Front Page Titles (by Subject) ACT III. - Timon of Athens
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ACT III. - William Shakespeare, Timon of Athens 
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (The Oxford Shakespeare), ed. with a glossary by W.J. Craig M.A. (Oxford University Press, 1916).
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Athens. A Room inLucullus’ House.
Flaminiuswaiting. Enter a Servant to him.
I have told my lord of you; he is coming down to you.
I thank you, sir.
Here’s my lord.
[Aside.] One of Lord Timon’s men! a gift, I warrant. Why, this hits right; I dreamt of a silver bason and ewer to-night. Flaminius, honest Flaminius, you are very respectively welcome, sir. Fill me some wine. [Exit Servant.] And how does that honourable, complete, free-hearted gentleman of Athens, thy very bountiful good lord and master?
His health is well, sir.
I am right glad that his health is well, sir. And what hast thou there under thy cloak, pretty 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 use fifty talents, hath sent to your lordship to furnish him, nothing doubting your present assistance therein.
La, la, la, la! ‘nothing doubting,’ says he? Alas! good lord; a noble gentleman ’tis, if he would not 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 is his; I ha’ told him on’t, but I could ne’er get him from it.
Re-enter Servant with wine.
Please your lordship, here is the wine.
Flaminius, I have noted thee always wise. Here’s to thee.
Your lordship speaks your pleasure.
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. [To the Servant.]—Get you gone, sirrah.—[Exit Servant.] Draw nearer, honest Flaminius. Thy lord’s a bountiful gentleman; but thou art wise, and thou 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.
Is’t possible the world should so much differ,
And we alive that liv’d? Fly, damned baseness,
To him that worships thee.
[Throwing the money away.
Ha! now I see thou art a fool, and fit for thy master.
May these add to the number that may scald thee!
Let molten coin be thy damnation,
Thou disease of a friend, and not himself!
Has friendship such a faint and milky heart
It turns in less than two nights? O you gods!
I feel my 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?
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.
The Same. A Public Place.
EnterLucius,with three Strangers.
Who, the Lord Timon? he is my very good friend, and an honourable gentleman.
We know him for no less, though we are but strangers to him. But I can tell you one thing, my lord, and which I hear from common rumours: now Lord Timon’s happy hours are done and past, and his estate shrinks from him.
Fie, no, do not believe it; he cannot want for money.
But believe you this, my lord, that, not long ago, 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.
I tell you, denied, my lord.
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, 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.
See, by good hap, yonder’s my lord; I have sweat to see his honour. [ToLucius.] My honoured lord!
Servilius! you are kindly met, sir. Fare thee well: commend me to thy honourable virtuous lord, my very exquisite friend.
May it please your honour, my lord hath sent—
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?
He has only sent his present occasion now, my lord; requesting your lordship to supply his instant use with so many talents.
I know his lordship is but merry with me;
He cannot want fifty-five hundred talents.
But in the mean time he wants less, my lord.
If his occasion were not virtuous,
I should not urge it half so faithfully.
Dost thou speak seriously, Servilius?
Upon my soul, ’tis true, sir.
What a wicked beast was I to disfurnish myself 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 honour! Servilius, now, before the gods, I am not able to do; the more 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 it now. Commend me bountifully to his good lordship; and I hope his honour will conceive the fairest of me, 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?
Yes, sir, I shall.
I’ll look you out a good turn, Servilius.
True, as you said, Timon is shrunk indeed;
And he that’s once denied will hardly speed.
Do you observe this, Hostilius?
Ay, too well.
Why this is the world’s soul; and just of the same piece
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
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,
What charitable men afford to beggars.
Religion groans at it.
For mine own part,
I never tasted Timon in my life,
Nor came any of his bounties over me,
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,
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.
The Same. A Room inSempronius’sHouse.
EnterSemproniusand a Servant ofTimon’s.
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,
Whom he redeem’d from prison: all these
Owe their estates unto him.
They have all been touch’d and found base metal, for
They have all denied him.
How! have they denied him?
Have 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 physicians,
Thrice give him over; must I take the cure upon me?
