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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act III. Scene IV.

Timon of Athens

The Same.A Hall in TIMON’S House.

Enter two Servants of VARRO, and the Servant of LUCIUS, meeting TITUS, HORTENSIUS, and other Servants to TIMON’S Creditors, waiting his coming out.

First Var. Serv.Well met; good morrow, Titus and Hortensius.

Tit.The like to you, kind Varro.


What! do we meet together!

Luc. Ser.Ay, and I think

One business does command us all; for mine

Is money.

Tit.So is theirs and ours.


Luc. Serv.And Sir Philotus too!

Phi.Good day at once.

Luc. Serv.Welcome, good brother.

What do you think the hour?

Phi.Labouring for nine.

Luc. Serv.So much?

Phi.Is not my lord seen yet?

Luc. Serv.Not yet.

Phi.I wonder on ’t; he was wont to shine at seven.

Luc. Serv.Ay, but the days are waxed shorter with him:

You must consider that a prodigal course

Is like the sun’s; but not, like his, recoverable.

I fear,

’Tis deepest winter in Lord Timon’s purse;

That is, one may reach deep enough, and yet

Find little.

Phi.I am of your fear for that.

Tit.I’ll show you how to observe a strange event.

Your lord sends now for money.

Hor.Most true, he does.

Tit.And he wears jewels now of Timon’s gift,

For which I wait for money.

Hor.It is against my heart.

Luc. Serv.Mark, how strange it shows,

Timon in this should pay more than he owes:

And e’en as if your lord should wear rich jewels,

And send for money for ’em.

Hor.I’m weary of this charge, the gods can witness:

I know my lord hath spent of Timon’s wealth,

And now ingratitude makes it worse than stealth.

First Var. Serv.Yes, mine’s three thousand crowns; what’s yours?

Luc. Serv.Five thousand mine.

First Var. Serv.’Tis much deep: and it should seem by the sum,

Your master’s confidence was above mine;

Else, surely, his had equall’d.


Tit.One of Lord Timon’s men.

Luc. Serv.Flaminius! Sir, a word. Pray, is my lord ready to come forth?

Flam.No, indeed, he is not.

Tit.We attend his lordship; pray, signify so much.

Flam.I need not tell him that; he knows you are too diligent.[Exit FLAMINIUS.

Enter FLAVIUS in a cloak, muffled.

Luc. Serv.Ha! is not that his steward muffled so?

He goes away in a cloud: call him, call him.

Tit.Do you hear, sir?

Sec. Var. Serv.By your leave, sir.

Flav.What do you ask of me, my friend?

Tit.We wait for certain money here, sir.


If money were as certain as your waiting,

’Twere sure enough.

Why then preferr’d you not your sums and bills,

When you false masters eat of my lord’s meat?

Then they could smile and fawn upon his debts,

And take down the interest into their gluttonous maws.

You do yourselves but wrong to stir me up;

Let me pass quietly:

Believe ’t, my lord and I have made an end;

I have no more to reckon, he to spend.

Luc. Serv.Ay, but this answer will not serve.

Flav.If ’twill not serve, ’tis not so base as you;

For you serve knaves.[Exit.

First Var. Serv.How! what does his cashiered worship mutter?

Sec. Var. Serv.No matter what; he’s poor, and that’s revenge enough. Who can speak broader than he that has no house to put his head in? such may rail against great buildings.


Tit.O! here’s Servilius; now we shall know some answer.

Servil.If I might beseech you, gentlemen, to repair some other hour, I should derive much from ’t; for, take ’t of my soul, my lord leans wondrously to discontent. His comfortable temper has forsook him; he’s much out of health, and keeps his chamber.

Luc. Serv.Many do keep their chambers are not sick:

And, if it be so far beyond his health,

Methinks he should the sooner pay his debts,

And make a clear way to the gods.

Servil.Good gods!

Tit.We cannot take this for answer, sir.

Flam.[Within.]Servilius, help! my lord! my lord!

Enter TIMON, in a rage; FLAMINIUS following.

Tim.What! are my doors oppos’d against my passage?

Have I been ever free, and must my house

Be my retentive enemy, my gaol?

The place which I have feasted, does it now,

Like all mankind, show me an iron heart?

Luc. Serv.Put in now, Titus.

Tit.My lord, here is my bill.

Luc. Serv.Here’s mine.

Hor.And mine, my lord.

Both Var. Serv.And ours, my lord.

Phi.All our bills.

Tim.Knock me down with ’em: cleave me to the girdle.

Luc. Serv.Alas! my lord,—

Tim.Cut my heart in sums.

Tit.Mine, fifty talents.

Tim.Tell out my blood.

Luc. Serv.Five thousand crowns, my lord.

Tim.Five thousand drops pays that. What yours? and yours?

First Var. Serv.My lord,—

Sec. Var. Serv.My lord,—

Tim.Tear me, take me; and the gods fall upon you![Exit.

Hor.Faith, I perceive our masters may throw their caps at their money: these debts may well be called desperate ones, for a madman owes ’em.[Exeunt.

Re-enter TIMON and FLAVIUS.

Tim.They have e’en put my breath from me, the slaves:

Creditors? devils!

Flav.My dear lord,—

Tim.What if it should be so?

Flav.My lord,—

Tim.I’ll have it so. My steward!

Flav.Here, my lord.

Tim.So fitly! Go, bid all my friends again,

Lucius, Lucullus, and Sempronius; all:

I’ll once more feast the rascals.

Flav.O my lord!

You only speak from your distracted soul;

There is not so much left to furnish out

A moderate table.

Tim.Be ’t not in thy care: go.

I charge thee, invite them all: let in the tide

Of knaves once more; my cook and I’ll provide.[Exeunt