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    Act V. Scene I

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    Chapter 14
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    SCENE I. The woods. Before Timon's cave.

    Enter Poet and Painter; TIMON watching them from his cave
    Painter
    As I took note of the place, it cannot be far where
    he abides.

    Poet
    What's to be thought of him? does the rumour hold
    for true, that he's so full of gold?

    Painter
    Certain: Alcibiades reports it; Phrynia and
    Timandra had gold of him: he likewise enriched poor
    straggling soldiers with great quantity: 'tis said
    he gave unto his steward a mighty sum.

    Poet
    Then this breaking of his has been but a try for his friends.

    Painter
    Nothing else: you shall see him a palm in Athens
    again, and flourish with the highest. Therefore
    'tis not amiss we tender our loves to him, in this
    supposed distress of his: it will show honestly in
    us; and is very likely to load our purposes with
    what they travail for, if it be a just true report
    that goes of his having.

    Poet
    What have you now to present unto him?

    Painter
    Nothing at this time but my visitation: only I will
    promise him an excellent piece.

    Poet
    I must serve him so too, tell him of an intent
    that's coming toward him.

    Painter
    Good as the best. Promising is the very air o' the
    time: it opens the eyes of expectation:
    performance is ever the duller for his act; and,
    but in the plainer and simpler kind of people, the
    deed of saying is quite out of use. To promise is
    most courtly and fashionable: performance is a kind
    of will or testament which argues a great sickness
    in his judgment that makes it.

    TIMON comes from his cave, behind

    TIMON
    [Aside] Excellent workman! thou canst not paint a
    man so bad as is thyself.

    Poet
    I am thinking what I shall say I have provided for
    him: it must be a personating of himself; a satire
    against the softness of prosperity, with a discovery
    of the infinite flatteries that follow youth and opulency.

    TIMON
    [Aside] Must thou needs stand for a villain in
    thine own work? wilt thou whip thine own faults in
    other men? Do so, I have gold for thee.

    Poet
    Nay, let's seek him:
    Then do we sin against our own estate,
    When we may profit meet, and come too late.

    Painter
    True;
    When the day serves, before black-corner'd night,
    Find what thou want'st by free and offer'd light. Come.

    TIMON
    [Aside] I'll meet you at the turn. What a
    god's gold,
    That he is worshipp'd in a baser temple
    Than where swine feed!
    'Tis thou that rigg'st the bark and plough'st the foam,
    Settlest admired reverence in a slave:
    To thee be worship! and thy saints for aye
    Be crown'd with plagues that thee alone obey!
    Fit I meet them.

    Coming forward

    Poet
    Hail, worthy Timon!

    Painter
    Our late noble master!

    TIMON
    Have I once lived to see two honest men?

    Poet
    Sir,
    Having often of your open bounty tasted,
    Hearing you were retired, your friends fall'n off,
    Whose thankless natures--O abhorred spirits!--
    Not all the whips of heaven are large enough:
    What! to you,
    Whose star-like nobleness gave life and influence
    To their whole being! I am rapt and cannot cover
    The monstrous bulk of this ingratitude
    With any size of words.

    TIMON
    Let it go naked, men may see't the better:
    You that are honest, by being what you are,
    Make them best seen and known.

    Painter
    He and myself
    Have travail'd in the great shower of your gifts,
    And sweetly felt it.

    TIMON
    Ay, you are honest men.

    Painter
    We are hither come to offer you our service.

    TIMON
    Most honest men! Why, how shall I requite you?
    Can you eat roots, and drink cold water? no.

    Both
    What we can do, we'll do, to do you service.

    TIMON
    Ye're honest men: ye've heard that I have gold;
    I am sure you have: speak truth; ye're honest men.

    Painter
    So it is said, my noble lord; but therefore
    Came not my friend nor I.

    TIMON
    Good honest men! Thou draw'st a counterfeit
    Best in all Athens: thou'rt, indeed, the best;
    Thou counterfeit'st most lively.

    Painter
    So, so, my lord.

    TIMON
    E'en so, sir, as I say. And, for thy fiction,
    Why, thy verse swells with stuff so fine and smooth
    That thou art even natural in thine art.
    But, for all this, my honest-natured friends,
    I must needs say you have a little fault:
    Marry, 'tis not monstrous in you, neither wish I
    You take much pains to mend.

    Both
    Beseech your honour
    To make it known to us.

    TIMON
    You'll take it ill.

    Both
    Most thankfully, my lord.

    TIMON
    Will you, indeed?

    Both
    Doubt it not, worthy lord.

    TIMON
    There's never a one of you but trusts a knave,
    That mightily deceives you.

    Both
    Do we, my lord?

    TIMON
    Ay, and you hear him cog, see him dissemble,
    Know his gross patchery, love him, feed him,
    Keep in your bosom: yet remain assured
    That he's a made-up villain.

    Painter
    I know none such, my lord.

    Poet
    Nor I.

    TIMON
    Look you, I love you well; I'll give you gold,
    Rid me these villains from your companies:
    Hang them or stab them, drown them in a draught,
    Confound them by some course, and come to me,
    I'll give you gold enough.

    Both
    Name them, my lord, let's know them.

