List iconTimon of Athens:
Act 1, scene 1
List icon

Timon of Athens
Act 1, scene 1



Characters in the Play

Entire Play

In Timon of Athens, Lord Timon discovers the limits of wealth and friendship. He spends freely on others and hosts banquets…

Act 1, scene 1

The stage fills with suitors to and admirers of Lord Timon. When he arrives, he spends lavishly in freeing a…

Act 1, scene 2

Timon lavishly entertains friends and suitors with food and drink and a masque of Cupid and Amazons, and displays his…

Act 2, scene 1

A senator, predicting the end of Timon’s days of glory, sends a servant to Timon to collect overdue loans.

Act 2, scene 2

Servants of Timon’s creditors gather and confront Timon, demanding immediate repayment of loans. Learning that he is bankrupt, Timon dispatches…

Act 3, scene 1

Timon’s servant Flaminius approaches Timon’s friend Lucullus for money and is denied.

Act 3, scene 2

Timon’s servant Servilius approaches Timon’s friend Lucius for money and is refused. Three strangers condemn the ingratitude of Timon’s “friends”…

Act 3, scene 3

Timon’s servant approaches Timon’s friend Sempronius for money and is refused.

Act 3, scene 4

The servants of Timon’s creditors gather at his gates. He confronts them in a rage and, after they are gone,…

Act 3, scene 5

Alcibiades pleads in vain before three Athenian senators for the life of one of his soldiers. Frustrated at being denied,…

Act 3, scene 6

Timon’s friends come to dinner again, but this time he serves them only water and stones and drives them away.

Act 4, scene 1

Timon abandons Athens and retires to the woods.

Act 4, scene 2

Flavius shares his remaining money with his fellow servants as they disperse.

Act 4, scene 3

Timon, digging for roots to eat, finds gold. He is visited by Alcibiades and his concubines, to whom he gives…

Act 5, scene 1

Timon is visited by the Poet and the Painter seeking the gold Timon is now rumored to possess. After he…

Act 5, scene 2

Athens learns that it will surely fall to Alcibiades. Its senators seek shelter behind its walls.

Act 5, scene 3

One of Alcibiades’ soldiers discovers Timon’s tomb and, since he cannot read Timon’s epitaph, he resolves to bring a wax…

Act 5, scene 4

A victorious Alcibiades listens to the apologies of the senators and agrees to the conditions they set. Athens then opens…

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Scene 1
Enter Poet, Painter, Jeweler, and Merchant, at several

POET Good day, sir.
PAINTER I am glad you’re well.
 I have not seen you long. How goes the world?
 It wears, sir, as it grows.
POET 5 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 conjured to attend. I know the merchant.
PAINTER 10I know them both. Th’ other’s a jeweler.
MERCHANT, to Jeweler 
 O, ’tis a worthy lord!
JEWELER  Nay, that’s most fixed.
 A most incomparable man, breathed, as it were,
 To an untirable and continuate goodness.
15 He passes.
JEWELER I have a jewel here—
 O, pray, let’s see ’t. For the Lord Timon, sir?

Timon of Athens
ACT 1. SC. 1

 If he will touch the estimate. But for that—
POET, to Painter 
 When we for recompense have praised the vile,
20 It stains the glory in that happy verse
 Which aptly sings the good.
MERCHANT, looking at the jewel 
 ’Tis a good form.
JEWELER  And rich. Here is a water, look ye.
PAINTER, to Poet 
 You are rapt, sir, in some work, some dedication
25 To the great lord.
POET  A thing slipped idly from me.
 Our poesy is as a gum which oozes
 From whence ’tis nourished. The fire i’ th’ flint
 Shows not till it be struck; our gentle flame
30 Provokes itself and, like the current, flies
 Each bound it chases. What have you there?
 A picture, sir. When comes your book forth?
 Upon the heels of my presentment, sir.
 Let’s see your piece.
PAINTER 35’Tis a good piece.
 So ’tis. This comes off well and excellent.
POET  Admirable! How this grace
 Speaks his own standing! What a mental power
40 This eye shoots forth! How big imagination
 Moves in this lip! To th’ dumbness of the gesture
 One might interpret.
 It is a pretty mocking of the life.
 Here is a touch. Is ’t good?

Timon of Athens
ACT 1. SC. 1

POET 45 I will say of it,
 It tutors nature. Artificial strife
 Lives in these touches livelier than life.

Enter certain Senators.

