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Timon of Athens
Act 4, scene 3

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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 3
Enter Timon in the woods, with a spade.

TIMON 
 O blessèd breeding sun, draw from the Earth
 Rotten humidity! Below thy sister’s orb
 Infect the air! Twinned brothers of one womb,
 Whose procreation, residence, and birth
5 Scarce is dividant, touch them with several fortunes,
 The greater scorns the lesser. Not nature,
 To whom all sores lay siege, can bear great fortune
 But by contempt of nature.
 Raise me this beggar, and deny ’t that lord;
10 The Senators shall bear contempt hereditary,
 The beggar native honor.
 It is the pasture lards the brother’s sides,
 The want that makes him lean. Who dares, who
 dares

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ACT 4. SC. 3

15 In purity of manhood stand upright
 And say “This man’s a flatterer”? If one be,
 So are they all, for every grise of fortune
 Is smoothed by that below. The learnèd pate
 Ducks to the golden fool. All’s obliquy.
20 There’s nothing level in our cursèd natures
 But direct villainy. Therefore be abhorred
 All feasts, societies, and throngs of men.
 His semblable, yea, himself, Timon disdains.
 Destruction fang mankind! Earth, yield me roots!
25 Who seeks for better of thee, sauce his palate
 With thy most operant poison! (Digging, he finds
 gold.) 
What is here?
 Gold? Yellow, glittering, precious gold?
 No, gods, I am no idle votarist.
30 Roots, you clear heavens! Thus much of this will
 make
 Black white, foul fair, wrong right,
 Base noble, old young, coward valiant.
 Ha, you gods! Why this? What this, you gods? Why,
35 this
 Will lug your priests and servants from your sides,
 Pluck stout men’s pillows from below their heads.
 This yellow slave
 Will knit and break religions, bless th’ accursed,
40 Make the hoar leprosy adored, place thieves
 And give them title, knee, and approbation
 With senators on the bench. This is it
 That makes the wappened widow wed again;
 She whom the spital house and ulcerous sores
45 Would cast the gorge at, this embalms and spices
 To th’ April day again. Come, damnèd earth,
 Thou common whore of mankind, that puts odds
 Among the rout of nations, I will make thee
 Do thy right nature. (March afar off.) Ha? A drum?
50 Thou ’rt quick,

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ACT 4. SC. 3

 But yet I’ll bury thee. Thou ’lt go, strong thief,
 When gouty keepers of thee cannot stand.
 Nay, stay thou out for earnest.
He buries the gold, keeping some out.

Enter Alcibiades, with Drum and Fife, in warlike
manner, and Phrynia and Timandra.


ALCIBIADES What art thou there? Speak.
TIMON 
55 A beast, as thou art. The canker gnaw thy heart
 For showing me again the eyes of man!
ALCIBIADES 
 What is thy name? Is man so hateful to thee
 That art thyself a man?
TIMON 
 I am Misanthropos and hate mankind.
60 For thy part, I do wish thou wert a dog,
 That I might love thee something.
ALCIBIADES  I know thee well.
 But in thy fortunes am unlearned and strange.
TIMON 
 I know thee too, and more than that I know thee
65 I not desire to know. Follow thy drum.
 With man’s blood paint the ground gules, gules!
 Religious canons, civil laws are cruel.
 Then what should war be? This fell whore of thine
 Hath in her more destruction than thy sword,
70 For all her cherubin look.
PHRYNIA  Thy lips rot off!
TIMON 
 I will not kiss thee. Then the rot returns
 To thine own lips again.
ALCIBIADES 
 How came the noble Timon to this change?
TIMON 
75 As the moon does, by wanting light to give.

