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Home > Timon of Athens > ACT V - SCENE I. The woods. Before Timon's cave.

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ACT V - SCENE I. The woods. Before Timon's cave.
1    As I took note of the place, it cannot be far where
2    he abides.
3    What's to be thought of him? does the rumour hold
4    for true, that he's so full of gold?
5    Certain: Alcibiades reports it; Phrynia and
6    Timandra had gold of him: he likewise enriched poor
7    straggling soldiers with great quantity: 'tis said
8    he gave unto his steward a mighty sum.
9    Then this breaking of his has been but a try for his friends.
10   Nothing else: you shall see him a palm in Athens
11   again, and flourish with the highest. Therefore
12   'tis not amiss we tender our loves to him, in this
13   supposed distress of his: it will show honestly in
14   us; and is very likely to load our purposes with
15   what they travail for, if it be a just true report
16   that goes of his having.
17   What have you now to present unto him?
18   Nothing at this time but my visitation: only I will
19   promise him an excellent piece.
20   I must serve him so too, tell him of an intent
21   that's coming toward him.
22   Good as the best. Promising is the very air o' the
23   time: it opens the eyes of expectation:
24   performance is ever the duller for his act; and,
25   but in the plainer and simpler kind of people, the
26   deed of saying is quite out of use. To promise is
27   most courtly and fashionable: performance is a kind
28   of will or testament which argues a great sickness
29   in his judgment that makes it.
TIMON comes from his cave, behind

30    Excellent workman! thou canst not paint a
31   man so bad as is thyself.
32   I am thinking what I shall say I have provided for
33   him: it must be a personating of himself; a satire
34   against the softness of prosperity, with a discovery
35   of the infinite flatteries that follow youth and opulency.
36    Must thou needs stand for a villain in
37   thine own work? wilt thou whip thine own faults in
38   other men? Do so, I have gold for thee.
39   Nay, let's seek him:
40   Then do we sin against our own estate,
41   When we may profit meet, and come too late.
42   True;
43   When the day serves, before black-corner'd night,
44   Find what thou want'st by free and offer'd light. Come.
45    I'll meet you at the turn. What a
46   god's gold,
47   That he is worshipp'd in a baser temple
48   Than where swine feed!
49   'Tis thou that rigg'st the bark and plough'st the foam,
50   Settlest admired reverence in a slave:
51   To thee be worship! and thy saints for aye
52   Be crown'd with plagues that thee alone obey!
53   Fit I meet them.
Coming forward

54   Hail, worthy Timon!
55   Our late noble master!
56   Have I once lived to see two honest men?
57   Sir,
58   Having often of your open bounty tasted,
59   Hearing you were retired, your friends fall'n off,
60   Whose thankless natures--O abhorred spirits!--
61   Not all the whips of heaven are large enough:
62   What! to you,
63   Whose star-like nobleness gave life and influence
64   To their whole being! I am rapt and cannot cover
65   The monstrous bulk of this ingratitude
66   With any size of words.
67   Let it go naked, men may see't the better:
68   You that are honest, by being what you are,
69   Make them best seen and known.
70   He and myself
71   Have travail'd in the great shower of your gifts,
72   And sweetly felt it.
73   Ay, you are honest men.
74   We are hither come to offer you our service.
75   Most honest men! Why, how shall I requite you?
76   Can you eat roots, and drink cold water? no.
77   What we can do, we'll do, to do you service.
78   Ye're honest men: ye've heard that I have gold;
79   I am sure you have: speak truth; ye're honest men.
80   So it is said, my noble lord; but therefore
81   Came not my friend nor I.
82   Good honest men! Thou draw'st a counterfeit
83   Best in all Athens: thou'rt, indeed, the best;
84   Thou counterfeit'st most lively.
85   So, so, my lord.
86   E'en so, sir, as I say. And, for thy fiction,
87   Why, thy verse swells with stuff so fine and smooth
88   That thou art even natural in thine art.
89   But, for all this, my honest-natured friends,
90   I must needs say you have a little fault:
91   Marry, 'tis not monstrous in you, neither wish I
92   You take much pains to mend.
93   Beseech your honour
94   To make it known to us.
95   You'll take it ill.
96   Most thankfully, my lord.
97   Will you, indeed?
98   Doubt it not, worthy lord.
99   There's never a one of you but trusts a knave,
100  That mightily deceives you.
101  Do we, my lord?
102  Ay, and you hear him cog, see him dissemble,
103  Know his gross patchery, love him, feed him,
104  Keep in your bosom: yet remain assured
105  That he's a made-up villain.
106  I know none such, my lord.
107  Nor I.
108  Look you, I love you well; I'll give you gold,
109  Rid me these villains from your companies:
110  Hang them or stab them, drown them in a draught,
111  Confound them by some course, and come to me,
112  I'll give you gold enough.
113  Name them, my lord, let's know them.
114  You that way and you this, but two in company;
115  Each man apart, all single and alone,
116  Yet an arch-villain keeps him company.
117  If where thou art two villains shall not be,
118  Come not near him. If thou wouldst not reside
119  But where one villain is, then him abandon.
120  Hence, pack! there's gold; you came for gold, ye slaves:
To Painter
121  You have work'd for me; there's payment for you: hence!
To Poet
122  You are an alchemist; make gold of that.
123  Out, rascal dogs!
Beats them out, and then retires to his cave

