Timon of Athens - Act 2, scene 2
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Act 2, scene 2
Servants of Timon’s creditors gather and confront Timon, demanding immediate repayment of loans. Learning that he is bankrupt, Timon dispatches his own servants to seek large sums of money from his friends.Enter Steward ⌜Flavius,⌝ with many bills in his hand.
0625 No care, no stop, so senseless of expense
0626 That he will neither know how to maintain it
0627 Nor cease his flow of riot. Takes no account
0628 How things go from him nor ⌜resumes⌝ no care
0629 5 Of what is to continue. Never mind
0630 Was to be so unwise to be so kind.
0631 What shall be done? He will not hear till feel.
0632 I must be round with him, now he comes from
0634 10 Fie, fie, fie, fie!
0635 Good even, Varro. What, you come for money?
⌜VARRO’S MAN⌝ 0636 Is ’t not your business too?
CAPHIS 0637 It is. And yours too, Isidore?
⌜ISIDORE’S MAN⌝ 0638 It is so.
CAPHIS 0639 15Would we were all discharged!
⌜VARRO’S MAN⌝ 0640 I fear it.
CAPHIS 0641 Here comes the lord.
Enter Timon, and his train, ⌜with Alcibiades.⌝
0642 So soon as dinner’s done we’ll forth again,
0643 My Alcibiades. (⌜To Caphis.⌝) With me? What is your
0644 20 will?
CAPHIS, ⌜offering Timon a paper⌝
0645 My lord, here is a note of certain dues.
TIMON 0646 Dues? Whence are you?
CAPHIS 0647 Of Athens here, my lord.
TIMON 0648 Go to my steward.
0649 25 Please it your Lordship, he hath put me off
0650 To the succession of new days this month.
0651 My master is awaked by great occasion
0652 To call upon his own and humbly prays you
0653 That with your other noble parts you’ll suit
0654 30 In giving him his right.
TIMON 0655 Mine honest friend,
0656 I prithee but repair to me next morning.
0657 Nay, good my lord—
TIMON 0658 Contain thyself, good friend.
⌜VARRO’S MAN, offering a paper⌝ 0659 35One Varro’s servant,
0660 my good lord—
0661 From Isidore. He humbly prays your speedy
0663 If you did know, my lord, my master’s wants—
0664 40 ’Twas due on forfeiture, my lord, six weeks and past.
0665 Your steward puts me off, my lord, and I
0666 Am sent expressly to your Lordship.
TIMON 0667 Give me breath.—
0668 I do beseech you, good my lords, keep on.
0669 45 I’ll wait upon you instantly.
⌜Alcibiades and Timon’s train exit.⌝
⌜To Flavius.⌝ 0670 Come hither. Pray you,
0671 How goes the world that I am thus encountered
0672 With clamorous demands of debt, broken bonds,
0673 And the detention of long-since-due debts
0674 50 Against my honor?
FLAVIUS, ⌜to the creditors’ Men⌝ 0675 Please you, gentlemen,
0676 The time is unagreeable to this business.
0677 Your importunacy cease till after dinner,
0678 That I may make his Lordship understand
0679 55 Wherefore you are not paid.
TIMON 0680 Do so, my friends.—
0681 See them well entertained.
FLAVIUS 0682 Pray, draw near.
⌜Timon and Flavius⌝ exit.
Enter Apemantus and Fool.
CAPHIS 0683 Stay, stay, here comes the Fool with Apemantus.
0684 60 Let’s ha’ some sport with ’em.
⌜VARRO’S MAN⌝ 0685 Hang him! He’ll abuse us.
⌜ISIDORE’S MAN⌝ 0686 A plague upon him, dog!
⌜VARRO’S MAN⌝ 0687 How dost, Fool?
APEMANTUS 0688 Dost dialogue with thy shadow?
⌜VARRO’S MAN⌝ 0689 65I speak not to thee.
⌜ISIDORE’S MAN, to Varro’s Man⌝ 0692 There’s the fool hangs
0693 on your back already.
APEMANTUS 0694 70No, thou stand’st single; thou ’rt not on
0695 him yet.
CAPHIS, ⌜to Isidore’s Man⌝ 0696 Where’s the fool now?
APEMANTUS 0697 He last asked the question. Poor rogues
0698 and usurers’ men, bawds between gold and want.
ALL ⌜THE MEN⌝ 0699 75What are we, Apemantus?
APEMANTUS 0700 Asses.
ALL ⌜THE MEN⌝ 0701 Why?
APEMANTUS 0702 That you ask me what you are, and do not
0703 know yourselves.—Speak to ’em, Fool.
FOOL 0704 80How do you, gentlemen?
