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Tim. I thank them; and would send them back the
plague, Could I but catch it for them. 1 Sen.
What we are sorry for ourselves in thee.
The senators, with one consent of love,
Entreat thee back to Athens; who have thought
On special dignities, which vacant lie
For thy best use and wearing.
Toward thee forgetfulness, too general, gross;
Which now the public body, which doth seldom
Play the recanter, feeling in itself
A lack of Timon's aid, hath sense withal
Of its own fall, restraining aid to Timon;
And send forth us, to make their sorrowed render,
Together with a recompense, more fruitful
Than their offence can weigh down by the dram;
Ay, even such heaps and sums of love and wealth,
As shall to thee blot out what wrongs were theirs,
And write in thee the figures of their love,
Ever to read them thine.
You witch me in it:
Surprise me to the very brink of tears :
Lend me a fool's heart, and a woman's eyes,
And I'll beweep these comforts, worthy senators.
1 Sen. Therefore, so please thee to return with us,
And of our Athens, thine and ours, to take
The captainship, thou shalt be met with thanks,
Allow'd with absolute power, and thy good name
Live with authority :-so, soon we shall drive back
Of Alcibiades th' approaches wild ;
Who, like a boar too savage, doth root up
His country's peace.
And shakes his threat'ning sword Against the walls of Athens. 1 Sen.
Therefore, Timon,Tim. Well, sir, I will; therefore, I will, sir ; thus,If Alcibiades kill my countrymen, Let Alcibiades know this of Timon, That Timon cares not. But if he sack fair Athens, And take our goodly aged men by the beards, Giving our holy virgins to the stain Of contumelious, beastly, mad-brain'd war,
Then, let him know,—and tell. him, Timon speaks it,
In pity of our aged, and our youth,
I cannot choose but tell him,—that I care not.
And let him take't at worst; for their knives care not,
While you have throats to answer : for myself,
There's not a whittle in th' unruly camp,
But I do prize it at my love, before
The reverend'st throat in Athens. So I leave you
To the protection of the prosperous gads,
As thieves to keepers.
Stay not: all 's in vain.
Tim. Why, I was writing of my epitaph,
It will be seen to-morrow. My long sickness
Of health, and living, now begins to mend,
And nothing brings me all things. Go; live still :
Be Alcibiades your plague, you his,
And last so long enough!
We speak in vain.
Tim. But yet I love my country; and am not
One that rejoices in the common wreck,
As common bruit doth put it.
That's well spoke. Tim. Commend me to my loving countrymen,1 Sen. These words become your lips as they pass
through them. 2 Sen. And enter in our ears, like great triumphers In their applauding gates. Tim.
Commend me to them; And tell them, that to ease them of their griefs, Their fears of hostile strokes, their aches, losses, Their pangs of love, and other incident throes That nature's fragile vessel doth sustain In life's uncertain voyage, I will some kindness do them. I'll teach them to prevent wild Alcibiades' wrath.
2 Sen. I like this well; he will return again.
Tim. I have a tree, which grows here in my close, That mine own use invites me to cut down, And shortly must I fell it: tell my friends, Tell Athens, in the sequence of degree, From high to low throughout, that whoso please To stop affliction, let him take his haste, Come hither, ere my tree hath felt the axe, And hang himself.- I pray you, do my greeting.
Flav. Trouble him no farther; thus you still shall
Tim. Come not to me again; but say to Athens,
Timon hath made his everlasting mansion
Upon the beached verge of the salt flood;
Whom once a day with his emboshed' froth
The turbulent surge shall cover : thither come,
And let my grave-stone be your oracle.-
Lips, let sour words go by, and language end :
What is amiss, plague and infection mend :
Graves only be men's works, and death their gain.
Sun, hide thy beams : Timon hath done his reign.
[Exit Timon. 1 Sen. His discontents are unremovably coupled to nature.
2 Sen. Our hope in him is dead. Let us return,
And strain what other means is left unto us
In our dear peril.
It requires swift foot.
SCENE III.-The Walls of Athens.