He has much disgrac’d me in ’t; I’m angry at him,
That might have known my place. I see no sense for ’t,
But his occasions might have woo’d me first;
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 it last? No:
So it may prove an argument of laughter
To the rest, and I ’mongst lords be thought a fool.
I had rather than the worth of thrice the sum,
He 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;
Who bates mine honour shall not know my coin.
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 think but in the end the villanies 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 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
Now to guard sure their master:
And this is all a liberal course allows;
Who cannot keep his wealth must keep his house.
The Same. A Hall inTimon’sHouse.
Enter two Servants ofVarro,and the Servant ofLucius,meetingTitus, Hortensius,and other Servants toTimon’sCreditors, waiting his coming out.
First Var. Serv.
Well met; good morrow, Titus and Hortensius.
The like to you, kind Varro.
What! do we meet together!
Ay, and I think
One business does command us all; for mine
So is theirs and ours.
And Sir Philotus too!
Good day at once.
Welcome, good brother.
What do you think the hour?
Labouring for nine.
Is not my lord seen yet?
I wonder on ’t; he was wont to shine at seven.
Ay, but the days are waxed shorter with him:
You must consider that a prodigal course
Is like the sun’s; but not, like his, recoverable.
’Tis deepest winter in Lord Timon’s purse;
That is, one may reach deep enough, and yet
I am of your fear for that.
I’ll show you how to observe a strange event.
Your lord sends now for money.
Most true, he does.
And he wears jewels now of Timon’s gift,
For which I wait for money.
It is against my heart.
Mark, how strange it shows,
Timon in this should pay more than he owes:
And e’en as if your lord should wear rich jewels,
And send for money for ’em.
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.
First Var. Serv.
Yes, mine’s three thousand crowns; what’s yours?
Five thousand mine.
First Var. Serv.
’Tis much deep: and it should seem by the sum,
Your master’s confidence was above mine;
Else, surely, his had equall’d.
One of Lord Timon’s men.
Flaminius! Sir, a word. Pray, is my lord ready to come forth?
No, indeed, he is not.
We attend his lordship; pray, signify so much.
I need not tell him that; he knows you are too diligent.
EnterFlaviusin a cloak, muffled.
Ha! is not that his steward muffled so?
He goes away in a cloud: call him, call him.
Do you hear, sir?
Sec. Var. Serv.
By your leave, sir.
What do you ask of me, my friend?
We wait for certain money here, sir.
If money were as certain as your waiting,
’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 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.
Ay, but this answer will not serve.
If ’twill not serve, ’tis not so base as you;
For you serve knaves.
First Var. Serv.
How! what does his cashiered worship mutter?
Sec. Var. Serv.
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 great buildings.
O! here’s Servilius; now we shall know some answer.
If I might beseech you, gentlemen, to repair some other hour, I should derive much from ’t; for, 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.
Many do keep their chambers are not sick:
And, if it be so far beyond his health,
Methinks he should the sooner pay his debts,
And make a clear way to the gods.
We cannot take this for answer, sir.
[Within.] Servilius, help! my lord! my lord!
EnterTimon,in a rage;Flaminiusfollowing.
What! are my doors oppos’d 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,
Like all mankind, show me an iron heart?
Put in now, Titus.
My lord, here is my bill.
And mine, my lord.
Both Var. Serv.
And ours, my lord.
All our bills.
Knock me down with ’em: cleave me to the girdle.
Alas! my lord,—
Cut my heart in sums.
Mine, fifty talents.
Tell out my blood.
Five thousand crowns, my lord.
Five thousand drops pays that. What yours? and yours?
First Var. Serv.
Sec. Var. Serv.
Tear me, take me; and the gods fall upon you!
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.
They have e’en put my breath from me, the slaves:
My dear lord,—
What if it should be so?
I’ll have it so. My steward!
Here, my lord.
So fitly! Go, bid all my friends again,
Lucius, Lucullus, and Sempronius; all:
I’ll once more feast the rascals.
O my lord!
You only speak from your distracted soul;
There is not so much left to furnish out
A moderate table.
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.
The Same. The Senate House.
The Senate sitting.
My lord, you have my voice to it; the fault’s
Bloody; ’tis necessary he should die;
Nothing emboldens sin so much as mercy.
Most true; the law shall bruise him.
