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That mine own use invites me to cut down,
And shortly must I fell it: tell my friends,
Tell Athens, in the sequence of degree
From high to low throughout, that whoso please
To stop affliction, let him take his haste,
Come hither, ere my tree hath felt the axe,
And hang himself. I pray you, do my greeting.
Flav. Trouble him no further; thus you still
shall find him.

Tim. Come not to me again: but say to Athens,
Timon hath made his everlasting mansion
Upon the beached verge of the salt flood;
Who once a day with his embossed froth
The turbulent surge shall cover: thither come,
And let my grave-stone be your oracle.

Lips, let sour words go by and language end:
What is amiss plague and infection mend!
Graves only be men's works and death their gain!
Sun, hide thy beams! Timon hath done his reign.
[Retires to his cave.
First Sen. His discontents are unremoveably

Coupled to nature.

Sec. Sen. Our hope in him is dead: let us return, And strain what other means is left unto us

In our dear peril.

First Sen.

It requires swift foot. [Exeunt.

SCENE II. Before the walls of Athens.

Enter two Senators and a Messenger.

First Sen. Thou hast painfully discover'd: are

his files

As full as thy report?

220. embossed, swollen.

231. dear, grievous.





I have spoke the least:

Besides, his expedition promises
Present approach.

Sec. Sen. We stand much hazard, if they bring not Timon.

Mess. I met a courier, one mine ancient friend; Whom, though in general part we were opposed, Yet our old love made a particular force,

And made us speak like friends: this man was riding

From Alcibiades to Timon's cave,

With letters of entreaty, which imported

His fellowship i' the cause against your city,
In part for his sake moved.

First Sen.

Here come our brothers.

Enter the Senators from TIMON.

Third Sen. No talk of Timon, nothing of him expect.

The enemies' drum is heard, and fearful scouring
Doth choke the air with dust: in, and prepare:
Ours is the fall, I fear; our foes the snare.



SCENE III. The woods.

Timon's cave, and a

rude tomb seen.

Enter a Soldier, seeking TIMON.

Sold. By all description this should be the place. Who's here? speak, ho!


4. Present, immediate.

7. Whom, anticipating 'him' implied in 'us,' v. 9.

8. made. This is perhaps an

No answer! What is

error due to the 'made' in the next line. But it yields a fair sense: our old love formed a special influence which neutralised our political antagonism.

Timon is dead, who hath outstretch'd his span:
Some beast rear'd this; there does not live a man.
Dead, sure; and this his grave. What's on this

I cannot read; the character I'll take with wax:
Our captain hath in every figure skill,
An aged interpreter, though young in days:
Before proud Athens he's set down by this,
Whose fall the mark of his ambition is.

[Exit. 10


[blocks in formation]

Enter Senators on 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 traversed arms and

Our sufferance vainly; now the time is flush,

4. Some beast rear'd this, etc. So Warburton for Ff 'read.' The man - hater must have received these burial honours from his fellows, not from man. It is hardly possible to give a meaning to 'read' which does not involve glaring contradiction in what follows. There does not live a man who can [or is fit to] read it.' But the soldier


proceeds to take for granted
that Alcibiades can. For a
similar reason it cannot be
maintained that vv. 3, 4 represent
an inscription on or near the
tomb. The actual inscription
is given v. 4. 70, and the soldier
'cannot read.'

7. figure, handwriting.
8. flush, full, complete.

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.

Noble and young,

First Sen.
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.

Sec. Sen.

So did we woo

Transformed Timon to our city's love

By humble message and by promised means:
We were not all unkind, nor all deserve
The common stroke of war.

First Sen.

These walls of ours

Were not erected by their hands from whom
You have received your griefs: nor are they such

That these great towers,

should fall

For private faults in them.

Sec. Sen.

trophies and schools

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 destined


And by the hazard of the spotted die

Let die the spotted.




First Sen.

All have not offended;

14. conceit, fancy.

28. Shame that they wanted


cunning, in excess,
shame that they lacked wisdom.

For those that were, it is not square to take
On those that are, revenges: 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 the infected forth,
But kill not all together.

Sec. Sen.

What thou wilt,

Thou rather shalt enforce it with thy smile

Than hew to 't with thy sword.

First Sen.

Set but thy foot

Against our rampired gates, and they shall ope;

So thou wilt send thy gentle heart before,


say thou 'lt enter friendly.

Sec. Sen.

Throw thy glove,


Or any token of thine honour else,

That thou wilt use the wars as thy redress
And not as our confusion, all thy powers
Shall make their harbour in our town, till we
Have seal'd thy full desire.

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 render'd to your public laws
At heaviest answer.


'Tis most nobly spoken. Alcib. Descend, and keep your words. [The Senators descend, and open the gates.

36. square, right,


47. rampired, fortified with ramparts.

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