ACT V
Scene I.
 

The woods. Before TIMON's cave

Enter POET and PAINTER

PAINTER
As I took note of the place, it cannot be far where he
abides.

POET
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 enrich'd 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 suppos'd 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 just and 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' th' 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.

Enter TIMON from his cave

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 rig'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. [Advancing from his cave]

POET
Hail, worthy Timon!

PAINTER
Our late noble master!

TIMON
Have I once liv'd to see two honest men?

POET
Sir,
Having often of your open bounty tasted,
Hearing you were retir'd, 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 show'r 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
Y'are honest men. Y'have heard that I have gold;
I am sure you have. Speak truth; y'are 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. Th'art indeed the best;
Thou counterfeit'st most lively.

PAINTER
So, so, my lord.

TIMON
E'en so, sir, as I say. [To To POET] 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-natur'd 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 assur'd
That he's a made-up villain.

PAINTER
I know not 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.
[To the PAINTER] If, where thou art, two villians shall not be,
Come not near him. [To the POET] 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 the PAINTER] You have work for me; there's payment; hence!
[To the POET] You are an alchemist; make gold of that.-
Out, rascal dogs!

[Beats and drives them out]

Enter FLAVIUS and two SENATORS

FLAVIUS
It is 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 th' Athenians
To speak with Timon.

SECOND SENATOR
At all times alike
Men are not still the same; 'twas time and griefs
That fram'd 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. Th' Athenians
By two of their most reverend Senate greet thee.
Speak to them, noble Timon.

Enter TIMON out of his cave

TIMON
Thou sun that comforts, burn. Speak and be hang'd!
For each true word a blister, and each false
Be as a cauterizing to the root o' th' 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 it own fail, restraining aid to Timon,
And send forth us to make their sorrowed 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 th' approaches wild,
Who, like a boar too savage, doth root up
His country's peace.

SECOND SENATOR
And shakes his threat'ning 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 he sack fair Athens,
And take our goodly aged men by th' 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 th' 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 through
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 gravestone 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.

Exit TIMON into his cave

FIRST SENATOR
His discontents are unremovably
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