The Life of Timon of Athens
SCENE II. A public place.
Enter LUCILIUS, with three Strangers
Who, the Lord Timon? he is my very good friend, and
an honourable gentleman.
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.
Fie, no, do not believe it; he cannot want for money.
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
showed what necessity belonged to't, and yet was denied.
I tell you, denied, my lord.
What a strange case was that! now, before 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.
See, by good hap, yonder's my lord;
I have sweat to see his honour. My honoured lord,--
Servilius! you are kindly met, sir. Fare thee well:
commend me to thy honourable virtuous lord, my very
May it please your honour, my lord hath sent--
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?
Has only sent his present occasion now, my lord;
requesting your lordship to supply his instant use
with so many talents.
I know his lordship is but merry with me;
He cannot want fifty five hundred talents.
But in the mean time he wants less, my lord.
If his occasion were not virtuous,
I should not urge it half so faithfully.
Dost thou speak seriously, Servilius?
Upon my soul,'tis true, sir.
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 before for a little part,
and undo a great deal of honoured! 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 gentlemen can witness! but I would
not, for the wealth of Athens, I had done't 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
afflictions, say, that I cannot pleasure such an
honourable gentleman. Good Servilius, will you
befriend me so far, as to use mine own words to him?
Yes, sir, I shall.
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.
Do you observe this, Hostilius?
Ay, too well.
Why, this is the world's soul; and just of the
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 father,
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.
Religion groans at it.
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 him,
So much I love his heart: but, I perceive,
Men must learn now with pity to dispense;
For policy sits above conscience.
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Saturday 19 June 2021