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Author: William Shakespeare
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Timon of Athens (Folio 1, 1623)

Enter Poet, and Painter.
Pain. As I tooke note of the place, it cannot be farre
where he abides.
2195Poet. What's to be thought of him?
Does the Rumor hold for true,
That hee's so full of Gold?
Painter. Certaine.
Alcibiades reports it: Phrinica and Timandylo
2200Had Gold of him. He likewise enrich'd
Poore stragling Souldiers, with great quantity.
'Tis saide, he gaue vnto his Steward
A mighty summe.
Poet. Then this breaking of his,
2205Ha's beene but a Try for his Friends?
Painter. Nothing else:
You shall see him a Palme in Athens againe,
And flourish with the highest:
Therefore, 'tis not amisse, we tender our loues
2210To him, in this suppos'd distresse of his:
It will shew honestly in vs,
And is very likely, to loade our purposes
With what they trauaile for,
If it be a iust and true report, that goes
2215Of his hauing.
Poet. What haue you now
To present vnto him?
Painter. Nothing at this time
But my Visitation: onely I will promise him
2220An excellent Peece.
Poet. I must serue him so too;
Tell him of an intent that's comming toward him.
Painter. Good as the best.
Promising, is the verie Ayre o'th' Time;
2225It opens the eyes of Expectation.
Performance, is euer the duller for his acte,
And but in the plainer and simpler kinde of people,
The deede of Saying is quite out of vse.
To Promise, is most Courtly and fashionable;
2230Performance, is a kinde of Will or Testament
Which argues a great sicknesse in his iudgement
That makes it.
Enter Timon from his Caue.
Timon. Excellent Workeman,
2235Thou canst not paint a man so badde
As is thy selfe.
Poet. I am thinking
What I shall say I haue prouided for him:
It must be a personating of himselfe:
2240A Satyre against the softnesse of Prosperity,
With a Discouerie of the infinite Flatteries
That follow youth and opulencie.
Timon. Must thou needes
Stand for a Villaine in thine owne Worke?
2245Wilt thou whip thine owne faults in other men?
Do so, I haue Gold for thee.
Poet. Nay let's seeke him.
Then do we sinne against our owne estate,
When we may profit meete, and come too late.
2250Painter. True:
When the day serues before blacke-corner'd night;
Finde what thou want'st, by free and offer'd light.
Tim. Ile meete you at the turne:
2255What a Gods Gold, that he is worshipt
In a baser Temple, then where Swine feede?
'Tis thou that rigg'st the Barke, and plow'st the Fome,
Setlest admired reuerence in a Slaue,
To thee be worshipt, and thy Saints for aye:
2260Be crown'd with Plagues, that thee alone obay.
Fit I meet them.
Poet. Haile worthy Timon.
Pain. Our late Noble Master.
Timon. Haue I once liu'd
2265To see two honest men?
Poet. Sir:
Hauing often of your open Bounty tasted,
Hearing you were retyr'd, your Friends falne off,
Whose thankelesse Natures (O abhorred Spirits)
2270Not all the Whippes of Heauen, are large enough.
What, to you,
Whose Starre-like Noblenesse gaue life and influence
To their whole being? I am rapt, and cannot couer
The monstrous bulke of this Ingratitude
2275With any size of words.
Timon. Let it go,
Naked men may see't the better:
You that are honest, by being what you are,
Make them best seene, and knowne.
2280Pain. He, and my selfe
Haue trauail'd in the great showre of your guifts,
And sweetly felt it.
Timon. I, you are honest man.
Painter. We are hither come
2285To offer you our seruice.
Timon. Most honest men:
Why how shall I requite you?
Can you eate Roots, and drinke cold water, no?
Both. What we can do,
2290Wee'l do to do you seruice.
Tim. Y'are honest men,
Y'haue heard that I haue Gold,
I am sure you haue, speake truth, y'are honest men.
Pain. So it is said my Noble Lord, but therefore
2295Came not my Friend, nor I.
Timon. Good honest men: Thou draw'st a counterfet
Best in all Athens, th'art indeed the best,
Thou counterfet'st most liuely.
Pain. So, so, my Lord.
2300Tim. E'ne so sir as I say. And for thy fiction,
Why thy Verse swels with stuffe so fine and smooth,
That thou art euen Naturall in thine Art.
But for all this (my honest Natur'd friends)
I must needs say you haue a little fault,
2305Marry 'tis not monstrous in you, neither wish I
You take much paines to mend.
Both. Beseech your Honour
To make it knowne to vs.
Tim. You'l take it ill.
2310Both. Most thankefully, my Lord.
Timon. Will you indeed?
Both. Doubt it not worthy Lord.
Tim. There's neuer a one of you but trusts a Knaue,
That mightily deceiues you.
2315Both. Do we, my Lord?
Tim. I, and you heare him cogge,
See him dissemble,
Know his grosse patchery, loue him, feede him,
Keepe in your bosome, yet remaine assur'd
2320That he's a made-vp-Villaine.
Pain. I know none such, my Lord.
Poet. Nor I.
Timon. Looke you,
I loue you well, Ile giue you Gold
2325Rid me these Villaines from your companies;
Hang them, or stab them, drowne them in a draught,
Confound them by some course, and come to me,
Ile giue you Gold enough.
Both. Name them my Lord, let's know them.
2330Tim. You that way, and you this:
But two in Company:
Each man a part, all single, and alone,
Yet an arch Villaine keepes him company:
If where thou art, two Villaines shall not be,
2335Come not neere him. If thou would'st not recide
But where one Villaine is, then him abandon.
