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Home > Timon of Athens > ACT I - SCENE II. A banqueting-room in Timon's house.

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ACT I - SCENE II. A banqueting-room in Timon's house.
VENTIDIUS
1    Most honour'd Timon,
2    It hath pleased the gods to remember my father's age,
3    And call him to long peace.
4    He is gone happy, and has left me rich:
5    Then, as in grateful virtue I am bound
6    To your free heart, I do return those talents,
7    Doubled with thanks and service, from whose help
8    I derived liberty.
TIMON
9    O, by no means,
10   Honest Ventidius; you mistake my love:
11   I gave it freely ever; and there's none
12   Can truly say he gives, if he receives:
13   If our betters play at that game, we must not dare
14   To imitate them; faults that are rich are fair.
VENTIDIUS
15   A noble spirit!
TIMON
16   Nay, my lords,
They all stand ceremoniously looking on TIMON
17   Ceremony was but devised at first
18   To set a gloss on faint deeds, hollow welcomes,
19   Recanting goodness, sorry ere 'tis shown;
20   But where there is true friendship, there needs none.
21   Pray, sit; more welcome are ye to my fortunes
22   Than my fortunes to me.
They sit

First Lord
23   My lord, we always have confess'd it.
APEMANTUS
24   Ho, ho, confess'd it! hang'd it, have you not?
TIMON
25   O, Apemantus, you are welcome.
APEMANTUS
26   No;
27   You shall not make me welcome:
28   I come to have thee thrust me out of doors.
TIMON
29   Fie, thou'rt a churl; ye've got a humour there
30   Does not become a man: 'tis much to blame.
31   They say, my lords, 'ira furor brevis est;' but yond
32   man is ever angry. Go, let him have a table by
33   himself, for he does neither affect company, nor is
34   he fit for't, indeed.
APEMANTUS
35   Let me stay at thine apperil, Timon: I come to
36   observe; I give thee warning on't.
TIMON
37   I take no heed of thee; thou'rt an Athenian,
38   therefore welcome: I myself would have no power;
39   prithee, let my meat make thee silent.
APEMANTUS
40   I scorn thy meat; 'twould choke me, for I should
41   ne'er flatter thee. O you gods, what a number of
42   men eat Timon, and he sees 'em not! It grieves me
43   to see so many dip their meat in one man's blood;
44   and all the madness is, he cheers them up too.
45   I wonder men dare trust themselves with men:
46   Methinks they should invite them without knives;
47   Good for their meat, and safer for their lives.
48   There's much example for't; the fellow that sits
49   next him now, parts bread with him, pledges the
50   breath of him in a divided draught, is the readiest
51   man to kill him: 't has been proved. If I were a
52   huge man, I should fear to drink at meals;
53   Lest they should spy my windpipe's dangerous notes:
54   Great men should drink with harness on their throats.
TIMON
55   My lord, in heart; and let the health go round.
Second Lord
56   Let it flow this way, my good lord.
APEMANTUS
57   Flow this way! A brave fellow! he keeps his tides
58   well. Those healths will make thee and thy state
59   look ill, Timon. Here's that which is too weak to
60   be a sinner, honest water, which ne'er left man i' the mire:
61   This and my food are equals; there's no odds:
62   Feasts are too proud to give thanks to the gods.
63   Apemantus' grace.
64   Immortal gods, I crave no pelf;
65   I pray for no man but myself:
66   Grant I may never prove so fond,
67   To trust man on his oath or bond;
68   Or a harlot, for her weeping;
69   Or a dog, that seems a-sleeping:
70   Or a keeper with my freedom;
71   Or my friends, if I should need 'em.
72   Amen. So fall to't:
73   Rich men sin, and I eat root.
Eats and drinks
74   Much good dich thy good heart, Apemantus!
TIMON
75   Captain Alcibiades, your heart's in the field now.
ALCIBIADES
76   My heart is ever at your service, my lord.
TIMON
77   You had rather be at a breakfast of enemies than a
78   dinner of friends.
ALCIBIADES
79   So the were bleeding-new, my lord, there's no meat
80   like 'em: I could wish my best friend at such a feast.
APEMANTUS
81   Would all those fatterers were thine enemies then,
82   that then thou mightst kill 'em and bid me to 'em!
First Lord
83   Might we but have that happiness, my lord, that you
84   would once use our hearts, whereby we might express
85   some part of our zeals, we should think ourselves
86   for ever perfect.
TIMON
87   O, no doubt, my good friends, but the gods
88   themselves have provided that I shall have much help
89   from you: how had you been my friends else? why
90   have you that charitable title from thousands, did
91   not you chiefly belong to my heart? I have told
92   more of you to myself than you can with modesty
93   speak in your own behalf; and thus far I confirm
94   you. O you gods, think I, what need we have any
95   friends, if we should ne'er have need of 'em? they
96   were the most needless creatures living, should we
97   ne'er have use for 'em, and would most resemble
98   sweet instruments hung up in cases that keep their
99   sounds to themselves. Why, I have often wished
100  myself poorer, that I might come nearer to you. We
101  are born to do benefits: and what better or
102  properer can we can our own than the riches of our
103  friends? O, what a precious comfort 'tis, to have
104  so many, like brothers, commanding one another's
105  fortunes! O joy, e'en made away ere 't can be born!
106  Mine eyes cannot hold out water, methinks: to
107  forget their faults, I drink to you.
APEMANTUS
108  Thou weepest to make them drink, Timon.
Second Lord
109  Joy had the like conception in our eyes
110  And at that instant like a babe sprung up.
APEMANTUS
111  Ho, ho! I laugh to think that babe a bastard.
Third Lord
112  I promise you, my lord, you moved me much.
APEMANTUS
113  Much!
Tucket, within

