Act III - Act III, Scene 6
Scene VI. A room of State in TIMON'S House.
[Music. Tables set out: Servants attending. Enter divers LORDS,
SENATORS, and Others, at several doors.]
The good time of day to you, sir.
I also wish it to you. I think this honourable lord
did but try us this other day.
Upon that were my thoughts tiring when we encountered:
I hope it is not so low with him as he made it seem in the trial
of his several friends.
It should not be, by the persuasion of his new feasting.
I should think so: he hath sent me an earnest inviting,
which many my near occasions did urge me to put off; but he hath
conjured me beyond them, and I must needs appear.
In like manner was I in debt to my importunate business, but he
would not hear my excuse. I am sorry, when he sent to borrow of
me, that my provision was out.
I am sick of that grief too, as I understand how all things go.
Every man here's so. What would he have borrowed you?
A thousand pieces.
A thousand pieces!
What of you?
He sent to me, sir--here he comes.
[Enter TIMON and Attendants.]
With all my heart, gentlemen both; And how fare you?
Ever at the best, hearing well of your lordship.
The swallow follows not summer more willing than we
Nor more willingly leaves winter; such summer-birds
are men. Gentlemen, our dinner will not recompense this long
stay: feast your ears with the music awhile, if they will fare so
harshly o' the trumpet's sound; we shall to't presently.
I hope it remains not unkindly with your lordship that
I return'd you an empty messenger.
O! sir, let it not trouble you.
My noble lord,--
Ah! my good friend, what cheer?
My most honourable lord, I am e'en sick of shame, that
when your lordship this other day sent to me I was so
unfortunate a beggar.
Think not on't, sir.
If you had sent but two hours before,--
Let it not cumber your better remembrance.
[The banquet brought in.]
Come, bring in all together.
All covered dishes!
Royal cheer, I warrant you.
Doubt not that, if money and the season can yield it.
How do you? What's the news?
Alcibiades is banished: hear you of it?
FIRST AND SECOND LORDS.
'Tis so, be sure of it.
I pray you, upon what?
My worthy friends, will you draw near?
I'll tell you more anon. Here's a noble feast toward.
This is the old man still.
Will't hold? will't hold?
It does; but time will--and so--
I do conceive.
Each man to his stool with that spur as he would to the lip
of his mistress; your diet shall be in all places alike. Make not
a city feast of it, to let the meat cool ere we can agree upon
the first place: sit, sit. The gods require our thanks.--
You great benefactors sprinkle our society with thankfulness.
For your own gifts make yourselves praised: but reserve still to
give, lest your deities be despised. Lend to each man enough,
that one need not lend to another; for, were your god--heads to
borrow of men, men would forsake the gods. Make the meat be
beloved more than the man that gives it. Let no assembly of
twenty be without a score of villains: if there sit twelve women
at the table, let a dozen of them be as they are. The rest of
your foes, O gods! the senators of Athens, together with the
common lag of people, what is amiss in them, you gods, make
suitable for destruction. For these my present friends, as they
are to me nothing, so in nothing bless them, and to nothing are
Uncover, dogs, and lap.
[The dishes uncovered are full of warm water.]
What does his lordship mean?
I know not.
May you a better feast never behold,
You knot of mouth-friends! smoke and lukewarm water
Is your perfection. This is Timon's last;
Who, stuck and spangled with your flatteries,
Washes it off, and sprinkles in your faces
[Throwing the water in their faces.]
Your reeking villainy. Live loath'd, and long,
Most smiling, smooth, detested parasites,
Courteous destroyers, affable wolves, meek bears,
You fools of fortune, trencher-friends, time's flies,
Cap and knee slaves, vapours, and minute-jacks!
Of man and beast the infinite malady
Crust you quite o'er! What, dost thou go?
Soft! take thy physic first,--thou too,--and thou;--
Stay, I will lend thee money, borrow none.
[Throws the dishes at them.]
What, all in motion? Henceforth be no feast,
Whereat a villain's not a welcome guest.
Burn, house! sink Athens! henceforth hated be
Of Timon man and all humanity!
[Re-enter the LORDS, SENATORS, and &c.]
How now, my lords!
Know you the quality of Lord Timon's fury?
Push! did you see my cap?
I have lost my gown.
He's but a mad lord, and nought but humour sways him.
He gave me a jewel th' other day, and now he has beat it out of
my hat: did you see my jewel?
Did you see my cap?
Here lies my gown.
Let's make no stay.
Lord Timon's mad.
I feel't upon my bones.
One day he gives us diamonds, next day stones.
— Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
Having realized their fake friendship, Timon is angry with himself for trusting them in the first place and expresses his anger in this passage. In addition to the other insults Timon hurls at his guests, This sentiment is particularly Shakespearean. While there are proverbs that discuss how Fortune favors fools, Shakespeare inverts this in many of his works. Here, Timon's insult implies that Fortune makes fools of these men and that they have no agency of their own. However, the guests fail to fully apprehend the situation and are more confused about Timon's behavior rather than considering how they've taken advantage of him.