Home  »  The Oxford Shakespeare  »  Timon of Athens

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

Act IV. Scene II.

Timon of Athens

Athens.A Room in TIMON’S House.

Enter FLAVIUS, with two or three Servants.

First Serv.Hear you, Master steward! where’s our master?

Are we undone? cast off? nothing remaining?

Flav.Alack! my fellows, what should I say to you?

Let me be recorded by the righteous gods,

I am as poor as you.

First Serv.Such a house broke!

So noble a master fall’n! All gone! and not

One friend to take his fortune by the arm,

And go along with him!

Sec. Serv.As we do turn our backs

From our companion thrown into his grave,

So his familiars to his buried fortunes

Slink all away, leave their false vows with him,

Like empty purses pick’d; and his poor self,

A dedicated beggar to the air,

With his disease of all-shunn’d poverty,

Walks, like contempt, alone. More of our fellows.

Enter other Servants.

Flav.All broken implements of a ruin’d house.

Third Serv.Yet do our hearts wear Timon’s livery,

That see I by our faces; we are fellows still,

Serving alike in sorrow. Leak’d is our bark,

And we, poor mates, stand on the dying deck,

Hearing the surges threat: we must all part

Into this sea of air.

Flav.Good fellows all,

The latest of my wealth I’ll share amongst you.

Wherever we shall meet, for Timon’s sake

Let’s yet be fellows; let’s shake our heads, and say,

As ’twere a knell unto our master’s fortunes,

‘We have seen better days.’ Let each take some;[Giving them money.

Nay, put out all your hands. Not one word more:

Thus part we rich in sorrow, parting poor.[They embrace, and part several ways.

O! the fierce wretchedness that glory brings us.

Who would not wish to be from wealth exempt,

Since riches point to misery and contempt?

Who would be so mock’d with glory? or so live,

But in a dream of friendship?

To have his pomp and all what state compounds

But only painted, like his varnish’d friends?

Poor honest lord! brought low by his own heart,

Undone by goodness. Strange, unusual blood,

When man’s worst sin is he does too much good!

Who then dares to be half so kind agen?

For bounty, that makes gods, does still mar men.

My dearest lord, bless’d, to be most accurs’d,

Rich, only to be wretched, thy great fortunes

Are made thy chief afflictions. Alas! kind lord,

He’s flung in rage from this ingrateful seat

Of monstrous friends;

Nor has he with him to supply his life,

Or that which can command it.

I’ll follow and inquire him out:

I’ll ever serve his mind with my best will;

Whilst I have gold I’ll be his steward still.[Exit.