List iconTimon of Athens:
Act 5, scene 1
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Timon of Athens
Act 5, 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 and Painter.

PAINTER As I took note of the place, it cannot be far
 where he abides.
POET What’s to be thought of him? Does the rumor
 hold for true that he’s so full of gold?
PAINTER 5Certain. Alcibiades reports it. Phrynia and
 Timandra had gold of him. He likewise enriched
 poor straggling soldiers with great quantity. ’Tis
 said he gave unto his steward a mighty sum.
POET Then this breaking of his has been but a try for
10 his friends?
PAINTER Nothing else. You shall see him a palm in
 Athens again, and flourish with the highest. Therefore
 ’tis not amiss we tender our loves to him in
 this supposed distress of his. It will show honestly
15 in us and is very likely to load our purposes with
 what they travail for, if it be a just and true report
 that goes of his having.

Enter Timon, behind them, from his cave.

POET What have you now to present unto him?
PAINTER Nothing at this time but my visitation. Only I
20 will promise him an excellent piece.
POET I must serve him so too—tell him of an intent
 that’s coming toward him.

Timon of Athens
ACT 5. SC. 1

PAINTER Good as the best. Promising is the very air o’
 th’ time; it opens the eyes of expectation. Performance
25 is ever the duller for his act, and but in the
 plainer and simpler kind of people the deed of saying
 is quite out of use. To promise is most courtly
 and fashionable. Performance is a kind of will or
 testament which argues a great sickness in his
30 judgment that makes it.
TIMON, aside Excellent workman! Thou canst not
 paint a man so bad as is thyself.
POET I am thinking what I shall say I have provided
 for him. It must be a personating of himself, a
35 satire against the softness of prosperity, with a discovery
 of the infinite flatteries that follow youth
 and opulency.
TIMON, aside Must thou needs stand for a villain in
 thine own work? Wilt thou whip thine own faults
40 in other men? Do so. I have gold for thee.
POET Nay, let’s seek him.
 Then do we sin against our own estate
 When we may profit meet and come too late.
45 When the day serves, before black-cornered night,
 Find what thou want’st by free and offered light.
TIMON, aside 
 I’ll meet you at the turn. What a god’s gold
 That he is worshiped in a baser temple
50 Than where swine feed!
 ’Tis thou that rigg’st the bark and plow’st the foam,
 Settlest admirèd reverence in a slave.
 To thee be worship, and thy saints for aye
 Be crowned with plagues, that thee alone obey!
55 Fit I meet them.He comes forward.
 Hail, worthy Timon.

Timon of Athens
ACT 5. SC. 1

PAINTER  Our late noble master.
 Have I once lived to see two honest men?
60 Having often of your open bounty tasted,
 Hearing you were retired, your friends fall’n off,
 Whose thankless natures—O, abhorrèd spirits!
 Not all the whips of heaven are large enough—
 What, to you,
65 Whose starlike nobleness gave life and influence
 To their whole being? I am rapt and cannot cover
 The monstrous bulk of this ingratitude
 With any size of words.
 Let it go naked. Men may see ’t the better.
70 You that are honest, by being what you are
 Make them best seen and known.
PAINTER  He and myself
 Have travailed in the great shower of your gifts
 And sweetly felt it.
TIMON 75 Ay, you are honest men.
 We are hither come to offer you our service.
 Most honest men! Why, how shall I requite you?
 Can you eat roots and drink cold water? No?
 What we can do we’ll do to do you service.
80 You’re honest men. You’ve heard that I have gold.
 I am sure you have. Speak truth. You’re honest men.
 So it is said, my noble lord, but therefor
 Came not my friend nor I.
 Good honest men. (To the Painter.) Thou draw’st a
85 counterfeit

Timon of Athens
ACT 5. SC. 1

 Best in all Athens. Thou ’rt indeed the best.
 Thou counterfeit’st most lively.
PAINTER  So-so, my lord.
 E’en so, sir, as I say. (To the Poet.) And for thy
90 fiction,
 Why, thy verse swells with stuff so fine and smooth
 That thou art even natural in thine art.
 But for all this, my honest-natured friends,
 I must needs say you have a little fault.
95 Marry, ’tis not monstrous in you, neither wish I
 You take much pains to mend.
BOTH  Beseech your Honor
 To make it known to us.
TIMON  You’ll take it ill.
BOTH 100Most thankfully, my lord.
TIMON Will you indeed?
BOTH Doubt it not, worthy lord.
 There’s never a one of you but trusts a knave
 That mightily deceives you.
BOTH 105 Do we, my lord?
 Ay, and you hear him cog, see him dissemble,
 Know his gross patchery, love him, feed him,
 Keep in your bosom. Yet remain assured
 That he’s a made-up villain.
PAINTER 110I know none such, my lord.
 Look you, I love you well. I’ll give you gold.
 Rid me these villains from your companies,
 Hang them or stab them, drown them in a draft,
115 Confound them by some course, and come to me,
 I’ll give you gold enough.
BOTH Name them, my lord, let ’s know them.

Timon of Athens
ACT 5. SC. 1

 You that way and you this, but two in company.
 Each man apart, all single and alone,
120 Yet an archvillain keeps him company.
 (To one.) If where thou art, two villains shall not be,
 Come not near him. (To the other.) If thou wouldst
 not reside
 But where one villain is, then him abandon.—
125 Hence, pack. There’s gold. You came for gold, you
 (To one.) You have work for me. There’s payment.
 (To the other.) You are an alchemist; make gold of
130 that.
 Out, rascal dogs!
Timon drives them out and then exits.

Enter Steward Flavius, and two Senators.

