poet. Then I lie not.
  • Apemantus. Then thou liest: look in thy last work, where thou
    hast feigned him a worthy fellow.
  • Poet. That's not feigned; he is so.
  • Apemantus. Yes, he is worthy of thee, and to pay thee for thy
    labour: he that loves to be flattered is worthy o' 265
    the flatterer. Heavens, that I were a lord!
  • Timon. What wouldst do then, Apemantus?
  • Apemantus. E'en as Apemantus does now; hate a lord with my heart.
  • Apemantus. That I had no angry wit to be a lord.
    Art not thou a merchant?
  • Apemantus. Traffic confound thee, if the gods will not! 275
  • Merchant. If traffic do it, the gods do it.
  • Apemantus. Traffic's thy god; and thy god confound thee!

[Trumpet sounds. Enter a Messenger]

  • Timon. What trumpet's that?
  • Messenger. 'Tis Alcibiades, and some twenty horse, 280
    All of companionship.
  • Timon. Pray, entertain them; give them guide to us.
    [Exeunt some Attendants]
    You must needs dine with me: go not you hence
    Till I have thank'd you: when dinner's done, 285
    Show me this piece. I am joyful of your sights.
    [Enter ALCIBIADES, with the rest]
    Most welcome, sir!
  • Apemantus. So, so, there!
    Aches contract and starve your supple joints! 290
    That there should be small love 'mongst these
    sweet knaves,
    And all this courtesy! The strain of man's bred out
    Into baboon and monkey.
  • Alcibiades. Sir, you have saved my longing, and I feed 295
    Most hungerly on your sight.
  • Timon. Right welcome, sir!
    Ere we depart, we'll share a bounteous time
    In different pleasures. Pray you, let us in.

[Exeunt all except APEMANTUS]

[Enter two Lords]

  • Apemantus. The more accursed thou, that still omitt'st it. 305
  • Apemantus. Ay, to see meat fill knaves and wine heat fools.
  • Apemantus. Thou art a fool to bid me farewell twice.
  • Apemantus. Shouldst have kept one to thyself, for I mean to
    give thee none.
  • Apemantus. No, I will do nothing at thy bidding: make thy
    requests to thy friend. 315
  • Second Lord. Away, unpeaceable dog, or I'll spurn thee hence!
  • Apemantus. I will fly, like a dog, the heels o' the ass.


  • First Lord. He's opposite to humanity. Come, shall we in,
    And taste Lord Timon's bounty? he outgoes 320
    The very heart of kindness.
  • Second Lord. He pours it out; Plutus, the god of gold,
    Is but his steward: no meed, but he repays
    Sevenfold above itself; no gift to him,
    But breeds the giver a return exceeding 325
    All use of quittance.
  • First Lord. The noblest mind he carries
    That ever govern'd man.
  • Second Lord. Long may he live in fortunes! Shall we in?


. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 2

A banqueting-room in Timon’s house.

      next scene .

[Hautboys playing loud music. A great banquet] [p]served in; FLAVIUS and others attending; then enter [p]TIMON, ALCIBIADES, Lords, Senators, and VENTIDIUS. [p]Then comes, dropping, after all, APEMANTUS, [p]discontentedly, like himself]

  • Ventidius. Most honour'd Timon,
    It hath pleased the gods to remember my father's age,
    And call him to long peace.
    He is gone happy, and has left me rich: 340
    Then, as in grateful virtue I am bound
    To your free heart, I do return those talents,
    Doubled with thanks and service, from whose help
    I derived liberty.
  • Timon. O, by no means, 345
    Honest Ventidius; you mistake my love:
    I gave it freely ever; and there's none
    Can truly say he gives, if he receives:
    If our betters play at that game, we must not dare
    To imitate them; faults that are rich are fair. 350
  • Timon. Nay, my lords,
    [They all stand ceremoniously looking on TIMON]
    Ceremony was but devised at first
    To set a gloss on faint deeds, hollow welcomes, 355
    Recanting goodness, sorry ere 'tis shown;
    But where there is true friendship, there needs none.
    Pray, sit; more welcome are ye to my fortunes
    Than my fortunes to me.

[They sit]

  • First Lord. My lord, we always have confess'd it.
  • Apemantus. Ho, ho, confess'd it! hang'd it, have you not?
  • Timon. O, Apemantus, you are welcome.
  • Apemantus. No;
    You shall not make me welcome: 365
    I come to have thee thrust me out of doors.
  • Timon. Fie, thou'rt a churl; ye've got a humour there
    Does not become a man: 'tis much to blame.
    They say, my lords, 'ira furor brevis est;' but yond
    man is ever angry. Go, let him have a table by 370
    himself, for he does neither affect company, nor is
    he fit for't, indeed.
  • Apemantus. Let me stay at thine apperil, Timon: I come to
    observe; I give thee warning on't.
  • Timon. I take no heed of thee; thou'rt an Athenian, 375
    therefore welcome: I myself would have no power;
    prithee, let my meat make thee silent.
  • Apemantus. I scorn thy meat; 'twould choke me, for I should
    ne'er flatter thee. O you gods, what a number of
    men eat Timon, and he sees 'em not! It grieves me 380
    to see so many dip their meat in one man's blood;
    and all the madness is, he cheers them up too.
    I wonder men dare trust themselves with men:
    Methinks they should invite them without knives;
    Good for their meat, and safer for their lives. 385
    There's much example for't; the fellow that sits
    next him now, parts bread with him, pledges the
    breath of him in a divided draught, is the readiest
    man to kill him: 't has been proved. If I were a
    huge man, I should fear to drink at meals; 390
    Lest they should spy my windpipe's dangerous notes:
    Great men should drink with harness on their throats.
  • Timon. My lord, in heart; and let the health go round.
  • Apemantus. Flow this way! A brave fellow! he keeps his tides 395
    well. Those healths will make thee and thy state
    look ill, Timon. Here's that which is too weak to
    be a sinner, honest water, which ne'er left man i' the mire:
    This and my food are equals; there's no odds:
    Feasts are too proud to give thanks to the gods. 400
    Apemantus' grace.
    Immortal gods, I crave no pelf;
    I pray for no man but myself:
    Grant I may never prove so fond,
    To trust man on his oath or bond; 405
    Or a harlot, for her weeping;
    Or a dog, that seems a-sleeping:
    Or a keeper with my freedom;
    Or my friends, if I should need 'em.
    Amen. So fall to't: 410
    Rich men sin, and I eat root.
    [Eats and drinks]
    Much good dich thy good heart, Apemantus!
  • Timon. Captain Alcibiades, your heart's in the field now.
  • Alcibiades. My heart is ever at your service, my lord. 415
  • Timon. You had rather be at a breakfast of enemies than a
    dinner of friends.
  • Alcibiades. So the were bleeding-new, my lord, there's no meat
    like 'em: I could wish my best friend at such a feast.
  • Apemantus. Would all those fatterers were thine enemies then, 420
    that then thou mightst kill 'em and bid me to 'em!
  • First Lord. Might we but have that happiness, my lord, that you
    would once use our hearts, whereby we might express
    some part of our zeals, we should think ourselves
    for ever perfect. 425
  • Timon. O, no doubt, my good friends, but the gods
    themselves have provided that I shall have much help
    from you: how had you been my friends else? why
    have you that charitable title from thousands, did
    not you chiefly belong to my heart? I have told 430
    more of you to myself than you can with modesty
    speak in your own behalf; and thus far I confirm
    you. O you gods, think I, what need we have any
    friends, if we should ne'er have need of 'em? they
    were the most needless creatures living, should we 435
    ne'er have use for 'em, and would most resemble
    sweet instruments hung up in cases that keep their
    sounds to themselves. Why, I have often wished
    myself poorer, that I might come nearer to you. We
    are born to do benefits: and what better or 440
    properer can we can our own than the riches of our
    friends? O, what a precious comfort 'tis, to have
    so many, like brothers, commanding one another's
    fortunes! O joy, e'en made away ere 't can be born!
    Mine eyes cannot hold out water, methinks: to 445
    forget their faults, I drink to you.
  • Apemantus. Thou weepest to make them drink, Timon.
  • Second Lord. Joy had the like conception in our eyes
    And at that instant like a babe sprung up.
  • Apemantus. Ho, ho! I laugh to think that babe a bastard. 450
  • Third Lord. I promise you, my lord, you moved me much.

