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

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Act V. Scene I.

Act V. Scene I.—The Woods. Before

Enter Poet and Painter.

Pain. As I took note of the place, it cannot
be far where he abides.
Poet. What's to be thought of him? Does
the rumour hold for true that he is so full of
Pain. Certain: Alcibiades reports it; Phrynia
and Timandra had gold of him: he likewise
enriched poor straggling soldiers with great
quantity. 'Tis said he gave unto his steward a
mighty sum.
Poet. Then this breaking of his has been but
a try for his friends.
Pain. Nothing else; you shall see him a
palm in Athens again, and flourish with the
highest. Therefore 'tis not amiss we tender our
loves to him, in this supposed distress of his: it
will show honestly in us, and is very likely to
load our purposes with what they travel for, if it
be a just and true report that goes of his having.
Poet. What have you now to present unto him?
Pain. Nothing at this time but my visitation;
only, I will promise him an excellent piece.
Poet. I must serve him so too; tell him of an
intent that's coming towards him.
Pain. Good as the best. Promising is the
very air o' the time; it opens the eyes of ex-
pectation; performance is ever the duller for his
act; and, but in the plainer and simpler kind of
people, the deed of saying is quite out of use,
To promise is most courtly and fashionable;
performance is a kind of will or testament which
argues a great sickness in his judgment that
makes it.

Enter TIMON from his cave.
Tim. [Aside.] Excellent workman! Thou
canst not paint a man so bad as is thyself.
Poet. I am thinking what I shall say I have
provided for him: it must be a personating of
himself; a satire against the softness of pros-
perity, with a discovery of the infinite flatteries
that follow youth and opulency.
Tim. [Aside.] Must thou needs stand for a
villain in thine own work? Wilt thou whip
thine own faults in other men? Do so, I have
gold for thee.
Poet. Nay, let's seek him:
Then do we sin against our own estate,
When we may profit meet, and come too late.
Pain. True;
When the day serves, before black-corner'd night,
Find what thou want'st by free and offer'd light.
Tim. [Aside.] I'll meet you at the turn.
What a god's gold,
That he is worshipp'd in a baser temple
Than where swine feed!
'Tis thou that rigg'st the bark and plough'st the
Settlest admired reverence in a slave:
To thee be worship; and thy saints for aye
Be crown'd with plagues that thee alone obey.
Fit I meet them. [Advancing.
Poet. Hail, worthy Timon!
Pain. Our late noble master!
Tim. Have I once liv'd to see two honest men?
Poet. Sir,
Having often of your open bounty tasted,
Hearing you were retir'd, your friends fall'n off,
Whose thankless natures—O abhorred spirits!
Not all the whips of heaven are large enough—
What! to you,
Whose star-like nobleness gave life and influence
To their whole being! I am rapt, and cannot
The monstrous bulk of this ingratitude
With any size of words.
Tim. Let it go naked, men may see't the
You, that are honest, by being what you are,
Make them best seen and known.
Pain. He and myself
Have travell'd in the great shower of your gifts,
And sweetly felt it.
Tim. Ay, you are honest men.
Pain. We are hither come to offer you our
Tim. Most honest men! Why, how shall I
requite you?
Can you eat roots and drink cold water? no.
Both. What we can do, we'll do, to do you
Tim. Ye're honest men. Ye've heard that I
have gold;
I am sure you have: speak truth; ye're honest
Pain. So it is said, my noble lord; but there-
Came not my friend nor I.
Tim. Good honest men! Thou draw'st a
Best in all Athens: thou'rt, indeed, the best;
Thou counterfeit'st most lively.
Pain. So, so, my lord.
Tim. E'en so, sir, as I say. And, for thy
Why, thy verse swells with stuff so fine and
That thou art even natural in thine art.
But for all this, my honest-natur'd friends,
I must needs say you have a little fault:
Marry, 'tis not monstrous in you, neither wish I
You take much pains to mend.
Both. Beseech your honour
To make it known to us.
Tim. You'll take it ill.
Both. Most thankfully, my lord.
Tim. Will you indeed?
Both. Doubt it not, worthy lord.
Tim. There's never a one of you but trusts a
That mightily deceives you.
Both. Do we, my lord?
Tim. Ay, and you hear him cog, see him dis-
Know his gross patchery, love him, feed him,
Keep in your bosom; yet remain assur'd
That he's a made-up villain.
Pain. I know none such, my lord.
Poet. Nor I.
Tim. Look you, I love you well; I'll give yon
Rid me these villains from your companies:
Hang them or stab them, drown them in a
Confound them by some course, and come to
I'll give you gold enough.
Both. Name them, my lord; let's know them.
Tim. You that way and you this, but two
in company;
Each man apart, all single and alone,
Yet an arch-villain keeps him company.
If, where thou art two villains shall not be,
Come not near him. [To the Poet.] If thou
would not reside
But where one villain is, then him abandon.
Hence! pack! there's gold; ye came for gold,
ye slaves:
You have done work for me, there's payment:
You are an alchemist, make gold of that.
Out, rascal dogs!
[Beats them out and then returns to his cave.

