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Timon of Athens - Act 1, scene 2
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Navigate this workTimon of Athens - Act 1, scene 2
Act 1, scene 2
Timon lavishly entertains friends and suitors with food and drink and a masque of Cupid and Amazons, and displays his bounty by refusing repayment of his loan to Ventidius and by giving his guests elaborate gifts. As counterpoint to Timon’s displays of generosity, Apemantus rails against the other guests’ flattery of Timon while Timon’s steward Flavius makes clear that Timon is spending money that he no longer possesses.Hautboys playing loud music. A great banquet served
in, and then enter Lord Timon, the States, the Athenian
Lords ⌜(including Lucius), Alcibiades, and⌝ Ventidius
(which Timon redeemed from prison). ⌜Flavius and others
are in attendance.⌝ Then comes dropping after all
Apemantus discontentedly like himself.
VENTIDIUS 0320 Most honored Timon,
0321 It hath pleased the gods to remember my father’s age
0322 And call him to long peace.
0323 He is gone happy and has left me rich.
0324 5 Then, as in grateful virtue I am bound
0325 To your free heart, I do return those talents,
0326 Doubled with thanks and service, from whose help
0327 I derived liberty.⌜He offers a purse.⌝
TIMON 0328 O, by no means,
0329 10 Honest Ventidius. You mistake my love.
0330 I gave it freely ever, and there’s none
0331 Can truly say he gives if he receives.
p. 310332 If our betters play at that game, we must not dare
0333 To imitate them. Faults that are rich are fair.
VENTIDIUS 0334 15A noble spirit!
0335 Nay, my lords, ceremony was but devised at first
0336 To set a gloss on faint deeds, hollow welcomes,
0337 Recanting goodness, sorry ere ’tis shown;
0338 But where there is true friendship, there needs none.
0339 20 Pray, sit. More welcome are you to my fortunes
0340 Than my fortunes to me.⌜They sit.⌝
FIRST LORD 0341 My lord, we always have confessed it.
0342 Ho, ho, “confessed it”? Hanged it, have you not?
TIMON 0343 O Apemantus, you are welcome.
APEMANTUS 0344 25No, you shall not make me welcome.
0345 I come to have thee thrust me out of doors.
0346 Fie, thou ’rt a churl. You’ve got a humor there
0347 Does not become a man. ’Tis much to blame.—
0348 They say, my lords, Ira furor brevis est, but yond
0349 30 man is ⌜ever⌝ angry. Go, let him have a table by
0350 himself, for he does neither affect company, nor is
0351 he fit for ’t indeed.
APEMANTUS 0352 Let me stay at thine apperil, Timon. I
0353 come to observe; I give thee warning on ’t.
TIMON 0354 35I take no heed of thee. Thou ’rt an Athenian,
0355 therefore welcome. I myself would have no power;
0356 prithee, let my meat make thee silent.
APEMANTUS 0357 I scorn thy meat. ’Twould choke me, for I
0358 should ne’er flatter thee. (⌜Apart.⌝) O you gods,
0359 40 what a number of men eats Timon, and he sees ’em
0360 not! It grieves me to see so many dip their meat in
0361 one man’s blood; and all the madness is, he cheers
0362 them up too.
0363 I wonder men dare trust themselves with men.
0364 45 Methinks they should invite them without knives.
p. 330365 Good for their meat, and safer for their lives.
0366 There’s much example for ’t. The fellow that sits
0367 next him, now parts bread with him, pledges the
0368 breath of him in a divided draft, is the readiest
0369 50 man to kill him. ’T ’as been proved. If I were a huge
0370 man, I should fear to drink at meals,
0371 Lest they should spy my wind-pipe’s dangerous
0373 Great men should drink with harness on their
0374 55 throats.
TIMON, ⌜responding to a toast⌝
0375 My lord, in heart! And let the health go round.
SECOND LORD 0376 Let it flow this way, my good lord.
APEMANTUS, ⌜apart⌝ 0377 “Flow this way”? A brave fellow.
0378 He keeps his tides well. Those healths will make
0379 60 thee and thy state look ill, Timon.
0380 Here’s that which is too weak to be a sinner,
0381 Honest water, which ne’er left man i’ th’ mire.
0382 This and my food are equals. There’s no odds.
0383 Feasts are too proud to give thanks to the gods.
0384 65 Immortal gods, I crave no pelf.
0385 I pray for no man but myself.
0386 Grant I may never prove so fond
0387 To trust man on his oath or bond,
0388 Or a harlot for her weeping,
0389 70 Or a dog that seems a-sleeping,
0390 Or a keeper with my freedom,
0391 Or my friends if I should need ’em.
0392 Amen. So fall to ’t.
0393 Rich men sin, and I eat root.
⌜He eats and drinks.⌝
0394 75 Much good dich thy good heart, Apemantus!
TIMON 0395 Captain Alcibiades, your heart’s in the field now.
ALCIBIADES 0396 My heart is ever at your service, my lord.
p. 35TIMON 0397 You had rather be at a breakfast of enemies
0398 than a dinner of friends.
