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

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Act III. Scene II.

Scene II.—The Same. A Public Place.

Enter LUCIUS, with three Strangers.

Luc. Who, the Lord Timon? he is my very
good friend, and an honourable gentleman.
First Stran. We know him for no-less, though
we are but strangers to him. But I can tell you
one thing, my lord, and which I hear from
common rumours: now Lord Timon's happy
hours are done and past, and his estate shrinks
from him.
Luc. Fie, no, do not believe it; he cannot
want for money.
Sec. Stran. But believe you this, my lord,
that, not long ago, one of his men was with the
Lord Lucullus, to borrow so many talents, nay,
urged extremely for't, and show'd what necessity
belong'd to't, and yet was denied.
Luc. How!
Sec. Stran. I tell you, denied, my lord.
Luc. What a strange case was that! now, be-
fore the gods, I am ashamed on't. Denied that
honourable man! there was very little honour
showed in't. For my own part, I must needs
confess, I have received some small kindnesses
from him, as money, plate, jewels, and such like
trifles, nothing comparing to his; yet, had he
mistook him, and sent to me, I should ne'er have
denied his occasion so many talents.

Servil. See, by good hap, yonder's my lord;
I have sweat to see his honour. [To LUCIUS.]
My lionoured lord!
Luc. Servilius! you are kindly met, sir. Fare
thee well: commend me to thy honourable vir-
tuous lord, my very exquisite friend.
Servil. May it please your honour, my lord
hath sent—
Luc. Ha! what has he sent? I am so much
endeared to that lord; he's ever sending: how
shall I thank him, thinkest thou? And what has
he sent now?
Servil. He has only sent his present occasion
now, my lord; requesting your lordship to sup-
ply his instant use with so many talents.
Luc. I know his lordship is but merry with me;
He cannot want fifty-five hundred talents.
Servil. But in the mean time he wants less,
my lord.
If his occasion were not virtuous,
I should not urge it half so faithfully.
Luc. Dost thou speak seriously, Servilius?
Servil. Upon my soul, 'tis true, sir.
Luc. What a wicked beast was I to disfurnish
myself against such a good time, when I might
ha' shown myself honourable! how unluckily it
happened, that I should purchase the day be-
fore for a little part, and undo a great deal of
honour! Servilius, now, before the gods, I am
not able to do; the more beast, I say; I was
sending to use Lord Timon myself, these gentle-
men can witness; but I would not, for the wealth
of Athens, I had done it now. Commend me
bountifully to his good lordship; and I hope his
honour will conceive the fairest of me, because I
have no power to be kind: and tell him this
from me, I count it one of my greatest afflic-
tions say, that I cannot pleasure such an ho-
nourable gentleman. Good Servilius, will you
befriend me so far as to use mine own words
to him?
Servil. Yes, sir, I shall.
Luc. I'll look you out a good turn, Servilius.
True, as you said, Timon is shrunk indeed;
And he that's once denied will hardly speed.
First Stran. Do you observe this, Hostilius?
Sec. Stran. Ay, too well.
First Stran. Why this is the world's soul;
and just of the same piece
Is every flatterer's spirit. Who can call him
His friend that dips in the same dish? for, in
My knowing, Timon has been this lord's fa-
And kept his credit with his purse,
Supported his estate; nay, Timon's money
Has paid his men their wages: he ne'er drinks
But Timon's silver treads upon his lip;
And yet, O! see the monstrousness of man,
When he looks out in an ungrateful shape,
He does deny him, in respect of his,
What charitable men afford to beggars.
Third Stran. Religion groans at it.
First Stran. For mine own part,
I never tasted Timon in my life,
Nor came any of his bounties over me,
To mark me for his friend; yet, I protest,
For his right noble mind, illustrious virtue,
And honourable carriage,
Had his necessity made use of me,
I would have put my wealth into donation,
And the best half should have return'd to
So much I love his heart. But, I perceive,
Men must learn now with pity to dispense;
For policy sits above conscience. [Exeunt.
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