List iconTimon of Athens:
Act 1, scene 2
List icon

Timon of Athens
Act 1, scene 2



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 2
Hautboys playing loud music. A great banquet served
in, and then enter Lord Timon, the States, the Athenian
Lords (including Lucius), Alcibiades, and Ventidius
(which Timon redeemed from prison). Flavius and others
are in attendance. Then comes dropping after all
Apemantus discontentedly like himself.

VENTIDIUS Most honored Timon,
 It hath pleased the gods to remember my father’s age
 And call him to long peace.
 He is gone happy and has left me rich.
5 Then, as in grateful virtue I am bound
 To your free heart, I do return those talents,
 Doubled with thanks and service, from whose help
 I derived liberty.He offers a purse.
TIMON  O, by no means,
10 Honest Ventidius. You mistake my love.
 I gave it freely ever, and there’s none
 Can truly say he gives if he receives.

Timon of Athens
ACT 1. SC. 2

 If our betters play at that game, we must not dare
 To imitate them. Faults that are rich are fair.
VENTIDIUS 15A noble spirit!
 Nay, my lords, ceremony was but devised at first
 To set a gloss on faint deeds, hollow welcomes,
 Recanting goodness, sorry ere ’tis shown;
 But where there is true friendship, there needs none.
20 Pray, sit. More welcome are you to my fortunes
 Than my fortunes to me.They sit.
FIRST LORD My lord, we always have confessed it.
 Ho, ho, “confessed it”? Hanged it, have you not?
TIMON O Apemantus, you are welcome.
APEMANTUS 25No, you shall not make me welcome.
 I come to have thee thrust me out of doors.
 Fie, thou ’rt a churl. You’ve got a humor there
 Does not become a man. ’Tis much to blame.—
 They say, my lords, Ira furor brevis est, but yond
30 man is ever angry. Go, let him have a table by
 himself, for he does neither affect company, nor is
 he fit for ’t indeed.
APEMANTUS Let me stay at thine apperil, Timon. I
 come to observe; I give thee warning on ’t.
TIMON 35I take no heed of thee. Thou ’rt an Athenian,
 therefore welcome. I myself would have no power;
 prithee, let my meat make thee silent.
APEMANTUS I scorn thy meat. ’Twould choke me, for I
 should ne’er flatter thee. (Apart.) O you gods,
40 what a number of men eats Timon, and he sees ’em
 not! It grieves me to see so many dip their meat in
 one man’s blood; and all the madness is, he cheers
 them up too.
 I wonder men dare trust themselves with men.
45 Methinks they should invite them without knives.

Timon of Athens
ACT 1. SC. 2

 Good for their meat, and safer for their lives.
 There’s much example for ’t. The fellow that sits
 next him, now parts bread with him, pledges the
 breath of him in a divided draft, is the readiest
50 man to kill him. ’T ’as been proved. If I were a huge
 man, I should fear to drink at meals,
 Lest they should spy my wind-pipe’s dangerous
 Great men should drink with harness on their
55 throats.
TIMON, responding to a toast 
 My lord, in heart! And let the health go round.
SECOND LORD Let it flow this way, my good lord.
APEMANTUS, apart “Flow this way”? A brave fellow.
 He keeps his tides well. Those healths will make
60 thee and thy state look ill, Timon.
 Here’s that which is too weak to be a sinner,
 Honest water, which ne’er left man i’ th’ mire.
 This and my food are equals. There’s no odds.
 Feasts are too proud to give thanks to the gods.

Apemantus’ grace.

65 Immortal gods, I crave no pelf.
 I pray for no man but myself.
 Grant I may never prove so fond
 To trust man on his oath or bond,
 Or a harlot for her weeping,
70 Or a dog that seems a-sleeping,
 Or a keeper with my freedom,
 Or my friends if I should need ’em.
 Amen. So fall to ’t.
 Rich men sin, and I eat root.

He eats and drinks.
75 Much good dich thy good heart, Apemantus!
TIMON Captain Alcibiades, your heart’s in the field now.
ALCIBIADES My heart is ever at your service, my lord.

