Enter Lucius, with three Strangers
Who, the Lord Timon? He is my very good
friend and an honourable gentleman.
We know him for no less, though we
are but strangers to him. But I can tell you one thing,
my lord, and which I hear from common rumours: now
Lord Timon's happy hours are done and past, and his
estate shrinks from him.
Fie, no, do not believe it. He cannot want for
But believe you this, my lord, that
not long ago one of his men was with the Lord Lucullus
to borrow so many talents, nay, urged extremely for't,
and showed what necessity belonged to't, and yet was
I tell you, denied, my lord.
What a strange case was that! Now, before the
gods, I am ashamed on't. Denied that honourable man?
There was very little honour showed in't. For my own
part, I must needs confess, I have received some small
kindnesses from him, as money, plate, jewels, and suchlike
trifles, nothing comparing to his. Yet, had he mistook
him and sent to me, I should ne'er have denied his
occasion so many talents.
See, by good hap, yonder's my lord. I have
sweat to see his honour. My honoured lord!
Servilius? You are kindly met, sir. Fare thee
well. Commend me to thy honourable virtuous lord, my
very exquisite friend.
May it please your honour, my lord hath
Ha? What has he sent? I am so much endeared
to that lord; he's ever sending. How shall I thank him,
thinkest thou? And what has he sent now?
'Has only sent his present occasion now, my
lord, requesting your lordship to supply his instant use
with so many talents.
I know his lordship is but merry with me;
He cannot want fifty five hundred talents.
But in the mean time he wants less, my lord.
If his occasion were not virtuous,
I should not urge it half so faithfully.
Dost thou speak seriously, Servilius?
Upon my soul,'tis true, sir.
What a wicked beast was I to disfurnish myself
against such a good time, when I might ha' shown myself
honourable! How unluckily it happened that I
should purchase the day before for a little part and undo
purchase (v.) 3
endeavour, strive, exert oneself; or: make a bargain, invest
a great deal of honour! Servilius, now before the gods,
I am not able to do – the more beast, I say! I was sending
to use Lord Timon myself, these gentlemen can
use (v.) 3
make use of, engage [in], practise [with]
witness; but I would not, for the wealth of Athens, I
had done't now. Commend me bountifully to his good
lordship, and I hope his honour will conceive the
fairest of me, because I have no power to be kind. And
tell him this from me, I count it one of my greatest
afflictions, say, that I cannot pleasure such an honourable
gentleman. Good Servilius, will you befriend me
so far as to use mine own words to him?
Yes, sir, I shall.
I'll look you out a good turn, Servilius.
True, as you said, Timon is shrunk indeed,
And he that's once denied will hardly speed.
Do you observe this, Hostilius?
Ay, too well.
Why, this is the world's soul,
And just of the same piece
Is every flatterer's spirit. Who can call him his friend
That dips in the same dish? For in my knowing
Timon has been this lord's father,
And kept his credit with his purse,
Supported his estate. Nay, Timon's money
Has paid his men their wages. He ne'er drinks
But Timon's silver treads upon his lip.
And yet – O see the monstrousness of man
When he looks out in an ungrateful shape –
He does deny him, in respect of his,
What charitable men afford to beggars.
Religion groans at it.
For mine own part,
I never tasted Timon in my life,
Nor came any of his bounties over me
To mark me for his friend. Yet I protest,
For his right noble mind, illustrious virtue,
And honourable carriage,
Had his necessity made use of me,
I would have put my wealth into donation,
And the best half should have returned to him,
So much I love his heart. But, I perceive,
Men must learn now with pity to dispense,
For policy sits above conscience.