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TIMON, A noble Athenian.
two flattering Lords.
several Servants to Usurers.
Thieves, Senators, Poet, Painter, Jeweller, Mercer and
Merchant; with divers Servants and Attendants.
SCENE, Athens; and the Woods not far from it.
TIMON of ATHENS.
ACT 1. SCEN E I.
A Hall in Timon's House. Enter Poet, Painter, Jeweller, Merchant, and Mercer,
at several Doors.
PoET. GOOD-day, Sir.
Pain. I am glad y' are well. Poet. I have not seen you long; how goes the
Poet. Ay, that's well known.
Pain. I know them both; th' other's a jeweller.
Mer. A most incomparable man, breath'd as it were
Jew. I have a jewel here.
Mer. O, pray, let's see't: For the lord Timon, Sir?
Jew. If he will touch the estimate: but for that
Poet. When we for recompence have prais'd the vile,
Mer. 'Tis a good form. (Looking on the jewel.
Poet. A thing slipt idly from me. Our Poesy is as a Gum, which issues From whence 'tis nourished. The fire i'th' flint Shews not, 'till it be struck: our gentle flame Provokes itself, and like the current flies Each Bound it chafes. What have you there? Pain. A picture, Sir :-when comes your book
forth? Poet. Upon the heels of my presentment, Sir. Let's see your piece.
Pain. 'Tis a good piece.
Poet. So 'tis,
Poet. Admirable! 'how this grace Speaks his own standing ? what a mental power This eye shoots forth? how big imagination Moves in this lip? to th' dumbness of the gesture One might interpret.
Pain. It is a pretty mocking of the life:
Poet. I'll say of it,
Enter certain Senators.
visiters. have, in this rough Work, shap'd out a Man, Whom this beneath-world doth embrace and hug
With amplest entertainment. My free drift
Pain. How shall I understand you?
Poet, I'll unbolt to you. You fee, how all conditions, how all minds, As well of glib and flipp'ry natures, as Of grave and austere quality, tender down Their Service to lord Timon: his large fortune, Upon his good and gracious nature hanging, Subdues and properties to his love and tendance All sorts of hearts; yea, from the glass-fac'd flatterer To Apemantus, that few things loves better Than to abhor himself; ev'n he drops down The knee before him, and returns in peace Most rich in Timon's nod.
Pain. I saw them speak together.
Poet. I have upon a high and pleasant hill Feign'd Fortune to be thron'd. The Base o'th' mount Is rank'd with all deserts, all kind of natures, That labour on the bosom of this sphere To propagate their states; amongst them all, Whose eyes are on this sov'reign lady fixt, One do 1 personate of Timon's frame, Whom Fortune with her iv'ry hand wafts to her, Whose present grace to present flaves and servants Translates his rivals.
Pain. 'Tis conceiv'd, to scope, This throne, this Fortune, and this Hill, methinks,
* In a wide fea of wax ;] Anciently they wrote upon waxen Tables th an Iron Stile.
Oxford Editor. t- -ro levell’d malice] Why this Epithet to Malice? which beloags to all Adions whatsoever, which have their Aim or Level. Shakespear wrore, -no leven'd malice
With one man becken'd from the rest below,
Poet. Nay, but hear me on:
Pain Ay, marry, what of these ?
Puet. When Fortune in h.-r ihift and change of mood Spurns down her late belov'd, all his Dependants (Which labour'd after to the mountains top, Èven on their knees and hands.) let him flip down, Not one accornpanying his declining foot.
Pain. 'Tis common: A thousand moral Paintings I can shew, That shall demonstrate these quick blows of fortune More pregnantly than words. Yet
do well To shew lord Timon, that mean eyes have seen The foot above the head.
SCENE II. Trumpets found. Enter Timon, addressing himself cour
teously to every suitor. Tim. MPRISON’D is he, say you?
[To a Messenger. Mef. Ay, my good lord ; five talents is his debt, His means molt short, his creditors most ftraight : Your honourable letter he desires To those have shut him up, which failing to him Periods his comfort.
Tim. Noble Ventidius: well. I am not of that feather to shake off My friend when he most needs me. I do know him A gentleman that well deserves a help,