|Timon of Athens|
| Timon of Athens
| Act 1, Scene 2
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Hautboys playing loud music. A great banquet served in; FLAVIUS and others attending; then enter TIMON, ALCIBIADES, Lords, Senators, and VENTIDIUS. Then comes, dropping, after all, APEMANTUS, discontentedly, like himselfVENTIDIUS
Most honour'd Timon,TIMON
It hath pleased the gods to remember my father's age,
And call him to long peace.
He is gone happy, and has left me rich:
Then, as in grateful virtue I am bound
To your free heart, I do return those talents,
Doubled with thanks and service, from whose help
I derived liberty.
O, by no means,VENTIDIUS
Honest Ventidius; you mistake my love:
I gave it freely ever; and there's none
Can truly say he gives, if he receives:
If our betters play at that game, we must not dare
To imitate them; faults that are rich are fair.
A noble spirit!TIMON
Nay, my lords,First Lord
They all stand ceremoniously looking on TIMONCeremony was but devised at first
To set a gloss on faint deeds, hollow welcomes,
Recanting goodness, sorry ere 'tis shown;
But where there is true friendship, there needs none.
Pray, sit; more welcome are ye to my fortunes
Than my fortunes to me.
My lord, we always have confess'd it.APEMANTUS
Ho, ho, confess'd it! hang'd it, have you not?TIMON
O, Apemantus, you are welcome.APEMANTUS
You shall not make me welcome:
I come to have thee thrust me out of doors.
Fie, thou'rt a churl; ye've got a humour thereAPEMANTUS
Does not become a man: 'tis much to blame.
They say, my lords, 'ira furor brevis est;' but yond
man is ever angry. Go, let him have a table by
himself, for he does neither affect company, nor is
he fit for't, indeed.
Let me stay at thine apperil, Timon: I come toTIMON
observe; I give thee warning on't.
I take no heed of thee; thou'rt an Athenian,APEMANTUS
therefore welcome: I myself would have no power;
prithee, let my meat make thee silent.
I scorn thy meat; 'twould choke me, for I shouldTIMON
ne'er flatter thee. O you gods, what a number of
men eat Timon, and he sees 'em not! It grieves me
to see so many dip their meat in one man's blood;
and all the madness is, he cheers them up too.
I wonder men dare trust themselves with men:
Methinks they should invite them without knives;
Good for their meat, and safer for their lives.
There's much example for't; the fellow that sits
next him now, parts bread with him, pledges the
breath of him in a divided draught, is the readiest
man to kill him: 't has been proved. If I were a
huge man, I should fear to drink at meals;
Lest they should spy my windpipe's dangerous notes:
Great men should drink with harness on their throats.
My lord, in heart; and let the health go round.Second Lord
Let it flow this way, my good lord.APEMANTUS
Flow this way! A brave fellow! he keeps his tidesTIMON
well. Those healths will make thee and thy state
look ill, Timon. Here's that which is too weak to
be a sinner, honest water, which ne'er left man i' the mire:
This and my food are equals; there's no odds:
Feasts are too proud to give thanks to the gods.
Immortal gods, I crave no pelf;
I pray for no man but myself:
Grant I may never prove so fond,
To trust man on his oath or bond;
Or a harlot, for her weeping;
Or a dog, that seems a-sleeping:
Or a keeper with my freedom;
Or my friends, if I should need 'em.
Amen. So fall to't:
Rich men sin, and I eat root.
Eats and drinksMuch good dich thy good heart, Apemantus!
Captain Alcibiades, your heart's in the field now.ALCIBIADES
My heart is ever at your service, my lord.TIMON
You had rather be at a breakfast of enemies than aALCIBIADES
dinner of friends.
So the were bleeding-new, my lord, there's no meatAPEMANTUS
like 'em: I could wish my best friend at such a feast.
Would all those fatterers were thine enemies then,First Lord
that then thou mightst kill 'em and bid me to 'em!