Hence, packe, there's Gold, you came for Gold ye slaues:
You haue worke for me; there's payment, hence,
You are an Alcumist, make Gold of that:
2340Out Rascall dogges.
Enter Steward, and two Senators.
Stew. It is vaine that you would speake with Timon:
For he is set so onely to himselfe,
That nothing but himselfe, which lookes like man,
2345Is friendly with him.
1.Sen. Bring vs to his Caue.
It is our part and promise to th' Athenians
To speake with Timon.
2.Sen. At all times alike
2350Men are not still the same: 'twas Time and Greefes
That fram'd him thus. Time with his fairer hand,
Offering the Fortunes of his former dayes,
The former man may make him: bring vs to him
And chanc'd it as it may.
2355Stew. Heere is his Caue:
Peace and content be heere. Lord Timon, Timon,
Looke out, and speake to Friends: Th'Athenians
By two of their most reuerend Senate greet thee:
Speake to them Noble Timon.
Enter Timon out of his Caue.
Tim. Thou Sunne that comforts burne,
Speake and be hang'd:
For each true word, a blister, and each false
Be as a Cantherizing to the root o'th' Tongue,
2365Consuming it with speaking.
1 Worthy Timon.
Tim. Of none but such as you,
And you of Timon.
1 The Senators of Athens, greet thee Timon.
2370Tim. I thanke them,
And would send them backe the plague,
Could I but catch it for them.
1 O forget
What we are sorry for our selues in thee:
2375The Senators, with one consent of loue,
Intreate thee backe to Athens, who haue thought
On speciall Dignities, which vacant lye
For thy best vse and wearing.
2 They confesse
2380Toward thee, forgetfulnesse too generall grosse;
Which now the publike Body, which doth sildome
Play the re-canter, feeling in it selfe
A lacke of Timons ayde, hath since withall
Of it owne fall, restraining ayde to Timon,
2385And send forth vs, to make their sorrowed render,
Together, with a recompence more fruitfull
Then their offence can weigh downe by the Dramme,
I euen such heapes and summes of Loue and Wealth,
As shall to thee blot out, what wrongs were theirs,
2390And write in thee the figures of their loue,
Euer to read them thine.
Tim. You witch me in it;
Surprize me to the very brinke of teares;
Lend me a Fooles heart, and a womans eyes,
2395And Ile beweepe these comforts, worthy Senators.
1 Therefore so please thee to returne with vs,
And of our Athens, thine and ours to take
The Captainship, thou shalt be met with thankes,
Allowed with absolute power, and thy good name
2400Liue with Authoritie: so soone we shall driue backe
Of Alcibiades th' approaches wild,
Who like a Bore too sauage, doth root vp
His Countries peace.
2 And shakes his threatning Sword
2405Against the walles of Athens.
1 Therefore Timon.
Tim. Well sir, I will: therefore I will sir thus:
If Alcibiades kill my Countrymen,
Let Alcibiades know this of Timon,
2410That Timon cares not. But if he sacke faire Athens,
And take our goodly aged men by'th' Beards,
Giuing our holy Virgins to the staine
Of contumelious, beastly, mad-brain'd warre:
Then let him know, and tell him Timon speakes it,
2415In pitty of our aged, and our youth,
I cannot choose but tell him that I care not,
And let him tak't at worst: For their Kniues care not,
While you haue throats to answer. For my selfe,
There's not a whittle, in th' vnruly Campe,
2420But I do prize it at my loue, before
The reuerends Throat in Athens. So I leaue you
To the protection of the prosperous Gods,
As Theeues to Keepers.
Stew. Stay not, all's in vaine.
2425Tim. Why I was writing of my Epitaph,
It will be seene to morrow. My long sicknesse
Of Health, and Liuing, now begins to mend,
And nothing brings me all things. Go, liue still,
Be Alcibiades your plague; you his,
2430And last so long enough.
1 We speake in vaine.
Tim. But yet I loue my Country, and am not
One that reioyces in the common wracke,
As common bruite doth put it.
24351 That's well spoke.
Tim. Commend me to my louing Countreymen.
1 These words become your lippes as they passe tho-
row them.
2 And enter in our eares, like great Triumphers
2440In their applauding gates.
Tim. Commend me to them,
And tell them, that to ease them of their greefes,
Their feares of Hostile strokes, their Aches losses,
Their pangs of Loue, with other incident throwes
2445That Natures fragile Vessell doth sustaine
In lifes vncertaine voyage, I will some kindnes do them,
Ile teach them to preuent wilde Alcibiades wrath.
1 I like this well, he will returne againe.
Tim. I haue a Tree which growes heere in my Close,
2450That mine owne vse inuites me to cut downe,
And shortly must I fell it. Tell my Friends,
Tell Athens, in the sequence of degree,
From high to low throughout, that who so please
To stop Affliction, let him take his haste;
2455Come hither ere my Tree hath felt the Axe,
And hang himselfe. I pray you do my greeting.
Stew. Trouble him no further, thus you still shall
Finde him.
Tim. Come not to me againe, but say to Athens,
2460Timon hath made his euerlasting Mansion
Vpon the Beached Verge of the salt Flood,
Who once a day with his embossed Froth
The turbulent Surge shall couer; thither come,
And let my graue-stone be your Oracle:
2465Lippes, let foure words go by, and Language end:
What is amisse, Plague and Infection mend.
Graues onely be mens workes, and Death their gaine;
Sunne, hide thy Beames, Timon hath done his Raigne.
Exit Timon.
24701 His discontents are vnremoueably coupled to Na-
2 Our hope in him is dead: let vs returne,
And straine what other meanes is left vnto vs
In our deere perill.
24751 It requires swift foot.