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Tim. Your greatest want is, you want much of meat. Why should you want? Behold, the earth hath roots ; Within this mile break forth a hundred springs : The oaks bear mast, the briars scarlet hips; The bounteous housewife, nature, on each bush Lays her full mess before you. Want? why want ?
i Thief. We cannot live on grass, on berries, water, As beasts, and birds, and fishes. Tim. Nor on the beasts themselves, the birds, and
fishes; You must eat men. Yet thanks I must you con, That you are thieves profess'd; that you work not In holier shapes : for there is boundless theft In limited professions. * Rascal thieves, Here's gold: Go, suck the subtle blood of the grape, Till the high fever seeth your blood to froth, And so 'scape hanging: trust not the physician; His antidotes are poison, and he slays More than you rob: take wealth and lives together ; Do villainy, do, since you profess to do't, Like workmen. I'll example you with thievery: The sun's a thief, and with his great attraction Robs the vast sea: the moon's an arrant thief, And her pale fire she snatches from the sun: The sea's a thief, whose liquid surge resolves The moon into salt tears : the earth's a thief, That feeds and breeds by a composture stolen From general excrement: each thing's a thief ; The laws, your curb and whip, in their rough power Have uncheck'd theft. Love not yourselves; away; Rob one another. There's more gold: Cut throats ; All that you meet are thieves : To Athens, go, Break open shops ; nothing can you steal, , But thieves do lose it : Steal not less, for this
+ In limited professions.] Regular, orderly, professions.
I give you; and gold confound you howsoever !
[Timon retires to his Cave. 3 Thief. He has almost charmed me from my profession, by persuading me to it.
i Thief. 'Tis in the malice of mankind, that he thus advises us; not to have us thrive in our mystery.
2 Thief. I'll believe him as an enemy, and give over
1 Thief. Let us first see peace in Athens : There is no time so miserable, but a man may be true.
[Ereunt Thieves. Enter FLAVIUS. Flav. O you gods ! Is yon despis'd and ruinous man my lord ? Full of decay and failing ? O monument And wonder of good deeds evilly bestow'd ! What an alteration of honour has Desperate want made ! 6 What viler thing upon the earth, than friends, Who can bring noblest minds to basest ends! How rarely does it meet? with this time's guise, When man was wish'd' to love his enemies : Grant, I may ever love, and rather woo Those that would mischief me, than those that do ! ! He has caught me in his
I will present
6 What an alteration of honour has
Desperate want made.?] An alteration of honour, is an alteration of an honourable state to a state of disgrace.
7 How rarely does it meet —] How curiously ; how happily.
Those that would mischief me, than those that do!) It is plain, that in this whole speech friends and enemies are taken only for those who profess friendship and profess enmity; for the friend is supposed not to be more kind, but more dangerous than the enemy. The sense is, Let me rather woo or caress those that would mischief, that profess to mean me mischief, than those that really do me mis
My honest grief unto him ; and, as my lord,
My dearest master !
Timon comes forward from his Cave.
Have you forgot me, sir? Tim. Why dost ask that ? I have forgot all men ; Then, if thou grant'st thou’rt man t, I have forgot thee.
Flav. An honest poor servant of yours.
The gods are witness,
then I love thee,
Flav. I beg of you to know me, good my lord,
Tim. Had I a steward so true, so just, and now
chief, under false professions of kindness. The Spaniards, I think, have this proverb: Defend me from my friends, and from my enemies I will defend myself. This proverb is a sufficient comment on the passage. Johnson. t“ Thou’rt a man,"
MALONE. It almost turns My dangerous nature wild.] To turn wild, is to distract. An appearance so unexpected, says Timon, almost turns my savageness to distraction.
Surely, this man was born of woman.
I pray, — and he is a steward.
Flav. No, my most worthy master, in whose breast Doubt and suspect, alas, are plac'd too late; You should have fear'd false times, when you did feast : : Suspect still comes where an estate is least. That which I show, heaven knows, is merely love, Duty and zeal to your unmatched mind, Care of your food and living: and, believe it, My most honour'd lord, For any benefit that points to me, Either in hope, or present, I'd exchange For this one wish, That you had power and wealth To requite me, by making rich yourself.
Tim. Look thee, 'tis so ! - Thou singly honest man, Here, take: — the gods out of my misery Have sent thee treasure. Go, live rich, and happy: But thus conditioned; Thou shalt build from men ;? Hate all, curse all: show charity to none; But let the famish'd flesh slide from the bone,
† “ You perpetual,” &c. - MALONE.
- from men; ] Away from human habitations.
Ere thou relieve the beggar: give to dogs
0, let me stay,
If thou hat'st Curses, stay not; fly, whilst thou'rt bless'd and free: Ne'er see thou man, and let me ne'er see thee.
SCENE I. - The same. Before Timon's Cave.
Enter Poet and Painter ; Timon behind, unseen.
Pain. As I took note of the place, it cannot be far where he abides.
Poet. What's to be thought of him ? Does the rúmour hold for true, that he is so full of gold ?
Pain. Certain : Alcibiades reports it; Phrynia and Timandra had gold of him: he likewise enriched poor straggling soldiers with great quantity: 'Tis said, he gave unto his steward a mighty sum.
Poet. Then this breaking of his has been but a try for his friends.
Pain. Nothing else: you shall see him a palm in Athens again, and flourish with the highest. Therefore, 'tis not amiss, we tender our loves to him, in this supposed distress of his: it will show honestly in us; and is very likely to load our purposes with what they
+ “ Debts wither them to nothing:” – MALONE.