ACT III
Scene II.
 

A public place

Enter Lucius, with three STRANGERS

LUCIUS
Who, the Lord Timon? He is my very good friend, and an
honourable gentleman.

FIRST STRANGER
We know him for no less, though we are but
strangers to him. But I can tell you one thing, my lord, and
which I hear from common rumours: now Lord Timon's happy hours
are done and past, and his estate shrinks from him.

LUCIUS
Fie, no: do not believe it; he cannot want for money.

SECOND STRANGER
But believe you this, my lord, that not long ago
one of his men was with the Lord Lucullus to borrow so many
talents; nay, urg'd extremely for't, and showed what necessity
belong'd to't, and yet was denied.

LUCIUS
How?

SECOND STRANGER
I tell you, denied, my lord.

LUCIUS
What a strange case was that! Now, before the gods, I am
asham'd on't. Denied that honourable man! There was very little
honour show'd in't. For my own part, I must needs confess I have
received some small kindnesses from him, as money, plate, jewels,
and such-like trifles, nothing comparing to his; yet, had he
mistook him and sent to me, I should ne'er have denied his
occasion so many talents.

Enter SERVILIUS

SERVILIUS
See, by good hap, yonder's my lord; I have sweat to see
his honour.- My honour'd lord!

LUCIUS
Servilius? You are kindly met, sir. Fare thee well; commend
me to thy honourable virtuous lord, my very exquisite friend.

SERVILIUS
May it please your honour, my lord hath sent-

LUCIUS
Ha! What has he sent? I am so much endeared to that lord:
he's ever sending. How shall I thank him, think'st thou? And what
has he sent now?

SERVILIUS
Has only sent his present occasion now, my lord,
requesting your lordship to supply his instant use with so many
talents.

LUCIUS
I know his lordship is but merry with me;
He cannot want fifty-five hundred talents.

SERVILIUS
But in the mean time he wants less, my lord.
If his occasion were not virtuous
I should not urge it half so faithfully.

LUCIUS
Dost thou speak seriously, Servilius?

SERVILIUS
Upon my soul, 'tis true, sir.

LUCIUS
What a wicked beast was I to disfurnish myself against such
a good time, when I might ha' shown myself honourable! How
unluckily it happ'ned that I should purchase the day before for a
little part and undo a great deal of honour! Servilius, now
before the gods, I am not able to do- the more beast, I say! I
was sending to use Lord Timon myself, these gentlemen can
witness; but I would not for the wealth of Athens I had done't
now. Commend me bountifully to his good lordship, and I hope his
honour will conceive the fairest of me, because I have no power
to be kind. And tell him this from me: I count it one of my
greatest afflictions, say, that I cannot pleasure such an
honourable gentleman. Good Servilius, will you befriend me so far
as to use mine own words to him?

SERVILIUS
Yes, sir, I shall.

LUCIUS
I'll look you out a good turn, Servilius.

Exit SERVILIUS

True, as you said, Timon is shrunk indeed;
And he that's once denied will hardly speed.

Exit

FIRST STRANGER
Do you observe this, Hostilius?

SECOND STRANGER
Ay, too well.

FIRST STRANGER
Why, this is the world's soul; and just of the same
piece
Is every flatterer's spirit. Who can call him his friend
That dips in the same dish? For, in my knowing,
Timon has been this lord's father,
And kept his credit with his purse;
Supported his estate; nay, Timon's money
Has paid his men their wages. He ne'er drinks
But Timon's silver treads upon his lip;
And yet- O, see the monstrousness of man
When he looks out in an ungrateful shape!-
He does deny him, in respect of his,
What charitable men afford to beggars.

THIRD STRANGER
Religion groans at it.

FIRST STRANGER
For mine own part,
I never tasted Timon in my life,
Nor came any of his bounties over me
To mark me for his friend; yet I protest,
For his right noble mind, illustrious virtue,
And honourable carriage,
Had his necessity made use of me,
I would have put my wealth into donation,
And the best half should have return'd to him,
So much I love his heart. But I perceive
Men must learn now with pity to dispense;
For policy sits above conscience.

Exeunt