PAINTER How this lord is followed.
 The senators of Athens, happy men.
PAINTER 50Look, more.
 You see this confluence, this great flood of visitors.
 (Indicating his poem.) I have in this rough work
 shaped out a man
 Whom this beneath world doth embrace and hug
55 With amplest entertainment. My free drift
 Halts not particularly but moves itself
 In a wide sea of wax. No leveled malice
 Infects one comma in the course I hold,
 But flies an eagle flight, bold and forth on,
60 Leaving no tract behind.
PAINTER How shall I understand you?
POET I will unbolt to you.
 You see how all conditions, how all minds,
 As well of glib and slipp’ry creatures as
65 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-faced flatterer
70 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.
PAINTER I saw them speak together.
75 Sir, I have upon a high and pleasant hill

Timon of Athens
ACT 1. SC. 1

 Feigned Fortune to be throned. The base o’ th’ mount
 Is ranked with all deserts, all kind of natures
 That labor on the bosom of this sphere
 To propagate their states. Amongst them all
80 Whose eyes are on this sovereign lady fixed,
 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.
PAINTER 85 ’Tis conceived to scope.
 This throne, this Fortune, and this hill, methinks,
 With one man beckoned from the rest below,
 Bowing his head against the steepy mount
 To climb his happiness, would be well expressed
90 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,
95 Rain sacrificial whisperings in his ear,
 Make sacred even his stirrup, and through him
 Drink the free air.
PAINTER  Ay, marry, what of these?
 When Fortune in her shift and change of mood
100 Spurns down her late beloved, all his dependants,
 Which labored after him to the mountain’s top
 Even on their knees and hands, let him slip down,
 Not one accompanying his declining foot.
PAINTER ’Tis common.
105 A thousand moral paintings I can show
 That shall demonstrate these quick blows of
 More pregnantly than words. Yet you do well
 To show Lord Timon that mean eyes have seen
110 The foot above the head.

Timon of Athens
ACT 1. SC. 1

Trumpets sound. Enter Lord Timon, addressing himself
courteously to every suitor. He is accompanied by a
Messenger and followed by Lucilius and other

TIMON Imprisoned is he, say you?
 Ay, my good lord. Five talents is his debt,
 His means most short, his creditors most strait.
 Your honorable letter he desires
115 To those have shut him up, which failing
 Periods his comfort.
TIMON  Noble Ventidius. Well,
 I am not of that feather to shake off
 My friend when he must need me. I do know him
120 A gentleman that well deserves a help,
 Which he shall have. I’ll pay the debt and free him.
MESSENGER Your Lordship ever binds him.
 Commend me to him. I will send his ransom;
 And, being enfranchised, bid him come to me.
125 ’Tis not enough to help the feeble up,
 But to support him after. Fare you well.
MESSENGER All happiness to your Honor.He exits.

Enter an old Athenian.

 Lord Timon, hear me speak.
TIMON  Freely, good father.
130 Thou hast a servant named Lucilius.
TIMON I have so. What of him?
 Most noble Timon, call the man before thee.
 Attends he here or no?—Lucilius!

Timon of Athens
ACT 1. SC. 1

LUCILIUS Here, at your Lordship’s service.
135 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.
TIMON 140 Well. What further?
 One only daughter have I, no kin else
 On whom I may confer what I have got.
 The maid is fair, o’ th’ youngest for a bride,
 And I have bred her at my dearest cost
145 In qualities of the best. This man of thine
 Attempts her love. I prithee, noble lord,
 Join with me to forbid him her resort.
 Myself have spoke in vain.
TIMON The man is honest.
OLD MAN 150Therefore he will be, Timon.
 His honesty rewards him in itself;
 It must not bear my daughter.
TIMON Does she love him?
OLD MAN She is young and apt.
155 Our own precedent passions do instruct us
 What levity’s in youth.
TIMON, to Lucilius  Love you the maid?
 Ay, my good lord, and she accepts of it.
 If in her marriage my consent be missing—
160 I call the gods to witness—I will choose
 Mine heir from forth the beggars of the world
 And dispossess her all.
TIMON How shall she be endowed
 If she be mated with an equal husband?

Timon of Athens
ACT 1. SC. 1

165 Three talents on the present; in future, all.
 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,
170 And make him weigh with her.
OLD MAN  Most noble lord,
 Pawn me to this your honor, she is his.
 My hand to thee; mine honor on my promise.
 Humbly I thank your Lordship. Never may
175 That state or fortune fall into my keeping
 Which is not owed to you.
He exits with the old Athenian.
POET, presenting his poem to Timon 
 Vouchsafe my labor, and long live your Lordship.
 I thank you. You shall hear from me anon.
 Go not away.—What have you there, my friend?
180 A piece of painting which I do beseech
 Your Lordship to accept.
TIMON  Painting is welcome.
 The painting is almost the natural man,
 For, since dishonor traffics with man’s nature,
185 He is but outside; these penciled 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.
PAINTER  The gods preserve you.
190 Well fare you, gentleman. Give me your hand.

Timon of Athens
ACT 1. SC. 1

 We must needs dine together.—Sir, your jewel
 Hath suffered under praise.
JEWELER  What, my lord? Dispraise?
 A mere satiety of commendations.
195 If I should pay you for ’t as ’tis extolled,
 It would unclew me quite.
JEWELER  My lord, ’tis rated
 As those which sell would give. But you well know
 Things of like value, differing in the owners,
200 Are prizèd by their masters. Believe ’t, dear lord,
 You mend the jewel by the wearing it.
TIMON Well mocked.
 No, my good lord. He speaks the common tongue,
 Which all men speak with him.

Enter Apemantus.

