Athens. A room in Sempronius’s house.
(Timon’s Servant; Sempronius)
One of Timon’s servants asks Sempronius to help Timon out, but Sempronius feels insulted that he was asked last, and, taking this as a slight, refuses to help as a point of honor. The servant comments on his hypocrisy, but realizes that Timon is out of people to ask for aid. (36 lines)
Enter Timon’s Servant with Sempronius, another of Timon’s friends.
Must he needs trouble me in’t—hum!—’bove all others?
He might have tried Lord Lucius or Lucullus;
And now Ventidius is wealthy too,
Whom he redeem’d from prison. All these
Owes their estates unto him.
They have all been touch’d and found base metal,
For they have all denied him.
How? Have they denied him?
Has Ventidius and Lucullus denied him,
And does he send to me? Three? Humh!
It shows but little love or judgment in him.
Must I be his last refuge? His friends, like physicians,
Thrive, give him over; must I take th’ cure upon me?
H’as much disgrac’d me in’t, I’m angry at him,
That might have known my place. I see no sense for’t,
But his occasions might have wooed me first;
For, in my conscience, I was the first man
That e’er received gift from him;
And does he think so backwardly of me now,
That I’ll requite it last? No!
So it may prove an argument of laughter
To th’ rest, and ’mongst lords I be thought a fool.
I’d rather than the worth of thrice the sum
H’ad sent to me first, but for my mind’s sake;
I’d such a courage to do him good. But now return,
And with their faint reply this answer join:
Who bates mine honor shall not know my coin.
Excellent! Your lordship’s a goodly villain. The devil knew not what he did when he made man politic; he cross’d himself by’t; and I cannot think but, in the end, the villainies of man will set him clear. How fairly this lord strives to appear foul! Takes virtuous copies to be wicked; like those that under hot ardent zeal would set whole realms on fire; of such a nature is his politic love.
This was my lord’s best hope, now all are fled,
Save only the gods. Now his friends are dead,
Doors, that were ne’er acquainted with their wards
Many a bounteous year, must be employ’d
Now to guard sure their master.
And this is all a liberal course allows:
Who cannot keep his wealth must keep his house.