ALL ⌜THE MEN⌝ 0705 Gramercies, good Fool. How does your
FOOL 0707 She’s e’en setting on water to scald such chickens
0708 as you are. Would we could see you at Corinth!
APEMANTUS 0709 85Good. Gramercy.
FOOL 0710 Look you, here comes my master’s page.
PAGE, ⌜to Fool⌝ 0711 Why, how now, captain? What do you in
0712 this wise company?—How dost thou, Apemantus?
APEMANTUS 0713 Would I had a rod in my mouth that I
0714 90 might answer thee profitably.
PAGE 0715 Prithee, Apemantus, read me the superscription
0716 of these letters. I know not which is which.
⌜He shows some papers.⌝
APEMANTUS 0717 Canst not read?
PAGE 0718 No.
APEMANTUS 0719 95There will little learning die, then, that
0720 day thou art hanged. This is to Lord Timon, this to
0721 Alcibiades. Go. Thou wast born a bastard, and
0722 thou ’lt die a bawd.
0724 100 a dog’s death. Answer not. I am gone.He exits.
APEMANTUS 0725 E’en so thou outrunn’st grace.—Fool, I
0726 will go with you to Lord Timon’s.
FOOL 0727 Will you leave me there?
APEMANTUS 0728 If Timon stay at home.—You three serve
0729 105 three usurers?
ALL ⌜THE MEN⌝ 0730 Ay. Would they served us!
APEMANTUS 0731 So would I—as good a trick as ever hangman
0732 served thief.
FOOL 0733 Are you three usurers’ men?
ALL ⌜THE MEN⌝ 0734 110Ay, fool.
FOOL 0735 I think no usurer but has a fool to his servant.
0736 My mistress is one, and I am her Fool. When men
0737 come to borrow of your masters, they approach
0738 sadly and go away merry, but they enter my master’s
0739 115 house merrily and go away sadly. The reason
0740 of this?
⌜VARRO’S MAN⌝ 0741 I could render one.
APEMANTUS 0742 Do it then, that we may account thee a
0743 whoremaster and a knave, which notwithstanding,
0744 120 thou shalt be no less esteemed.
⌜VARRO’S MAN⌝ 0745 What is a whoremaster, fool?
FOOL 0746 A fool in good clothes, and something like thee.
0747 ’Tis a spirit; sometime ’t appears like a lord, sometime
0748 like a lawyer, sometime like a philosopher,
0749 125 with two stones more than ’s artificial one. He is
0750 very often like a knight, and generally in all shapes
0751 that man goes up and down in from fourscore to
0752 thirteen, this spirit walks in.
⌜VARRO’S MAN⌝ 0753 Thou art not altogether a Fool.
FOOL 0754 130Nor thou altogether a wise man. As much foolery
0755 as I have, so much wit thou lack’st.
APEMANTUS 0756 That answer might have become Apemantus.
ALL ⌜THE MEN⌝ 0757 Aside, aside! Here comes Lord Timon.
APEMANTUS 0758 Come with me, fool, come.
FOOL 0759 135I do not always follow lover, elder brother, and
0760 woman; sometime the philosopher.
⌜Apemantus and the Fool exit.⌝
FLAVIUS, ⌜to the creditors’ Men⌝
0761 Pray you, walk near. I’ll speak with you anon.
⌜The Men⌝ exit.
0762 You make me marvel wherefore ere this time
0763 Had you not fully laid my state before me,
0764 140 That I might so have rated my expense
0765 As I had leave of means.
FLAVIUS 0766 You would not hear me.
0767 At many leisures I ⌜proposed⌝—
TIMON 0768 Go to.
0769 145 Perchance some single vantages you took
0770 When my indisposition put you back,
0771 And that unaptness made your minister
0772 Thus to excuse yourself.
FLAVIUS 0773 O, my good lord,
0774 150 At many times I brought in my accounts,
0775 Laid them before you. You would throw them off
0776 And say you ⌜found⌝ them in mine honesty.
0777 When for some trifling present you have bid me
0778 Return so much, I have shook my head and wept—
0779 155 Yea, ’gainst th’ authority of manners prayed you
0780 To hold your hand more close. I did endure
0781 Not seldom nor no slight checks when I have
0782 Prompted you in the ebb of your estate
0783 And your great flow of debts. My lovèd lord,
0784 160 Though you hear now too late, yet now’s a time.
0785 The greatest of your having lacks a half
0786 To pay your present debts.
TIMON 0787 Let all my land be sold.
0788 ’Tis all engaged, some forfeited and gone,
0789 165 And what remains will hardly stop the mouth
0790 Of present dues. The future comes apace.
0791 What shall defend the interim? And at length
0792 How goes our reck’ning?
0793 To Lacedaemon did my land extend.
0794 170 O my good lord, the world is but a word.
