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Monologues for Men


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.

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 th’ 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 gods,

As thieves to keepers.

I was writing of my epitaph;

It will be seen tomorrow. 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!

But yet I love my country, and am not

One that rejoices in the common wrack,

As common bruit doth put it.

Commend me to my loving countrymen—

And tell them that, to ease them of their griefs,

Their fears of hostile strokes, their aches, losses,

Their pangs of love, with 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.

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.

Come not to me again, but say to Athens,

Timon hath made his everlasting mansion

Upon the beached verge of the salt flood,

Who once a day with his embossed froth

The turbulent surge shall cover; thither come,

And let my grave-stone be your oracle.

Lips, let four 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.

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