Act I - Act I, Scene 2
Scene II.-- The Same. A room of state in TIMON'S House.
[Hautboys playing loud music. A great banquet served in;
FLAVIUS and Others attending: then enter LORD TIMON, ALCIBIADES,
Lords, and Senators, VENTIDIUS and Attendants. Then comes,
dropping after all, APEMANTUS, discontentedly, like himself.]
Most honour'd Timon,
It hath pleas'd 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 deriv'd liberty.
O! by no means,
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.
[They all stand ceremoniously looking on TIMON.]
Nay, my lords, ceremony was but devis'd 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.
Ho, ho! confess'd it; hang'd it, have you not?
O! Apemantus, you are welcome.
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 there
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 it, indeed.
Let me stay at thine apperil, Timon:
I come to observe; I give thee warning on't.
I take no heed of thee; thou'rt an Athenian, therefore, welcome.
I myself would have no power; prithee; let my meat make thee
I scorn thy meat; 't'would choke me, for I should
Ne'er flatter thee. O you gods! what a number
Of men eats 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 prov'd.
If I were a huge man, I should fear to drink at meals;
Lest they should spy my wind-pipe's dangerous notes:
Great men should drink with harness on their throats.
My lord, in heart; and let the health go round.
Let it flow this way, my good lord.
Flow this way! A brave fellow! he keeps his tides 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 drinks.]
Much good dich thy good heart, Apemantus!
Captain Alcibiades, your heart's in the field now.
My heart is ever at your service, my lord.
You had rather be at a breakfast of enemies than a dinner of
So they were bleeding--new, my lord, there's no meat
like 'em: I could wish my best friend at such a feast.
'Would all those flatterers were thine enemies then, that
then thou mightst kill 'em, and bid me to 'em.
Might we but have that happiness, my lord, that you
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 gods 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 call
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 it 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.
Joy had the like conception in our eyes,
And, at that instant like a babe, sprung up.
Ho, ho! I laugh to think that babe a bastard.
I promise you, my lord, you mov'd me much.
What means that trump?
[Enter a SERVANT.]
Please you, my lord, there are certain ladies most desirous of
Ladies? What are their wills?
There comes with them a forerunner, my lord, which bears
that office, to signify their pleasures.
I pray, let them be admitted.
Hail to thee, worthy Timon; and to all
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, Smell, pleas'd from thy table rise;
They only now come but to feast thine eyes.
They are welcome all; let 'em have kind admittance:
Music, make their welcome!
You see, my lord, how ample you're belov'd.
[Music. Re-enter CUPID, with a masque of LADIES as Amazons,
with lutes in their hands, dancing and playing.]
Hoy-day! what a sweep of vanity comes this way:
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 friend's gift?
I should fear those that dance before me now
Would one day stamp upon me: it 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,
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.
Faith, for the worst is filthy; and would not hold taking, I
Ladies, there is an idle banquet
Attends you; please you to dispose yourselves.
Most thankfully, my lord.
[Exeunt CUPID and LADIES.]
The little casket bring me hither.
Yes, my lord. [Aside.] More jewels yet!
There is no crossing him in 's humour;
Else I should tell him well, i' faith, I should,
When all's spent, he'd 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?
Here, my lord, in readiness.
[Re-enter FLAVIUS, with the casket.]
O, my friends! 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--
So are we all.
[Enter a SERVANT.]
My lord, there are certain nobles of the Senate
Newly alighted and come to visit you.
They are fairly welcome.
I beseech your honour,
Vouchsafe me a word; it does concern you near.
Near! why then, another time I'll hear thee.
I prithee let's be provided to show them entertainment.
I scarce know how.
[Enter another SERVANT.]
May it please vour honour, Lord Lucius,
Out of his free love, hath presented to you
Four milk-white horses, trapp'd in silver.
I shall accept them fairly; let the presents
Be worthily entertain'd.
[Enter a third SERVANT.]
How now! What news?
Please you, my lord, that honourable 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 receiv'd,
Not without fair reward.
[Aside.] What will this come to?
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 forc'd out!
Happier he that has no friend to feed
Than such that do e'en enemies exceed.
I bleed inwardly for my lord.
You do yourselves 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.
O! he's the very soul of bounty!
And now I remember, my lord, you gave
Good words the other day of a bay courser
I rode on: it is yours because you lik'd it.
O! I beseech you, pardon me, my lord, in that.
You may take my word, my lord: I know no man
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!
I take all and your several visitations
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, defil'd land, my lord.
We are so virtuously bound,--
And so am I to you.
So infinitely endear'd,--
All to you. Lights, more lights!
The best of happiness,
Honour, and fortunes, keep with you, Lord Timon!
Ready for his friends.
[Exeunt ALCIBIADES, Lords, and etc.].]
What a coil's here!
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 curtsies.
Now, Apemantus, if thou wert not sullen,
I would be good to thee.
No, I'll nothing; for if I should be bribed too, 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 needs these feasts, pomps,
Nay, an you begin to rail on society once, I am sworn not to
give regard to you. Farewell; and come with better music.
So: 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!