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ACT 4. SC. 3

 But then renew I could not, like the moon;
 There were no suns to borrow of.
ALCIBIADES 
 Noble Timon, what friendship may I do thee?
TIMON 
 None, but to maintain my opinion.
ALCIBIADES 80What is it, Timon?
TIMON Promise me friendship, but perform none. If
 thou wilt not promise, the gods plague thee, for
 thou art a man. If thou dost perform, confound
 thee, for thou art a man.
ALCIBIADES 
85 I have heard in some sort of thy miseries.
TIMON 
 Thou saw’st them when I had prosperity.
ALCIBIADES 
 I see them now. Then was a blessèd time.
TIMON 
 As thine is now, held with a brace of harlots.
TIMANDRA 
 Is this th’ Athenian minion whom the world
90 Voiced so regardfully?
TIMON  Art thou Timandra?
TIMANDRA  Yes.
TIMON 
 Be a whore still. They love thee not that use thee.
 Give them diseases, leaving with thee their lust.
95 Make use of thy salt hours. Season the slaves
 For tubs and baths. Bring down rose-cheeked youth
 To the tub-fast and the diet.
TIMANDRA  Hang thee, monster!
ALCIBIADES 
 Pardon him, sweet Timandra, for his wits
100 Are drowned and lost in his calamities.—
 I have but little gold of late, brave Timon,
 The want whereof doth daily make revolt

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ACT 4. SC. 3

 In my penurious band. I have heard and grieved
 How cursèd Athens, mindless of thy worth,
105 Forgetting thy great deeds when neighbor states,
 But for thy sword and fortune, trod upon them—
TIMON 
 I prithee, beat thy drum and get thee gone.
ALCIBIADES 
 I am thy friend and pity thee, dear Timon.
TIMON 
 How dost thou pity him whom thou dost trouble?
110 I had rather be alone.
ALCIBIADES 
 Why, fare thee well. Here is some gold for thee.
TIMON Keep it. I cannot eat it.
ALCIBIADES 
 When I have laid proud Athens on a heap—
TIMON 
 Warr’st thou ’gainst Athens?
ALCIBIADES 115 Ay, Timon, and have cause.
TIMON 
 The gods confound them all in thy conquest,
 And thee after, when thou hast conquered!
ALCIBIADES 
 Why me, Timon?
TIMON  That by killing of villains
120 Thou wast born to conquer my country.
 Put up thy gold. Go on. Here’s gold. Go on.
 Be as a planetary plague when Jove
 Will o’er some high-viced city hang his poison
 In the sick air. Let not thy sword skip one.
125 Pity not honored age for his white beard;
 He is an usurer. Strike me the counterfeit matron;
 It is her habit only that is honest,
 Herself’s a bawd. Let not the virgin’s cheek
 Make soft thy trenchant sword, for those milk paps,
130 That through the window-bars bore at men’s eyes,

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ACT 4. SC. 3

 Are not within the leaf of pity writ,
 But set them down horrible traitors. Spare not the
 babe,
 Whose dimpled smiles from fools exhaust their
135 mercy;
 Think it a bastard whom the oracle
 Hath doubtfully pronounced the throat shall cut,
 And mince it sans remorse. Swear against objects;
 Put armor on thine ears and on thine eyes,
140 Whose proof nor yells of mothers, maids, nor babes,
 Nor sight of priests in holy vestments bleeding,
 Shall pierce a jot. (He offers gold.) There’s gold to
 pay thy soldiers.
 Make large confusion and, thy fury spent,
145 Confounded be thyself! Speak not. Begone.
ALCIBIADES 
 Hast thou gold yet? I’ll take the gold thou givest me,
 Not all thy counsel.
TIMON 
 Dost thou or dost thou not, heaven’s curse upon thee!
BOTH WOMEN 
 Give us some gold, good Timon. Hast thou more?
TIMON 
150 Enough to make a whore forswear her trade,
 And to make whores a bawd. Hold up, you sluts,
 Your aprons mountant. (He begins throwing gold
 into their aprons.) 
You are not oathable,
 Although I know you’ll swear—terribly swear
155 Into strong shudders and to heavenly agues
 Th’ immortal gods that hear you. Spare your oaths.
 I’ll trust to your conditions. Be whores still.
 And he whose pious breath seeks to convert you,
 Be strong in whore, allure him, burn him up.
160 Let your close fire predominate his smoke,
 And be no turncoats. Yet may your pains six months
 Be quite contrary. And thatch your poor thin roofs