Timon of Athens
ACT 1. SC. 2

TIMON You had rather be at a breakfast of enemies
 than a dinner of friends.
ALCIBIADES 80So they were bleeding new, my lord,
 there’s no meat like ’em. I could wish my best
 friend at such a feast.
APEMANTUS, apart Would all those flatterers were
 thine enemies, then, that then thou mightst kill
85 ’em and bid me to ’em.
FIRST LORD Might we but have that happiness, my
 lord, that you would once use our hearts, whereby
 we might express some part of our zeals, we
 should think ourselves forever perfect.
TIMON 90O, no doubt, my good friends, but the gods
 themselves have provided that I shall have much
 help from you. How had you been my friends else?
 Why have you that charitable title from thousands,
 did not you chiefly belong to my heart? I have told
95 more of you to myself than you can with modesty
 speak in your own behalf. And thus far I confirm
 you. O you gods, think I, what need we have any
 friends if we should ne’er have need of ’em? They
 were the most needless creatures living, should we
100 ne’er have use for ’em, and would most resemble
 sweet instruments hung up in cases, that keeps
 their sounds to themselves. Why, I have often
 wished myself poorer that I might come nearer to
 you. We are born to do benefits. And what better or
105 properer can we call our own than the riches of
 our friends? O, what a precious comfort ’tis to
 have so many, like brothers, commanding one
 another’s fortunes. O, joy’s e’en made away ere ’t
 can be born! Mine eyes cannot hold out water,
110 methinks. To forget their faults, I drink to you.
APEMANTUS, apart Thou weep’st to make them drink,

Timon of Athens
ACT 1. SC. 2

 Joy had the like conception in our eyes
 And, at that instant, like a babe sprung up.
115 Ho, ho! I laugh to think that babe a bastard.
 I promise you, my lord, you moved me much.
APEMANTUS, apart Much!Sound tucket.
TIMON What means that trump?

Enter Servant.

 How now?
SERVANT 120Please you, my lord, there are certain ladies
 most desirous of admittance.
TIMON Ladies? What are their wills?
SERVANT There comes with them a forerunner, my lord,
 which bears that office to signify their pleasures.
TIMON 125I pray, let them be admitted.Servant exits.

Enter “Cupid.”

 Hail to thee, worthy Timon, and to all
 That of his bounties taste! The five best senses
 Acknowledge thee their patron, and come freely
 To gratulate thy plenteous bosom. There
130 Taste, touch, all, pleased from thy table rise;
 They only now come but to feast thine eyes.
 They’re welcome all. Let ’em have kind admittance.
 Music, make their welcome!
 You see, my lord, how ample you’re beloved.

Music. Enter the masque of Ladies as Amazons,
with lutes in their hands, dancing and playing.

APEMANTUS, apart 135Hoy-day!

Timon of Athens
ACT 1. SC. 2

 What a sweep of vanity comes this way.
 They dance? They are madwomen.
 Like madness is the glory of this life
 As this pomp shows to a little oil and root.
140 We make ourselves fools to disport ourselves
 And spend our flatteries to drink those men
 Upon whose age we void it up again
 With poisonous spite and envy.
 Who lives that’s not depravèd or depraves?
145 Who dies that bears not one spurn to their graves
 Of their friends’ gift?
 I should fear those that dance before me now
 Would one day stamp upon me. ’T ’as been done.
 Men shut their doors against a setting sun.

The Lords rise from table, with much adoring of Timon,
and to show their loves each single out an Amazon, and
all dance, men with women, a lofty strain or two to the
hautboys, and cease.

150 You have done our pleasures much grace, fair ladies,
 Set a fair fashion on our entertainment,
 Which was not half so beautiful and kind.
 You have added worth unto ’t and luster,
 And entertained me with mine own device.
155 I am to thank you for ’t.
 My lord, you take us even at the best.
APEMANTUS, apart Faith, for the worst is filthy and
 would not hold taking, I doubt me.
 Ladies, there is an idle banquet attends you.
160 Please you to dispose yourselves.
ALL LADIES Most thankfully, my lord.
Cupid and Ladies exit.
TIMON Flavius.

Timon of Athens
ACT 1. SC. 2

 My lord?
TIMON  The little casket bring me hither.
FLAVIUS 165Yes, my lord. (Aside.) More jewels yet?
 There is no crossing him in ’s humor;
 Else I should tell him well, i’ faith I should.
 When all’s spent, he’d be crossed then, an he could.
 ’Tis pity bounty had not eyes behind,
170 That man might ne’er be wretched for his mind.
He exits.
FIRST LORD Where be our men?
SERVANT Here, my lord, in readiness.
 Our horses.