    TIMON
    You that way and you this, but two in company;
    Each man apart, all single and alone,
    Yet an arch-villain keeps him company.
    If where thou art two villains shall not be,
    Come not near him. If thou wouldst not reside
    But where one villain is, then him abandon.
    Hence, pack! there's gold; you came for gold, ye slaves:

    To Painter

    You have work'd for me; there's payment for you: hence!

    To Poet

    You are an alchemist; make gold of that.
    Out, rascal dogs!

    Beats them out, and then retires to his cave

    Enter FLAVIUS and two Senators

    FLAVIUS
    It is in vain that you would speak with Timon;
    For he is set so only to himself
    That nothing but himself which looks like man
    Is friendly with him.

    First Senator
    Bring us to his cave:
    It is our part and promise to the Athenians
    To speak with Timon.

    Second Senator
    At all times alike
    Men are not still the same: 'twas time and griefs
    That framed him thus: time, with his fairer hand,
    Offering the fortunes of his former days,
    The former man may make him. Bring us to him,
    And chance it as it may.

    FLAVIUS
    Here is his cave.
    Peace and content be here! Lord Timon! Timon!
    Look out, and speak to friends: the Athenians,
    By two of their most reverend senate, greet thee:
    Speak to them, noble Timon.

    TIMON comes from his cave

    TIMON
    Thou sun, that comfort'st, burn! Speak, and
    be hang'd:
    For each true word, a blister! and each false
    Be as cauterizing to the root o' the tongue,
    Consuming it with speaking!

    First Senator
    Worthy Timon,--

    TIMON
    Of none but such as you, and you of Timon.

    First Senator
    The senators of Athens greet thee, Timon.

    TIMON
    I thank them; and would send them back the plague,
    Could I but catch it for them.

    First Senator
    O, forget
    What we are sorry for ourselves in thee.
    The senators with one consent of love
    Entreat thee back to Athens; who have thought
    On special dignities, which vacant lie
    For thy best use and wearing.

    Second Senator
    They confess
    Toward thee forgetfulness too general, gross:
    Which now the public body, which doth seldom
    Play the recanter, feeling in itself
    A lack of Timon's aid, hath sense withal
    Of its own fail, restraining aid to Timon;
    And send forth us, to make their sorrow'd render,
    Together with a recompense more fruitful
    Than their offence can weigh down by the dram;
    Ay, even such heaps and sums of love and wealth
    As shall to thee blot out what wrongs were theirs
    And write in thee the figures of their love,
    Ever to read them thine.

    TIMON
    You witch me in it;
    Surprise me to the very brink of tears:
    Lend me a fool's heart and a woman's eyes,
    And I'll beweep these comforts, worthy senators.

    First Senator
    Therefore, so please thee to return with us
    And of our Athens, thine and ours, to take
    The captainship, thou shalt be met with thanks,
    Allow'd with absolute power and thy good name
    Live with authority: so soon we shall drive back
    Of Alcibiades the approaches wild,
    Who, like a boar too savage, doth root up
    His country's peace.

    Second Senator
    And shakes his threatening sword
    Against the walls of Athens.

    First Senator
    Therefore, Timon,--

    TIMON
    Well, sir, I will; therefore, I will, sir; thus:
    If Alcibiades kill my countrymen,
    Let Alcibiades know this of Timon,
    That Timon cares not. But if be sack fair Athens,
    And take our goodly aged men by the beards,
    Giving our holy virgins to the stain
    Of contumelious, beastly, mad-brain'd war,
    Then let him know, and tell him Timon speaks it,
    In pity of our aged and our youth,
    I cannot choose but tell him, that I care not,
    And let him take't at worst; for their knives care not,
    While you have throats to answer: for myself,
    There's not a whittle in the unruly camp
    But I do prize it at my love before
    The reverend'st throat in Athens. So I leave you
    To the protection of the prosperous gods,
    As thieves to keepers.

    FLAVIUS
    Stay not, all's in vain.

    TIMON
    Why, I was writing of my epitaph;
    it will be seen to-morrow: my long sickness
    Of health and living now begins to mend,
    And nothing brings me all things. Go, live still;
    Be Alcibiades your plague, you his,
    And last so long enough!

    First Senator
    We speak in vain.

    TIMON
    But yet I love my country, and am not
    One that rejoices in the common wreck,
    As common bruit doth put it.

    First Senator
    That's well spoke.

    TIMON
    Commend me to my loving countrymen,--

    First Senator
    These words become your lips as they pass
    thorough them.

    Second Senator
    And enter in our ears like great triumphers
    In their applauding gates.

    TIMON
    Commend me to them,
    And tell them that, to ease them of their griefs,
    Their fears of hostile strokes, their aches, losses,
    Their pangs of love, with other incident throes
    That nature's fragile vessel doth sustain
    In life's uncertain voyage, I will some kindness do them:
    I'll teach them to prevent wild Alcibiades' wrath.

    First Senator
    I like this well; he will return again.

    TIMON
    I have a tree, which grows here in my close,
    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.

    FLAVIUS
    Trouble him no further; thus you still shall find him.

    TIMON
    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 Senator
    His discontents are unremoveably
    Coupled to nature.

    Second Senator
    Our hope in him is dead: let us return,
    And strain what other means is left unto us
    In our dear peril.

    First Senator
    It requires swift foot.

    Exeunt
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