TIMON
114  What means that trump?
Enter a Servant
115  How now?
Servant
116  Please you, my lord, there are certain
117  ladies most desirous of admittance.
TIMON
118  Ladies! what are their wills?
Servant
119  There comes with them a forerunner, my lord, which
120  bears that office, to signify their pleasures.
TIMON
121  I pray, let them be admitted.
Enter Cupid

Cupid
122  Hail to thee, worthy Timon, and to all
123  That of his bounties taste! The five best senses
124  Acknowledge thee their patron; and come freely
125  To gratulate thy plenteous bosom: th' ear,
126  Taste, touch and smell, pleased from thy tale rise;
127  They only now come but to feast thine eyes.
TIMON
128  They're welcome all; let 'em have kind admittance:
129  Music, make their welcome!
Exit Cupid

First Lord
130  You see, my lord, how ample you're beloved.
APEMANTUS
131  Hoy-day, what a sweep of vanity comes this way!
132  They dance! they are mad women.
133  Like madness is the glory of this life.
134  As this pomp shows to a little oil and root.
135  We make ourselves fools, to disport ourselves;
136  And spend our flatteries, to drink those men
137  Upon whose age we void it up again,
138  With poisonous spite and envy.
139  Who lives that's not depraved or depraves?
140  Who dies, that bears not one spurn to their graves
141  Of their friends' gift?
142  I should fear those that dance before me now
143  Would one day stamp upon me: 't has been done;
144  Men shut their doors against a setting sun.
TIMON
145  You have done our pleasures much grace, fair ladies,
146  Set a fair fashion on our entertainment,
147  Which was not half so beautiful and kind;
148  You have added worth unto 't and lustre,
149  And entertain'd me with mine own device;
150  I am to thank you for 't.
First Lady
151  My lord, you take us even at the best.
APEMANTUS
152  'Faith, for the worst is filthy; and would not hold
153  taking, I doubt me.
TIMON
154  Ladies, there is an idle banquet attends you:
155  Please you to dispose yourselves.
All Ladies
156  Most thankfully, my lord.
Exeunt Cupid and Ladies

TIMON
157  Flavius.
FLAVIUS
158  My lord?
TIMON
159  The little casket bring me hither.
FLAVIUS
160  Yes, my lord. More jewels yet!
161  There is no crossing him in 's humour;
Aside
162  Else I should tell him,--well, i' faith I should,
163  When all's spent, he 'ld be cross'd then, an he could.
164  'Tis pity bounty had not eyes behind,
165  That man might ne'er be wretched for his mind.
Exit

First Lord
166  Where be our men?
Servant
167  Here, my lord, in readiness.
Second Lord
168  Our horses!
Re-enter FLAVIUS, with the casket

TIMON
169  O my friends,
170  I have one word to say to you: look you, my good lord,
171  I must entreat you, honour me so much
172  As to advance this jewel; accept it and wear it,
173  Kind my lord.
First Lord
174  I am so far already in your gifts,--
All
175  So are we all.
Enter a Servant

