Timon of Athens - Act 3, scene 5
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Act 3, scene 5
Alcibiades pleads in vain before three Athenian senators for the life of one of his soldiers. Frustrated at being denied, he provokes the senators, who banish him from Athens.Enter three Senators at one door, Alcibiades meeting
them, with Attendants.
FIRST SENATOR, ⌜to the Second Senator⌝
1222 My lord, you have my voice to ’t. The fault’s
1223 Bloody. ’Tis necessary he should die.
1224 Nothing emboldens sin so much as mercy.
SECOND SENATOR 1225 Most true. The law shall bruise ’em.
1226 5 Honor, health, and compassion to the Senate!
FIRST SENATOR 1227 Now, captain?
1228 I am an humble suitor to your virtues,
1229 For pity is the virtue of the law,
1230 And none but tyrants use it cruelly.
1231 10 It pleases time and fortune to lie heavy
1232 Upon a friend of mine, who in hot blood
1233 Hath stepped into the law, which is past depth
1234 To those that without heed do plunge into ’t.
1235 He is a man—setting his fate aside—
1236 15 Of comely virtues.
1237 Nor did he soil the fact with cowardice—
1238 ⌜An⌝ honor in him which buys out his fault—
1239 But with a noble fury and fair spirit,
1240 Seeing his reputation touched to death,
1241 20 He did oppose his foe;
1242 And with such sober and unnoted passion
1243 He did ⌜behave⌝ his anger, ere ’twas spent,
1244 As if he had but proved an argument.
1245 You undergo too strict a paradox,
1246 25 Striving to make an ugly deed look fair.
1247 Your words have took such pains as if they labored
1248 To bring manslaughter into form and set quarreling
1249 Upon the head of valor—which indeed
1251 30 When sects and factions were newly born.
1252 He’s truly valiant that can wisely suffer
1253 The worst that man can breathe
1254 And make his wrongs his outsides,
1255 To wear them like his raiment, carelessly,
1256 35 And ne’er prefer his injuries to his heart
1257 To bring it into danger.
1258 If wrongs be evils and enforce us kill,
1259 What folly ’tis to hazard life for ill!
1260 My lord—
FIRST SENATOR 1261 40 You cannot make gross sins look clear.
1262 To revenge is no valor, but to bear.
1263 My lords, then, under favor, pardon me
1264 If I speak like a captain.
1265 Why do fond men expose themselves to battle
1266 45 And not endure all threats? Sleep upon ’t,
1267 And let the foes quietly cut their throats
1268 Without repugnancy? If there be
1269 Such valor in the bearing, what make we
1270 Abroad? Why, then, women are more valiant
1271 50 That stay at home, if bearing carry it,
1272 And the ass more captain than the lion, the ⌜felon⌝
1273 Loaden with irons wiser than the judge,
1274 If wisdom be in suffering. O my lords,
1275 As you are great, be pitifully good.
1276 55 Who cannot condemn rashness in cold blood?
1277 To kill, I grant, is sin’s extremest gust,
1278 But in defense, by mercy, ’tis most just.
1279 To be in anger is impiety,
1280 But who is man that is not angry?
1281 60 Weigh but the crime with this.
SECOND SENATOR 1282 You breathe in vain.
ALCIBIADES 1283 In vain? His service done
1285 Were a sufficient briber for his life.
FIRST SENATOR 1286 65What’s that?
1287 Why, ⌜I⌝ say, my lords, has done fair service
1288 And slain in fight many of your enemies.
1289 How full of valor did he bear himself
1290 In the last conflict, and made plenteous wounds!
1291 70 He has made too much plenty with ⌜’em.⌝
1292 He’s a sworn rioter. He has a sin
1293 That often drowns him and takes his valor prisoner.
1294 If there were no foes, that were enough
1295 To overcome him. In that beastly fury,
1296 75 He has been known to commit outrages
1297 And cherish factions. ’Tis inferred to us
1298 His days are foul and his drink dangerous.
1299 He dies.
ALCIBIADES 1300 Hard fate! He might have died in war.
1301 80 My lords, if not for any parts in him—
1302 Though his right arm might purchase his own time
1303 And be in debt to none—yet, more to move you,
1304 Take my deserts to his and join ’em both.
1305 And, for I know your reverend ages love
1306 85 Security, I’ll pawn my victories, all
1307 My honor, to you, upon his good returns.
1308 If by this crime he owes the law his life,
1309 Why, let the war receive ’t in valiant gore,
1310 For law is strict, and war is nothing more.
1311 90 We are for law. He dies. Urge it no more,
1312 On height of our displeasure. Friend or brother,
1313 He forfeits his own blood that spills another.
ALCIBIADES 1314 Must it be so? It must not be.
1315 My lords, I do beseech you, know me.
ALCIBIADES 1317 Call me to your remembrances.
THIRD SENATOR 1318 What?
1319 I cannot think but your age has forgot me.
1320 It could not else be I should prove so base
1321 100 To sue and be denied such common grace.
1322 My wounds ache at you.
FIRST SENATOR 1323 Do you dare our anger?
1324 ’Tis in few words, but spacious in effect:
1325 We banish thee forever.
ALCIBIADES 1326 105 Banish me?
1327 Banish your dotage, banish usury,
1328 That makes the Senate ugly!
1329 If after two days’ shine Athens contain thee,
1330 Attend our weightier judgment.
1331 110 And, not to swell our spirit,
1332 He shall be executed presently.⌜Senators⌝ exit.
1333 Now the gods keep you old enough that you may live
1334 Only in bone, that none may look on you!—
1335 I’m worse than mad. I have kept back their foes
1336 115 While they have told their money and let out
1337 Their coin upon large interest, I myself
1338 Rich only in large hurts. All those for this?
1339 Is this the balsam that the usuring Senate
1340 Pours into captains’ wounds? Banishment.
1341 120 It comes not ill. I hate not to be banished.
1342 It is a cause worthy my spleen and fury,
1343 That I may strike at Athens. I’ll cheer up
1344 My discontented troops and lay for hearts.
1345 ’Tis honor with most lands to be at odds.
1346 125 Soldiers should brook as little wrongs as gods.