« PreviousContinue »
PERSONS REPRESENTED. TIMON, a noble Athenian.
Two SERVANTS of VARRO, and LUCIUS, > Lords, and Flat
the SERVANT of ISIDORE; twe LUCULLUS,
of Timon's Creditors. SEMPRONIUS, J terers of Timon.
CUPID, and MASKERS. VENTIDIUS, one of Timon's false Three STRANGERS. Friends.
POET, PAINTER, JEWELLER, APEMANTUS, a churlish Philoso and MERCHANT. pher.
An OLD ATHENIAN.
ALCIBIADES, an Athenian General. A PAGE.
FLAVIUS, Steward to Timon.
LUCILIUS, Timon's Servants. PHRYNIA, Mistresses to Alcibi.
ades. CAPHIS, PHILOTUS,
Servants to TiTITUS, mon's Creditors.
· Other LORDS, SENATORS, OFFICERS, LUCIUS,
SOLDIERS, THIEVES, and ATTENDHORTENSIUS, )
SCENE, Athens; and the Woods adjoining.
SCENE I.-Athens. A Hall in TIMON'S House.
Enter POET, PAINTER, JEWELLER, MERCHANT, and others, at
Poet. Good day, Sir.
Pain. I am glad you are well.
Poet. I have not seen you long; How goes the world ?
Pain. It wears, Sir, as it grows.
Poet. Ah, 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 conjured to attend. I know the merchant.
Pain. I know them both; t'other's a jeweller.
Mer. 0, 'tis a worthy lord !
Jew. Nay, that's most fixed.
Mer. A most incomparable man; breathed, * as it were,
To an untirable and continuate + goodness :
He passes. I
* Inured by constant practice.
Goes beyond common bounds.
Jew. I have a jewel here.
Mer. O, pray, let's see't: For the lord Timon, Sir?
Jew. If he will touch the estimate :* But, for that-
Poet. When we for recompense have praised the vile,
It stains the glory in that happy verse
Which aptly sings the good.
Mer. 'Tis a good form.
[Looking at the jewel. Jew. And rich: here is a water, look you.
Pain. You are apt, Sir, in some work, some dedication
To the great lord.
Poet. A thing slipp'd idly from me.
Our poesy is as a gum, which oozes
From whence 'tis nourished: The fire i’ the flint
Shows not. till it be struck; our gentle flame
Provokes itself, and, like the current, flies
Each bound it chafes. What have you there?
Pain. A picture, Sir.–And when comes your book forth ?
Poet. Upon the heels of my presentment, I Sir,
Let's see your piece.
Pain. 'Í'is a good piece.
Poet. So 'tis : this comes off well and excellent.
Poet. Admirable: How this grace
Speaks his own standing ! what a mental power
This eye shoots forth ! how big imagination
Moves in this lip! to the dumbness of the gesture
One might interpret.
Pain. It is a pretty mocking of the life.
Here is a touch; Is't good ?
Poet. I'll say of it,
It tutors nature: artificial strifes
Lives in these touches, livelier than life.
Enter certain SENATORS, and pass over.
Pain. How this lord's follow'd!
Poet. The senators of Athens :-Happy men!
Pain. Look, more!
Poet. You see this confluence, this great flood of visitors.
I have, in this rough work, shaped 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: T 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.
Pain. How shall I understand you ?
Poet. I'll unbolt ** to you.
* Give the price.
+ Reading his poem.
# As soon as my book has been presented to Timon.
I.e. the contest of art with nature.
| Does not stop at any particular character.
Anciently they wrote upon wax tablets with an iron pen.
You see how all conditions, how all minds
(As well of glib and slippery creatures, as
Or 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-faced 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.
Pain. I saw them speak together.
Poet. Sir, I have upon a high and pleasant hill,
Feign'd Fortune to be throned: The base o'the mount
Is rank'd with all deserts, † all kind of natures,
That labour 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.
Pain. 'Tis conceived to scope.