Honour, health, and compassion to the senate!
I am a humble suitor to your virtues;
For pity is the virtue of the law,
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 to plunge into ’t.
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,
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 prov’d an argument.
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
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, carelessly,
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!
You cannot make gross sins look clear;
To revenge is no valour, but to bear.
My lords, then, under favour, pardon me,
If I speak like a captain.
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
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!
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;
But who is man that is not angry?
Weigh but the crime with this.
You breathe in vain.
In vain! his service done
At Lacedæmon and Byzantium
Were a sufficient briber for his life.
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
In the last conflict, and made plenteous wounds!
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
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.
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;
And, for I know your reverend ages love
Security, I’ll pawn my victories, all
My honour 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;
For law is strict, and war is nothing more.
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.
Must it be so? it must not be. My lords,
I do beseech you, know me.
Call me to your remembrances.
I cannot think but your age has forgot me;
It could not else be I should prove so base,
To sue, and be denied such common grace.
My wounds ache at you.
Do you dare our anger?
’Tis in few words, but spacious in effect;
We banish thee for ever.
Banish your dotage; banish usury,
That makes the senate ugly.
If, after two days’ shine, Athens contain thee,
Attend our weightier judgment. And, not to swell our spirit,
He shall be executed presently.
Now the gods keep you old enough; that you may live
Only in bone, that none may look on you!
I am 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?
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
My discontented troops, and lay for hearts.
’Tis honour with most lands to be at odds;
Soldiers should brook as little wrongs as gods.
The Same. A Room of State inTimon’sHouse.
Music. Tables set out: Servants attending. Enter divers Lords, Senators, and Others, at several doors.
The good time of day to you, sir.
I also wish it you. I think this honourable lord did but try us this other day.
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.
It should not be, by the persuasion of his new feasting.
I should think so: he hath sent me an earnest inviting, which many my near occasions did urge me to put off; but he hath conjured me beyond them, and I must needs appear.
In like manner was I in debt to my importunate business, but he would not hear my excuse. I am sorry, when he sent to borrow of me, that my provision was out.
I am sick of that grief too, as I understand how all things go.
Every man here’s so. What would he have borrowed you?
A thousand pieces.
A thousand pieces!
What of you?
He sent to me, sir,—Here he comes.
With all my heart, gentlemen both; and how fare you?
Ever at the best, hearing well of your lordship.
The swallow follows not summer more willing than we your lordship.
[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.
I hope it remains not unkindly with your lordship that I returned you an empty messenger.
O! sir, let it not trouble you.
My noble lord,—
Ah! my good friend, what cheer?
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.
Think not on ’t, sir.
If you had sent but two hours before,—
Let it not cumber your better remembrance. [The banquet brought in.] Come, bring in all together.
All covered dishes!
Royal cheer, I warrant you.
Doubt not that, if money and the season can yield it.
How do you? What’s the news?
Alcibiades is banished: hear you of it?
’Tis so, be sure of it.
I pray you, upon what?
My worthy friends, will you draw near?
I’ll tell you more anon. Here’s a noble feast toward.
This is the old man still.
Will’t hold? will’t hold?
It does; but time will—and so—
I do conceive.
Each man to his stool, with that spur as he would to 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 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 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, 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.
Uncover, dogs, and lap.
[The dishes uncovered are full of warm water.
What does his lordship mean?
I know not.
May you a better feast never behold,
You knot of mouth-friends! 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
[Throwing the water in their faces.
Your reeking villany. Live loath’d, and long,
Most smiling, smooth, detested parasites,
Courteous destroyers, affable wolves, meek bears,
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;—
Stay, I will lend thee money, borrow none.
[Throws the dishes at them.
What! all in motion? Henceforth be no feast,
Whereat a villain’s not a welcome guest.
Burn, house! sink, Athens! henceforth hated be
Of Timon man and all humanity!
Re-enter the Lords, Senators, &c.
How now, my lords!
Know you the quality of Lord Timon’s fury?
Push! did you see my cap?
I have lost my gown.
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?
Did you see my cap?
Here lies my gown.
Let’s make no stay.
Lord Timon’s mad.
I feel ’t upon my bones.
One day he gives us diamonds, next day stones.