[Tucket, within]

  • Timon. What means that trump?
    [Enter a Servant] 455
    How now?
  • Servant. Please you, my lord, there are certain
    ladies most desirous of admittance.
  • Timon. Ladies! what are their wills?
  • Servant. There comes with them a forerunner, my lord, which 460
    bears that office, to signify their pleasures.
  • Timon. I pray, let them be admitted.

[Enter Cupid]

  • Cupid. Hail to thee, worthy Timon, and to all
    That of his bounties taste! The five best senses 465
    Acknowledge thee their patron; and come freely
    To gratulate thy plenteous bosom: th' ear,
    Taste, touch and smell, pleased from thy tale rise;
    They only now come but to feast thine eyes.
  • Timon. They're welcome all; let 'em have kind admittance: 470
    Music, make their welcome!

[Exit Cupid]

  • First Lord. You see, my lord, how ample you're beloved.
    [Music. Re-enter Cupid with a mask of Ladies]
    as Amazons, with lutes in their hands, 475
    dancing and playing]
  • Apemantus. Hoy-day, what a sweep of vanity comes this way!
    They dance! they are mad women.
    Like madness is the glory of this life.
    As this pomp shows to a little oil and root. 480
    We make ourselves fools, to disport ourselves;
    And spend our flatteries, to drink those men
    Upon whose age we void it up again,
    With poisonous spite and envy.
    Who lives that's not depraved or depraves? 485
    Who dies, that bears not one spurn to their graves
    Of their friends' gift?
    I should fear those that dance before me now
    Would one day stamp upon me: 't has been done;
    Men shut their doors against a setting sun. 490
    [The Lords rise from table, with much adoring of]
    TIMON; and to show their loves, each singles out an
    Amazon, and all dance, men with women, a lofty
    strain or two to the hautboys, and cease]
  • Timon. You have done our pleasures much grace, fair ladies, 495
    Set a fair fashion on our entertainment,
    Which was not half so beautiful and kind;
    You have added worth unto 't and lustre,
    And entertain'd me with mine own device;
    I am to thank you for 't. 500
  • First Lady. My lord, you take us even at the best.
  • Apemantus. 'Faith, for the worst is filthy; and would not hold
    taking, I doubt me.
  • Timon. Ladies, there is an idle banquet attends you:
    Please you to dispose yourselves. 505

[Exeunt Cupid and Ladies]

  • Timon. The little casket bring me hither. 510
  • Flavius. Yes, my lord. More jewels yet!
    There is no crossing him in 's humour;
    Else I should tell him,—well, i' faith I should,
    When all's spent, he 'ld be cross'd then, an he could. 515
    'Tis pity bounty had not eyes behind,
    That man might ne'er be wretched for his mind.


  • Servant. Here, my lord, in readiness. 520

[Re-enter FLAVIUS, with the casket]

  • Timon. O my friends,
    I have one word to say to you: look you, my good lord,
    I must entreat you, honour me so much 525
    As to advance this jewel; accept it and wear it,
    Kind my lord.
  • First Lord. I am so far already in your gifts,—
  • All. So are we all.

[Enter a Servant]

  • Servant. My lord, there are certain nobles of the senate
    Newly alighted, and come to visit you.
  • Timon. They are fairly welcome.
  • Flavius. I beseech your honour,
    Vouchsafe me a word; it does concern you near. 535
  • Timon. Near! why then, another time I'll hear thee:
    I prithee, let's be provided to show them
  • Flavius. [Aside] I scarce know how.

[Enter a Second Servant]

  • Second Servant. May it please your honour, Lord Lucius,
    Out of his free love, hath presented to you
    Four milk-white horses, trapp'd in silver.
  • Timon. I shall accept them fairly; let the presents
    Be worthily entertain'd. 545
    [Enter a third Servant]
    How now! what news?
  • Third Servant. Please you, my lord, that honourable
    gentleman, Lord Lucullus, entreats your company
    to-morrow to hunt with him, and has sent your honour 550
    two brace of greyhounds.
  • Timon. I'll hunt with him; and let them be received,
    Not without fair reward.
  • Flavius. [Aside] What will this come to?
    He commands us to provide, and give great gifts, 555
    And all out of an empty coffer:
    Nor will he know his purse, or yield me this,
    To show him what a beggar his heart is,
    Being of no power to make his wishes good:
    His promises fly so beyond his state 560
    That what he speaks is all in debt; he owes
    For every word: he is so kind that he now
    Pays interest for 't; his land's put to their books.
    Well, would I were gently put out of office
    Before I were forced out! 565
    Happier is he that has no friend to feed
    Than such that do e'en enemies exceed.
    I bleed inwardly for my lord.


  • Timon. You do yourselves 570
    Much wrong, you bate too much of your own merits:
    Here, my lord, a trifle of our love.
  • Second Lord. With more than common thanks I will receive it.
  • Timon. And now I remember, my lord, you gave 575
    Good words the other day of a bay courser
    I rode on: it is yours, because you liked it.
  • Second Lord. O, I beseech you, pardon me, my lord, in that.
  • Timon. You may take my word, my lord; I know, no man
    Can justly praise but what he does affect: 580
    I weigh my friend's affection with mine own;
    I'll tell you true. I'll call to you.
  • Timon. I take all and your several visitations
    So kind to heart, 'tis not enough to give; 585
    Methinks, I could deal kingdoms to my friends,
    And ne'er be weary. Alcibiades,
    Thou art a soldier, therefore seldom rich;
    It comes in charity to thee: for all thy living
    Is 'mongst the dead, and all the lands thou hast 590
    Lie in a pitch'd field.
  • Timon. And so
    Am I to you. 595
  • Timon. All to you. Lights, more lights!
  • First Lord. The best of happiness,
    Honour and fortunes, keep with you, Lord Timon!
  • Timon. Ready for his friends. 600

[Exeunt all but APEMANTUS and TIMON]

  • Apemantus. What a coil's here!
    Serving of becks and jutting-out of bums!
    I doubt whether their legs be worth the sums
    That are given for 'em. Friendship's full of dregs: 605
    Methinks, false hearts should never have sound legs,
    Thus honest fools lay out their wealth on court'sies.
  • Timon. Now, Apemantus, if thou wert not sullen, I would be
    good to thee.
  • Apemantus. No, I'll nothing: for if I should be bribed too, 610
    there would be none left to rail upon thee, and then
    thou wouldst sin the faster. Thou givest so long,
    Timon, I fear me thou wilt give away thyself in
    paper shortly: what need these feasts, pomps and
    vain-glories? 615
  • Timon. Nay, an you begin to rail on society once, I am
    sworn not to give regard to you. Farewell; and come
    with better music.


  • Apemantus. So: 620
    Thou wilt not hear me now; thou shalt not then:
    I'll lock thy heaven from thee.
    O, that men's ears should be
    To counsel deaf, but not to flattery!


. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 1

A Senator’s house.

      next scene .

