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Timon of Athens
Act 3, scene 5

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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 5
Enter three Senators at one door, Alcibiades meeting
them, with Attendants.


FIRST SENATOR, to the Second Senator 
 My lord, you have my voice to ’t. The fault’s
 Bloody. ’Tis necessary he should die.
 Nothing emboldens sin so much as mercy.
SECOND SENATOR Most true. The law shall bruise ’em.
ALCIBIADES 
5 Honor, health, and compassion to the Senate!
FIRST SENATOR Now, captain?
ALCIBIADES 
 I am an humble suitor to your virtues,
 For pity is the virtue of the law,
 And none but tyrants use it cruelly.
10 It pleases time and fortune to lie heavy
 Upon a friend of mine, who in hot blood
 Hath stepped into the law, which is past depth
 To those that without heed do plunge into ’t.
 He is a man—setting his fate aside—
15 Of comely virtues.
 Nor did he soil the fact with cowardice—
 An honor in him which buys out his fault—
 But with a noble fury and fair spirit,
 Seeing his reputation touched to death,
20 He did oppose his foe;
 And with such sober and unnoted passion
 He did behave his anger, ere ’twas spent,
 As if he had but proved an argument.
FIRST SENATOR 
 You undergo too strict a paradox,
25 Striving to make an ugly deed look fair.
 Your words have took such pains as if they labored
 To bring manslaughter into form and set quarreling
 Upon the head of valor—which indeed

99
Timon of Athens
ACT 3. SC. 5

 Is valor misbegot, and came into the world
30 When sects and factions were newly born.
 He’s truly valiant that can wisely suffer
 The worst that man can breathe
 And make his wrongs his outsides,
 To wear them like his raiment, carelessly,
35 And ne’er prefer his injuries to his heart
 To bring it into danger.
 If wrongs be evils and enforce us kill,
 What folly ’tis to hazard life for ill!
ALCIBIADES 
 My lord—
FIRST SENATOR 40 You cannot make gross sins look clear.
 To revenge is no valor, but to bear.
ALCIBIADES 
 My lords, then, under favor, pardon me
 If I speak like a captain.
 Why do fond men expose themselves to battle
45 And not endure all threats? Sleep upon ’t,
 And let the foes quietly cut their throats
 Without repugnancy? If there be
 Such valor in the bearing, what make we
 Abroad? Why, then, women are more valiant
50 That stay at home, if bearing carry it,
 And the ass more captain than the lion, the felon
 Loaden with irons wiser than the judge,
 If wisdom be in suffering. O my lords,
 As you are great, be pitifully good.
55 Who cannot condemn rashness in cold blood?
 To kill, I grant, is sin’s extremest gust,
 But in defense, by mercy, ’tis most just.
 To be in anger is impiety,
 But who is man that is not angry?
60 Weigh but the crime with this.
SECOND SENATOR You breathe in vain.
ALCIBIADES In vain? His service done

101
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ACT 3. SC. 5

 At Lacedaemon and Byzantium
 Were a sufficient briber for his life.
FIRST SENATOR 65What’s that?
ALCIBIADES 
 Why, I say, my lords, has done fair service
 And slain in fight many of your enemies.
 How full of valor did he bear himself
 In the last conflict, and made plenteous wounds!
SECOND SENATOR 
70 He has made too much plenty with ’em.
 He’s a sworn rioter. He has a sin
 That often drowns him and takes his valor prisoner.
 If there were no foes, that were enough
 To overcome him. In that beastly fury,
75 He has been known to commit outrages
 And cherish factions. ’Tis inferred to us
 His days are foul and his drink dangerous.
FIRST SENATOR 
 He dies.
ALCIBIADES  Hard fate! He might have died in war.
80 My lords, if not for any parts in him—
 Though his right arm might purchase his own time
 And be in debt to none—yet, more to move you,
 Take my deserts to his and join ’em both.
 And, for I know your reverend ages love
85 Security, I’ll pawn my victories, all
 My honor, to you, upon his good returns.
 If by this crime he owes the law his life,
 Why, let the war receive ’t in valiant gore,
 For law is strict, and war is nothing more.
FIRST SENATOR 
90 We are for law. He dies. Urge it no more,
 On height of our displeasure. Friend or brother,
 He forfeits his own blood that spills another.
ALCIBIADES Must it be so? It must not be.
 My lords, I do beseech you, know me.

103
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ACT 3. SC. 5

SECOND SENATOR 95How?
ALCIBIADES Call me to your remembrances.
THIRD SENATOR What?
ALCIBIADES 
 I cannot think but your age has forgot me.
 It could not else be I should prove so base
100 To sue and be denied such common grace.
 My wounds ache at you.
FIRST SENATOR  Do you dare our anger?
 ’Tis in few words, but spacious in effect:
 We banish thee forever.
ALCIBIADES 105 Banish me?
 Banish your dotage, banish usury,
 That makes the Senate ugly!
FIRST SENATOR 
 If after two days’ shine Athens contain thee,
 Attend our weightier judgment.
110 And, not to swell our spirit,
 He shall be executed presently.Senators exit.
ALCIBIADES 
 Now the gods keep you old enough that you may live
 Only in bone, that none may look on you!—
 I’m worse than mad. I have kept back their foes
115 While they have told their money and let out
 Their coin upon large interest, I myself
 Rich only in large hurts. All those for this?
 Is this the balsam that the usuring Senate
 Pours into captains’ wounds? Banishment.
120 It comes not ill. I hate not to be banished.
 It is a cause worthy my spleen and fury,
 That I may strike at Athens. I’ll cheer up
 My discontented troops and lay for hearts.
 ’Tis honor with most lands to be at odds.
125 Soldiers should brook as little wrongs as gods.
He exits.