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ACT 4. SC. 3

 With burdens of the dead—some that were hanged,
 No matter; wear them, betray with them. Whore
165 still.
 Paint till a horse may mire upon your face.
 A pox of wrinkles!
BOTH WOMEN  Well, more gold. What then?
 Believe ’t that we’ll do anything for gold.
TIMON 170Consumptions sow
 In hollow bones of man; strike their sharp shins,
 And mar men’s spurring. Crack the lawyer’s voice,
 That he may never more false title plead
 Nor sound his quillets shrilly. Hoar the flamen,
175 That scolds against the quality of flesh
 And not believes himself. Down with the nose—
 Down with it flat, take the bridge quite away—
 Of him that, his particular to foresee,
 Smells from the general weal. Make curled-pate
180 ruffians bald,
 And let the unscarred braggarts of the war
 Derive some pain from you. Plague all,
 That your activity may defeat and quell
 The source of all erection. There’s more gold.
185 Do you damn others, and let this damn you,
 And ditches grave you all!
BOTH WOMEN 
 More counsel with more money, bounteous Timon.
TIMON 
 More whore, more mischief first! I have given you
 earnest.
ALCIBIADES 
190 Strike up the drum towards Athens.—Farewell,
 Timon.
 If I thrive well, I’ll visit thee again.
TIMON 
 If I hope well, I’ll never see thee more.
ALCIBIADES I never did thee harm.

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TIMON 
195 Yes, thou spok’st well of me.
ALCIBIADES  Call’st thou that harm?
TIMON 
 Men daily find it. Get thee away, and take
 Thy beagles with thee.
ALCIBIADES, to the Women  We but offend him.—
200 Strike.The drum sounds; all but Timon exit.
TIMON 
 That nature, being sick of man’s unkindness,
 Should yet be hungry! (He digs.) Common mother,
 thou
 Whose womb unmeasurable and infinite breast
205 Teems and feeds all; whose selfsame mettle—
 Whereof thy proud child, arrogant man, is puffed—
 Engenders the black toad and adder blue,
 The gilded newt and eyeless venomed worm,
 With all th’ abhorrèd births below crisp heaven
210 Whereon Hyperion’s quick’ning fire doth shine:
 Yield him who all thy human sons do hate,
 From forth thy plenteous bosom, one poor root!
 Ensear thy fertile and conceptious womb;
 Let it no more bring out ingrateful man.
215 Go great with tigers, dragons, wolves, and bears;
 Teem with new monsters, whom thy upward face
 Hath to the marbled mansion all above
 Never presented. O, a root! Dear thanks!
 Dry up thy marrows, vines, and plow-torn leas,
220 Whereof ingrateful man with liquorish drafts
 And morsels unctuous greases his pure mind,
 That from it all consideration slips—

Enter Apemantus.

 More man? Plague, plague!
APEMANTUS 
 I was directed hither. Men report
225 Thou dost affect my manners and dost use them.

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ACT 4. SC. 3

TIMON 
 ’Tis, then, because thou dost not keep a dog,
 Whom I would imitate. Consumption catch thee!
APEMANTUS 
 This is in thee a nature but infected,
 A poor unmanly melancholy sprung
230 From change of future. Why this spade? This place?
 This slavelike habit and these looks of care?
 Thy flatterers yet wear silk, drink wine, lie soft,
 Hug their diseased perfumes, and have forgot
 That ever Timon was. Shame not these woods
235 By putting on the cunning of a carper.
 Be thou a flatterer now, and seek to thrive
 By that which has undone thee. Hinge thy knee,
 And let his very breath whom thou ’lt observe
 Blow off thy cap; praise his most vicious strain,
240 And call it excellent. Thou wast told thus.
 Thou gav’st thine ears, like tapsters that bade
 welcome,
 To knaves and all approachers. ’Tis most just
 That thou turn rascal. Had’st thou wealth again,
245 Rascals should have ’t. Do not assume my likeness.
TIMON 
 Were I like thee, I’d throw away myself.
APEMANTUS 
 Thou hast cast away thyself, being like thyself—
 A madman so long, now a fool. What, think’st
 That the bleak air, thy boisterous chamberlain,
250 Will put thy shirt on warm? Will these moist trees,
 That have outlived the eagle, page thy heels
 And skip when thou point’st out? Will the cold brook,
 Candied with ice, caudle thy morning taste
 To cure thy o’ernight’s surfeit? Call the creatures
255 Whose naked natures live in all the spite
 Of wreakful heaven, whose bare unhousèd trunks,