[Enter Senator, with papers in his hand]

  • Senator. And late, five thousand: to Varro and to Isidore
    He owes nine thousand; besides my former sum,
    Which makes it five and twenty. Still in motion
    Of raging waste? It cannot hold; it will not. 630
    If I want gold, steal but a beggar's dog,
    And give it Timon, why, the dog coins gold.
    If I would sell my horse, and buy twenty more
    Better than he, why, give my horse to Timon,
    Ask nothing, give it him, it foals me, straight, 635
    And able horses. No porter at his gate,
    But rather one that smiles and still invites
    All that pass by. It cannot hold: no reason
    Can found his state in safety. Caphis, ho!
    Caphis, I say! 640

[Enter CAPHIS]

  • Caphis. Here, sir; what is your pleasure?
  • Senator. Get on your cloak, and haste you to Lord Timon;
    Importune him for my moneys; be not ceased
    With slight denial, nor then silenced when— 645
    'Commend me to your master'—and the cap
    Plays in the right hand, thus: but tell him,
    My uses cry to me, I must serve my turn
    Out of mine own; his days and times are past
    And my reliances on his fracted dates 650
    Have smit my credit: I love and honour him,
    But must not break my back to heal his finger;
    Immediate are my needs, and my relief
    Must not be toss'd and turn'd to me in words,
    But find supply immediate. Get you gone: 655
    Put on a most importunate aspect,
    A visage of demand; for, I do fear,
    When every feather sticks in his own wing,
    Lord Timon will be left a naked gull,
    Which flashes now a phoenix. Get you gone. 660
  • Senator. 'I go, sir!'—Take the bonds along with you,
    And have the dates in contempt.


. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 2

The same. A hall in Timon’s house.

      next scene .

[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.


. previous scene      

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.

      next scene .

[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.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 1

Without the walls of Athens.

      next scene .

[Enter TIMON]

  • Timon. Let me look back upon thee. O thou wall, 1565
    That girdlest in those wolves, dive in the earth,
    And fence not Athens! Matrons, turn incontinent!
    Obedience fail in children! slaves and fools,
    Pluck the grave wrinkled senate from the bench,
    And minister in their steads! to general filths 1570
    Convert o' the instant, green virginity,
    Do 't in your parents' eyes! bankrupts, hold fast;
    Rather than render back, out with your knives,
    And cut your trusters' throats! bound servants, steal!
    Large-handed robbers your grave masters are, 1575
    And pill by law. Maid, to thy master's bed;
    Thy mistress is o' the brothel! Son of sixteen,
    pluck the lined crutch from thy old limping sire,
    With it beat out his brains! Piety, and fear,
    Religion to the gods, peace, justice, truth, 1580
    Domestic awe, night-rest, and neighbourhood,
    Instruction, manners, mysteries, and trades,
    Degrees, observances, customs, and laws,
    Decline to your confounding contraries,
    And let confusion live! Plagues, incident to men, 1585
    Your potent and infectious fevers heap
    On Athens, ripe for stroke! Thou cold sciatica,
    Cripple our senators, that their limbs may halt
    As lamely as their manners. Lust and liberty
    Creep in the minds and marrows of our youth, 1590
    That 'gainst the stream of virtue they may strive,
    And drown themselves in riot! Itches, blains,
    Sow all the Athenian bosoms; and their crop
    Be general leprosy! Breath infect breath,
    at their society, as their friendship, may 1595
    merely poison! Nothing I'll bear from thee,
    But nakedness, thou detestable town!
    Take thou that too, with multiplying bans!
    Timon will to the woods; where he shall find
    The unkindest beast more kinder than mankind. 1600
    The gods confound—hear me, you good gods all—
    The Athenians both within and out that wall!
    And grant, as Timon grows, his hate may grow
    To the whole race of mankind, high and low! Amen.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 2

Athens. A room in Timon’s house.

      next scene .

[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.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 3

Woods and cave, near the seashore.

      next scene .

[Enter TIMON, from the cave]