Servant
176  My lord, there are certain nobles of the senate
177  Newly alighted, and come to visit you.
TIMON
178  They are fairly welcome.
FLAVIUS
179  I beseech your honour,
180  Vouchsafe me a word; it does concern you near.
TIMON
181  Near! why then, another time I'll hear thee:
182  I prithee, let's be provided to show them
183  entertainment.
FLAVIUS
Aside
184   I scarce know how.
Enter a Second Servant

Second Servant
185  May it please your honour, Lord Lucius,
186  Out of his free love, hath presented to you
187  Four milk-white horses, trapp'd in silver.
TIMON
188  I shall accept them fairly; let the presents
189  Be worthily entertain'd.
Enter a third Servant
190  How now! what news?
Third Servant
191  Please you, my lord, that honourable
192  gentleman, Lord Lucullus, entreats your company
193  to-morrow to hunt with him, and has sent your honour
194  two brace of greyhounds.
TIMON
195  I'll hunt with him; and let them be received,
196  Not without fair reward.
FLAVIUS
Aside
197   What will this come to?
198  He commands us to provide, and give great gifts,
199  And all out of an empty coffer:
200  Nor will he know his purse, or yield me this,
201  To show him what a beggar his heart is,
202  Being of no power to make his wishes good:
203  His promises fly so beyond his state
204  That what he speaks is all in debt; he owes
205  For every word: he is so kind that he now
206  Pays interest for 't; his land's put to their books.
207  Well, would I were gently put out of office
208  Before I were forced out!
209  Happier is he that has no friend to feed
210  Than such that do e'en enemies exceed.
211  I bleed inwardly for my lord.
Exit

TIMON
212  You do yourselves
213  Much wrong, you bate too much of your own merits:
214  Here, my lord, a trifle of our love.
Second Lord
215  With more than common thanks I will receive it.
Third Lord
216  O, he's the very soul of bounty!
TIMON
217  And now I remember, my lord, you gave
218  Good words the other day of a bay courser
219  I rode on: it is yours, because you liked it.
Second Lord
220  O, I beseech you, pardon me, my lord, in that.
TIMON
221  You may take my word, my lord; I know, no man
222  Can justly praise but what he does affect:
223  I weigh my friend's affection with mine own;
224  I'll tell you true. I'll call to you.
All Lords
225  O, none so welcome.
TIMON
226  I take all and your several visitations
227  So kind to heart, 'tis not enough to give;
228  Methinks, I could deal kingdoms to my friends,
229  And ne'er be weary. Alcibiades,
230  Thou art a soldier, therefore seldom rich;
231  It comes in charity to thee: for all thy living
232  Is 'mongst the dead, and all the lands thou hast
233  Lie in a pitch'd field.
ALCIBIADES
234  Ay, defiled land, my lord.
First Lord
235  We are so virtuously bound--
TIMON
236  And so
237  Am I to you.
Second Lord
238  So infinitely endear'd--
TIMON
239  All to you. Lights, more lights!
First Lord
240  The best of happiness,
241  Honour and fortunes, keep with you, Lord Timon!
TIMON
242  Ready for his friends.
Exeunt all but APEMANTUS and TIMON

APEMANTUS
243  What a coil's here!
244  Serving of becks and jutting-out of bums!
245  I doubt whether their legs be worth the sums
246  That are given for 'em. Friendship's full of dregs:
247  Methinks, false hearts should never have sound legs,
248  Thus honest fools lay out their wealth on court'sies.
TIMON
249  Now, Apemantus, if thou wert not sullen, I would be
250  good to thee.
APEMANTUS
251  No, I'll nothing: for if I should be bribed too,
252  there would be none left to rail upon thee, and then
253  thou wouldst sin the faster. Thou givest so long,
254  Timon, I fear me thou wilt give away thyself in
255  paper shortly: what need these feasts, pomps and
256  vain-glories?
TIMON
257  Nay, an you begin to rail on society once, I am
258  sworn not to give regard to you. Farewell; and come
259  with better music.
Exit

APEMANTUS
260  So:
261  Thou wilt not hear me now; thou shalt not then:
262  I'll lock thy heaven from thee.
263  O, that men's ears should be
264  To counsel deaf, but not to flattery!
Exit

< (Previous) ACT I, SCENE IACT II, SCENE I (Next) >
Scene Index
ACT I
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II


  • ACT II
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II


  • ACT III
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V
  • SCENE VI


  • ACT IV
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III


  • ACT V
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV

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