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ACT 4. SC. 3

 To the conflicting elements exposed,
 Answer mere nature. Bid them flatter thee.
 O, thou shalt find—
TIMON 260 A fool of thee. Depart.
APEMANTUS 
 I love thee better now than e’er I did.
TIMON 
 I hate thee worse.
APEMANTUS  Why?
TIMON  Thou flatter’st misery.
APEMANTUS 
265 I flatter not but say thou art a caitiff.
TIMON Why dost thou seek me out?
APEMANTUS To vex thee.
TIMON 
 Always a villain’s office or a fool’s.
 Dost please thyself in ’t?
APEMANTUS 270 Ay.
TIMON  What, a knave too?
APEMANTUS 
 If thou didst put this sour cold habit on
 To castigate thy pride, ’twere well, but thou
 Dost it enforcedly. Thou ’dst courtier be again
275 Wert thou not beggar. Willing misery
 Outlives incertain pomp, is crowned before;
 The one is filling still, never complete,
 The other at high wish. Best state, contentless,
 Hath a distracted and most wretched being,
280 Worse than the worst, content.
 Thou shouldst desire to die, being miserable.
TIMON 
 Not by his breath that is more miserable.
 Thou art a slave whom Fortune’s tender arm
 With favor never clasped but bred a dog.
285 Hadst thou, like us from our first swathe, proceeded
 The sweet degrees that this brief world affords

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ACT 4. SC. 3

 To such as may the passive drugs of it
 Freely command, thou wouldst have plunged
 thyself
290 In general riot, melted down thy youth
 In different beds of lust, and never learned
 The icy precepts of respect, but followed
 The sugared game before thee. But myself—
 Who had the world as my confectionary,
295 The mouths, the tongues, the eyes and hearts of
 men
 At duty, more than I could frame employment,
 That numberless upon me stuck as leaves
 Do on the oak, have with one winter’s brush
300 Fell from their boughs and left me open, bare,
 For every storm that blows—I to bear this,
 That never knew but better, is some burden.
 Thy nature did commence in sufferance. Time
 Hath made thee hard in ’t. Why shouldst thou hate
305 men?
 They never flattered thee. What hast thou given?
 If thou wilt curse, thy father, that poor rag,
 Must be thy subject, who in spite put stuff
 To some she-beggar and compounded thee
310 Poor rogue hereditary. Hence, begone.
 If thou hadst not been born the worst of men,
 Thou hadst been a knave and flatterer.
APEMANTUS 
 Art thou proud yet?
TIMON  Ay, that I am not thee.
APEMANTUS 315I, that I was no prodigal.
TIMON I, that I am one now.
 Were all the wealth I have shut up in thee,
 I’d give thee leave to hang it. Get thee gone.
 That the whole life of Athens were in this!
320 Thus would I eat it.He gnaws a root.
APEMANTUS, offering food  Here, I will mend thy feast.

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TIMON 
 First mend my company. Take away thyself.
APEMANTUS 
 So I shall mend mine own by th’ lack of thine.
TIMON 
 ’Tis not well mended so; it is but botched.
325 If not, I would it were.
APEMANTUS What wouldst thou have to Athens?
TIMON 
 Thee thither in a whirlwind. If thou wilt,
 Tell them there I have gold. Look, so I have.
APEMANTUS 
 Here is no use for gold.
TIMON 330 The best and truest,
 For here it sleeps and does no hired harm.
APEMANTUS Where liest a-nights, Timon?
TIMON Under that’s above me. Where feed’st thou
 a-days, Apemantus?
APEMANTUS 335Where my stomach finds meat, or rather
 where I eat it.
TIMON Would poison were obedient and knew my
 mind!
APEMANTUS Where wouldst thou send it?
TIMON 340To sauce thy dishes.
APEMANTUS The middle of humanity thou never
 knewest, but the extremity of both ends. When
 thou wast in thy gilt and thy perfume, they
 mocked thee for too much curiosity. In thy rags
345 thou know’st none, but art despised for the contrary.
 There’s a medlar for thee. Eat it.
TIMON On what I hate I feed not.
APEMANTUS Dost hate a medlar?
TIMON Ay, though it look like thee.
APEMANTUS 350An thou ’dst hated meddlers sooner, thou
 shouldst have loved thyself better now. What man
 didst thou ever know unthrift that was beloved
 after his means?