  • Timon. O blessed breeding sun, draw from the earth
    Rotten humidity; below thy sister's orb 1665
    Infect the air! Twinn'd brothers of one womb,
    Whose procreation, residence, and birth,
    Scarce is dividant, touch them with several fortunes;
    The greater scorns the lesser: not nature,
    To whom all sores lay siege, can bear great fortune, 1670
    But by contempt of nature.
    Raise me this beggar, and deny 't that lord;
    The senator shall bear contempt hereditary,
    The beggar native honour.
    It is the pasture lards the rother's sides, 1675
    The want that makes him lean. Who dares, who dares,
    In purity of manhood stand upright,
    And say 'This man's a flatterer?' if one be,
    So are they all; for every grise of fortune
    Is smooth'd by that below: the learned pate 1680
    Ducks to the golden fool: all is oblique;
    There's nothing level in our cursed natures,
    But direct villany. Therefore, be abhorr'd
    All feasts, societies, and throngs of men!
    His semblable, yea, himself, Timon disdains: 1685
    Destruction fang mankind! Earth, yield me roots!
    Who seeks for better of thee, sauce his palate
    With thy most operant poison! What is here?
    Gold? yellow, glittering, precious gold? No, gods, 1690
    I am no idle votarist: roots, you clear heavens!
    Thus much of this will make black white, foul fair,
    Wrong right, base noble, old young, coward valiant.
    Ha, you gods! why this? what this, you gods? Why, this
    Will lug your priests and servants from your sides, 1695
    Pluck stout men's pillows from below their heads:
    This yellow slave
    Will knit and break religions, bless the accursed,
    Make the hoar leprosy adored, place thieves
    And give them title, knee and approbation 1700
    With senators on the bench: this is it
    That makes the wappen'd widow wed again;
    She, whom the spital-house and ulcerous sores
    Would cast the gorge at, this embalms and spices
    To the April day again. Come, damned earth, 1705
    Thou common whore of mankind, that put'st odds
    Among the route of nations, I will make thee
    Do thy right nature.
    [March afar off]
    Ha! a drum? Thou'rt quick, 1710
    But yet I'll bury thee: thou'lt go, strong thief,
    When gouty keepers of thee cannot stand.
    Nay, stay thou out for earnest.
    [Keeping some gold]
    [Enter ALCIBIADES, with drum and fife, in] 1715
    warlike manner; PHRYNIA and TIMANDRA]
  • Timon. A beast, as thou art. The canker gnaw thy heart,
    For showing me again the eyes of man!
  • Alcibiades. What is thy name? Is man so hateful to thee, 1720
    That art thyself a man?
  • Timon. I am Misanthropos, and hate mankind.
    For thy part, I do wish thou wert a dog,
    That I might love thee something.
  • Alcibiades. I know thee well; 1725
    But in thy fortunes am unlearn'd and strange.
  • Timon. I know thee too; and more than that I know thee,
    I not desire to know. Follow thy drum;
    With man's blood paint the ground, gules, gules:
    Religious canons, civil laws are cruel; 1730
    Then what should war be? This fell whore of thine
    Hath in her more destruction than thy sword,
    For all her cherubim look.
  • Timon. I will not kiss thee; then the rot returns 1735
    To thine own lips again.
  • Alcibiades. How came the noble Timon to this change?
  • Timon. As the moon does, by wanting light to give:
    But then renew I could not, like the moon;
    There were no suns to borrow of. 1740
  • Alcibiades. Noble Timon,
    What friendship may I do thee?
  • Timon. None, but to
    Maintain my opinion.
  • Timon. Promise me friendship, but perform none: if thou
    wilt not promise, the gods plague thee, for thou art
    a man! if thou dost perform, confound thee, for
    thou art a man!
  • Alcibiades. I have heard in some sort of thy miseries. 1750
  • Timon. Thou saw'st them, when I had prosperity.
  • Alcibiades. I see them now; then was a blessed time.
  • Timon. As thine is now, held with a brace of harlots.
  • Timandra. Is this the Athenian minion, whom the world
    Voiced so regardfully? 1755
  • Timon. Art thou Timandra?
  • Timon. Be a whore still: they love thee not that use thee;
    Give them diseases, leaving with thee their lust.
    Make use of thy salt hours: season the slaves 1760
    For tubs and baths; bring down rose-cheeked youth
    To the tub-fast and the diet.
  • Alcibiades. Pardon him, sweet Timandra; for his wits
    Are drown'd and lost in his calamities. 1765
    I have but little gold of late, brave Timon,
    The want whereof doth daily make revolt
    In my penurious band: I have heard, and grieved,
    How cursed Athens, mindless of thy worth,
    Forgetting thy great deeds, when neighbour states, 1770
    But for thy sword and fortune, trod upon them,—
  • Timon. I prithee, beat thy drum, and get thee gone.
  • Alcibiades. I am thy friend, and pity thee, dear Timon.
  • Timon. How dost thou pity him whom thou dost trouble?
    I had rather be alone. 1775
  • Alcibiades. Why, fare thee well:
    Here is some gold for thee.
  • Timon. Keep it, I cannot eat it.
  • Alcibiades. When I have laid proud Athens on a heap,—
  • Timon. Warr'st thou 'gainst Athens? 1780
  • Timon. The gods confound them all in thy conquest;
    And thee after, when thou hast conquer'd!
  • Timon. That, by killing of villains, 1785
    Thou wast born to conquer my country.
    Put up thy gold: go on,—here's gold,—go on;
    Be as a planetary plague, when Jove
    Will o'er some high-viced city hang his poison
    In the sick air: let not thy sword skip one: 1790
    Pity not honour'd age for his white beard;
    He is an usurer: strike me the counterfeit matron;
    It is her habit only that is honest,
    Herself's a bawd: let not the virgin's cheek
    Make soft thy trenchant sword; for those milk-paps, 1795
    That through the window-bars bore at men's eyes,
    Are not within the leaf of pity writ,
    But set them down horrible traitors: spare not the babe,
    Whose dimpled smiles from fools exhaust their mercy;
    Think it a bastard, whom the oracle 1800
    Hath doubtfully pronounced thy throat shall cut,
    And mince it sans remorse: swear against objects;
    Put armour on thine ears and on thine eyes;
    Whose proof, nor yells of mothers, maids, nor babes,
    Nor sight of priests in holy vestments bleeding, 1805
    Shall pierce a jot. There's gold to pay soldiers:
    Make large confusion; and, thy fury spent,
    Confounded be thyself! Speak not, be gone.
  • Alcibiades. Hast thou gold yet? I'll take the gold thou
    givest me, 1810
    Not all thy counsel.
  • Timon. Dost thou, or dost thou not, heaven's curse
    upon thee!
  • Phrynia. [with Timandra] Give us some gold, good Timon: hast thou more?
  • Timon. Enough to make a whore forswear her trade, 1815
    And to make whores, a bawd. Hold up, you sluts,
    Your aprons mountant: you are not oathable,
    Although, I know, you 'll swear, terribly swear
    Into strong shudders and to heavenly agues
    The immortal gods that hear you,—spare your oaths, 1820
    I'll trust to your conditions: be whores still;
    And he whose pious breath seeks to convert you,
    Be strong in whore, allure him, burn him up;
    Let your close fire predominate his smoke,
    And be no turncoats: yet may your pains, six months, 1825
    Be quite contrary: and thatch your poor thin roofs
    With burthens of the dead;—some that were hang'd,
    No matter:—wear them, betray with them: whore still;
    Paint till a horse may mire upon your face,
    A pox of wrinkles! 1830
  • Phrynia. [with Timandra] Well, more gold: what then?
    Believe't, that we'll do any thing for gold.
  • Timon. Consumptions sow
    In hollow bones of man; strike their sharp shins,
    And mar men's spurring. Crack the lawyer's voice,
    That he may never more false title plead, 1835
    Nor sound his quillets shrilly: hoar the flamen,
    That scolds against the quality of flesh,
    And not believes himself: down with the nose,
    Down with it flat; take the bridge quite away
    Of him that, his particular to foresee, 1840
    Smells from the general weal: make curl'd-pate
    ruffians bald;
    And let the unscarr'd braggarts of the war
    Derive some pain from you: plague all;
    That your activity may defeat and quell 1845
    The source of all erection. There's more gold:
    Do you damn others, and let this damn you,
    And ditches grave you all!
  • Phrynia. [with Timandra] More counsel with more money, bounteous Timon.
  • Timon. More whore, more mischief first; I have given you earnest. 1850
  • Alcibiades. Strike up the drum towards Athens! Farewell, Timon:
    If I thrive well, I'll visit thee again.
  • Timon. If I hope well, I'll never see thee more.
  • Timon. Yes, thou spokest well of me. 1855
  • Timon. Men daily find it. Get thee away, and take
    Thy beagles with thee.
  • Alcibiades. We but offend him. Strike!
    [Drum beats. Exeunt ALCIBIADES, PHRYNIA,] 1860
    and TIMANDRA]
  • Timon. That nature, being sick of man's unkindness,
    Should yet be hungry! Common mother, thou,
    Whose womb unmeasurable, and infinite breast, 1865
    Teems, and feeds all; whose self-same mettle,
    Whereof thy proud child, arrogant man, is puff'd,
    Engenders the black toad and adder blue,
    The gilded newt and eyeless venom'd worm,
    With all the abhorred births below crisp heaven 1870
    Whereon Hyperion's quickening fire doth shine;
    Yield him, who all thy human sons doth hate,
    From forth thy plenteous bosom, one poor root!
    Ensear thy fertile and conceptious womb,
    Let it no more bring out ingrateful man! 1875
    Go great with tigers, dragons, wolves, and bears;
    Teem with new monsters, whom thy upward face
    Hath to the marbled mansion all above
    Never presented!—O, a root,—dear thanks!—
    Dry up thy marrows, vines, and plough-torn leas; 1880
    Whereof ungrateful man, with liquorish draughts
    And morsels unctuous, greases his pure mind,
    That from it all consideration slips!
    [Enter APEMANTUS]
    More man? plague, plague! 1885
  • Apemantus. I was directed hither: men report
    Thou dost affect my manners, and dost use them.
  • Timon. 'Tis, then, because thou dost not keep a dog,
    Whom I would imitate: consumption catch thee!
  • Apemantus. This is in thee a nature but infected; 1890
    A poor unmanly melancholy sprung
    From change of fortune. Why this spade? this place?
    This slave-like habit? and these looks of care?
    Thy flatterers yet wear silk, drink wine, lie soft;
    Hug their diseased perfumes, and have forgot 1895
    That ever Timon was. Shame not these woods,
    By putting on the cunning of a carper.
    Be thou a flatterer now, and seek to thrive
    By that which has undone thee: hinge thy knee,
    And let his very breath, whom thou'lt observe, 1900
    Blow off thy cap; praise his most vicious strain,
    And call it excellent: thou wast told thus;
    Thou gavest thine ears like tapsters that bid welcome
    To knaves and all approachers: 'tis most just
    That thou turn rascal; hadst thou wealth again, 1905
    Rascals should have 't. Do not assume my likeness.
  • Timon. Were I like thee, I'ld throw away myself.
  • Apemantus. Thou hast cast away thyself, being like thyself;
    A madman so long, now a fool. What, think'st
    That the bleak air, thy boisterous chamberlain, 1910
    Will put thy shirt on warm? will these moss'd trees,
    That have outlived the eagle, page thy heels,
    And skip where thou point'st out? will the
    cold brook,
    Candied with ice, caudle thy morning taste, 1915
    To cure thy o'er-night's surfeit? Call the creatures
    Whose naked natures live in an the spite
    Of wreakful heaven, whose bare unhoused trunks,
    To the conflicting elements exposed,
    Answer mere nature; bid them flatter thee; 1920
    O, thou shalt find—
  • Timon. A fool of thee: depart.
  • Apemantus. I love thee better now than e'er I did.
  • Timon. I hate thee worse.
  • Timon. Thou flatter'st misery.
  • Apemantus. I flatter not; but say thou art a caitiff.
  • Timon. Why dost thou seek me out?
  • Timon. Always a villain's office or a fool's. 1930
    Dost please thyself in't?
  • Timon. What! a knave too?
  • Apemantus. If thou didst put this sour-cold habit on
    To castigate thy pride, 'twere well: but thou 1935
    Dost it enforcedly; thou'ldst courtier be again,
    Wert thou not beggar. Willing misery
    Outlives encertain pomp, is crown'd before:
    The one is filling still, never complete;
    The other, at high wish: best state, contentless, 1940
    Hath a distracted and most wretched being,
    Worse than the worst, content.
    Thou shouldst desire to die, being miserable.
  • Timon. Not by his breath that is more miserable.
    Thou art a slave, whom Fortune's tender arm 1945
    With favour never clasp'd; but bred a dog.
    Hadst thou, like us from our first swath, proceeded
    The sweet degrees that this brief world affords
    To such as may the passive drugs of it
    Freely command, thou wouldst have plunged thyself 1950
    In general riot; melted down thy youth
    In different beds of lust; and never learn'd
    The icy precepts of respect, but follow'd
    The sugar'd game before thee. But myself,
    Who had the world as my confectionary, 1955
    The mouths, the tongues, the eyes and hearts of men
    At duty, more than I could frame employment,
    That numberless upon me stuck as leaves
    Do on the oak, hive with one winter's brush
    Fell from their boughs and left me open, bare 1960
    For every storm that blows: I, to bear this,
    That never knew but better, is some burden:
    Thy nature did commence in sufferance, time
    Hath made thee hard in't. Why shouldst thou hate men?
    They never flatter'd thee: what hast thou given? 1965
    If thou wilt curse, thy father, that poor rag,
    Must be thy subject, who in spite put stuff
    To some she beggar and compounded thee
    Poor rogue hereditary. Hence, be gone!
    If thou hadst not been born the worst of men, 1970
    Thou hadst been a knave and flatterer.
  • Timon. Ay, that I am not thee.
  • Timon. I, that I am one now:
    Were all the wealth I have shut up in thee,
    I'ld give thee leave to hang it. Get thee gone.
    That the whole life of Athens were in this!
    Thus would I eat it. 1980