0795 Were it all yours to give it in a breath,
0796 How quickly were it gone!
TIMON 0797 You tell me true.
0798 If you suspect my husbandry ⌜of⌝ falsehood,
0799 175 Call me before th’ exactest auditors,
0800 And set me on the proof. So the gods bless me,
0801 When all our offices have been oppressed
0802 With riotous feeders, when our vaults have wept
0803 With drunken spilth of wine, when every room
0804 180 Hath blazed with lights and brayed with minstrelsy,
0805 I have retired me to a wasteful cock
0806 And set mine eyes at flow.
TIMON 0807 Prithee, no more.
0808 Heavens, have I said, the bounty of this lord!
0809 185 How many prodigal bits have slaves and peasants
0810 This night englutted. Who is not Timon’s?
0811 What heart, head, sword, force, means, but is Lord
0813 Great Timon, noble, worthy, royal Timon!
0814 190 Ah, when the means are gone that buy this praise,
0815 The breath is gone whereof this praise is made.
0816 Feast-won, fast-lost. One cloud of winter showers,
0817 These flies are couched.
TIMON 0818 Come, sermon me no further.
0820 Unwisely, not ignobly, have I given.
0821 Why dost thou weep? Canst thou the conscience lack
0822 To think I shall lack friends? Secure thy heart.
0823 If I would broach the vessels of my love
0824 200 And try the argument of hearts by borrowing,
0825 Men and men’s fortunes could I frankly use
0826 As I can bid thee speak.
FLAVIUS 0827 Assurance bless your thoughts!
0828 And in some sort these wants of mine are crowned,
0829 205 That I account them blessings. For by these
0830 Shall I try friends. You shall perceive how you
0831 Mistake my fortunes. I am wealthy in my friends.—
0832 Within there! ⌜Flaminius!⌝—Servilius!
Enter three Servants, ⌜Flaminius, Servilius, and another.⌝
SERVANTS 0833 My lord, my lord.
TIMON 0834 210I will dispatch you severally. (⌜To Servilius⌝)
0835 You to Lord Lucius, (⌜to Flaminius⌝) to Lord
0836 Lucullus you—I hunted with his Honor today; (⌜to
the third Servant⌝) 0837 you to Sempronius. Commend
0838 me to their loves, and I am proud, say, that my
0839 215 occasions have found time to use ’em toward a
0840 supply of money. Let the request be fifty talents.
FLAMINIUS 0841 As you have said, my lord.⌜Servants exit.⌝
FLAVIUS, ⌜aside⌝ 0842 Lord Lucius and Lucullus? Humh!
TIMON 0843 Go you, sir, to the Senators,
0844 220 Of whom, even to the state’s best health, I have
0845 Deserved this hearing. Bid ’em send o’ th’ instant
0846 A thousand talents to me.
FLAVIUS 0847 I have been bold—
0848 For that I knew it the most general way—
0849 225 To them to use your signet and your name,
0850 But they do shake their heads, and I am here
0851 No richer in return.
0853 They answer in a joint and corporate voice
0854 230 That now they are at fall, want treasure, cannot
0855 Do what they would, are sorry. You are honorable,
0856 But yet they could have wished—they know not—
0857 Something hath been amiss—a noble nature
0858 May catch a wrench—would all were well—’tis pity.
0859 235 And so, intending other serious matters,
0860 After distasteful looks and these hard fractions,
0861 With certain half-caps and cold-moving nods
0862 They froze me into silence.
TIMON 0863 You gods, reward them!
0864 240 Prithee, man, look cheerly. These old fellows
0865 Have their ingratitude in them hereditary.
0866 Their blood is caked, ’tis cold, it seldom flows;
0867 ’Tis lack of kindly warmth they are not kind;
0868 And nature, as it grows again toward earth,
0869 245 Is fashioned for the journey, dull and heavy.
0870 Go to Ventidius. Prithee, be not sad.
0871 Thou art true and honest—ingeniously I speak—
0872 No blame belongs to thee. Ventidius lately
0873 Buried his father, by whose death he’s stepped
0874 250 Into a great estate. When he was poor,
0875 Imprisoned, and in scarcity of friends,
0876 I cleared him with five talents. Greet him from me.
0877 Bid him suppose some good necessity
0878 Touches his friend, which craves to be remembered
0879 255 With those five talents. That had, give ’t these fellows
0880 To whom ’tis instant due. Ne’er speak or think
0881 That Timon’s fortunes ’mong his friends can sink.
FLAVIUS 0882 I would I could not think it.
0883 That thought is bounty’s foe;
0884 260 Being free itself, it thinks all others so.