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TIMON Who, without those means thou talk’st of, didst
355 thou ever know beloved?
APEMANTUS Myself.
TIMON I understand thee. Thou hadst some means to
 keep a dog.
APEMANTUS What things in the world canst thou nearest
360 compare to thy flatterers?
TIMON Women nearest, but men—men are the things
 themselves. What wouldst thou do with the world,
 Apemantus, if it lay in thy power?
APEMANTUS Give it the beasts, to be rid of the men.
TIMON 365Wouldst thou have thyself fall in the confusion
 of men and remain a beast with the beasts?
APEMANTUS Ay, Timon.
TIMON A beastly ambition, which the gods grant thee
 t’ attain to! If thou wert the lion, the fox would
370 beguile thee. If thou wert the lamb, the fox would
 eat thee. If thou wert the fox, the lion would suspect
 thee when peradventure thou wert accused by
 the ass. If thou wert the ass, thy dullness would
 torment thee, and still thou lived’st but as a breakfast
375 to the wolf. If thou wert the wolf, thy greediness
 would afflict thee, and oft thou shouldst hazard
 thy life for thy dinner. Wert thou the unicorn,
 pride and wrath would confound thee and
 make thine own self the conquest of thy fury. Wert
380 thou a bear, thou wouldst be killed by the horse.
 Wert thou a horse, thou wouldst be seized by the
 leopard. Wert thou a leopard, thou wert germane
 to the lion, and the spots of thy kindred were
 jurors on thy life. All thy safety were remotion, and
385 thy defense absence. What beast couldst thou be
 that were not subject to a beast? And what a beast
 art thou already that seest not thy loss in
 transformation!
APEMANTUS If thou couldst please me with speaking to

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ACT 4. SC. 3

390 me, thou mightst have hit upon it here. The commonwealth
 of Athens is become a forest of beasts.
TIMON How, has the ass broke the wall that thou art
 out of the city?
APEMANTUS Yonder comes a poet and a painter. The
395 plague of company light upon thee! I will fear to
 catch it and give way. When I know not what else
 to do, I’ll see thee again.
TIMON When there is nothing living but thee, thou
 shalt be welcome. I had rather be a beggar’s dog
400 than Apemantus.
APEMANTUS 
 Thou art the cap of all the fools alive.
TIMON 
 Would thou wert clean enough to spit upon!
APEMANTUS 
 A plague on thee! Thou art too bad to curse.
TIMON 
 All villains that do stand by thee are pure.
APEMANTUS 
405 There is no leprosy but what thou speak’st.
TIMON If I name thee.
 I’ll beat thee, but I should infect my hands.
APEMANTUS I would my tongue could rot them off!
TIMON 
 Away, thou issue of a mangy dog!
410 Choler does kill me that thou art alive.
 I swoon to see thee.
APEMANTUS 
 Would thou wouldst burst!
TIMON  Away, thou tedious rogue!
 I am sorry I shall lose a stone by thee.
Timon throws a stone at Apemantus.
APEMANTUS 415Beast!
TIMON Slave!
APEMANTUS Toad!

