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Timon of Athens

ACT III SCENE VI The same. A banqueting-room in Timon’s house.
[ Music. Tables set out: Servants attending. Enter divers Lords, Senators and others, at several doors ]
First Lord The good time of day to you, sir.
Second Lord I also wish it to you. I think this honourable lord
did but try us this other day.
First Lord Upon that were my thoughts tiring, when we
encountered: I hope it is not so low with him as 5
he made it seem in the trial of his several friends.
Second Lord It should not be, by the persuasion of his new feasting.
First Lord I should think so: he hath sent me an earnest
inviting, which many my near occasions did urge me
to put off; but he hath conjured me beyond them, and 10
I must needs appear.
Second Lord In like manner was I in debt to my importunate
business, but he would not hear my excuse. I am
sorry, when he sent to borrow of me, that my
provision was out. 15
First Lord I am sick of that grief too, as I understand how all
things go.
Second Lord Every man here’s so. What would he have borrowed of
First Lord A thousand pieces. 20
Second Lord A thousand pieces!
First Lord What of you?
Second Lord He sent to me, sir,–Here he comes.
[Enter TIMON and Attendants]
TIMON With all my heart, gentlemen both; and how fare you?
First Lord Ever at the best, hearing well of your lordship. 25
Second Lord The swallow follows not summer more willing than we
your lordship.
TIMON [Aside] Nor more willingly leaves winter; such
summer-birds are men. Gentlemen, our dinner will not
recompense this long stay: feast your ears with the 30
music awhile, if they will fare so harshly o’ the
trumpet’s sound; we shall to ‘t presently.
First Lord I hope it remains not unkindly with your lordship
that I returned you an empty messenger.
TIMON O, sir, let it not trouble you. 35
Second Lord My noble lord,–
TIMON Ah, my good friend, what cheer?
Second Lord My most honourable lord, I am e’en sick of shame,
that, when your lordship this other day sent to me,
I was so unfortunate a beggar. 40
TIMON Think not on ‘t, sir.
Second Lord If you had sent but two hours before,–
TIMON Let it not cumber your better remembrance.
[The banquet brought in]
Come, bring in all together.
Second Lord All covered dishes! 45
First Lord Royal cheer, I warrant you.
Third Lord Doubt not that, if money and the season can yield
First Lord How do you? What’s the news?
Third Lord Alcibiades is banished: hear you of it? 50
Second Lord Alcibiades banished!
Third Lord ‘Tis so, be sure of it.
First Lord How! how!
Second Lord I pray you, upon what?
TIMON My worthy friends, will you draw near? 55
Third Lord I’ll tell you more anon. Here’s a noble feast toward.
Second Lord This is the old man still.
Third Lord Will ‘t hold? will ‘t hold?
Second Lord It does: but time will–and so–
Third Lord I do conceive. 60
TIMON Each man to his stool, with that spur as he would to
the lip of his mistress: your diet shall be in all
places alike. Make not a city feast of it, to let
the meat cool ere we can agree upon the first place:
sit, sit. The gods require our thanks. 65
You great benefactors, sprinkle our society with
thankfulness. For your own gifts, make yourselves
praised: but reserve still to give, lest your
deities be despised. Lend to each man enough, that
one need not lend to another; for, were your 70
godheads to borrow of men, men would forsake the
gods. Make the meat be beloved more than the man
that gives it. Let no assembly of twenty be without
a score of villains: if there sit twelve women at
the table, let a dozen of them be–as they are. The 75
rest of your fees, O gods–the senators of Athens,
together with the common lag of people–what is
amiss in them, you gods, make suitable for
destruction. For these my present friends, as they
are to me nothing, so in nothing bless them, and to 80
nothing are they welcome.
Uncover, dogs, and lap.
[ The dishes are uncovered and seen to be full of warm water ]
Some Speak What does his lordship mean?
Some Others I know not.
TIMON May you a better feast never behold, 85
You knot of mouth-friends I smoke and lukewarm water
Is your perfection. This is Timon’s last;
Who, stuck and spangled with your flatteries,
Washes it off, and sprinkles in your faces
Your reeking villany. 90
[Throwing the water in their faces]
Live loathed and long,
Most smiling, smooth, detested parasites,
Courteous destroyers, affable wolves, meek bears,
You fools of fortune, trencher-friends, time’s flies,
Cap and knee slaves, vapours, and minute-jacks! 95
Of man and beast the infinite malady
Crust you quite o’er! What, dost thou go?
Soft! take thy physic first–thou too–and thou;–
Stay, I will lend thee money, borrow none.
[Throws the dishes at them, and drives them out]
What, all in motion? Henceforth be no feast, 100
Whereat a villain’s not a welcome guest.
Burn, house! sink, Athens! henceforth hated be
Of Timon man and all humanity!
[Re-enter the Lords, Senators, &c]
First Lord How now, my lords!
Second Lord Know you the quality of Lord Timon’s fury? 105
Third Lord Push! did you see my cap?
Fourth Lord I have lost my gown.
First Lord He’s but a mad lord, and nought but humour sways him.
He gave me a jewel th’ other day, and now he has
beat it out of my hat: did you see my jewel? 110
Third Lord Did you see my cap?
Second Lord Here ’tis.
Fourth Lord Here lies my gown.
First Lord Let’s make no stay.
Second Lord Lord Timon’s mad. 115
Third Lord I feel ‘t upon my bones.
Fourth Lord One day he gives us diamonds, next day stones.

Timon of Athens, Act 4, Scene 1