[Eating a root]

[Offering him a root]

  • Timon. First mend my company, take away thyself.
  • Apemantus. So I shall mend mine own, by the lack of thine. 1985
  • Timon. 'Tis not well mended so, it is but botch'd;
    if not, I would it were.
  • Apemantus. What wouldst thou have to Athens?
  • Timon. Thee thither in a whirlwind. If thou wilt,
    Tell them there I have gold; look, so I have. 1990
  • Timon. The best and truest;
    For here it sleeps, and does no hired harm.
  • Timon. Under that's above me. 1995
    Where feed'st thou o' days, Apemantus?
  • Apemantus. Where my stomach finds meat; or, rather, where I eat
  • Timon. Would poison were obedient and knew my mind!
  • Timon. To sauce thy dishes.
  • Apemantus. The middle of humanity thou never knewest, but the
    extremity of both ends: when thou wast in thy gilt
    and thy perfume, they mocked thee for too much
    curiosity; in thy rags thou knowest none, but art 2005
    despised for the contrary. There's a medlar for
    thee, eat it.
  • Timon. On what I hate I feed not.
  • Timon. Ay, though it look like thee. 2010
  • Apemantus. An thou hadst hated meddlers sooner, thou shouldst
    have loved thyself better now. What man didst thou
    ever know unthrift that was beloved after his means?
  • Timon. Who, without those means thou talkest of, didst thou
    ever know beloved? 2015
  • Timon. I understand thee; thou hadst some means to keep a
  • Apemantus. What things in the world canst thou nearest compare
    to thy flatterers? 2020
  • Timon. Women nearest; but men, men are the things
    themselves. What wouldst thou do with the world,
    Apemantus, if it lay in thy power?
  • Apemantus. Give it the beasts, to be rid of the men.
  • Timon. Wouldst thou have thyself fall in the confusion of 2025
    men, and remain a beast with the beasts?
  • Timon. A beastly ambition, which the gods grant thee t'
    attain to! If thou wert the lion, the fox would
    beguile thee; if thou wert the lamb, the fox would 2030
    eat three: if thou wert the fox, the lion would
    suspect thee, when peradventure thou wert accused by
    the ass: if thou wert the ass, thy dulness would
    torment thee, and still thou livedst but as a
    breakfast to the wolf: if thou wert the wolf, thy 2035
    greediness would afflict thee, and oft thou shouldst
    hazard thy life for thy dinner: wert thou the
    unicorn, pride and wrath would confound thee and
    make thine own self the conquest of thy fury: wert
    thou a bear, thou wouldst be killed by the horse: 2040
    wert thou a horse, thou wouldst be seized by the
    leopard: wert thou a leopard, thou wert german to
    the lion and the spots of thy kindred were jurors on
    thy life: all thy safety were remotion and thy
    defence absence. What beast couldst thou be, that 2045
    were not subject to a beast? and what a beast art
    thou already, that seest not thy loss in
  • Apemantus. If thou couldst please me with speaking to me, thou
    mightst have hit upon it here: the commonwealth of 2050
    Athens is become a forest of beasts.
  • Timon. How has the ass broke the wall, that thou art out of the city?
  • Apemantus. Yonder comes a poet and a painter: the plague of
    company light upon thee! I will fear to catch it
    and give way: when I know not what else to do, I'll 2055
    see thee again.
  • Timon. When there is nothing living but thee, thou shalt be
    welcome. I had rather be a beggar's dog than Apemantus.
  • Apemantus. Thou art the cap of all the fools alive.
  • Timon. Would thou wert clean enough to spit upon! 2060
  • Apemantus. A plague on thee! thou art too bad to curse.
  • Timon. All villains that do stand by thee are pure.
  • Apemantus. There is no leprosy but what thou speak'st.
  • Timon. If I name thee.
    I'll beat thee, but I should infect my hands. 2065
  • Apemantus. I would my tongue could rot them off!
  • Timon. Away, thou issue of a mangy dog!
    Choler does kill me that thou art alive;
    I swound to see thee.
  • Timon. Away,
    Thou tedious rogue! I am sorry I shall lose
    A stone by thee.

[Throws a stone at him]

  • Timon. Rogue, rogue, rogue!
    I am sick of this false world, and will love nought
    But even the mere necessities upon 't. 2080
    Then, Timon, presently prepare thy grave;
    Lie where the light foam the sea may beat
    Thy grave-stone daily: make thine epitaph,
    That death in me at others' lives may laugh.
    [To the gold] 2085
    O thou sweet king-killer, and dear divorce
    'Twixt natural son and sire! thou bright defiler
    Of Hymen's purest bed! thou valiant Mars!
    Thou ever young, fresh, loved and delicate wooer,
    Whose blush doth thaw the consecrated snow 2090
    That lies on Dian's lap! thou visible god,
    That solder'st close impossibilities,
    And makest them kiss! that speak'st with
    every tongue,
    To every purpose! O thou touch of hearts! 2095
    Think, thy slave man rebels, and by thy virtue
    Set them into confounding odds, that beasts
    May have the world in empire!
  • Apemantus. Would 'twere so!
    But not till I am dead. I'll say thou'st gold: 2100
    Thou wilt be throng'd to shortly.
  • Timon. Thy back, I prithee.
  • Timon. Long live so, and so die.
    [Exit APEMANTUS]
    I am quit.
    Moe things like men! Eat, Timon, and abhor them.