This throne, this Fortune, and t
With one man bekon'd from the rest below,
Bowing his head against the steepy mount
To climb his happiness, would be well express'd
In our condition.
Poet. 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.
Pain. Ay, marry, what of these ?
Poet. When Fortune, in her shift and change of mood,
Spurns down her late beloved, all his dependants,
Which labour'd after him to the mountain's top,
Even on their knees and hands, let him slip down,
Not one accompanying his declining foot.
Pain. 'Tis common :
A thousand moral paintings I can show
That shall demonstrate these quick blows of fortune
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 TIMON, attended ; the SERVANT of.
VENTIDIUS talking with him. Tim. Imprison'd is he, say you ?
Ven. Serv. Ay, my good lord: five talents is his debt;
His means most short, his creditors most strait :
Your honourable letter he desires
To those have shut him up; which failing to him,
Periods his comfort.
Tim. 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.
Ven. Serv. Your lordship ever binds him.
Tim. Commend me to him: I will send his ransom;
And, being enfranchised, bid him come to me:
'Tis not enough to help the feeble up,
But to support him after.-Fare you well.
Ven. Serv. All happiness to your honour!
Enter an old ATHENIAN.
Old Ath. Lord Timon, hear me speak.
Tim. Freely, good father.
Old Ath. Thou hast a servant named Lucilius.
Tim. I have so: What of him ?
Old Ath. Most noble Timon, call the man before thee.
Tim. Attends he here, or no ?-Lucilius !
• Enter LUCILIUS. Luc. Here, at your lordship's service.
Old Ath. This fellow here, lord Timon, this thy creature,
By night frequents my house. I am a man
That from my first have been inclined to thrift;
And my estate deserves an heir more raised,
Than one which holds a trencher.
Tim. Well: what further?
Old Ath. One only daughter have I, no kin else,
On whom I may confer what I have got:
The maid is fair, o'the 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 prythee, noble lord,
Join with me to forbid him her resort;
Myself have spoke in vain.
Tim. The man is honest.
Old Ath. Therefore he will be, Timon:
His honesty rewards him in itself,
It must not bear my daughter.
Tim. Does she love him ?
Old Ath. She is young, and apt:
Our own precedent passions do instruct us
What levity's in youth.
Tim. [to LUCILIUS]. Love you the maid ?
Luc. Ay, my good lord, and she accepts of it.
Old Ath. 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.
Tim. How shall she be endow'd,
If she be mated with an equal husband ?
Old Ath. Three talents, on the present; in future, all.
Tim. This gentleman of mine hath served 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 Ath. Most noble lord,
Pawn me to this your honour, she is his.
Tim. My hand to thee; mine honour on my promise.
Luc. Humbly I thank your lordship: Never may
That state or fortune fall into my keeping,
Which is not owed * to you!
[Exeunt LUCILIUS and old ATHENIAN. Poet. Vouchsafe my labour, and long live your lordship!
Tim. I thank you; you shall hear from me anon:
Go not away.-What have you there, my friend?
: Pain. A piece of painting, which I do beseech
Your lordship to accept.
Tim. Painting is welcome.
The painting is almost the natural man;
For since dishonour traffics with man's nature,
He is but outside; These pencil'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.
Pain. The gods preserve you!
Tim. Well fare you, gentlemen : Give me your hand;
We must needs dine together.-Sir, your jewel
Hath suffer'd under praise.
Jew. What, my lord ? dispraise ?
Tim. A mere satiety of commendations.
If I should pay you for’t as 'tis extollid,
It would unclew f me quite.
Jew. 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 wearing it.
Tim. Well mock’d.".
Mer. No, my good lord; he speaks the common tongue,
Which all men speak with him.
Tim. Look, who comes here. Will you be chid ?
Jew. We will bear, with your lordship.
Mer. He'll spare none.
Tim. Good morrow to thee, gentle Apemantus !
Held as due.
• According to.