 It is vain that you would speak with Timon,
 For he is set so only to himself
 That nothing but himself which looks like man
135 Is friendly with him.
FIRST SENATOR  Bring us to his cave.
 It is our part and promise to th’ Athenians
 To speak with Timon.
SECOND SENATOR  At all times alike
140 Men are not still the same. ’Twas time and griefs
 That framed him thus. Time, with his fairer hand
 Offering the fortunes of his former days,
 The former man may make him. Bring us to him,
 And chance it as it may.
FLAVIUS 145 Here is his cave.—
 Peace and content be here! Lord Timon! Timon!
 Look out, and speak to friends. Th’ Athenians
 By two of their most reverend Senate greet thee.
 Speak to them, noble Timon.

Timon of Athens
ACT 5. SC. 1

Enter Timon out of his cave.

150 Thou sun that comforts, burn!—Speak and be
 For each true word a blister, and each false
 Be as a cauterizing to the root o’ th’ tongue,
 Consuming it with speaking.
FIRST SENATOR 155 Worthy Timon—
 Of none but such as you, and you of Timon.
 The Senators of Athens greet thee, Timon.
 I thank them and would send them back the plague,
 Could I but catch it for them.
FIRST SENATOR 160 O, forget
 What we are sorry for ourselves in thee.
 The Senators with one consent of love
 Entreat thee back to Athens, who have thought
 On special dignities which vacant lie
165 For thy best use and wearing.
SECOND SENATOR  They confess
 Toward thee forgetfulness too general gross;
 Which now the public body, which doth seldom
 Play the recanter, feeling in itself
170 A lack of Timon’s aid, hath sense withal
 Of it own fall, restraining aid to Timon,
 And send forth us to make their sorrowed render,
 Together with a recompense more fruitful
 Than their offense can weigh down by the dram—
175 Ay, even such heaps and sums of love and wealth
 As shall to thee blot out what wrongs were theirs
 And write in thee the figures of their love,
 Ever to read them thine.
TIMON  You witch me in it,

Timon of Athens
ACT 5. SC. 1

180 Surprise me to the very brink of tears.
 Lend me a fool’s heart and a woman’s eyes,
 And I’ll beweep these comforts, worthy senators.
 Therefore, so please thee to return with us
 And of our Athens, thine and ours, to take
185 The captainship, thou shalt be met with thanks;
 Allowed with absolute power, and thy good name
 Live with authority. So soon we shall drive back
 Of Alcibiades th’ approaches wild,
 Who like a boar too savage doth root up
190 His country’s peace.
SECOND SENATOR  And shakes his threat’ning sword
 Against the walls of Athens.
FIRST SENATOR  Therefore, Timon—
 Well sir, I will. Therefore I will, sir, thus:
195 If Alcibiades kill my countrymen,
 Let Alcibiades know this of Timon—
 That Timon cares not. But if he sack fair Athens
 And take our goodly agèd men by th’ beards,
 Giving our holy virgins to the stain
200 Of contumelious, beastly, mad-brained war,
 Then let him know, and tell him Timon speaks it
 In pity of our agèd and our youth,
 I cannot choose but tell him that I care not,
 And let him take ’t at worst—for their knives care not,
205 While you have throats to answer. For myself,
 There’s not a whittle in th’ unruly camp
 But I do prize it at my love before
 The reverend’st throat in Athens. So I leave you
 To the protection of the prosperous gods
210 As thieves to keepers.
FLAVIUS, to Senators  Stay not. All’s in vain.
 Why, I was writing of my epitaph.

Timon of Athens
ACT 5. SC. 1

 It will be seen tomorrow. My long sickness
 Of health and living now begins to mend,
215 And nothing brings me all things. Go, live still.
 Be Alcibiades your plague, you his,
 And last so long enough!
FIRST SENATOR  We speak in vain.
 But yet I love my country and am not
220 One that rejoices in the common wrack,
 As common bruit doth put it.
FIRST SENATOR  That’s well spoke.
 Commend me to my loving countrymen.
 These words become your lips as they pass through
225 them.
 And enter in our ears like great triumphers
 In their applauding gates.
TIMON  Commend me to them
 And tell them that, to ease them of their griefs,
230 Their fears of hostile strokes, their aches, losses,
 Their pangs of love, with other incident throes
 That nature’s fragile vessel doth sustain
 In life’s uncertain voyage, I will some kindness do
235 I’ll teach them to prevent wild Alcibiades’ wrath.
FIRST SENATOR, to Second Senator 
 I like this well. He will return again.
 I have a tree, which grows here in my close,
 That mine own use invites me to cut down,
 And shortly must I fell it. Tell my friends,
240 Tell Athens, in the sequence of degree
 From high to low throughout, that whoso please
 To stop affliction, let him take his haste,

Timon of Athens
ACT 5. SC. 2

 Come hither ere my tree hath felt the ax,
 And hang himself. I pray you, do my greeting.
FLAVIUS, to Senators 
245 Trouble him no further. Thus you still shall find him.
 Come not to me again, but say to Athens,
 Timon hath made his everlasting mansion
 Upon the beachèd verge of the salt flood,
 Who once a day with his embossèd froth
250 The turbulent surge shall cover. Thither come
 And let my gravestone be your oracle.
 Lips, let four words go by and language end.
 What is amiss, plague and infection mend.
 Graves only be men’s works, and death their gain.
255 Sun, hide thy beams. Timon hath done his reign.
Timon exits.
 His discontents are unremovably
 Coupled to nature.
 Our hope in him is dead. Let us return
 And strain what other means is left unto us
260 In our dear peril.
FIRST SENATOR  It requires swift foot.
They exit.