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Timon of Athens
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Navigate this workTimon of Athens
Act 5, scene 1
Timon is visited by the Poet and the Painter seeking the gold Timon is now rumored to possess. After he drives them away empty-handed, he receives a delegation of two Athenian senators, who plead in vain with him to return to Athens and rescue it from the approaching Alcibiades. Timon refuses and withdraws to die.Enter Poet and Painter.
PAINTER 2171 As I took note of the place, it cannot be far
2172 where he abides.
POET 2173 What’s to be thought of him? Does the rumor
2174 hold for true that he’s so full of gold?
PAINTER 2175 5Certain. Alcibiades reports it. Phrynia and
2176 Timandra had gold of him. He likewise enriched
2177 poor straggling soldiers with great quantity. ’Tis
2178 said he gave unto his steward a mighty sum.
POET 2179 Then this breaking of his has been but a try for
2180 10 his friends?
PAINTER 2181 Nothing else. You shall see him a palm in
2182 Athens again, and flourish with the highest. Therefore
2183 ’tis not amiss we tender our loves to him in
2184 this supposed distress of his. It will show honestly
2185 15 in us and is very likely to load our purposes with
2186 what they travail for, if it be a just and true report
2187 that goes of his having.
Enter Timon, ⌜behind them,⌝ from his cave.
POET 2188 What have you now to present unto him?
PAINTER 2189 Nothing at this time but my visitation. Only I
2190 20 will promise him an excellent piece.
POET 2191 I must serve him so too—tell him of an intent
2192 that’s coming toward him.
p. 165PAINTER 2193 Good as the best. Promising is the very air o’
2194 th’ time; it opens the eyes of expectation. Performance
2195 25 is ever the duller for his act, and but in the
2196 plainer and simpler kind of people the deed of saying
2197 is quite out of use. To promise is most courtly
2198 and fashionable. Performance is a kind of will or
2199 testament which argues a great sickness in his
2200 30 judgment that makes it.
TIMON, ⌜aside⌝ 2201 Excellent workman! Thou canst not
2202 paint a man so bad as is thyself.
POET 2203 I am thinking what I shall say I have provided
2204 for him. It must be a personating of himself, a
2205 35 satire against the softness of prosperity, with a discovery
2206 of the infinite flatteries that follow youth
2207 and opulency.
TIMON, ⌜aside⌝ 2208 Must thou needs stand for a villain in
2209 thine own work? Wilt thou whip thine own faults
2210 40 in other men? Do so. I have gold for thee.
POET 2211 Nay, let’s seek him.
2212 Then do we sin against our own estate
2213 When we may profit meet and come too late.
PAINTER 2214 True.
2215 45 When the day serves, before black-cornered night,
2216 Find what thou want’st by free and offered light.
2218 I’ll meet you at the turn. What a god’s gold
2219 That he is worshiped in a baser temple
2220 50 Than where swine feed!
2221 ’Tis thou that rigg’st the bark and plow’st the foam,
2222 Settlest admirèd reverence in a slave.
2223 To thee be ⌜worship,⌝ and thy saints for aye
2224 Be crowned with plagues, that thee alone obey!
2225 55 Fit I meet them.⌜He comes forward.⌝
2226 Hail, worthy Timon.
p. 167PAINTER 2227 Our late noble master.
2228 Have I once lived to see two honest men?
POET 2229 Sir,
2230 60 Having often of your open bounty tasted,
2231 Hearing you were retired, your friends fall’n off,
2232 Whose thankless natures—O, abhorrèd spirits!
2233 Not all the whips of heaven are large enough—
2234 What, to you,
2235 65 Whose starlike nobleness gave life and influence
2236 To their whole being? I am rapt and cannot cover
2237 The monstrous bulk of this ingratitude
2238 With any size of words.
2239 Let it go naked. Men may see ’t the better.
2240 70 You that are honest, by being what you are
2241 Make them best seen and known.
PAINTER 2242 He and myself
2243 Have travailed in the great shower of your gifts
2244 And sweetly felt it.
TIMON 2245 75 Ay, you are honest ⌜men.⌝
2246 We are hither come to offer you our service.
2247 Most honest men! Why, how shall I requite you?
2248 Can you eat roots and drink cold water? No?
2249 What we can do we’ll do to do you service.
2250 80 You’re honest men. You’ve heard that I have gold.
