Athens. A banqueting-room in Timon’s house.
(Servants; First Senator; First Senator; Third Senator; Fourth Senator; Lords; Timon; Attendants)
Timon’s false friends arrive at Timon’s, convincing themselves that Timon’s requests for help the other day were only to test them. They apologize to Timon for not sending him any money, all explaining that they had no ready money on them at the time. Timon tells them to think nothing of it and seats them. He speaks a grace, and then uncovers the dishes, which have nothing in them but warm water and stones. He throws the water at them while cursing at them and driving them out of his house. Once he has gone, they sneak back in to pick up their belongings, including, in one case, an expensive jewel that Timon gave to him the other day. They assure each other that Timon is clearly mad. (75 lines)
Music. Tables set out: Servants attending.
Enter divers friends of Timon, Senators and other Lords, at several doors.
The good time of day to you, sir.
I also wish it to you. I think this honorable lord did but try us this other day.
Upon that were my thoughts tiring when we encount’red. I hope it is not so low with him as he made it seem in the trial of his several friends.
It should not be, by the persuasion of his new feasting.
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 conjur’d me beyond them, and I must needs appear.
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.
I am sick of that grief too, as I understand how all things go.
Every man here’s so. What would he have borrow’d of you?
A thousand pieces.
A thousand pieces?
What of you?
He sent to me, sir—Here he comes.
Enter Timon and Attendants.
With all my heart, gentlemen both; and how fare you?
Ever at the best, hearing well of your lordship.
The swallow follows not summer more willing than we your lordship.
Nor more willingly leaves winter, such summer birds are men.—Gentlemen, our dinner will not recompense this long stay; feast your ears with the music awhile, if they will fare so harshly o’ th’ trumpet’s sound; we shall to’t presently.
I hope it remains not unkindly with your lordship that I return’d you an empty messenger.
O, sir, let it not trouble you.
My noble lord—
Ah, my good friend, what cheer?
The banquet brought in.
My most honorable lord, I am e’en sick of shame that, when your lordship this other day sent to me, I was so unfortunate a beggar.
Think not on’t, sir.
If you had sent but two hours before—
Let it not cumber your better remembrance.—Come, bring in all together!
All cover’d dishes!
Royal cheer, I warrant you.
Doubt not that, if money and the season can yield it.
How do you? What’s the news?
Alcibiades is banish’d: hear you of it?
’Tis so, be sure of it.
I pray you, upon what?
My worthy friends, will you draw near?
I’ll tell you more anon. Here’s a noble feast toward.
This is the old man still.
Will’t hold? Will’t hold?
It does; but time will—and so—
I do conceive.
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.
You great benefactors, sprinkle our society with thankfulness. For your own gifts, make yourselves prais’d; but reserve still to give, lest your deities be despis’d. Lend to each man enough, that one need not lend to another; for were your godheads to borrow of men, men would forsake the gods. Make the meat be belov’d 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 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 nothing are they welcome.
Uncover, dogs, and lap!
The dishes are uncovered and seen to be full of warm water.
What does his lordship mean?
I know not.
May you a better feast never behold,
You knot of mouth-friends! 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 villainy.
Throwing the water in their faces.
Live loath’d, 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, vapors, and minute-jacks!
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
Whereat a villain’s not a welcome guest.
Burn house! Sink Athens! Henceforth hated be
Of Timon man and all humanity!
Enter the Senators with other Lords again.
How now, my lords?
Know you the quality of Lord Timon’s fury?
Push, did you see my cap?
I have lost my gown.
He’s but a mad lord, and nought but humors 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?
Did you see my cap?
Here lies my gown.
Let’s make no stay.
Lord Timon’s mad.
I feel’t upon my bones.
One day he gives us diamonds, next day stones.
Exeunt the Senators and other Lords.