Might we but have that happiness, my lord, that youTIMON
would once use our hearts, whereby we might express
some part of our zeals, we should think ourselves
for ever perfect.
O, no doubt, my good friends, but the godsAPEMANTUS
themselves have provided that I shall have much help
from you: how had you been my friends else? why
have you that charitable title from thousands, did
not you chiefly belong to my heart? I have told
more of you to myself than you can with modesty
speak in your own behalf; and thus far I confirm
you. O you gods, think I, what need we have any
friends, if we should ne'er have need of 'em? they
were the most needless creatures living, should we
ne'er have use for 'em, and would most resemble
sweet instruments hung up in cases that keep their
sounds to themselves. Why, I have often wished
myself poorer, that I might come nearer to you. We
are born to do benefits: and what better or
properer can we can our own than the riches of our
friends? O, what a precious comfort 'tis, to have
so many, like brothers, commanding one another's
fortunes! O joy, e'en made away ere 't can be born!
Mine eyes cannot hold out water, methinks: to
forget their faults, I drink to you.
Thou weepest to make them drink, Timon.Second Lord
Joy had the like conception in our eyesAPEMANTUS
And at that instant like a babe sprung up.
Ho, ho! I laugh to think that babe a bastard.Third Lord
I promise you, my lord, you moved me much.APEMANTUS
What means that trump?Servant
Enter a ServantHow now?
Please you, my lord, there are certainTIMON
ladies most desirous of admittance.
Ladies! what are their wills?Servant
There comes with them a forerunner, my lord, whichTIMON
bears that office, to signify their pleasures.
I pray, let them be admitted.Cupid
Hail to thee, worthy Timon, and to allTIMON
That of his bounties taste! The five best senses
Acknowledge thee their patron; and come freely
To gratulate thy plenteous bosom: th' ear,
Taste, touch and smell, pleased from thy tale rise;
They only now come but to feast thine eyes.
They're welcome all; let 'em have kind admittance:First Lord
Music, make their welcome!
You see, my lord, how ample you're beloved.APEMANTUS
Music. Re-enter Cupid with a mask of Ladies as Amazons, with lutes in their hands, dancing and playing
Hoy-day, what a sweep of vanity comes this way!TIMON
They dance! they are mad women.
Like madness is the glory of this life.
As this pomp shows to a little oil and root.
We make ourselves fools, to disport ourselves;
And spend our flatteries, to drink those men
Upon whose age we void it up again,
With poisonous spite and envy.
Who lives that's not depraved or depraves?
Who dies, that bears not one spurn to their graves
Of their friends' gift?
I should fear those that dance before me now
Would one day stamp upon me: 't has been done;
Men shut their doors against a setting sun.
The Lords rise from table, with much adoring of TIMON; and to show their loves, each singles out an Amazon, and all dance, men with women, a lofty strain or two to the hautboys, and cease
You have done our pleasures much grace, fair ladies,First Lady
Set a fair fashion on our entertainment,
Which was not half so beautiful and kind;
You have added worth unto 't and lustre,
And entertain'd me with mine own device;
I am to thank you for 't.
My lord, you take us even at the best.APEMANTUS
'Faith, for the worst is filthy; and would not holdTIMON
taking, I doubt me.
Ladies, there is an idle banquet attends you:All Ladies
Please you to dispose yourselves.
Most thankfully, my lord.TIMON
Exeunt Cupid and Ladies
The little casket bring me hither.FLAVIUS
Yes, my lord. More jewels yet!First Lord
There is no crossing him in 's humour;
AsideElse I should tell him,--well, i' faith I should,
When all's spent, he 'ld be cross'd then, an he could.
'Tis pity bounty had not eyes behind,
That man might ne'er be wretched for his mind.
