The Life of Timon of Athens
SCENE II. The same. A hall in Timon's house.
Enter FLAVIUS, with many bills in his hand
No care, no stop! so senseless of expense,
That he will neither know how to maintain it,
Nor cease his flow of riot: takes no account
How things go from him, nor resumes no care
Of what is to continue: never mind
Was to be so unwise, to be so kind.
What shall be done? he will not hear, till feel:
I must be round with him, now he comes from hunting.
Fie, fie, fie, fie!
Enter CAPHIS, and the Servants of Isidore and Varro
Good even, Varro: what,
You come for money?
Is't not your business too?
It is: and yours too, Isidore?
It is so.
Would we were all discharged!
I fear it.
Here comes the lord.
Enter TIMON, ALCIBIADES, and Lords, &c
So soon as dinner's done, we'll forth again,
My Alcibiades. With me? what is your will?
My lord, here is a note of certain dues.
Dues! Whence are you?
Of Athens here, my lord.
Please it your lordship, he hath put me off
To the succession of new days this month:
My master is awaked by great occasion
To call upon his own, and humbly prays you
That with your other noble parts you'll suit
In giving him his right.
Mine honest friend,
I prithee, but repair to me next morning.
Nay, good my lord,--
Contain thyself, good friend.
One Varro's servant, my good lord,--
He humbly prays your speedy payment.
If you did know, my lord, my master's wants--
'Twas due on forfeiture, my lord, six weeks And past.
Your steward puts me off, my lord;
And I am sent expressly to your lordship.
Give me breath.
I do beseech you, good my lords, keep on;
I'll wait upon you instantly.
Exeunt ALCIBIADES and Lords
Come hither: pray you,
How goes the world, that I am thus encounter'd
With clamourous demands of date-broke bonds,
And the detention of long-since-due debts,
Against my honour?
Please you, gentlemen,
The time is unagreeable to this business:
Your importunacy cease till after dinner,
That I may make his lordship understand
Wherefore you are not paid.
Do so, my friends. See them well entertain'd.
Enter APEMANTUS and Fool
Stay, stay, here comes the fool with Apemantus:
let's ha' some sport with 'em.
Hang him, he'll abuse us.
A plague upon him, dog!
How dost, fool?
Dost dialogue with thy shadow?
I speak not to thee.
No,'tis to thyself.
To the Fool
There's the fool hangs on your back already.
No, thou stand'st single, thou'rt not on him yet.
Where's the fool now?
He last asked the question. Poor rogues, and
usurers' men! bawds between gold and want!
What are we, Apemantus?
That you ask me what you are, and do not know
yourselves. Speak to 'em, fool.
How do you, gentlemen?
Gramercies, good fool: how does your mistress?
She's e'en setting on water to scald such chickens
as you are. Would we could see you at Corinth!
Look you, here comes my mistress' page.
To the Fool
Why, how now, captain! what do you
in this wise company? How dost thou, Apemantus?
Would I had a rod in my mouth, that I might answer
Prithee, Apemantus, read me the superscription of
these letters: I know not which is which.
Canst not read?
There will little learning die then, that day thou
art hanged. This is to Lord Timon; this to
Alcibiades. Go; thou wast born a bastard, and thou't
die a bawd.
Thou wast whelped a dog, and thou shalt famish a
dog's death. Answer not; I am gone.
E'en so thou outrunnest grace. Fool, I will go with
you to Lord Timon's.
Will you leave me there?
If Timon stay at home. You three serve three usurers?
Ay; would they served us!
So would I,--as good a trick as ever hangman served thief.
Are you three usurers' men?
I think no usurer but has a fool to his servant: my
mistress is one, and I am her fool. When men come
to borrow of your masters, they approach sadly, and
go away merry; but they enter my mistress' house
merrily, and go away sadly: the reason of this?
I could render one.
Do it then, that we may account thee a whoremaster
and a knave; which not-withstanding, thou shalt be
no less esteemed.
What is a whoremaster, fool?
A fool in good clothes, and something like thee.
'Tis a spirit: sometime't appears like a lord;
sometime like a lawyer; sometime like a philosopher,
with two stones moe than's artificial one: he is
very often like a knight; and, generally, in all
shapes that man goes up and down in from fourscore
to thirteen, this spirit walks in.
Thou art not altogether a fool.
Nor thou altogether a wise man: as much foolery as
I have, so much wit thou lackest.
That answer might have become Apemantus.
Aside, aside; here comes Lord Timon.
Re-enter TIMON and FLAVIUS
Come with me, fool, come.
I do not always follow lover, elder brother and
woman; sometime the philosopher.
Exeunt APEMANTUS and Fool
Pray you, walk near: I'll speak with you anon.