2251 I am sure you have. Speak truth. You’re honest men.
2252 So it is said, my noble lord, but therefor
2253 Came not my friend nor I.
2254 Good honest men. (⌜To the Painter.⌝) Thou draw’st a
2255 85 counterfeit
p. 1692256 Best in all Athens. Thou ’rt indeed the best.
2257 Thou counterfeit’st most lively.
PAINTER 2258 So-so, my lord.
2259 E’en so, sir, as I say. (⌜To the Poet.⌝) And for thy
2260 90 fiction,
2261 Why, thy verse swells with stuff so fine and smooth
2262 That thou art even natural in thine art.
2263 But for all this, my honest-natured friends,
2264 I must needs say you have a little fault.
2265 95 Marry, ’tis not monstrous in you, neither wish I
2266 You take much pains to mend.
BOTH 2267 Beseech your Honor
2268 To make it known to us.
TIMON 2269 You’ll take it ill.
BOTH 2270 100Most thankfully, my lord.
TIMON 2271 Will you indeed?
BOTH 2272 Doubt it not, worthy lord.
2273 There’s never a one of you but trusts a knave
2274 That mightily deceives you.
BOTH 2275 105 Do we, my lord?
2276 Ay, and you hear him cog, see him dissemble,
2277 Know his gross patchery, love him, feed him,
2278 Keep in your bosom. Yet remain assured
2279 That he’s a made-up villain.
PAINTER 2280 110I know none such, my lord.
POET 2281 Nor I.
2282 Look you, I love you well. I’ll give you gold.
2283 Rid me these villains from your companies,
2284 Hang them or stab them, drown them in a draft,
2285 115 Confound them by some course, and come to me,
2286 I’ll give you gold enough.
BOTH 2287 Name them, my lord, let ’s know them.
2288 You that way and you this, but two in company.
2289 Each man apart, all single and alone,
2290 120 Yet an archvillain keeps him company.
2291 (⌜To one.⌝) If where thou art, two villains shall not be,
2292 Come not near him. (⌜To the other.⌝) If thou wouldst
2293 not reside
2294 But where one villain is, then him abandon.—
2295 125 Hence, pack. There’s gold. You came for gold, you
2297 (⌜To one.⌝) You have work for me. There’s payment.
2299 (⌜To the other.⌝) You are an alchemist; make gold of
2300 130 that.
2301 Out, rascal dogs!
⌜Timon drives them out and then⌝ exits.
Enter Steward ⌜Flavius,⌝ and two Senators.
2302 It is vain that you would speak with Timon,
2303 For he is set so only to himself
2304 That nothing but himself which looks like man
2305 135 Is friendly with him.
FIRST SENATOR 2306 Bring us to his cave.
2307 It is our part and promise to th’ Athenians
2308 To speak with Timon.
SECOND SENATOR 2309 At all times alike
2310 140 Men are not still the same. ’Twas time and griefs
2311 That framed him thus. Time, with his fairer hand
2312 Offering the fortunes of his former days,
2313 The former man may make him. Bring us to him,
2314 And ⌜chance⌝ it as it may.
FLAVIUS 2315 145 Here is his cave.—
2316 Peace and content be here! Lord Timon! Timon!
2317 Look out, and speak to friends. Th’ Athenians
2318 By two of their most reverend Senate greet thee.
2319 Speak to them, noble Timon.
p. 173Enter Timon out of his cave.
2320 150 Thou sun that comforts, burn!—Speak and be
2322 For each true word a blister, and each false
2323 Be as a cauterizing to the root o’ th’ tongue,
2324 Consuming it with speaking.
FIRST SENATOR 2325 155 Worthy Timon—
2326 Of none but such as you, and you of Timon.
2327 The Senators of Athens greet thee, Timon.
2328 I thank them and would send them back the plague,
2329 Could I but catch it for them.
FIRST SENATOR 2330 160 O, forget
2331 What we are sorry for ourselves in thee.
2332 The Senators with one consent of love
2333 Entreat thee back to Athens, who have thought
2334 On special dignities which vacant lie
2335 165 For thy best use and wearing.