Where be our men?Servant
Here, my lord, in readiness.Second Lord
Re-enter FLAVIUS, with the casket
O my friends,First Lord
I have one word to say to you: look you, my good lord,
I must entreat you, honour me so much
As to advance this jewel; accept it and wear it,
Kind my lord.
I am so far already in your gifts,--All
So are we all.Servant
Enter a Servant
My lord, there are certain nobles of the senateTIMON
Newly alighted, and come to visit you.
They are fairly welcome.FLAVIUS
I beseech your honour,TIMON
Vouchsafe me a word; it does concern you near.
Near! why then, another time I'll hear thee:FLAVIUS
I prithee, let's be provided to show them
[Aside] I scarce know how.Second Servant
Enter a Second Servant
May it please your honour, Lord Lucius,TIMON
Out of his free love, hath presented to you
Four milk-white horses, trapp'd in silver.
I shall accept them fairly; let the presentsThird Servant
Be worthily entertain'd.
Enter a third ServantHow now! what news?
Please you, my lord, that honourableTIMON
gentleman, Lord Lucullus, entreats your company
to-morrow to hunt with him, and has sent your honour
two brace of greyhounds.
I'll hunt with him; and let them be received,FLAVIUS
Not without fair reward.
[Aside] What will this come to?TIMON
He commands us to provide, and give great gifts,
And all out of an empty coffer:
Nor will he know his purse, or yield me this,
To show him what a beggar his heart is,
Being of no power to make his wishes good:
His promises fly so beyond his state
That what he speaks is all in debt; he owes
For every word: he is so kind that he now
Pays interest for 't; his land's put to their books.
Well, would I were gently put out of office
Before I were forced out!
Happier is he that has no friend to feed
Than such that do e'en enemies exceed.
I bleed inwardly for my lord.
You do yourselvesSecond Lord
Much wrong, you bate too much of your own merits:
Here, my lord, a trifle of our love.
With more than common thanks I will receive it.Third Lord
O, he's the very soul of bounty!TIMON
And now I remember, my lord, you gaveSecond Lord
Good words the other day of a bay courser
I rode on: it is yours, because you liked it.
O, I beseech you, pardon me, my lord, in that.TIMON
You may take my word, my lord; I know, no manAll Lords
Can justly praise but what he does affect:
I weigh my friend's affection with mine own;
I'll tell you true. I'll call to you.
O, none so welcome.TIMON
I take all and your several visitationsALCIBIADES
So kind to heart, 'tis not enough to give;
Methinks, I could deal kingdoms to my friends,
And ne'er be weary. Alcibiades,
Thou art a soldier, therefore seldom rich;
It comes in charity to thee: for all thy living
Is 'mongst the dead, and all the lands thou hast
Lie in a pitch'd field.
Ay, defiled land, my lord.First Lord
We are so virtuously bound--TIMON
And soSecond Lord
Am I to you.
So infinitely endear'd--TIMON
All to you. Lights, more lights!First Lord
The best of happiness,TIMON
Honour and fortunes, keep with you, Lord Timon!
Ready for his friends.APEMANTUS
Exeunt all but APEMANTUS and TIMON
What a coil's here!TIMON
Serving of becks and jutting-out of bums!
I doubt whether their legs be worth the sums
That are given for 'em. Friendship's full of dregs:
Methinks, false hearts should never have sound legs,
Thus honest fools lay out their wealth on court'sies.
Now, Apemantus, if thou wert not sullen, I would beAPEMANTUS
good to thee.
No, I'll nothing: for if I should be bribed too,TIMON
there would be none left to rail upon thee, and then
thou wouldst sin the faster. Thou givest so long,
Timon, I fear me thou wilt give away thyself in
paper shortly: what need these feasts, pomps and
Nay, an you begin to rail on society once, I amAPEMANTUS
sworn not to give regard to you. Farewell; and come
with better music.
Thou wilt not hear me now; thou shalt not then:
I'll lock thy heaven from thee.
O, that men's ears should be
To counsel deaf, but not to flattery!
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