Enter FLAVIUS and two Senators

124  It is in vain that you would speak with Timon;
125  For he is set so only to himself
126  That nothing but himself which looks like man
127  Is friendly with him.
First Senator
128  Bring us to his cave:
129  It is our part and promise to the Athenians
130  To speak with Timon.
Second Senator
131  At all times alike
132  Men are not still the same: 'twas time and griefs
133  That framed him thus: time, with his fairer hand,
134  Offering the fortunes of his former days,
135  The former man may make him. Bring us to him,
136  And chance it as it may.
137  Here is his cave.
138  Peace and content be here! Lord Timon! Timon!
139  Look out, and speak to friends: the Athenians,
140  By two of their most reverend senate, greet thee:
141  Speak to them, noble Timon.
TIMON comes from his cave

142  Thou sun, that comfort'st, burn! Speak, and
143  be hang'd:
144  For each true word, a blister! and each false
145  Be as cauterizing to the root o' the tongue,
146  Consuming it with speaking!
First Senator
147  Worthy Timon,--
148  Of none but such as you, and you of Timon.
First Senator
149  The senators of Athens greet thee, Timon.
150  I thank them; and would send them back the plague,
151  Could I but catch it for them.
First Senator
152  O, forget
153  What we are sorry for ourselves in thee.
154  The senators with one consent of love
155  Entreat thee back to Athens; who have thought
156  On special dignities, which vacant lie
157  For thy best use and wearing.
Second Senator
158  They confess
159  Toward thee forgetfulness too general, gross:
160  Which now the public body, which doth seldom
161  Play the recanter, feeling in itself
162  A lack of Timon's aid, hath sense withal
163  Of its own fail, restraining aid to Timon;
164  And send forth us, to make their sorrow'd render,
165  Together with a recompense more fruitful
166  Than their offence can weigh down by the dram;
167  Ay, even such heaps and sums of love and wealth
168  As shall to thee blot out what wrongs were theirs
169  And write in thee the figures of their love,
170  Ever to read them thine.
171  You witch me in it;
172  Surprise me to the very brink of tears:
173  Lend me a fool's heart and a woman's eyes,
174  And I'll beweep these comforts, worthy senators.
First Senator
175  Therefore, so please thee to return with us
176  And of our Athens, thine and ours, to take
177  The captainship, thou shalt be met with thanks,
178  Allow'd with absolute power and thy good name
179  Live with authority: so soon we shall drive back
180  Of Alcibiades the approaches wild,
181  Who, like a boar too savage, doth root up
182  His country's peace.
Second Senator
183  And shakes his threatening sword
184  Against the walls of Athens.
First Senator
185  Therefore, Timon,--
186  Well, sir, I will; therefore, I will, sir; thus:
187  If Alcibiades kill my countrymen,
188  Let Alcibiades know this of Timon,
189  That Timon cares not. But if be sack fair Athens,
190  And take our goodly aged men by the beards,
191  Giving our holy virgins to the stain
192  Of contumelious, beastly, mad-brain'd war,
193  Then let him know, and tell him Timon speaks it,
194  In pity of our aged and our youth,
195  I cannot choose but tell him, that I care not,
196  And let him take't at worst; for their knives care not,
197  While you have throats to answer: for myself,
198  There's not a whittle in the unruly camp
199  But I do prize it at my love before
200  The reverend'st throat in Athens. So I leave you
201  To the protection of the prosperous gods,
202  As thieves to keepers.
203  Stay not, all's in vain.
204  Why, I was writing of my epitaph;
205  it will be seen to-morrow: my long sickness
206  Of health and living now begins to mend,
207  And nothing brings me all things. Go, live still;
208  Be Alcibiades your plague, you his,
209  And last so long enough!
First Senator
210  We speak in vain.
211  But yet I love my country, and am not
212  One that rejoices in the common wreck,
213  As common bruit doth put it.
First Senator
214  That's well spoke.
215  Commend me to my loving countrymen,--
First Senator
216  These words become your lips as they pass
217  thorough them.
Second Senator
218  And enter in our ears like great triumphers
219  In their applauding gates.
220  Commend me to them,
221  And tell them that, to ease them of their griefs,
222  Their fears of hostile strokes, their aches, losses,
223  Their pangs of love, with other incident throes
224  That nature's fragile vessel doth sustain
225  In life's uncertain voyage, I will some kindness do them:
226  I'll teach them to prevent wild Alcibiades' wrath.
First Senator
227  I like this well; he will return again.
228  I have a tree, which grows here in my close,
229  That mine own use invites me to cut down,
230  And shortly must I fell it: tell my friends,
231  Tell Athens, in the sequence of degree
232  From high to low throughout, that whoso please
233  To stop affliction, let him take his haste,
234  Come hither, ere my tree hath felt the axe,
235  And hang himself. I pray you, do my greeting.
236  Trouble him no further; thus you still shall find him.
237  Come not to me again: but say to Athens,
238  Timon hath made his everlasting mansion
239  Upon the beached verge of the salt flood;
240  Who once a day with his embossed froth
241  The turbulent surge shall cover: thither come,
242  And let my grave-stone be your oracle.
243  Lips, let sour words go by and language end:
244  What is amiss plague and infection mend!
245  Graves only be men's works and death their gain!
246  Sun, hide thy beams! Timon hath done his reign.
Retires to his cave

First Senator
247  His discontents are unremoveably
248  Coupled to nature.
Second Senator
249  Our hope in him is dead: let us return,
250  And strain what other means is left unto us
251  In our dear peril.
First Senator
252  It requires swift foot.

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Scene Index

  • ACT II


  • ACT IV

  • ACT V

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