SECOND SENATOR 2336 They confess
2337 Toward thee forgetfulness too general gross;
2338 Which now the public body, which doth seldom
2339 Play the recanter, feeling in itself
2340 170 A lack of Timon’s aid, hath ⌜sense⌝ withal
2341 Of it own fall, restraining aid to Timon,
2342 And send forth us to make their sorrowed render,
2343 Together with a recompense more fruitful
2344 Than their offense can weigh down by the dram—
2345 175 Ay, even such heaps and sums of love and wealth
2346 As shall to thee blot out what wrongs were theirs
2347 And write in thee the figures of their love,
2348 Ever to read them thine.
TIMON 2349 You witch me in it,
p. 1752350 180 Surprise me to the very brink of tears.
2351 Lend me a fool’s heart and a woman’s eyes,
2352 And I’ll beweep these comforts, worthy senators.
2353 Therefore, so please thee to return with us
2354 And of our Athens, thine and ours, to take
2355 185 The captainship, thou shalt be met with thanks;
2356 Allowed with absolute power, and thy good name
2357 Live with authority. So soon we shall drive back
2358 Of Alcibiades th’ approaches wild,
2359 Who like a boar too savage doth root up
2360 190 His country’s peace.
SECOND SENATOR 2361 And shakes his threat’ning sword
2362 Against the walls of Athens.
FIRST SENATOR 2363 Therefore, Timon—
2364 Well sir, I will. Therefore I will, sir, thus:
2365 195 If Alcibiades kill my countrymen,
2366 Let Alcibiades know this of Timon—
2367 That Timon cares not. But if he sack fair Athens
2368 And take our goodly agèd men by th’ beards,
2369 Giving our holy virgins to the stain
2370 200 Of contumelious, beastly, mad-brained war,
2371 Then let him know, and tell him Timon speaks it
2372 In pity of our agèd and our youth,
2373 I cannot choose but tell him that I care not,
2374 And let him take ’t at worst—for their knives care not,
2375 205 While you have throats to answer. For myself,
2376 There’s not a whittle in th’ unruly camp
2377 But I do prize it at my love before
2378 The reverend’st throat in Athens. So I leave you
2379 To the protection of the prosperous gods
2380 210 As thieves to keepers.
FLAVIUS, ⌜to Senators⌝ 2381 Stay not. All’s in vain.
2382 Why, I was writing of my epitaph.
p. 1772383 It will be seen tomorrow. My long sickness
2384 Of health and living now begins to mend,
2385 215 And nothing brings me all things. Go, live still.
2386 Be Alcibiades your plague, you his,
2387 And last so long enough!
FIRST SENATOR 2388 We speak in vain.
2389 But yet I love my country and am not
2390 220 One that rejoices in the common wrack,
2391 As common bruit doth put it.
FIRST SENATOR 2392 That’s well spoke.
2393 Commend me to my loving countrymen.
2394 These words become your lips as they pass through
2395 225 them.
2396 And enter in our ears like great triumphers
2397 In their applauding gates.
TIMON 2398 Commend me to them
2399 And tell them that, to ease them of their griefs,
2400 230 Their fears of hostile strokes, their aches, losses,
2401 Their pangs of love, with other incident throes
2402 That nature’s fragile vessel doth sustain
2403 In life’s uncertain voyage, I will some kindness do
2405 235 I’ll teach them to prevent wild Alcibiades’ wrath.
FIRST SENATOR, ⌜to Second Senator⌝
2406 I like this well. He will return again.
2407 I have a tree, which grows here in my close,
2408 That mine own use invites me to cut down,
2409 And shortly must I fell it. Tell my friends,
2410 240 Tell Athens, in the sequence of degree
2411 From high to low throughout, that whoso please
2412 To stop affliction, let him take his haste,
p. 1792413 Come hither ere my tree hath felt the ax,
2414 And hang himself. I pray you, do my greeting.
FLAVIUS, ⌜to Senators⌝
2415 245 Trouble him no further. Thus you still shall find him.
2416 Come not to me again, but say to Athens,
2417 Timon hath made his everlasting mansion
2418 Upon the beachèd verge of the salt flood,
2419 Who once a day with his embossèd froth
2420 250 The turbulent surge shall cover. Thither come
2421 And let my gravestone be your oracle.
2422 Lips, let four words go by and language end.
2423 What is amiss, plague and infection mend.
2424 Graves only be men’s works, and death their gain.
2425 255 Sun, hide thy beams. Timon hath done his reign.
2426 His discontents are unremovably
2427 Coupled to nature.
2428 Our hope in him is dead. Let us return
2429 And strain what other means is left unto us
2430 260 In our dear peril.
FIRST SENATOR 2431 It requires swift foot.