Timon of Athens
Act I, Scene 1
Athens. A hall in Timon’s house.
- Enter Poet, Painter, Jeweler, Merchant, at several doors.
- Good day, sir.
- I am glad y’ are well.
- I have not seen you long, how goes the world?
- It wears, sir, as it grows.
Poet5 - 9
- Ay, that’s well known;
- But what particular rarity? What strange,
- Which manifold record not matches? See,
- Magic of bounty! All these spirits thy power
- Hath conjur’d to attend. I know the merchant.
- I know them both; th’ other’s a jeweler.
- O, ’tis a worthy lord.
- Nay, that’s most fix’d.
Merchant13 - 15
- A most incomparable man, breath’d, as it were,
- To an untirable and continuate goodness;
- He passes.
- I have a jewel here—
- O, pray let’s see’t. For the Lord Timon, sir?
- If he will touch the estimate. But for that—
Poet19 - 21
- Reciting to himself.
- “When we for recompense have prais’d the vild,
- It stains the glory in that happy verse
- Which aptly sings the good.”
- Looking on the jewel.
- ’Tis a good form.
- And rich. Here is a water, look ye.
Painter24 - 25
- You are rapt, sir, in some work, some dedication
- To the great lord.
Poet26 - 31
- A thing slipp’d idlely from me.
- Our poesy is as a gum, which oozes
- From whence ’tis nourish’d. The fire i’ th’ flint
- Shows not till it be struck; our gentle flame
- Provokes itself and like the current flies
- Each bound it chases. What have you there?
- A picture, sir. When comes your book forth?
Poet33 - 34
- Upon the heels of my presentment, sir.
- Let’s see your piece.
- ’Tis a good piece.
- So ’tis. This comes off well and excellent.
Poet38 - 42
- Admirable! How this grace
- Speaks his own standing! What a mental power
- This eye shoots forth! How big imagination
- Moves in this lip! To th’ dumbness of the gesture
- One might interpret.
Painter43 - 44
- It is a pretty mocking of the life.
- Here is a touch; is’t good?
Poet45 - 47
- I will say of it,
- It tutors nature. Artificial strife
- Lives in these touches, livelier than life.
- Enter certain Senators and pass over.
- How this lord is followed!
- The senators of Athens, happy men!
- Look, more!
Poet51 - 59
- You see this confluence, this great flood of visitors.
- I have, in this rough work, shap’d out a man
- Whom this beneath world doth embrace and hug
- With amplest entertainment. My free drift
- Halts not particularly, but moves itself
- In a wide sea of wax; no levell’d malice
- Infects one comma in the course I hold,
- But flies an eagle flight, bold, and forth on,
- Leaving no tract behind.
- How shall I understand you?
Poet61 - 72
- I will unbolt to you.
- You see how all conditions, how all minds,
- As well of glib and slipp’ry creatures as
- Of grave and austere quality, tender down
- Their services to Lord Timon. His large fortune,
- Upon his good and gracious nature hanging,
- Subdues and properties to his love and tendance
- All sorts of hearts; yea, from the glass-fac’d flatterer
- To Apemantus, that few things loves better
- Than to abhor himself; even he drops down
- The knee before him, and returns in peace
- Most rich in Timon’s nod.
- I saw them speak together.
Poet74 - 83
- Sir, I have upon a high and pleasant hill
- Feign’d Fortune to be thron’d. The base o’ th’ mount
- Is rank’d with all deserts, all kind of natures,
- That labor on the bosom of this sphere
- To propagate their states. Amongst them all,
- Whose eyes are on this sovereign lady fix’d,
- One do I personate of Lord Timon’s frame,
- Whom Fortune with her ivory hand wafts to her,
- Whose present grace to present slaves and servants
- Translates his rivals.
Painter84 - 89
- ’Tis conceiv’d to scope.
- This throne, this Fortune, and this hill, methinks,
- With one man beckon’d from the rest below,
- Bowing his head against the steepy mount
- To climb his happiness, would be well express’d
- In our condition.
Poet90 - 96
- Nay, sir, but hear me on:
- All those which were his fellows but of late—
- Some better than his value—on the moment
- Follow his strides, his lobbies fill with tendance,
- Rain sacrificial whisperings in his ear,
- Make sacred even his stirrup, and through him
- Drink the free air.
- Ay, marry, what of these?
Poet98 - 102
- When Fortune in her shift and change of mood
- Spurns down her late beloved, all his dependents
- Which labor’d after him to the mountain’s top
- Even on their knees and hands, let him slip down,
- Not one accompanying his declining foot.