Enter FLAVIUS and two Senators.
Flav. It is in vain that you would speak with
For he is set so only to himself
That nothing but himself, which looks like man,
Is friendly with him.
First Sen. Bring us to his cave:
It is our part and promise to the Athenians
To speak with Timon.
Sec. Sen. At all times alike
Men are not still the same: 'twas time and griefs
That fram'd him thus: time, with his fairer
Offering the fortunes of his former days,
The former man may make him. Bring us to
And chance it as it may.
Flav. Here is his cave.
Peace and content be here! Lord Timon!
Look out, and speak to friends. The Athenians,
By two of their most reverend senate, greet thee:
Speak to them, noble Timon.

Enter TIMON, from his cave.
Tim. Thou sun, that comfort'st, burn! Speak,
For each true word, a blister! and each false
Be as a cauterizing to the root o' the tongue,
Consuming it with speaking!
First Sen. Worthy Timon,—
Tim. Of none but such as you, and you of
Sec. Sen. The senators of Athens greet thee,
Tim. I thank them; and would send them
back the plague,
Could I but catch it for them.
First Sen. O! forget
What we are sorry for ourselves in thee.
The senators with one consent of love
Entreat thee back to Athens; who have thought
On special dignities, which vacant lie
For thy best use and wearing.
Sec. Sen. They confess
Toward thee forgetfulness too general, gross;
Which now the public body, which doth seldom
Play the recanter, feeling in itself
A lack of Timon's aid, hath sense withal
Of its own fail, restraining aid to Timon;
And send forth us, to make their sorrow'd
Together with a recompense more fruitful
Than their offence can weigh down by the dram;
Ay, even such heaps and sums of love and wealth
As shall to thee block out what wrongs were
And write in thee the figures of their love,
Ever to read them thine.
Tim. You witch me in it;
Surprise me to the very brink of tears:
Lend me a fool's heart and a woman's eyes,
And I'll beweep these comforts, worthy senators.
First Sen. Therefore so please thee to return
with us,
And of our Athens—thine and ours—to take
The captainship, thou shalt be met with thanks,
Allow'd with absolute power, and thy good
Live with authority: so soon we shall drive back
Of Alcibiades the approaches wild;
Who, like a boar too savage, doth root up
His country's peace.
Sec. Sen. And shakes his threat'ning sword
Against the walls of Athens.
First Sen. Therefore, Timon,—
Tim. Well, sir, I will; therefore, I will, sir;
If Alcibiades kill my countrymen,
Let Alcibiades know this of Timon,
That Timon cares not. But if he sack fair
And take our goodly aged men by the beards,
Giving our holy virgins to the stain
Of contumelious, beastly, mad-brain'd war;
Then let him know, and tell him Timon speaks
In pity of our aged and our youth
I cannot choose but tell him, that I care not,
And let him take't at worst; for their knives
care not
While you have throats to answer: for myself,
There's not a whittle in the unruly camp
But I do prize it at my love before
The reverend'st throat in Athens. So I leave
To the protection of the prosperous gods,
As thieves to keepers.
Flav. Stay not; all's in vain.
Tim. Why, I was writing of my epitaph;
It will be seen to-morrow. My long sickness
Of health and living now begins to mend,
And nothing brings me all things. Go; live
Be Alcibiades your plague, you his,
And last so long enough!
First Sen. We speak in vain.
Tim. But yet I love my country, and am
One that rejoices in the common wrack,
As common bruit doth put it.
First Sen. That's well spoke.
Tim. Commend me to my loving country-
First Sen. These words become your lips as
they pass through them.
Sec. Sen. And enter in our ears like great
In their applauding gates.
Tim. Commend me to them;
And tell them, that, to ease them of their griefs,
Their fears of hostile strokes, their aches, losses,
Their pangs of love, with other incident throes
That nature's fragile vessel doth sustain
In life's uncertain voyage, I will some kindness
do them:
I'll teach them to prevent wild Alcibiades'
Sec. Sen. I like this well; he will return again.
Tim. I have a tree which grows here in my
That mine own use invites me to cut down,
And shortly must I fell it; tell my friends,
Tell Athens, in the sequence of degree,
From high to low throughout, that whoso please
To stop affliction, let him take his haste,
Come hither, ere my tree hath felt the axe,
And hang himself. I pray you, do my greeting.
Flav. Trouble him no further; thus you still
shall find him.
Tim. Come not to me again; but say to
Timon hath made his everlasting mansion
Upon the beached verge of the salt flood;
Who once a day with his embossed froth
The turbulent surge shall cover: thither come,
And let my grave-stone be your oracle.
Lips, let sour words go by and language end:
What is amiss plague and infection mend!
Graves only be men's works and death their
Sun, hide thy beams! Timon hath done his
reign. [Exit.
First Sen. His discontents are unremovably
Coupled to nature.
Sec. Sen. Our hope in him is dead: let us
And strain what other means is left unto us
In our dear peril.
First Sen. It requires swift foot. [Exeunt.
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