ALCIBIADES 0399 80So they were bleeding new, my lord,
0400 there’s no meat like ’em. I could wish my best
0401 friend at such a feast.
APEMANTUS, ⌜apart⌝ 0402 Would all those flatterers were
0403 thine enemies, then, that then thou mightst kill
0404 85 ’em and bid me to ’em.
FIRST LORD 0405 Might we but have that happiness, my
0406 lord, that you would once use our hearts, whereby
0407 we might express some part of our zeals, we
0408 should think ourselves forever perfect.
TIMON 0409 90O, no doubt, my good friends, but the gods
0410 themselves have provided that I shall have much
0411 help from you. How had you been my friends else?
0412 Why have you that charitable title from thousands,
0413 did not you chiefly belong to my heart? I have told
0414 95 more of you to myself than you can with modesty
0415 speak in your own behalf. And thus far I confirm
0416 you. O you gods, think I, what need we have any
0417 friends if we should ne’er have need of ’em? They
0418 were the most needless creatures living, should we
0419 100 ne’er have use for ’em, and would most resemble
0420 sweet instruments hung up in cases, that keeps
0421 their sounds to themselves. Why, I have often
0422 wished myself poorer that I might come nearer to
0423 you. We are born to do benefits. And what better or
0424 105 properer can we call our own than the riches of
0425 our friends? O, what a precious comfort ’tis to
0426 have so many, like brothers, commanding one
0427 another’s fortunes. O, joy’s e’en made away ere ’t
0428 can be born! Mine eyes cannot hold out water,
0429 110 methinks. To forget their faults, I drink to you.
APEMANTUS, ⌜apart⌝ 0430 Thou weep’st to make them drink,
p. 37SECOND LORD
0432 Joy had the like conception in our eyes
0433 And, at that instant, like a babe sprung up.
0434 115 Ho, ho! I laugh to think that babe a bastard.
0435 I promise you, my lord, you moved me much.
APEMANTUS, ⌜apart⌝ 0436 Much!Sound tucket.
TIMON 0437 What means that trump?
0438 How now?
SERVANT 0439 120Please you, my lord, there are certain ladies
0440 most desirous of admittance.
TIMON 0441 Ladies? What are their wills?
SERVANT 0442 There comes with them a forerunner, my lord,
0443 which bears that office to signify their pleasures.
TIMON 0444 125I pray, let them be admitted.⌜Servant exits.⌝
0445 Hail to thee, worthy Timon, and to all
0446 That of his bounties taste! The five best senses
0447 Acknowledge thee their patron, and come freely
0448 To gratulate thy plenteous bosom. There
0449 130 Taste, touch, all, pleased from thy table rise;
0450 They only now come but to feast thine eyes.
0451 They’re welcome all. Let ’em have kind admittance.
0452 Music, make their welcome!
0453 You see, my lord, how ample you’re beloved.
⌜Music.⌝ Enter the masque of Ladies ⌜as⌝ Amazons,
with lutes in their hands, dancing and playing.
APEMANTUS, ⌜apart⌝ 0454 135Hoy-day!
p. 390455 What a sweep of vanity comes this way.
0456 They dance? They are madwomen.
0457 Like madness is the glory of this life
0458 As this pomp shows to a little oil and root.
0459 140 We make ourselves fools to disport ourselves
0460 And spend our flatteries to drink those men
0461 Upon whose age we void it up again
0462 With poisonous spite and envy.
0463 Who lives that’s not depravèd or depraves?
0464 145 Who dies that bears not one spurn to their graves
0465 Of their friends’ gift?
0466 I should fear those that dance before me now
0467 Would one day stamp upon me. ’T ’as been done.
0468 Men shut their doors against a setting sun.
The Lords rise from table, with much adoring of Timon,
and to show their loves each single out an Amazon, and
all dance, men with women, a lofty strain or two to the
hautboys, and cease.
0469 150 You have done our pleasures much grace, fair ladies,
0470 Set a fair fashion on our entertainment,
0471 Which was not half so beautiful and kind.
0472 You have added worth unto ’t and luster,
0473 And entertained me with mine own device.
0474 155 I am to thank you for ’t.
0475 My lord, you take us even at the best.
APEMANTUS, ⌜apart⌝ 0476 Faith, for the worst is filthy and
0477 would not hold taking, I doubt me.
0478 Ladies, there is an idle banquet attends you.
0479 160 Please you to dispose yourselves.
ALL LADIES 0480 Most thankfully, my lord.
⌜Cupid and Ladies⌝ exit.
TIMON 0481 Flavius.
0482 My lord?
TIMON 0483 The little casket bring me hither.
FLAVIUS 0484 165Yes, my lord. (⌜Aside.⌝) More jewels yet?
0485 There is no crossing him in ’s humor;
0486 Else I should tell him well, i’ faith I should.
0487 When all’s spent, he’d be crossed then, an he could.
0488 ’Tis pity bounty had not eyes behind,
0489 170 That man might ne’er be wretched for his mind.
FIRST LORD 0490 Where be our men?
