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The Life of Timon of Athens   By: (1564-1616)

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by William Shakespeare


TIMON of Athens


VENTIDIUS, one of Timon's false friends ALCIBIADES, an Athenian captain APEMANTUS, a churlish philosopher FLAVIUS, steward to Timon


CAPHIS PHILOTUS TITUS HORTENSIUS servants to Timon's creditors


PHRYNIA TIMANDRA mistresses to Alcibiades

CUPID AMAZONS in the Masque

Lords, Senators, Officers, Soldiers, Servants, Thieves, and Attendants

SCENE: Athens and the neighbouring woods

ACT I. SCENE I. Athens. TIMON'S house

Enter POET, PAINTER, JEWELLER, MERCHANT, and MERCER, at several doors

POET. Good day, sir. PAINTER. I am glad y'are well. POET. I have not seen you long; how goes the world? PAINTER. It wears, sir, as it grows. POET. Ay, that's well known. But what particular rarity? What strange, Which manifold record not matches? See, Magic of bounty, all these spirits thy power Hath conjur'd to attend! I know the merchant. PAINTER. I know them both; th' other's a jeweller. MERCHANT. O, 'tis a worthy lord! JEWELLER. Nay, that's most fix'd. MERCHANT. A most incomparable man; breath'd, as it were, To an untirable and continuate goodness. He passes. JEWELLER. I have a jewel here MERCHANT. O, pray let's see't. For the Lord Timon, sir? JEWELLER. If he will touch the estimate. But for that POET. When we for recompense have prais'd the vile, It stains the glory in that happy verse Which aptly sings the good. MERCHANT. [Looking at the jewel] 'Tis a good form. JEWELLER. And rich. Here is a water, look ye. PAINTER. You are rapt, sir, in some work, some dedication To the great lord. POET. A thing slipp'd idly from me. Our poesy is as a gum, which oozes From whence 'tis nourish'd. The fire i' th' flint Shows not till it be struck: our gentle flame Provokes itself, and like the current flies Each bound it chafes. What have you there? PAINTER. A picture, sir. When comes your book forth? POET. Upon the heels of my presentment, sir. Let's see your piece. PAINTER. 'Tis a good piece. POET. So 'tis; this comes off well and excellent. PAINTER. Indifferent. 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. PAINTER. It is a pretty mocking of the life. Here is a touch; is't good? POET. I will say of it It tutors nature. Artificial strife Lives in these touches, livelier than life.

Enter certain SENATORS, and pass over

PAINTER. How this lord is followed! POET. The senators of Athens happy man! PAINTER. Look, moe! 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 tax. No levell'd malice Infects one comma in the course I hold, But flies an eagle flight, bold and forth on, Leaving no tract behind. PAINTER. How shall I understand you? POET. I will unbolt to you. You see how all conditions, how all minds As well of glib and slipp'ry 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 Than to abhor himself; even he drops down The knee before him, and returns in peace Most rich in Timon's nod... Continue reading book >>

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