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I'll say of it,
It tutors nature: artificial strife
Lives in these touches, livelier than life.
Enter certain Senators, who pass over the stage.
Pain. How this lord is follow'd !
Poct. The senators of Athens :-happy men !
Pain. Look, more!
Poet. You see this confluence, this great flood of visitors.
I have in this rough work shap'd out a man,
Whom this beneath-world doth embrace and hug
With amplest entertainment: my free drift
Halts not particularly, but moves itself
In a wide sea of verse :5 no leveli'd malice
Infects one comma in the course I hold,
But flies an eagle flight, bold, and forth on,
Leaving no tract behind.
Pain. How shall I understand you?
Poet. I will unbolt to you.
You see how all conditions, how all minds,
(As well of glib and slippery creatures, as
Of grave and austere quality) tender down
Their services 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
In a wide sea of VERSE:] According to the Corr. fol. 1632, verse has here always been misprinted waxe; and we have no doubt it is an error, easily accounted for when we remember that wax was then ordinarily written waxe.
Than to abhor himself: even he drops down
The knee before him, and returns in peace
Most rich in Timon's nod.
Pain. I saw them speak together.
Poet. Sir, I have upon a high and pleasant hill,
Feign'd Fortune to be thron'd: the base of the mount
Is rank'd with all deserts, all kinds of natures,
That labour on the bosom of this sphere
To propagate their states : amongst them all,
Whose eyes are on this sovereign lady fix'd,
One do I personate of lord Timon's frame;
Whom Fortune with her ivory hand wafts to her,
Whose pleasant grace 6 to present slaves and servants
Translates his rivals.
'Tis conceiv'd to scope.
This throne, this Fortune, and this hill, methinks,
With one man beckon'd from the rest below,
Bowing his head against the steepy mount
To climb his happiness, would be well express'd
In our condition.
Nay, sir, but hear me on.
All those which were his fellows but of late
(Some better than his value) on the moment
Follow his strides; his lobbies fill with tendance,
Rain sacrificial whisperings in his ear,
Make sacred even his stirrup, and through him
Drink the free air.
Ay, marry, what of these? 6 Whose PLEASANT grace] i.e., The pleasant appearance of Fortune : the old copies have present in both places, which can hardly be right; but the Cor. fol. 1632, makes no change.
Poet. When Fortune, in her shift and change of mood,
Spurns down her late belov'd, all his dependants,
Which labour'd after him to the mountain's top,
Even on their knees and hands, let him slip down,
Not one accompanying his declining foot.
Pain. 'Tis common :
A thousand moral paintings I can show,
That shall demonstrate these quick blows of Fortune
More pregnantly than words. Yet you do well,
To show lord Timon that mean eyes have seen
The foot above the head.
Trumpets sound. Enter TIMON, attended ; and speaking to
the Servant of VENTIDIUS.8 Tim.
Imprison’d is he, say you ?
Ven. Serv. Ay, my good lord : five talents is his debt;
His means most short, his creditors most strait :
Your honourable letter he desires
To those have shut him up; which failing
Periods his comfort.
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,
Which he shall have. I'll pay the debt, and free him.
Ven. Serv. Your lordship ever binds him.
-knees and HANDS, let him SLIP down,] The folio 1623 reads hand for “hands”, and sit for "slip."
8-speaking to the Servant of VENTIDIUS.] The old stage-direction is, “ Trumpets sound. Enter lord Timon, addressing himself courteously to every suitor."
Tim. Commend me to him: I will send his ransom ;
And, being enfranchis'd, bid him come to me.-
'Tis not enough to help the feeble up,
But to support him after.-Fare you well.
Ven. Serv. All happiness to your honour ! [Erit.
Old Ath. Lord Timon, hear me speak.
Freely, good father.
Old Ath. Thou hast a servant nam'd Lucilius.
Tim. I have so : what of him ?
Old Ath. Most noble Timon, call the man before thee.
Tim. Attends he here, or no ?-Lucilius !
Enter LUCILIUS. Luc. Here, at your lordship's service.
Old Ath. This fellow here, lord Timon, this thy creature, By night frequents my house. I am a man That from my first have been inclin'd to thrift, And my estate deserves an heir, more rais'd Than one which holds a trencher. Tim.
Well; what farther? Old Ath. One only daughter have I ; no kin else, On whom I may confer what I have got: The maid is fair, o' the youngest for a bride, And I have bred her at my dearest cost In qualities of the best. This man of thing Attempts her love : I pr’ythee, noble lord, Join with me to forbid him her resort ; Myself have spoke in vain. Tim.
The man is honest.
Old Ath. Therefore he will be, Timon :
His honesty rewards him in itself;
It must not bear my daughter.
Does she love him ?
Old Ath. She is young, and apt:
Our own precedent passions do instruct us
What levity 's in youth.
Tim. [To LUCILIUS.] Love you the maid ?
Luc. Ay, my good lord ; and she accepts of it.
Old Ath. If in her marriage my consent be missing,
I call the gods to witness, I will choose
Mine heir from forth the beggars of the world,
And dispossess her all.
How shall she be endow'd,
If she be mated with an equal husband ?
Old Ath. Three talents on the present; in future all.
Tim. This gentleman of mine hath serv'd me long :
To build his fortune I will strain a little,
For 'tis a bond in men. Give him thy daughter;
What you bestow, in him I 'll counterpoise,
And make him weigh with her.
Most noble lord,
Pawn me to this your honour, she is his.
Tim. My hand to thee; mine honour on my promise.
Luc. Humbly I thank your lordship. Never may
That state or fortune fall into my keeping,
Which is not ow'd to you!
[Excunt LUCILIUS and the old Athenian. Poet. Vouchsafe my labour, and long live your lordship!
[Presenting a manuscript.