[Enter Banditti]

  • First Bandit. Where should he have this gold? It is some poor
    fragment, some slender sort of his remainder: the
    mere want of gold, and the falling-from of his
    friends, drove him into this melancholy.
  • Third Bandit. Let us make the assay upon him: if he care not
    for't, he will supply us easily; if he covetously
    reserve it, how shall's get it?
  • Timon. Now, thieves? 2125
  • Timon. Both too; and women's sons.
  • Banditti. We are not thieves, but men that much do want.
  • Timon. Your greatest want is, you want much of meat.
    Why should you want? Behold, the earth hath roots; 2130
    Within this mile break forth a hundred springs;
    The oaks bear mast, the briers scarlet hips;
    The bounteous housewife, nature, on each bush
    Lays her full mess before you. Want! why want?
  • First Bandit. We cannot live on grass, on berries, water, 2135
    As beasts and birds and fishes.
  • Timon. Nor on the beasts themselves, the birds, and fishes;
    You must eat men. Yet thanks I must you con
    That you are thieves profess'd, that you work not
    In holier shapes: for there is boundless theft 2140
    In limited professions. Rascal thieves,
    Here's gold. Go, suck the subtle blood o' the grape,
    Till the high fever seethe your blood to froth,
    And so 'scape hanging: trust not the physician;
    His antidotes are poison, and he slays 2145
    Moe than you rob: take wealth and lives together;
    Do villany, do, since you protest to do't,
    Like workmen. I'll example you with thievery.
    The sun's a thief, and with his great attraction
    Robs the vast sea: the moon's an arrant thief, 2150
    And her pale fire she snatches from the sun:
    The sea's a thief, whose liquid surge resolves
    The moon into salt tears: the earth's a thief,
    That feeds and breeds by a composture stolen
    From general excrement: each thing's a thief: 2155
    The laws, your curb and whip, in their rough power
    Have uncheque'd theft. Love not yourselves: away,
    Rob one another. There's more gold. Cut throats:
    All that you meet are thieves: to Athens go,
    Break open shops; nothing can you steal, 2160
    But thieves do lose it: steal no less for this
    I give you; and gold confound you howsoe'er! Amen.
  • Third Bandit. Has almost charmed me from my profession, by
    persuading me to it.
  • First Bandit. 'Tis in the malice of mankind that he thus advises 2165
    us; not to have us thrive in our mystery.
  • Second Bandit. I'll believe him as an enemy, and give over my trade.
  • First Bandit. Let us first see peace in Athens: there is no time
    so miserable but a man may be true.

[Exeunt Banditti]


  • Flavius. O you gods!
    Is yond despised and ruinous man my lord?
    Full of decay and failing? O monument
    And wonder of good deeds evilly bestow'd! 2175
    What an alteration of honour
    Has desperate want made!
    What viler thing upon the earth than friends
    Who can bring noblest minds to basest ends!
    How rarely does it meet with this time's guise, 2180
    When man was wish'd to love his enemies!
    Grant I may ever love, and rather woo
    Those that would mischief me than those that do!
    Has caught me in his eye: I will present
    My honest grief unto him; and, as my lord, 2185
    Still serve him with my life. My dearest master!
  • Timon. Away! what art thou?
  • Timon. Why dost ask that? I have forgot all men;
    Then, if thou grant'st thou'rt a man, I have forgot thee. 2190
  • Flavius. An honest poor servant of yours.
  • Timon. Then I know thee not:
    I never had honest man about me, I; all
    I kept were knaves, to serve in meat to villains.
  • Flavius. The gods are witness, 2195
    Ne'er did poor steward wear a truer grief
    For his undone lord than mine eyes for you.
  • Timon. What, dost thou weep? Come nearer. Then I
    love thee,
    Because thou art a woman, and disclaim'st 2200
    Flinty mankind; whose eyes do never give
    But thorough lust and laughter. Pity's sleeping:
    Strange times, that weep with laughing, not with weeping!
  • Flavius. I beg of you to know me, good my lord,
    To accept my grief and whilst this poor wealth lasts 2205
    To entertain me as your steward still.
  • Timon. Had I a steward
    So true, so just, and now so comfortable?
    It almost turns my dangerous nature mild.
    Let me behold thy face. Surely, this man 2210
    Was born of woman.
    Forgive my general and exceptless rashness,
    You perpetual-sober gods! I do proclaim
    One honest man—mistake me not—but one;
    No more, I pray,—and he's a steward. 2215
    How fain would I have hated all mankind!
    And thou redeem'st thyself: but all, save thee,
    I fell with curses.
    Methinks thou art more honest now than wise;
    For, by oppressing and betraying me, 2220
    Thou mightst have sooner got another service:
    For many so arrive at second masters,
    Upon their first lord's neck. But tell me true—
    For I must ever doubt, though ne'er so sure—
    Is not thy kindness subtle, covetous, 2225
    If not a usuring kindness, and, as rich men deal gifts,
    Expecting in return twenty for one?
  • Flavius. No, my most worthy master; in whose breast
    Doubt and suspect, alas, are placed too late:
    You should have fear'd false times when you did feast: 2230
    Suspect still comes where an estate is least.
    That which I show, heaven knows, is merely love,
    Duty and zeal to your unmatched mind,
    Care of your food and living; and, believe it,
    My most honour'd lord, 2235
    For any benefit that points to me,
    Either in hope or present, I'ld exchange
    For this one wish, that you had power and wealth
    To requite me, by making rich yourself.
  • Timon. Look thee, 'tis so! Thou singly honest man, 2240
    Here, take: the gods out of my misery
    Have sent thee treasure. Go, live rich and happy;
    But thus condition'd: thou shalt build from men;
    Hate all, curse all, show charity to none,
    But let the famish'd flesh slide from the bone, 2245
    Ere thou relieve the beggar; give to dogs
    What thou deny'st to men; let prisons swallow 'em,
    Debts wither 'em to nothing; be men like
    blasted woods,
    And may diseases lick up their false bloods! 2250
    And so farewell and thrive.
  • Flavius. O, let me stay,
    And comfort you, my master.
  • Timon. If thou hatest curses,
    Stay not; fly, whilst thou art blest and free: 2255
    Ne'er see thou man, and let me ne'er see thee.

[Exit FLAVIUS. TIMON retires to his cave]

. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 1

The woods. Before Timon’s cave.

      next scene .

[Enter Poet and Painter; TIMON watching] [p]them from his cave]

  • Painter. As I took note of the place, it cannot be far where 2260
    he abides.
  • Poet. What's to be thought of him? does the rumour hold
    for true, that he's so full of gold?
  • Painter. Certain: Alcibiades reports it; Phrynia and
    Timandra had gold of him: he likewise enriched poor 2265
    straggling soldiers with great quantity: 'tis said
    he gave unto his steward a mighty sum.
  • Poet. Then this breaking of his has been but a try for his friends.
  • Painter. Nothing else: you shall see him a palm in Athens
    again, and flourish with the highest. Therefore 2270
    'tis not amiss we tender our loves to him, in this
    supposed distress of his: it will show honestly in
    us; and is very likely to load our purposes with
    what they travail for, if it be a just true report
    that goes of his having. 2275
  • Poet. What have you now to present unto him?
  • Painter. Nothing at this time but my visitation: only I will
    promise him an excellent piece.
  • Poet. I must serve him so too, tell him of an intent
    that's coming toward him. 2280
  • Painter. Good as the best. Promising is the very air o' the
    time: it opens the eyes of expectation:
    performance is ever the duller for his act; and,
    but in the plainer and simpler kind of people, the
    deed of saying is quite out of use. To promise is 2285
    most courtly and fashionable: performance is a kind
    of will or testament which argues a great sickness
    in his judgment that makes it.