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ACT 4. SC. 3

TIMON Rogue, rogue, rogue!
 I am sick of this false world, and will love nought
420 But even the mere necessities upon ’t.
 Then, Timon, presently prepare thy grave.
 Lie where the light foam of the sea may beat
 Thy gravestone daily. Make thine epitaph,
 That death in me at others’ lives may laugh.
425 (To his gold.) O thou sweet king-killer and dear
 divorce
 ’Twixt natural son and sire, thou bright defiler
 Of Hymen’s purest bed, thou valiant Mars,
 Thou ever young, fresh, loved, and delicate wooer,
430 Whose blush doth thaw the consecrated snow
 That lies on Dian’s lap; thou visible god,
 That sold’rest close impossibilities
 And mak’st them kiss, that speak’st with every
 tongue
435 To every purpose! O thou touch of hearts,
 Think thy slave, man, rebels, and by thy virtue
 Set them into confounding odds, that beasts
 May have the world in empire!
APEMANTUS  Would ’twere so!
440 But not till I am dead. I’ll say thou ’st gold;
 Thou wilt be thronged to shortly.
TIMON  Thronged to?
APEMANTUS  Ay.
TIMON 
 Thy back, I prithee.
APEMANTUS 445 Live and love thy misery.
TIMON Long live so, and so die. I am quit.

Enter the Banditti.

APEMANTUS 
 More things like men.—Eat, Timon, and abhor
 them.Apemantus exits.
FIRST BANDIT Where should he have this gold? It is

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ACT 4. SC. 3

450 some poor fragment, some slender ort of his
 remainder. The mere want of gold and the falling-from
 of his friends drove him into this melancholy.
SECOND BANDIT It is noised he hath a mass of treasure.
THIRD BANDIT Let us make the assay upon him. If he
455 care not for ’t, he will supply us easily. If he covetously
 reserve it, how shall ’s get it?
SECOND BANDIT True, for he bears it not about him. ’Tis
 hid.
FIRST BANDIT Is not this he?
OTHERS 460Where?
SECOND BANDIT ’Tis his description.
THIRD BANDIT He. I know him.
ALL Save thee, Timon.
TIMON Now, thieves?
ALL 
465 Soldiers, not thieves.
TIMON  Both, too, and women’s sons.
ALL 
 We are not thieves, but men that much do want.
TIMON 
 Your greatest want is, you want much of meat.
 Why should you want? Behold, the earth hath roots.
470 Within this mile break forth a hundred springs.
 The oaks bear mast, the briars scarlet hips.
 The bounteous huswife Nature on each bush
 Lays her full mess before you. Want? Why want?
FIRST BANDIT 
 We cannot live on grass, on berries, water,
475 As beasts and birds and fishes.
TIMON 
 Nor on the beasts themselves, the birds and fishes;
 You must eat men. Yet thanks I must you con
 That you are thieves professed, that you work not
 In holier shapes, for there is boundless theft
480 In limited professions. Rascal thieves,

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Timon of Athens
ACT 4. SC. 3

 Here’s gold. (He gives them gold.) Go, suck the
 subtle blood o’ th’ grape
 Till the high fever seethe your blood to froth,
 And so ’scape hanging. Trust not the physician;
485 His antidotes are poison, and he slays
 More than you rob. Take wealth and lives together.
 Do, villainy, do, since you protest to do ’t,
 Like workmen. I’ll example you with thievery.
 The sun’s a thief and with his great attraction
490 Robs the vast sea. The moon’s an arrant thief,
 And her pale fire she snatches from the sun.
 The sea’s a thief, whose liquid surge resolves
 The moon into salt tears. The earth’s a thief,
 That feeds and breeds by a composture stol’n
495 From gen’ral excrement. Each thing’s a thief.
 The laws, your curb and whip, in their rough power
 Has unchecked theft. Love not yourselves. Away!
 Rob one another. There’s more gold. (He gives them
 gold.) 
Cut throats.
500 All that you meet are thieves. To Athens go.
 Break open shops. Nothing can you steal
 But thieves do lose it. Steal less for this I give you,
 And gold confound you howsoe’er! Amen.
THIRD BANDIT Has almost charmed me from my profession
505 by persuading me to it.
FIRST BANDIT ’Tis in the malice of mankind that he
 thus advises us, not to have us thrive in our
 mystery.
SECOND BANDIT I’ll believe him as an enemy and give
510 over my trade.
FIRST BANDIT Let us first see peace in Athens. There is
 no time so miserable but a man may be true.
Thieves exit.

