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

Act III. Scene III.

Timon of Athens

The Same.A Room in SEMPRONIUS’S House.

Enter SEMPRONIUS and a Servant of TIMON’S.

Sem.Must he needs trouble me in ’t. Hum! ’bove all others?

He might have tried Lord Lucius, or Lucullus;

And now Ventidius is wealthy too,

Whom he redeem’d from prison: all these

Owe their estates unto him.

Serv.My lord,

They have all been touch’d and found base metal, for

They have all denied him.

Sem.How! have they denied him?

Have Ventidius and Lucullus denied him?

And does he send to me? Three? hum!

It shows but little love or judgment in him:

Must I be his last refuge? His friends, like physicians,

Thrice give him over; must I take the cure upon me?

He has much disgrac’d me in ’t; I’m angry at him,

That might have known my place. I see no sense for ’t,

But his occasions might have woo’d me first;

For, in my conscience, I was the first man

That e’er received gift from him:

And does he think so backwardly of me now,

That I’ll requite it last? No:

So it may prove an argument of laughter

To the rest, and I ’mongst lords be thought a fool.

I had rather than the worth of thrice the sum,

He had sent to me first, but for my mind’s sake;

I’d such a courage to do him good. But now return,

And with their faint reply this answer join;

Who bates mine honour shall not know my coin.[Exit.

Serv.Excellent! Your lordship’s a goodly villain. The devil knew not what he did when he made man politic; he crossed himself by ’t: and I cannot think but in the end the villanies of man will set him clear. How fairly this lord strives to appear foul! takes virtuous copies to be wicked, like those that under hot ardent zeal would set whole realms on fire:

Of such a nature is his politic love.

This was my lord’s best hope; now all are fled

Save only the gods. Now his friends are dead,

Doors, that were ne’er acquainted with their wards

Many a bounteous year, must be employ’d

Now to guard sure their master:

And this is all a liberal course allows;

Who cannot keep his wealth must keep his house.[Exit.