Timon of Athens
Act 5, Scene 4
Before the walls of Athens.
- Trumpets sound. Enter Alcibiades with his powers before
Alcibiades3 - 17
- Sound to this coward and lascivious town
- Our terrible approach.
- Sounds a parley.
- The Senators appear upon the walls.
- Till now you have gone on and fill’d the time
- With all licentious measure, making your wills
- The scope of justice; till now myself and such
- As slept within the shadow of your power
- Have wander’d with our travers’d arms, and breath’d
- Our sufferance vainly. Now the time is flush,
- When crouching marrow in the bearer strong
- Cries (of itself) “No more!” Now breathless wrong
- Shall sit and pant in your great chairs of ease,
- And pursy insolence shall break his wind
- With fear and horrid flight.
First Senator18 - 23
- Noble and young—
- When thy first griefs were but a mere conceit,
- Ere thou hadst power or we had cause of fear,
- We sent to thee to give thy rages balm,
- To wipe out our ingratitude with loves
- Above their quantity.
Second Senator24 - 28
- So did we woo
- Transformed Timon to our city’s love
- By humble message and by promis’d means.
- We were not all unkind, nor all deserve
- The common stroke of war.
First Senator29 - 33
- These walls of ours
- Were not erected by their hands from whom
- You have receiv’d your grief; nor are they such
- That these great tow’rs, trophies, and schools should fall
- For private faults in them.
Second Senator34 - 43
- Nor are they living
- Who were the motives that you first went out;
- Shame, that they wanted cunning in excess,
- Hath broke their hearts. March, noble lord,
- Into our city with thy banners spread;
- By decimation, and a tithed death,
- If thy revenges hunger for that food
- Which nature loathes, take thou the destin’d tenth,
- And by the hazard of the spotted die
- Let die the spotted.
First Senator44 - 53
- All have not offended;
- For those that were, it is not square to take
- On those that are, revenge; crimes, like lands,
- Are not inherited. Then, dear countryman,
- Bring in thy ranks, but leave without thy rage;
- Spare thy Athenian cradle and those kin
- Which in the bluster of thy wrath must fall
- With those that have offended; like a shepherd,
- Approach the fold and cull th’ infected forth,
- But kill not all together.
Second Senator54 - 56
- What thou wilt,
- Thou rather shalt enforce it with thy smile
- Than hew to’t with thy sword.
First Senator57 - 60
- Set but thy foot
- Against our rampir’d gates and they shall ope,
- So thou wilt send thy gentle heart before,
- To say thou’t enter friendly.
Second Senator61 - 66
- Throw thy glove,
- Or any token of thine honor else,
- That thou wilt use the wars as thy redress
- And not as our confusion, all thy powers
- Shall make their harbor in our town till we
- Have seal’d thy full desire.
Alcibiades67 - 76
- Then there’s my glove;
- Descend, and open your uncharged ports.
- Those enemies of Timon’s and mine own
- Whom you yourselves shall set out for reproof
- Fall, and no more; and to atone your fears
- With my more noble meaning, not a man
- Shall pass his quarter, or offend the stream
- Of regular justice in your city’s bounds,
- But shall be remedied to your public laws
- At heaviest answer.
First Senator and Second Senator77
- ’Tis most nobly spoken.
- Descend, and keep your words.
- The Senators descend and open the gates.
- Enter Soldier as a messenger.
Soldier81 - 85
- My noble general, Timon is dead,
- Entomb’d upon the very hem o’ th’ sea,
- And on his grave-stone this insculpture, which
- With wax I brought away, whose soft impression
- Interprets for my poor ignorance.
Alcibiades86 - 102
- Reads the epitaph.
- “Here lies a wretched corse, of wretched soul bereft;
- Seek not my name: a plague consume you, wicked caitiffs left!
- Here lie I, Timon, who, alive, all living men did hate;
- Pass by and curse thy fill, but pass and stay not here thy gait.”
- These well express in thee thy latter spirits:
- Though thou abhorr’dst in us our human griefs,
- Scorn’dst our brains’ flow, and those our droplets which
- From niggard nature fall, yet rich conceit
- Taught thee to make vast Neptune weep for aye
- On thy low grave, on faults forgiven. Dead
- Is noble Timon, of whose memory
- Hereafter more. Bring me into your city,
- And I will use the olive with my sword:
- Make war breed peace, make peace stint war, make each
- Prescribe to other as each other’s leech.
- Let our drums strike.