Enter Flavius, with the casket.

TIMON  O my friends, I have one word
175 To say to you. Look you, my good lord,
 I must entreat you, honor me so much
 As to advance this jewel. Accept it and wear it,
 Kind my lord.
 I am so far already in your gifts—
ALL 180So are we all.

Enter a Servant.

 My lord, there are certain nobles of the Senate
 Newly alighted and come to visit you.
 They are fairly welcome.Servant exits.
FLAVIUS  I beseech your Honor,
185 Vouchsafe me a word. It does concern you near.
 Near? Why, then, another time I’ll hear thee.

Timon of Athens
ACT 1. SC. 2

 I prithee, let’s be provided to show them
FLAVIUS, aside I scarce know how.

Enter another Servant.

190 May it please your Honor, Lord Lucius,
 Out of his free love, hath presented to you
 Four milk-white horses trapped in silver.
 I shall accept them fairly. Let the presents
 Be worthily entertained.Servant exits.

Enter a third Servant.

195 How now? What news?
THIRD SERVANT Please you, my lord, that honorable
 gentleman Lord Lucullus entreats your company
 tomorrow to hunt with him and has sent your
 Honor two brace of greyhounds.
200 I’ll hunt with him; and let them be received,
 Not without fair reward.Servant exits.
FLAVIUS, aside  What will this come to?
 He commands us to provide, and give great gifts,
 And all out of an empty coffer.
205 Nor will he know his purse or yield me this—
 To show him what a beggar his heart is,
 Being of no power to make his wishes good.
 His promises fly so beyond his state
 That what he speaks is all in debt; he owes
210 For ev’ry word. He is so kind that he
 Now pays interest for ’t. His land’s put to their books.
 Well, would I were gently put out of office
 Before I were forced out.
 Happier is he that has no friend to feed

Timon of Athens
ACT 1. SC. 2

215 Than such that do e’en enemies exceed.
 I bleed inwardly for my lord.He exits.
TIMON, to Lords You do yourselves much wrong.
 You bate too much of your own merits.
 (Offering a gift.) Here, my lord, a trifle of our love.
220 With more than common thanks I will receive it.
THIRD LORD O, he’s the very soul of bounty!
TIMON And now I remember, my lord, you gave good
 words the other day of a bay courser I rode on. ’Tis
 yours because you liked it.
225 O, I beseech you, pardon me, my lord, in that.
 You may take my word, my lord. I know no man
 Can justly praise but what he does affect.
 I weigh my friends’ affection with mine own.
 I’ll tell you true, I’ll call to you.
ALL LORDS 230O, none so welcome.
 I take all and your several visitations
 So kind to heart, ’tis not enough to give.
 Methinks I could deal kingdoms to my friends
 And ne’er be weary.—Alcibiades,
235 Thou art a soldier, therefore seldom rich.
 It comes in charity to thee, for all thy living
 Is ’mongst the dead, and all the lands thou hast
 Lie in a pitched field.
ALCIBIADES Ay, defiled land, my lord.
FIRST LORD 240We are so virtuously bound—
TIMON And so am I to you.
SECOND LORD So infinitely endeared—
TIMON All to you.—Lights, more lights.
 The best of happiness, honor, and fortunes
245 Keep with you, Lord Timon.

Timon of Athens
ACT 1. SC. 2

TIMON Ready for his friends.
All but Timon and Apemantus exit.
APEMANTUS What a coil’s here,
 Serving of becks and jutting-out of bums!
 I doubt whether their legs be worth the sums
250 That are given for ’em. Friendship’s full of dregs.
 Methinks false hearts should never have sound legs.
 Thus honest fools lay out their wealth on court’sies.
 Now, Apemantus, if thou wert not sullen,
 I would be good to thee.
APEMANTUS 255No, I’ll nothing, for if I should be bribed
 too, there would be none left to rail upon thee, and
 then thou wouldst sin the faster. Thou giv’st so
 long, Timon, I fear me thou wilt give away thyself
 in paper shortly. What needs these feasts, pomps,
260 and vainglories?
TIMON Nay, an you begin to rail on society once, I am
 sworn not to give regard to you. Farewell, and
 come with better music.He exits.
APEMANTUS So. Thou wilt not hear me now, thou shalt
265 not then. I’ll lock thy heaven from thee.
 O, that men’s ears should be
 To counsel deaf, but not to flattery!
He exits.