Enter Flavius the Steward, to Timon.

FLAVIUS O you gods!

155
Timon of Athens
ACT 4. SC. 3

 Is yond despised and ruinous man my lord?
515 Full of decay and flailing? O, monument
 And wonder of good deeds evilly bestowed!
 What an alteration of honor has desp’rate want
 made!
 What viler thing upon the Earth than friends,
520 Who can bring noblest minds to basest ends!
 How rarely does it meet with this time’s guise,
 When man was wished to love his enemies!
 Grant I may ever love, and rather woo
 Those that would mischief me than those that do!
525 Has caught me in his eye. I will present
 My honest grief unto him and as my lord
 Still serve him with my life.—My dearest master.
TIMON 
 Away! What art thou?
FLAVIUS  Have you forgot me, sir?
TIMON 
530 Why dost ask that? I have forgot all men.
 Then, if thou grant’st thou ’rt a man, I have forgot
 thee.
FLAVIUS An honest poor servant of yours.
TIMON Then I know thee not.
535 I never had honest man about me, I. All
 I kept were knaves to serve in meat to villains.
FLAVIUS The gods are witness,
 Ne’er did poor steward wear a truer grief
 For his undone lord than mine eyes for you.
He weeps.
TIMON 
540 What, dost thou weep? Come nearer, then. I love
 thee
 Because thou art a woman and disclaim’st
 Flinty mankind, whose eyes do never give
 But thorough lust and laughter. Pity’s sleeping.

157
Timon of Athens
ACT 4. SC. 3

545 Strange times that weep with laughing, not with
 weeping!
FLAVIUS 
 I beg of you to know me, good my lord,
 T’ accept my grief, and, whilst this poor wealth lasts,
 To entertain me as your steward still.
He offers money.
TIMON 550Had I a steward
 So true, so just, and now so comfortable?
 It almost turns my dangerous nature mild.
 Let me behold thy face. Surely this man
 Was born of woman.
555 Forgive my general and exceptless rashness,
 You perpetual-sober gods. I do proclaim
 One honest man—mistake me not, but one;
 No more, I pray!—and he’s a steward.
 How fain would I have hated all mankind,
560 And thou redeem’st thyself. But all, save thee,
 I fell with curses.
 Methinks thou art more honest now than wise,
 For by oppressing and betraying me
 Thou mightst have sooner got another service;
565 For many so arrive at second masters
 Upon their first lord’s neck. But tell me true—
 For I must ever doubt, though ne’er so sure—
 Is not thy kindness subtle, covetous,
 A usuring kindness, and as rich men deal gifts,
570 Expecting in return twenty for one?
FLAVIUS 
 No, my most worthy master, in whose breast
 Doubt and suspect, alas, are placed too late.
 You should have feared false times when you did
 feast.
575 Suspect still comes where an estate is least.
 That which I show, heaven knows, is merely love,
 Duty, and zeal to your unmatchèd mind,

159
Timon of Athens
ACT 4. SC. 3

 Care of your food and living. And believe it,
 My most honored lord,
580 For any benefit that points to me,
 Either in hope or present, I’d exchange
 For this one wish, that you had power and wealth
 To requite me by making rich yourself.
TIMON 
 Look thee, ’tis so. Thou singly honest man,
585 Here, take. (Timon offers gold.) The gods out of my
 misery
 Has sent thee treasure. Go, live rich and happy,
 But thus conditioned: thou shalt build from men;
 Hate all, curse all, show charity to none,
590 But let the famished flesh slide from the bone
 Ere thou relieve the beggar; give to dogs
 What thou deniest to men; let prisons swallow ’em,
 Debts wither ’em to nothing; be men like blasted
 woods,
595 And may diseases lick up their false bloods!
 And so farewell and thrive.
FLAVIUS  O, let me stay
 And comfort you, my master.
TIMON  If thou hat’st curses,
600 Stay not. Fly whilst thou art blest and free.
 Ne’er see thou man, and let me ne’er see thee.
They exit.