SERVANT 0491 Here, my lord, in readiness.
0492 Our horses.
Enter Flavius, ⌜with the casket.⌝
TIMON 0493 O my friends, I have one word
0494 175 To say to you. Look you, my good lord,
0495 I must entreat you, honor me so much
0496 As to advance this jewel. Accept it and wear it,
0497 Kind my lord.
0498 I am so far already in your gifts—
ALL 0499 180So are we all.
Enter a Servant.
0500 My lord, there are certain nobles of the Senate
0501 Newly alighted and come to visit you.
0502 They are fairly welcome.⌜Servant exits.⌝
FLAVIUS 0503 I beseech your Honor,
0504 185 Vouchsafe me a word. It does concern you near.
0505 Near? Why, then, another time I’ll hear thee.
p. 430506 I prithee, let’s be provided to show them
FLAVIUS, ⌜aside⌝ 0508 I scarce know how.
Enter another Servant.
0509 190 May it please your Honor, Lord Lucius,
0510 Out of his free love, hath presented to you
0511 Four milk-white horses trapped in silver.
0512 I shall accept them fairly. Let the presents
0513 Be worthily entertained.⌜Servant exits.⌝
Enter a third Servant.
0514 195 How now? What news?
THIRD SERVANT 0515 Please you, my lord, that honorable
0516 gentleman Lord Lucullus entreats your company
0517 tomorrow to hunt with him and has sent your
0518 Honor two brace of greyhounds.
0519 200 I’ll hunt with him; and let them be received,
0520 Not without fair reward.⌜Servant exits.⌝
FLAVIUS, ⌜aside⌝ 0521 What will this come to?
0522 He commands us to provide, and give great gifts,
0523 And all out of an empty coffer.
0524 205 Nor will he know his purse or yield me this—
0525 To show him what a beggar his heart is,
0526 Being of no power to make his wishes good.
0527 His promises fly so beyond his state
0528 That what he speaks is all in debt; he owes
0529 210 For ev’ry word. He is so kind that he
0530 Now pays interest for ’t. His land’s put to their books.
0531 Well, would I were gently put out of office
0532 Before I were forced out.
0533 Happier is he that has no friend to feed
p. 450534 215 Than such that do e’en enemies exceed.
0535 I bleed inwardly for my lord.He exits.
TIMON, ⌜to Lords⌝ 0536 You do yourselves much wrong.
0537 You bate too much of your own merits.
0538 (⌜Offering a gift.⌝) Here, my lord, a trifle of our love.
0539 220 With more than common thanks I will receive it.
THIRD LORD 0540 O, he’s the very soul of bounty!
TIMON 0541 And now I remember, my lord, you gave good
0542 words the other day of a bay courser I rode on. ’Tis
0543 yours because you liked it.
0544 225 O, I beseech you, pardon me, my lord, in that.
0545 You may take my word, my lord. I know no man
0546 Can justly praise but what he does affect.
0547 I weigh my friends’ affection with mine own.
0548 I’ll tell you true, I’ll call to you.
ALL LORDS 0549 230O, none so welcome.
0550 I take all and your several visitations
0551 So kind to heart, ’tis not enough to give.
0552 Methinks I could deal kingdoms to my friends
0553 And ne’er be weary.—Alcibiades,
0554 235 Thou art a soldier, therefore seldom rich.
0555 It comes in charity to thee, for all thy living
0556 Is ’mongst the dead, and all the lands thou hast
0557 Lie in a pitched field.
ALCIBIADES 0558 Ay, defiled land, my lord.
FIRST LORD 0559 240We are so virtuously bound—
TIMON 0560 And so am I to you.
SECOND LORD 0561 So infinitely endeared—
TIMON 0562 All to you.—Lights, more lights.
0563 The best of happiness, honor, and fortunes
0564 245 Keep with you, Lord Timon.
p. 47TIMON 0565 Ready for his friends.
⌜All but Timon and Apemantus⌝ exit.
APEMANTUS 0566 What a coil’s here,
0567 Serving of becks and jutting-out of bums!
0568 I doubt whether their legs be worth the sums
0569 250 That are given for ’em. Friendship’s full of dregs.
0570 Methinks false hearts should never have sound legs.
0571 Thus honest fools lay out their wealth on court’sies.
0572 Now, Apemantus, if thou wert not sullen,
0573 I would be good to thee.
APEMANTUS 0574 255No, I’ll nothing, for if I should be bribed
0575 too, there would be none left to rail upon thee, and
0576 then thou wouldst sin the faster. Thou giv’st so
0577 long, Timon, I fear me thou wilt give away thyself
0578 in paper shortly. What needs these feasts, pomps,
0579 260 and vainglories?
TIMON 0580 Nay, an you begin to rail on society once, I am
0581 sworn not to give regard to you. Farewell, and
0582 come with better music.He exits.
APEMANTUS 0583 So. Thou wilt not hear me now, thou shalt
0584 265 not then. I’ll lock thy heaven from thee.
0585 O, that men’s ears should be
0586 To counsel deaf, but not to flattery!