[TIMON comes from his cave, behind]

  • Timon. [Aside] Excellent workman! thou canst not paint a 2290
    man so bad as is thyself.
  • Poet. I am thinking what I shall say I have provided for
    him: it must be a personating of himself; a satire
    against the softness of prosperity, with a discovery
    of the infinite flatteries that follow youth and opulency. 2295
  • Timon. [Aside] Must thou needs stand for a villain in
    thine own work? wilt thou whip thine own faults in
    other men? Do so, I have gold for thee.
  • Poet. Nay, let's seek him:
    Then do we sin against our own estate, 2300
    When we may profit meet, and come too late.
  • Painter. True;
    When the day serves, before black-corner'd night,
    Find what thou want'st by free and offer'd light. Come.
  • Timon. [Aside] I'll meet you at the turn. What a 2305
    god's gold,
    That he is worshipp'd in a baser temple
    Than where swine feed!
    'Tis thou that rigg'st the bark and plough'st the foam,
    Settlest admired reverence in a slave: 2310
    To thee be worship! and thy saints for aye
    Be crown'd with plagues that thee alone obey!
    Fit I meet them.

[Coming forward]

  • Poet. Hail, worthy Timon! 2315
  • Timon. Have I once lived to see two honest men?
  • Poet. Sir,
    Having often of your open bounty tasted,
    Hearing you were retired, your friends fall'n off, 2320
    Whose thankless natures—O abhorred spirits!—
    Not all the whips of heaven are large enough:
    What! to you,
    Whose star-like nobleness gave life and influence
    To their whole being! I am rapt and cannot cover 2325
    The monstrous bulk of this ingratitude
    With any size of words.
  • Timon. Let it go naked, men may see't the better:
    You that are honest, by being what you are,
    Make them best seen and known. 2330
  • Painter. He and myself
    Have travail'd in the great shower of your gifts,
    And sweetly felt it.
  • Timon. Ay, you are honest men.
  • Painter. We are hither come to offer you our service. 2335
  • Timon. Most honest men! Why, how shall I requite you?
    Can you eat roots, and drink cold water? no.
  • Both. What we can do, we'll do, to do you service.
  • Timon. Ye're honest men: ye've heard that I have gold;
    I am sure you have: speak truth; ye're honest men. 2340
  • Painter. So it is said, my noble lord; but therefore
    Came not my friend nor I.
  • Timon. Good honest men! Thou draw'st a counterfeit
    Best in all Athens: thou'rt, indeed, the best;
    Thou counterfeit'st most lively. 2345
  • Timon. E'en so, sir, as I say. And, for thy fiction,
    Why, thy verse swells with stuff so fine and smooth
    That thou art even natural in thine art.
    But, for all this, my honest-natured friends, 2350
    I must needs say you have a little fault:
    Marry, 'tis not monstrous in you, neither wish I
    You take much pains to mend.
  • Both. Beseech your honour
    To make it known to us. 2355
  • Timon. You'll take it ill.
  • Both. Most thankfully, my lord.
  • Timon. Will you, indeed?
  • Both. Doubt it not, worthy lord.
  • Timon. There's never a one of you but trusts a knave, 2360
    That mightily deceives you.
  • Both. Do we, my lord?
  • Timon. Ay, and you hear him cog, see him dissemble,
    Know his gross patchery, love him, feed him,
    Keep in your bosom: yet remain assured 2365
    That he's a made-up villain.
  • Painter. I know none such, my lord.
  • Timon. Look you, I love you well; I'll give you gold,
    Rid me these villains from your companies: 2370
    Hang them or stab them, drown them in a draught,
    Confound them by some course, and come to me,
    I'll give you gold enough.
  • Both. Name them, my lord, let's know them.
  • Timon. You that way and you this, but two in company; 2375
    Each man apart, all single and alone,
    Yet an arch-villain keeps him company.
    If where thou art two villains shall not be,
    Come not near him. If thou wouldst not reside
    But where one villain is, then him abandon. 2380
    Hence, pack! there's gold; you came for gold, ye slaves:
    [To Painter]
    You have work'd for me; there's payment for you: hence!
    [To Poet]
    You are an alchemist; make gold of that. 2385
    Out, rascal dogs!

[Beats them out, and then retires to his cave]

[Enter FLAVIUS and two Senators]

  • Flavius. It is in vain that you would speak with Timon;
    For he is set so only to himself 2390
    That nothing but himself which looks like man
    Is friendly with him.
  • First Senator. Bring us to his cave:
    It is our part and promise to the Athenians
    To speak with Timon. 2395
  • Second Senator. At all times alike
    Men are not still the same: 'twas time and griefs
    That framed him thus: time, with his fairer hand,
    Offering the fortunes of his former days,
    The former man may make him. Bring us to him, 2400
    And chance it as it may.
  • Flavius. Here is his cave.
    Peace and content be here! Lord Timon! Timon!
    Look out, and speak to friends: the Athenians,
    By two of their most reverend senate, greet thee: 2405
    Speak to them, noble Timon.

[TIMON comes from his cave]

  • Timon. Thou sun, that comfort'st, burn! Speak, and
    be hang'd:
    For each true word, a blister! and each false 2410
    Be as cauterizing to the root o' the tongue,
    Consuming it with speaking!
  • Timon. Of none but such as you, and you of Timon.
  • Timon. I thank them; and would send them back the plague,
    Could I but catch it for them.
  • First Senator. O, forget
    What we are sorry for ourselves in thee.
    The senators with one consent of love 2420
    Entreat thee back to Athens; who have thought
    On special dignities, which vacant lie
    For thy best use and wearing.
  • Second Senator. They confess
    Toward thee forgetfulness too general, gross: 2425
    Which now the public body, which doth seldom
    Play the recanter, feeling in itself
    A lack of Timon's aid, hath sense withal
    Of its own fail, restraining aid to Timon;
    And send forth us, to make their sorrow'd render, 2430
    Together with a recompense more fruitful
    Than their offence can weigh down by the dram;
    Ay, even such heaps and sums of love and wealth
    As shall to thee blot out what wrongs were theirs
    And write in thee the figures of their love, 2435
    Ever to read them thine.
  • Timon. You witch me in it;
    Surprise me to the very brink of tears:
    Lend me a fool's heart and a woman's eyes,
    And I'll beweep these comforts, worthy senators. 2440
  • First Senator. Therefore, so please thee to return with us
    And of our Athens, thine and ours, to take
    The captainship, thou shalt be met with thanks,
    Allow'd with absolute power and thy good name
    Live with authority: so soon we shall drive back 2445
    Of Alcibiades the approaches wild,
    Who, like a boar too savage, doth root up
    His country's peace.
  • Second Senator. And shakes his threatening sword
    Against the walls of Athens. 2450
  • Timon. Well, sir, I will; therefore, I will, sir; thus:
    If Alcibiades kill my countrymen,
    Let Alcibiades know this of Timon,
    That Timon cares not. But if be sack fair Athens, 2455
    And take our goodly aged men by the beards,
    Giving our holy virgins to the stain
    Of contumelious, beastly, mad-brain'd war,
    Then let him know, and tell him Timon speaks it,
    In pity of our aged and our youth, 2460
    I cannot choose but tell him, that I care not,
    And let him take't at worst; for their knives care not,
    While you have throats to answer: for myself,
    There's not a whittle in the unruly camp
    But I do prize it at my love before 2465
    The reverend'st throat in Athens. So I leave you
    To the protection of the prosperous gods,
    As thieves to keepers.
  • Timon. Why, I was writing of my epitaph; 2470
    it will be seen to-morrow: my long sickness
    Of health and living now begins to mend,
    And nothing brings me all things. Go, live still;
    Be Alcibiades your plague, you his,
    And last so long enough! 2475
  • Timon. But yet I love my country, and am not
    One that rejoices in the common wreck,
    As common bruit doth put it.
  • Timon. Commend me to my loving countrymen,—
  • First Senator. These words become your lips as they pass
    thorough them.
  • Second Senator. And enter in our ears like great triumphers
    In their applauding gates. 2485
  • Timon. Commend me to them,
    And tell them that, to ease them of their griefs,
    Their fears of hostile strokes, their aches, losses,
    Their pangs of love, with other incident throes
    That nature's fragile vessel doth sustain 2490
    In life's uncertain voyage, I will some kindness do them:
    I'll teach them to prevent wild Alcibiades' wrath.
  • Timon. I have a tree, which grows here in my close,
    That mine own use invites me to cut down, 2495
    And shortly must I fell it: tell my friends,
    Tell Athens, in the sequence of degree
    From high to low throughout, that whoso please
    To stop affliction, let him take his haste,
    Come hither, ere my tree hath felt the axe, 2500
    And hang himself. I pray you, do my greeting.
  • Flavius. Trouble him no further; thus you still shall find him.
  • Timon. Come not to me again: but say to Athens,
    Timon hath made his everlasting mansion
    Upon the beached verge of the salt flood; 2505
    Who once a day with his embossed froth
    The turbulent surge shall cover: thither come,
    And let my grave-stone be your oracle.
    Lips, let sour words go by and language end:
    What is amiss plague and infection mend! 2510
    Graves only be men's works and death their gain!
    Sun, hide thy beams! Timon hath done his reign.

