Timon of Athens
Act III, Scene 5
Athens. The Senate House.
- Enter three Senators at one door, Alcibiades meeting them,
- with Attendants.
First Senator1 - 3
- My lord, you have my voice to’t; the fault’s
- Bloody; ’tis necessary he should die.
- Nothing emboldens sin so much as mercy.
- Most true; the law shall bruise ’em.
- Honor, health, and compassion to the Senate!
- Now, captain?
Alcibiades7 - 23
- I am an humble suitor to your virtues;
- For pity is the virtue of the law,
- And none but tyrants use it cruelly.
- It pleases time and fortune to lie heavy
- Upon a friend of mine, who in hot blood
- Hath stepp’d into the law, which is past depth
- To those that (without heed) do plunge into’t.
- He is a man (setting his fate aside)
- Of comely virtues;
- Nor did he soil the fact with cowardice
- (An honor in him which buys out his fault),
- But with a noble fury and fair spirit,
- Seeing his reputation touch’d to death,
- He did oppose his foe;
- And with such sober and unnoted passion
- He did behoove his anger, ere ’twas spent,
- As if he had but prov’d an argument.
First Senator24 - 37
- You undergo too strict a paradox,
- Striving to make an ugly deed look fair.
- Your words have took such pains as if they labor’d
- To bring manslaughter into form, and set quarreling
- Upon the head of valor; which indeed
- Is valor misbegot, and came into the world
- When sects and factions were newly born.
- He’s truly valiant that can wisely suffer
- The worst that man can breathe, and make his wrongs
- His outsides, to wear them like his raiment, carelessly,
- And ne’er prefer his injuries to his heart,
- To bring it into danger.
- If wrongs be evils and enforce us kill,
- What folly ’tis to hazard life for ill!
- My lord—
First Senator39 - 40
- You cannot make gross sins look clear;
- To revenge is no valor, but to bear.
Alcibiades41 - 59
- My lords, then, under favor, pardon me
- If I speak like a captain.
- Why do fond men expose themselves to battle,
- And not endure all threats? Sleep upon’t,
- And let the foes quietly cut their throats
- Without repugnancy? If there be
- Such valor in the bearing, what make we
- Abroad? Why then, women are more valiant
- That stay at home, if bearing carry it;
- And the ass more captain than the lion, the fellow
- Loaden with irons wiser than the judge,
- If wisdom be in suffering. O my lords,
- As you are great, be pitifully good.
- Who cannot condemn rashness in cold blood?
- To kill, I grant, is sin’s extremest gust,
- But in defense, by mercy, ’tis most just.
- To be in anger is impiety;
- But who is man that is not angry?
- Weigh but the crime with this.
- You breathe in vain.
Alcibiades61 - 63
- In vain? His service done
- At Lacedaemon and Byzantium
- Were a sufficient briber for his life.
- What’s that?
Alcibiades65 - 68
- Why, I say, my lords, h’as done fair service,
- And slain in fight many of your enemies.
- How full of valor did he bear himself
- In the last conflict, and made plenteous wounds!
Second Senator69 - 76
- He has made too much plenty with ’em.
- He’s a sworn rioter; he has a sin that often
- Drowns him and takes his valor prisoner.
- If there were no foes, that were enough
- To overcome him. In that beastly fury
- He has been known to commit outrages
- And cherish factions. ’Tis inferr’d to us,
- His days are foul and his drink dangerous.
- He dies.
Alcibiades78 - 88
- Hard fate! He might have died in war.
- My lords, if not for any parts in him—
- Though his right arm might purchase his own time
- And be in debt to none—yet more to move you,
- Take my deserts to his, and join ’em both;
- And for I know your reverend ages love
- Security, I’ll pawn my victories, all
- My honor to you, upon his good returns.
- If by this crime he owes the law his life,
- Why, let the war receive’t in valiant gore,
- For law is strict, and war is nothing more.
First Senator89 - 91
- We are for law, he dies, urge it no more
- On height of our displeasure. Friend, or brother,
- He forfeits his own blood that spills another.
Alcibiades92 - 93
- Must it be so? It must not be. My lords,
- I do beseech you know me.
- Call me to your remembrances.
Alcibiades97 - 100
- I cannot think but your age has forgot me,
- It could not else be I should prove so base
- To sue and be denied such common grace.
- My wounds ache at you.
First Senator101 - 103
- Do you dare our anger?
- ’Tis in few words, but spacious in effect:
- We banish thee forever.
Alcibiades104 - 106
- Banish me?
- Banish your dotage, banish usury,
- That makes the Senate ugly!
First Senator107 - 109
- If after two days’ shine Athens contain thee,
- Attend our weightier judgment. And not to swell our spirit,
- He shall be executed presently.
- Exeunt Senators.
Alcibiades110 - 123
- Now the gods keep you old enough that you may live
- Only in bone, that none may look on you!
- I’m worse than mad. I have kept back their foes,
- While they have told their money, and let out
- Their coin upon large interest—I myself
- Rich only in large hurts. All those, for this?
- Is this the balsam that the usuring Senate
- Pours into captains’ wounds? Banishment!
- It comes not ill; I hate not to be banish’d,
- It is a cause worthy my spleen and fury,
- That I may strike at Athens. I’ll cheer up
- My discontented troops, and lay for hearts.
- ’Tis honor with most lands to be at odds;
- Soldiers should brook as little wrongs as gods.