Enter two Senators, and a Messenger.
1 Sen. Thou hast painfully discover'd : are his files
As full as they report?
I have spoke the least; Besides, his expedition promises Present approach. 2 Sen. We stand much hazard, if they bring not
Timon. Mess. I met a courier, one mine ancient friend, Whom, though in general part we were oppos'd, Yet our old love made a particular force, And made us speak like friends: this man was riding From Alcibiades to Timon's cave, With letters of entreaty, which imported His fellowship i’ the cause against your city, In part for his sake mov'd.
Enter Senators from TIMON. 1 Sen.
Here come our brothers. 3 Sen. No talk of Timon ; nothing of him expect. — The enemies' drum is heard, and fearful scouring Doth choke the air with dust. In, and prepare : Ours is the fall, I fear, our foes the snare. [E.ceunt.
SCENE IV.-The Woods. Timon's Cave, and a
Enter a Soldier, seeking Timon. Sold. By all description this should be the place. Who's here ? speak, ho !-No answer ?—What is this? Timon is dead, who hath outstretch'd his span: Some beast rear'd' this; there does not live a man. Dead, sure, and this his grave.—What's on this tomb I cannot read; the character I'll take with wax: Our captain hath in every figure skill; An ag'd interpreter, though young in days. Before proud Athens he's set down by this, Whose fall the mark of his ambition is. [Exit.
SCENE V.-Before the Walls of Athens. Trumpets sound. Enter ALCIBIADES, and Forces. Alcib. Sound to this coward and lascivious town Our terrible approach.
(A Parley sounded.
Enter Senators, on the Walls.
Till now you have gone on, and fill’d the time
With all licentious measure, making your wills
The scope of justice : till now myself, and such
As slept within the shadow of your power,
Have wander'd with our travers’d arms, and breath'd
Our sufferance vainly. Now the time is flush,
When crouching marrow, in the bearer strong,
Cries of itself, “No more :' now breathless wrong
Shall sit and pant in your great chairs of ease;
And pursy insolence shall break his wind
With fear, and horrid flight.
Noble, and young,
When thy first griefs were but a mere conceit,
Ere thou hadst power, or we had cause of fear,
We sent to thee, to give thy rages balm,
To wipe out our ingratitude with loves
Above their quantity.
So did we woo
Transformed Timon to our city's love,
By humble message, and by promis'd means :
We were not all unkind, nor all deserve
The common stroke of war.
These walls of ours
1 read : in folio. Theobald made the change.
Were not erected by their hands, from whom
You have receiv'd your grief : nor are they such,
That these great towers, trophies, and schools should
For private faults in them.
Nor are they living,
Who were the motives that you first went out:
Shame, that they wanted cunning in excess
Hath broke their hearts. March, noble lord,
Into our city with thy banners spread:
By decimation, and a tithed death
(If thy revenges hunger for that food
Which nature loaths) take thou the destin'd tenth;
And by the hazard of the spotted die
Let die the spotted.
All have not offended ;
For those that were, is 't not severe to take,
On those that are, revenge? crimes, like lands,
Are not inherited. Then, dear countryman,
Bring in thy ranks, but leave without thy rage :
Spare thy Athenian cradle, and those kin,
Which in the bluster of thy wrath must fall
With those that have offended. Like a shepherd,
Approach the fold, and cull th' infected forth,
But kill not all together.
What thou wilt,
Thou rather shalt enforce it with thy smile,
Than hew to’t with thy sword.
Set but thy foot
Against our rampir'd gates, and they shall ope,
So thou wilt send thy gentle heart before,
To say, thou 'lt enter friendly.
Throw thy glove,
Or any token of thine honour else,
That thou wilt use the wars as thy redress,
And not as our confusion, all thy powers
Shall make their harbour in our town, till we
Have seal'd thy full desire.
Then, there's my glove.
Descend, and open your uncharged ports.
Those enemies of Timon's, and mine own,
Whom you yourselves shall set out for reproof,
Fall, and no more; and,—to atone your fears