Painter103 - 108
- ’Tis common:
- A thousand moral paintings I can show
- That shall demonstrate these quick blows of Fortune’s
- More pregnantly than words. Yet you do well
- To show Lord Timon that mean eyes have seen
- The foot above the head.
- Trumpets sound. Enter Lord Timon, addressing himself
- courteously to every suitor, a Messenger from Ventidius
- talking with him; Lucilius and other Servants following.
- Imprison’d is he, say you?
Messenger from Ventidius110 - 114
- Ay, my good lord, five talents is his debt,
- His means most short, his creditors most strait.
- Your honorable letter he desires
- To those have shut him up, which failing,
- Periods his comfort.
Timon115 - 119
- Noble Ventidius! Well;
- I am not of that feather to shake off
- My friend when he must need me. I do know him
- A gentleman that well deserves a help,
- Which he shall have. I’ll pay the debt and free him.
Messenger from Ventidius120
- Your lordship ever binds him.
Timon121 - 124
- Commend me to him. I will send his ransom,
- And being enfranchis’d, bid him come to me;
- ’Tis not enough to help the feeble up,
- But to support him after. Fare you well.
Messenger from Ventidius125
- All happiness to your honor!
- Enter an Old Athenian.
- Lord Timon, hear me speak.
- Freely, good father.
- Thou hast a servant nam’d Lucilius.
- I have so. What of him?
- Most noble Timon, call the man before thee.
- Attends he here, or no? Lucilius!
- Here, at your lordship’s service.
Old Athenian133 - 137
- This fellow here, Lord Timon, this thy creature,
- By night frequents my house. I am a man
- That from my first have been inclin’d to thrift,
- And my estate deserves an heir more rais’d
- Than one which holds a trencher.
- Well; what further?
Old Athenian139 - 146
- One only daughter have I, no kin else,
- On whom I may confer what I have got.
- The maid is fair, a’ th’ youngest for a bride,
- And I have bred her at my dearest cost
- In qualities of the best. This man of thine
- Attempts her love. I prithee, noble lord,
- Join with me to forbid him her resort,
- Myself have spoke in vain.
- The man is honest.
Old Athenian148 - 150
- Therefore he will be, Timon.
- His honesty rewards him in itself,
- It must not bear my daughter.
- Does she love him?
Old Athenian152 - 154
- She is young and apt.
- Our own precedent passions do instruct us
- What levity’s in youth.
- To Lucilius.
- Love you the maid?
- Ay, my good lord, and she accepts of it.
Old Athenian157 - 160
- If in her marriage my consent be missing,
- I call the gods to witness, I will choose
- Mine heir from forth the beggars of the world,
- And dispossess her all.
Timon161 - 162
- How shall she be endowed,
- If she be mated with an equal husband?
- Three talents on the present; in future, all.
Timon164 - 168
- This gentleman of mine hath serv’d me long;
- To build his fortune I will strain a little,
- For ’tis a bond in men. Give him thy daughter;
- What you bestow, in him I’ll counterpoise,
- And make him weigh with her.
Old Athenian169 - 170
- Most noble lord,
- Pawn me to this your honor, she is his.
- My hand to thee, mine honor on my promise.
Lucilius172 - 174
- Humbly I thank your lordship. Never may
- That state or fortune fall into my keeping,
- Which is not owed to you!
- Exit with Old Athenian.
- Vouchsafe my labor, and long live your lordship!
Timon176 - 177
- I thank you, you shall hear from me anon.
- Go not away. What have you there, my friend?
Painter178 - 179
- A piece of painting, which I do beseech
- Your lordship to accept.
Timon180 - 186
- Painting is welcome.
- The painting is almost the natural man;
- For since dishonor traffics with man’s nature,
- He is but outside; these pencill’d figures are
- Even such as they give out. I like your work,
- And you shall find I like it. Wait attendance
- Till you hear further from me.
- The gods preserve ye!
Timon188 - 190
- Well fare you, gentleman; give me your hand,
- We must needs dine together.—Sir, your jewel
- Hath suffered under praise.
- What, my lord, dispraise?
Timon192 - 194
- A mere satiety of commendations;
- If I should pay you for’t as ’tis extoll’d,
- It would unclew me quite.
Jeweler195 - 199
- My lord, ’tis rated
- As those which sell would give; but you well know,
- Things of like value differing in the owners
- Are prized by their masters. Believe’t, dear lord,
- You mend the jewel by the wearing it.
- Well mock’d.
- Enter Apemantus.
Merchant201 - 202
- No, my good lord, he speaks the common tongue
- Which all men speak with him.
