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Timon of Athens - Act 3, scene 2
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Navigate this workTimon of Athens - Act 3, scene 2
Act 3, scene 2
Timon’s servant Servilius approaches Timon’s friend Lucius for money and is refused. Three strangers condemn the ingratitude of Timon’s “friends” and praise Timon’s goodness.Enter Lucius, with three Strangers.
LUCIUS 0952 Who, the Lord Timon? He is my very good
0953 friend and an honorable gentleman.
FIRST STRANGER 0954 We know him for no less, though we
0955 are but strangers to him. But I can tell you one
0956 5 thing, my lord, and which I hear from common
0957 rumors: now Lord Timon’s happy hours are done
0958 and past, and his estate shrinks from him.
LUCIUS 0959 Fie, no, do not believe it. He cannot want for
SECOND STRANGER 0961 10But believe you this, my lord, that
0962 not long ago one of his men was with the Lord
0963 Lucullus to borrow ⌜fifty⌝ talents, nay, urged
0964 extremely for ’t, and showed what necessity
0965 belonged to ’t, and yet was denied.
p. 79LUCIUS 0966 15How?
SECOND STRANGER 0967 I tell you, denied, my lord.
LUCIUS 0968 What a strange case was that! Now, before the
0969 gods, I am ashamed on ’t. Denied that honorable
0970 man? There was very little honor showed in ’t. For
0971 20 my own part, I must needs confess I have received
0972 some small kindnesses from him, as money, plate,
0973 jewels, and suchlike trifles, nothing comparing to
0974 his; yet had he mistook him and sent to me, I
0975 should ne’er have denied his occasion ⌜fifty⌝ talents.
SERVILIUS, ⌜aside⌝ 0976 25See, by good hap, yonder’s my lord.
0977 I have sweat to see his Honor. ⌜To Lucius.⌝ My
0978 honored lord.
LUCIUS 0979 Servilius. You are kindly met, sir. Fare thee
0980 well. Commend me to thy honorable virtuous lord,
0981 30 my very exquisite friend.⌜He turns to exit.⌝
SERVILIUS 0982 May it please your Honor, my lord hath
LUCIUS 0984 Ha! What has he sent? I am so much endeared
0985 to that lord; he’s ever sending. How shall I thank
0986 35 him, think’st thou? And what has he sent now?
SERVILIUS 0987 Has only sent his present occasion now, my
0988 lord, requesting your Lordship to supply his
0989 instant use with ⌜fifty⌝ talents.
0990 I know his Lordship is but merry with me.
0991 40 He cannot want fifty-five hundred talents.
0992 But in the meantime he wants less, my lord.
0993 If his occasion were not virtuous,
0994 I should not urge it half so faithfully.
0995 Dost thou speak seriously, Servilius?
SERVILIUS 0996 45Upon my soul, ’tis true, sir.
p. 81LUCIUS 0997 What a wicked beast was I to disfurnish
0998 myself against such a good time, when I might ha’
0999 shown myself honorable! How unluckily it happened
1000 that I should purchase the day before for a
1001 50 little part, and undo a great deal of honor! Servilius,
1002 now before the gods, I am not able to do—the
1003 more beast, I say!—I was sending to use Lord
1004 Timon myself, these gentlemen can witness; but I
1005 would not for the wealth of Athens I had done ’t
1006 55 now. Commend me bountifully to his good Lordship,
1007 and I hope his Honor will conceive the fairest
1008 of me, because I have no power to be kind. And tell
1009 him this from me: I count it one of my greatest
1010 afflictions, say, that I cannot pleasure such an honorable
1011 60 gentleman. Good Servilius, will you
1012 befriend me so far as to use mine own words to
SERVILIUS 1014 Yes, sir, I shall.
LUCIUS 1015 I’ll look you out a good turn, Servilius.
1016 65 True, as you said, Timon is shrunk indeed,
1017 And he that’s once denied will hardly speed.
FIRST STRANGER 1018 Do you observe this, Hostilius?
SECOND STRANGER 1019 Ay, too well.
1020 Why, this is the world’s soul, and just of the same
1021 70 piece
1022 Is every flatterer’s sport. Who can call him his friend
1023 That dips in the same dish? For, in my knowing,
1024 Timon has been this lord’s father
1025 And kept his credit with his purse,
1026 75 Supported his estate, nay, Timon’s money
1027 Has paid his men their wages. He ne’er drinks
1028 But Timon’s silver treads upon his lip.
1029 And yet—O, see the monstrousness of man
p. 831030 When he looks out in an ungrateful shape!—
1031 80 He does deny him, in respect of his,
1032 What charitable men afford to beggars.
1033 Religion groans at it.
FIRST STRANGER 1034 For mine own part,
1035 I never tasted Timon in my life,
1036 85 Nor came any of his bounties over me
1037 To mark me for his friend. Yet I protest,
1038 For his right noble mind, illustrious virtue,
1039 And honorable carriage,
1040 Had his necessity made use of me,
1041 90 I would have put my wealth into donation,
1042 And the best half should have returned to him,
1043 So much I love his heart. But I perceive
1044 Men must learn now with pity to dispense,
1045 For policy sits above conscience.