[Retires to his cave]

  • First Senator. His discontents are unremoveably
    Coupled to nature. 2515
  • Second Senator. Our hope in him is dead: let us return,
    And strain what other means is left unto us
    In our dear peril.


. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 2

Before the walls of Athens.

      next scene .

[Enter two Senators and a Messenger]

  • First Senator. Thou hast painfully discover'd: are his files
    As full as thy report?
  • Messenger. have spoke the least:
    Besides, his expedition promises 2525
    Present approach.
  • Messenger. I met a courier, one mine ancient friend;
    Whom, though in general part we were opposed,
    Yet our old love made a particular force, 2530
    And made us speak like friends: this man was riding
    From Alcibiades to Timon's cave,
    With letters of entreaty, which imported
    His fellowship i' the cause against your city,
    In part for his sake moved. 2535

[Enter the Senators from TIMON]

  • Third Senator. No talk of Timon, nothing of him expect.
    The enemies' drum is heard, and fearful scouring
    Doth choke the air with dust: in, and prepare: 2540
    Ours is the fall, I fear; our foes the snare.


. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 3

The woods. Timon’s cave, and a rude tomb seen.

      next scene .

[Enter a Soldier, seeking TIMON]

  • Soldier. By all description this should be the place.
    Who's here? speak, ho! No answer! What is this? 2545
    Timon is dead, who hath outstretch'd his span:
    Some beast rear'd this; there does not live a man.
    Dead, sure; and this his grave. What's on this tomb
    I cannot read; the character I'll take with wax:
    Our captain hath in every figure skill, 2550
    An aged interpreter, though young in days:
    Before proud Athens he's set down by this,
    Whose fall the mark of his ambition is.


. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 4

Before the walls of Athens.


[Trumpets sound. Enter ALCIBIADES with his powers]

  • Alcibiades. Sound to this coward and lascivious town
    Our terrible approach.
    [A parley sounded]
    [Enter Senators on the walls]
    Till now you have gone on and fill'd the time 2560
    With all licentious measure, making your wills
    The scope of justice; till now myself and such
    As slept within the shadow of your power
    Have wander'd with our traversed arms and breathed
    Our sufferance vainly: now the time is flush, 2565
    When crouching marrow in the bearer strong
    Cries of itself 'No more:' now breathless wrong
    Shall sit and pant in your great chairs of ease,
    And pursy insolence shall break his wind
    With fear and horrid flight. 2570
  • First Senator. Noble and young,
    When thy first griefs were but a mere conceit,
    Ere thou hadst power or we had cause of fear,
    We sent to thee, to give thy rages balm,
    To wipe out our ingratitude with loves 2575
    Above their quantity.
  • Second Senator. So did we woo
    Transformed Timon to our city's love
    By humble message and by promised means:
    We were not all unkind, nor all deserve 2580
    The common stroke of war.
  • First Senator. These walls of ours
    Were not erected by their hands from whom
    You have received your griefs; nor are they such
    That these great towers, trophies and schools 2585
    should fall
    For private faults in them.
  • Second Senator. Nor are they living
    Who were the motives that you first went out;
    Shame that they wanted cunning, in excess 2590
    Hath broke their hearts. March, noble lord,
    Into our city with thy banners spread:
    By decimation, and a tithed death—
    If thy revenges hunger for that food
    Which nature loathes—take thou the destined tenth, 2595
    And by the hazard of the spotted die
    Let die the spotted.
  • First Senator. All have not offended;
    For those that were, it is not square to take
    On those that are, revenges: crimes, like lands, 2600
    Are not inherited. Then, dear countryman,
    Bring in thy ranks, but leave without thy rage:
    Spare thy Athenian cradle and those kin
    Which in the bluster of thy wrath must fall
    With those that have offended: like a shepherd, 2605
    Approach the fold and cull the infected forth,
    But kill not all together.
  • Second Senator. What thou wilt,
    Thou rather shalt enforce it with thy smile
    Than hew to't with thy sword. 2610
  • First Senator. Set but thy foot
    Against our rampired gates, and they shall ope;
    So thou wilt send thy gentle heart before,
    To say thou'lt enter friendly.
  • Second Senator. Throw thy glove, 2615
    Or any token of thine honour else,
    That thou wilt use the wars as thy redress
    And not as our confusion, all thy powers
    Shall make their harbour in our town, till we
    Have seal'd thy full desire. 2620
  • Alcibiades. Then there's my glove;
    Descend, and open your uncharged ports:
    Those enemies of Timon's and mine own
    Whom you yourselves shall set out for reproof
    Fall and no more: and, to atone your fears 2625
    With my more noble meaning, not a man
    Shall pass his quarter, or offend the stream
    Of regular justice in your city's bounds,
    But shall be render'd to your public laws
    At heaviest answer. 2630
  • Both. 'Tis most nobly spoken.

[The Senators descend, and open the gates]

[Enter Soldier]

  • Soldier. My noble general, Timon is dead; 2635
    Entomb'd upon the very hem o' the sea;
    And on his grave-stone this insculpture, which
    With wax I brought away, whose soft impression
    Interprets for my poor ignorance.
  • Alcibiades. [Reads the epitaph] 'Here lies a 2640
    wretched corse, of wretched soul bereft:
    Seek not my name: a plague consume you wicked
    caitiffs left!
    Here lie I, Timon; who, alive, all living men did hate:
    Pass by and curse thy fill, but pass and stay 2645
    not here thy gait.'
    These well express in thee thy latter spirits:
    Though thou abhorr'dst in us our human griefs,
    Scorn'dst our brain's flow and those our
    droplets which 2650
    From niggard nature fall, yet rich conceit
    Taught thee to make vast Neptune weep for aye
    On thy low grave, on faults forgiven. Dead
    Is noble Timon: of whose memory
    Hereafter more. Bring me into your city, 2655
    And I will use the olive with my sword,
    Make war breed peace, make peace stint war, make each
    Prescribe to other as each other's leech.
    Let our drums strike.