- Look who comes here; will you be chid?
- We’ll bear, with your lordship.
- He’ll spare none.
- Good morrow to thee, gentle Apemantus!
Apemantus207 - 208
- Till I be gentle, stay thou for thy good morrow—
- When thou art Timon’s dog, and these knaves honest.
- Why dost thou call them knaves? Thou know’st them not.
- Are they not Athenians?
- Then I repent not.
- You know me, Apemantus?
- Thou know’st I do, I call’d thee by thy name.
- Thou art proud, Apemantus.
- Of nothing so much as that I am not like Timon.
- Whither art going?
- To knock out an honest Athenian’s brains.
- That’s a deed thou’t die for.
- Right, if doing nothing be death by th’ law.
- How lik’st thou this picture, Apemantus?
- The best, for the innocence.
- Wrought he not well that painted it?
Apemantus224 - 225
- He wrought better that made the painter, and yet he’s but a
- filthy piece of work.
- Y’ are a dog.
- Thy mother’s of my generation; what’s she, if I be a dog?
- Wilt dine with me, Apemantus?
- No; I eat not lords.
- And thou shouldst, thou’dst anger ladies.
- O, they eat lords; so they come by great bellies.
- That’s a lascivious apprehension.
- So thou apprehend’st it, take it for thy labor.
- How dost thou like this jewel, Apemantus?
Apemantus235 - 236
- Not so well as plain-dealing, which will not cast a man a
- What dost thou think ’tis worth?
- Not worth my thinking. How now, poet?
- How now, philosopher?
- Thou liest.
- Art not one?
- Then I lie not.
- Art not a poet?
Apemantus246 - 247
- Then thou liest: look in thy last work, where thou hast
- feign’d him a worthy fellow.
- That’s not feign’d, he is so.
Apemantus249 - 251
- Yes, he is worthy of thee, and to pay thee for thy labor. He
- that loves to be flatter’d is worthy o’ th’ flatterer.
- Heavens, that I were a lord!
- What wouldst do then, Apemantus?
- E’en as Apemantus does now: hate a lord with my heart.
- What, thyself?
Apemantus257 - 258
- That I had no angry wit to be a lord. Art not thou a
- Ay, Apemantus.
- Traffic confound thee, if the gods will not!
- If traffic do it, the gods do it.
- Traffic’s thy god, and thy god confound thee!
- Trumpet sounds. Enter a Messenger.
- What trumpet’s that?
Messenger264 - 265
- ’Tis Alcibiades, and some twenty horse,
- All of companionship.
Timon266 - 270
- Pray entertain them, give them guide to us.
- Exeunt some Attendants.
- You must needs dine with me; go not you hence
- Till I have thank’d you. When dinner’s done,
- Show me this piece. I am joyful of your sights.
- Enter Alcibiades with the rest.
- Most welcome, sir!
Apemantus271 - 275
- So, so; there!
- Aches contract and starve your supple joints!
- That there should be small love amongest these sweet knaves,
- And all this courtesy! The strain of man’s bred out
- Into baboon and monkey.
Alcibiades276 - 277
- Sir, you have sav’d my longing, and I feed
- Most hungerly on your sight.
Timon278 - 280
- Right welcome, sir!
- Ere we depart, we’ll share a bounteous time
- In different pleasures. Pray you let us in.
- Exeunt all but Apemantus.
- Enter two Lords.
- What time a’ day is’t, Apemantus?
- Time to be honest.
- That time serves still.
- The most accursed thou, that still omit’st it.
- Thou art going to Lord Timon’s feast?
- Ay, to see meat fill knaves, and wine heat fools.
- Fare thee well, fare thee well.
- Thou art a fool to bid me farewell twice.
- Why, Apemantus?
Apemantus290 - 291
- Shouldst have kept one to thyself, for I mean to give thee
- Hang thyself!
Apemantus293 - 294
- No, I will do nothing at thy bidding; make thy requests to
- thy friend.
- Away, unpeaceable dog, or I’ll spurn thee hence!
- I will fly, like a dog, the heels a’ th’ ass.
First Lord297 - 299
- He’s opposite to humanity. Come, shall we in
- And taste Lord Timon’s bounty? He outgoes
- The very heart of kindness.
Second Lord300 - 304
- He pours it out: Plutus, the god of gold,
- Is but his steward. No meed but he repays
- Sevenfold above itself; no gift to him
- But breeds the giver a return exceeding
- All use of quittance.
First Lord305 - 306
- The noblest mind he carries
- That ever govern’d man.
- Long may he live in fortunes! Shall we in?
- I’ll keep you company.