William Shakespeare's Timon of Athens in the complete original text.
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Timon of Athens

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Act I. Scene II.

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,
APEMANTUSdiscontentedly, like himself.

Ven. 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.
Tim.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.
Ven. A noble spirit.
[They all stand ceremoniously looking
on TIMON.
Tim. 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. [They sit.
First Lord. My lord, we always have con-
fess'd it.
Apem. Ho, ho! confess'd it; hang'd it, have
you not?
Tim. O! Apemantus, you are welcome.
Apem. No,
You shall not make me welcome:
I come to have thee thrust me out of doors.
Tim. 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.
Apem. Let me stay at thine apperil, Ti-
mon:
I come to observe; I give thee warning on't.
Tim. I take no heed of thee; thou'rt an
Athenian, therefore, welcome. I myself would
have no power; prithee, let my meat make thee
silent.
Apem. I scorn thy meat; 'twould choke me,
for I should
Ne'er flatter thee.O you gods! what a num-
ber
Of men eat Timon, and he sees them 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, and
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 wind-pipe's dangerous
notes:
Great men should drink with harness on their
throats.
Tim. My lord, in heart; and let the health
go round.
Sec. Lord. Let it flow this way, my good lord.
Apem. 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!
Tim. Captain Alcibiades, your heart's in the
field now.
Alcib. My heart is ever at your service, my
lord.
Tim. You had rather be at a breakfast of
enemies than a dinner of friends.
Alcib. So they were bleeding-new, my lord,
there's no meat like 'em: I could wish my best
friend at such a feast.
Apem. 'Would all those flatterers were thine
enemies then, that then thou mightst kill 'em
and bid me to 'em.
First Lord. Might we but have that happi-
ness, 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
Tim. 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, it
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 com-
fort 'tis, to have so many, like brothers, com-
manding 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.
Apem. Thou weepest to make them drink,
Timon.
Sec. Lord. Joy had the like conception in our
eyes,
And, at that instant, like a babe, sprung up.
Apem. Ho, ho! I laugh to think that babe a
bastard.
Third Lord. I promise you, my lord, you
mov'd me much.
Apem. Much! [Tucket sounded.
Tim. What means that trump?

Enter a Servant.
How now!
Serv. Please you, my lord, there are certain
ladies most desirous of admittance.
Tim. Ladies? What are their wills?
Serv. There comes with them a forerunner,
my lord, which bears that office, to signify their
pleasures.
Tim. I pray, let them be admitted.

Enter CUPID.
Cup. 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.
Tim. They are welcome all; let 'em have
kind admittance:
Music, make their welcome! [Exit CUPID.
First Lord. 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.
Apem. 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.
Tim. 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.
First Lady. My lord, you take us even at the
best.
Apem. Faith, for the worst is filthy; and
would not hold taking, I doubt me.
Tim. Ladies, there is an idle banquet
Attends you: please you to dispose yourselves.
All Lad. Most thankfully, my lord.
[Exeunt CUPID and Ladies.
Tim. Flavius!
Flav. My lord!
Tim. The little casket bring me hither.
Flav. 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.
[Exit.
First Lord. Where be our men?
Serv. Here, my lord, in readiness.
Sec. Lord. Our horses!

Re-enter FLAVIUS with the Casket.
Tim. 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.
First Lord. I am so far already in your
gifts—
All. So are we all

Enter a Servant.
Serv. My lord, there are certain nobles of the
senate
Newly alighted, and come to visit you.
Tim. They are fairly welcome.
Flav. I beseech your honour,
Vouchsafe me a word; it does concern you
near.
Tim. Near! why then another time I'll hear
thee.
I prithee, let's be provided to show them enter-
tainment.
Flav. [Aside.] I scarce know how.

Enter another Servant.
Sec. Serv. May it please your honour, Lord
Lucius,
Out of his free love, hath presented to you
Four milk-white horses, trapp'd in silver.
Tim. I shall accept them fairly; let the
presents
Be worthily entertain'd.

Enter a third Servant.
How now! what news?
Third Serv. Please you, my lord, that honour-
able gentleman. Lord Lucullus, entreats your
company to-morrow to hunt with him, and has
sent your honour two brace of greyhounds.
Tim. I'll hunt with him; and let them be
receiv'd,
Not without fair reward.
Flav. [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 as do e'en enemies exceed.
I bleed inwardly for my lord. [Exit.
Tim. You do yourselves
Much wrong, you bate too much of your own
merits:
Here, my lord, a trifle of our love.
Sec. Lord. With more than common thanks
I will receive it
Third Lord. O! he's the very soul of bounty.
Tim. 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.
Third Lord. O! I beseech you, pardon me,
my lord, in that
Tim. 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.
All Lords. O! none so welcome.
Tim. 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.
Alcib. Ay, defil'd land, my lord.
First Lord. We are so virtuously bound,—-
Tim. And so
Am I to you.
Sec. Lord. So infinitely endear'd,—
Tim. All to you. Lights, more lights!
First Lord. The best of happiness,
Honour, and fortunes, keep with you. Lord
Timon!
Tim. Ready for his friends.
[Exeunt ALCIBIADES, Lords, &c.
Apem. 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 curt-
sies.
Tim. Now, Apemantus, if thou wert not
sullen,
I would be good to thee.
Apem. No, I'll nothing; for if I should be
brib'd too, there would be none left to rail upon
thee, and then thou wouldst sin the faster. Thou
giv'st so long, Timon, I fear me thou wilt give
away thyself in paper shortly: what need these
feasts, pomps, and vain-glories?
Tim. Nay, an you begin to rail on society
once, I am sworn not to give regard to you.
Farewell; and come with better music. [Exit.
Apem. 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. [Exit.
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