You make me marvel: wherefore ere this time
Had you not fully laid my state before me,
That I might so have rated my expense,
As I had leave of means?
You would not hear me,
At many leisures I proposed.
Perchance some single vantages you took.
When my indisposition put you back:
And that unaptness made your minister,
Thus to excuse yourself.
O my good lord,
At many times I brought in my accounts,
Laid them before you; you would throw them off,
And say, you found them in mine honesty.
When, for some trifling present, you have bid me
Return so much, I have shook my head and wept;
Yea, 'gainst the authority of manners, pray'd you
To hold your hand more close: I did endure
Not seldom, nor no slight cheques, when I have
Prompted you in the ebb of your estate
And your great flow of debts. My loved lord,
Though you hear now, too late--yet now's a time--
The greatest of your having lacks a half
To pay your present debts.
Let all my land be sold.
'Tis all engaged, some forfeited and gone;
And what remains will hardly stop the mouth
Of present dues: the future comes apace:
What shall defend the interim? and at length
How goes our reckoning?
To Lacedaemon did my land extend.
O my good lord, the world is but a word:
Were it all yours to give it in a breath,
How quickly were it gone!
If you suspect my husbandry or falsehood,
Call me before the exactest auditors
And set me on the proof. So the gods bless me,
When all our offices have been oppress'd
With riotous feeders, when our vaults have wept
With drunken spilth of wine, when every room
Hath blazed with lights and bray'd with minstrelsy,
I have retired me to a wasteful cock,
And set mine eyes at flow.
Heavens, have I said, the bounty of this lord!
How many prodigal bits have slaves and peasants
This night englutted! Who is not Timon's?
What heart, head, sword, force, means, but is
Great Timon, noble, worthy, royal Timon!
Ah, when the means are gone that buy this praise,
The breath is gone whereof this praise is made:
Feast-won, fast-lost; one cloud of winter showers,
These flies are couch'd.
Come, sermon me no further:
No villanous bounty yet hath pass'd my heart;
Unwisely, not ignobly, have I given.
Why dost thou weep? Canst thou the conscience lack,
To think I shall lack friends? Secure thy heart;
If I would broach the vessels of my love,
And try the argument of hearts by borrowing,
Men and men's fortunes could I frankly use
As I can bid thee speak.
Assurance bless your thoughts!
And, in some sort, these wants of mine are crown'd,
That I account them blessings; for by these
Shall I try friends: you shall perceive how you
Mistake my fortunes; I am wealthy in my friends.
Within there! Flaminius! Servilius!
Enter FLAMINIUS, SERVILIUS, and other Servants
My lord? my lord?
I will dispatch you severally; you to Lord Lucius;
to Lord Lucullus you: I hunted with his honour
to-day: you, to Sempronius: commend me to their
loves, and, I am proud, say, that my occasions have
found time to use 'em toward a supply of money: let
the request be fifty talents.
As you have said, my lord.
Lord Lucius and Lucullus? hum!
Go you, sir, to the senators--
Of whom, even to the state's best health, I have
Deserved this hearing--bid 'em send o' the instant
A thousand talents to me.
I have been bold--
For that I knew it the most general way--
To them to use your signet and your name;
But they do shake their heads, and I am here
No richer in return.
Is't true? can't be?
They answer, in a joint and corporate voice,
That now they are at fall, want treasure, cannot
Do what they would; are sorry--you are honourable,--
But yet they could have wish'd--they know not--
Something hath been amiss--a noble nature
May catch a wrench--would all were well--'tis pity;--
And so, intending other serious matters,
After distasteful looks and these hard fractions,
With certain half-caps and cold-moving nods
They froze me into silence.
You gods, reward them!
Prithee, man, look cheerly. These old fellows
Have their ingratitude in them hereditary:
Their blood is caked, 'tis cold, it seldom flows;
'Tis lack of kindly warmth they are not kind;
And nature, as it grows again toward earth,
Is fashion'd for the journey, dull and heavy.
To a Servant
Go to Ventidius.
Prithee, be not sad,
Thou art true and honest; ingeniously I speak.
No blame belongs to thee.
Buried his father; by whose death he's stepp'd
Into a great estate: when he was poor,
Imprison'd and in scarcity of friends,
I clear'd him with five talents: greet him from me;
Bid him suppose some good necessity
Touches his friend, which craves to be remember'd
With those five talents.
That had, give't these fellows
To whom 'tis instant due. Ne'er speak, or think,
That Timon's fortunes 'mong his friends can sink.
I would I could not think it: that thought is
Being free itself, it thinks all others so.
Back to scene list
Thursday 18 April 2019