TIMON 205Look who comes here. Will you be chid?
JEWELER We’ll bear, with your Lordship.
MERCHANT He’ll spare none.
 Good morrow to thee, gentle Apemantus.
 Till I be gentle, stay thou for thy good morrow—
210 When thou art Timon’s dog, and these knaves honest.
 Why dost thou call them knaves? Thou know’st
 them not.
APEMANTUS Are they not Athenians?
APEMANTUS 215Then I repent not.
JEWELER You know me, Apemantus?
APEMANTUS Thou know’st I do. I called thee by thy
TIMON Thou art proud, Apemantus.

Timon of Athens
ACT 1. SC. 1

APEMANTUS 220Of nothing so much as that I am not like
TIMON Whither art going?
APEMANTUS To knock out an honest Athenian’s brains.
TIMON That’s a deed thou ’lt die for.
APEMANTUS 225Right, if doing nothing be death by th’ law.
TIMON How lik’st thou this picture, Apemantus?
APEMANTUS The best, for the innocence.
TIMON Wrought he not well that painted it?
APEMANTUS He wrought better that made the painter,
230 and yet he’s but a filthy piece of work.
PAINTER You’re a dog.
APEMANTUS Thy mother’s of my generation. What’s
 she, if I be a dog?
TIMON Wilt dine with me, Apemantus?
APEMANTUS 235No. I eat not lords.
TIMON An thou shouldst, thou ’dst anger ladies.
APEMANTUS O, they eat lords. So they come by great
TIMON That’s a lascivious apprehension.
APEMANTUS 240So thou apprehend’st it. Take it for thy
TIMON How dost thou like this jewel, Apemantus?
APEMANTUS Not so well as plain-dealing, which will
 not cost a man a doit.
TIMON 245What dost thou think ’tis worth?
APEMANTUS Not worth my thinking.—How now, poet?
POET How now, philosopher?
APEMANTUS Thou liest.
POET Art not one?
POET Then I lie not.
APEMANTUS Art not a poet?
APEMANTUS Then thou liest. Look in thy last work,
255 where thou hast feigned him a worthy fellow.

Timon of Athens
ACT 1. SC. 1

POET That’s not feigned. He is so.
APEMANTUS Yes, he is worthy of thee, and to pay thee
 for thy labor. He that loves to be flattered is worthy
 o’ th’ flatterer. Heavens, that I were a lord!
TIMON 260What wouldst do then, Apemantus?
APEMANTUS E’en as Apemantus does now—hate a lord
 with my heart.
TIMON What? Thyself?
TIMON 265Wherefore?
APEMANTUS That I had no angry wit to be a lord.—Art
 not thou a merchant?
MERCHANT Ay, Apemantus.
APEMANTUS Traffic confound thee, if the gods will not.
MERCHANT 270If traffic do it, the gods do it.
APEMANTUS Traffic’s thy god, and thy god confound

Trumpet sounds. Enter a Messenger.

TIMON What trumpet’s that?
 ’Tis Alcibiades and some twenty horse,
275 All of companionship.
 Pray, entertain them. Give them guide to us.
Some Servants exit with Messenger.
 You must needs dine with me. Go not you hence
 Till I have thanked you.—When dinner’s done
 Show me this piece.—I am joyful of your sights.

Enter Alcibiades with the rest.

280 Most welcome, sir.They bow to each other.
APEMANTUS, apart So, so, there!
 Aches contract and starve your supple joints!
 That there should be small love amongst these sweet

Timon of Athens
ACT 1. SC. 1

285 And all this courtesy! The strain of man’s bred out
 Into baboon and monkey.
 Sir, you have saved my longing, and I feed
 Most hungerly on your sight.
TIMON  Right welcome, sir.
290 Ere we depart, we’ll share a bounteous time
 In different pleasures. Pray you, let us in.
All but Apemantus exit.

Enter two Lords.

FIRST LORD What time o’ day is ’t, Apemantus?
APEMANTUS Time to be honest.
FIRST LORD That time serves still.
295 The most accursèd thou, that still omit’st it.
SECOND LORD Thou art going to Lord Timon’s feast?
 Ay, to see meat fill knaves, and wine heat fools.
SECOND LORD Fare thee well, fare thee well.
 Thou art a fool to bid me farewell twice.
SECOND LORD 300Why, Apemantus?
 Shouldst have kept one to thyself, for I mean to give
 thee none.
FIRST LORD Hang thyself.
 No, I will do nothing at thy bidding.
305 Make thy requests to thy friend.
 Away, unpeaceable dog, or I’ll spurn thee hence.
APEMANTUS I will fly, like a dog, the heels o’ th’ ass.
He exits.
 He’s opposite to humanity. Come, shall we in

Timon of Athens
ACT 1. SC. 2

 And taste Lord Timon’s bounty? He outgoes
310 The very heart of kindness.
 He pours it out. Plutus, the god of gold,
 Is but his steward. No meed but he repays
 Sevenfold above itself. No gift to him
 But breeds the giver a return exceeding
315 All use of quittance.
FIRST LORD  The noblest mind he carries
 That ever governed man.
 Long may he live in fortunes. Shall we in?
 I’ll keep you company.
They exit.