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Lords, and Flatterers of TIMON.
VENTIDIUS, one of TIMON's false Friends.
ALCIBIADES, an Athenian General.
APEMANTUS, a churlish Philosopher.
FLAVIUS, Steward to TIMON.
SCENE I.-ATHENS. A Hall in TIMON'S House.
Enter Poet, Painter, Jeweller, Merchant, and others, at
several doors. 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.
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.
Pain. I know them both; th other's a jeweller.
Mer. O, 'tis a worthy lord!
Nay, that's most fix’d.
Mer. A most incomparable man; breath'd, as it were,
To an untirable and continuate goodness:
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. [reciting to himself.] When we for recompense have
It stains the glory in that happy verse
Which aptly sings the good.
'Tis a good form.
[Looking at the jewel. Jew. And rich: here is a water, look ye.
Pain. You are rapt, sir, in some work, some dedication
To the great lord.
A thing slipp'd idly from me.
Our poesy is as a gum, which oozes
From whence 'tis nourish'd: 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, sir,-
Let's see your piece.
'Tis a good piece.
Poet. So 'tis: this comes off well and excellent.
Admirable: how this grace
Speaks his own standing! what a mental power
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 ?
I will say of it
It tutors nature: artificial strife
Lives in these touches, livelier than life.
Enter certain Senators, anel pass over.
Pain. How this lord is follow'd!
Poet. The senators of Athens :-happy man!
Pain. Look, more!
Poet. 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 track behind.
Pain. How shall I understand you?
I will unbolt to you.
You see how all conditions, how all minds,-
As well of glib and slippery 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.
Poet. Sir, I have upon a high and pleasant hill
Feign'd Fortune to be thron'd: 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.
'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.
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?
Poet. When Fortune, in her shift and change mood,
Spurns down her late belov'd, all his dependents,
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'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 Timon, attended; the Servant of
VENTIDIUS talking with him. Tim.
Imprison'd is he, say you? Ven. Serv. Ay, my good Iord: 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 him, Periods his comfort. Tim.
Noble Ventidius! Well;
I am not of that feather to shake off
My friend when he most needs 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 enfranchis'd, 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! [Exit.
Enter an Old Athenian. Old Ath. Lord Timon, hear me speak. Tim.
Freely, good father. Old Ath. Thou hast a servant nam'd 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 !
LUCILIUS comes forward from among the Attendants. 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 inclin'd to thrift;
And my estate deserves an heir more rais'd
Than one which holds a trencher.
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.
The man is honest.
Old Ath. Therefore he will be, Timon:
His honesty rewards him in itself;
It must not bear my daughter.
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,