Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

TIMON OF ATHENS.

ACT THE FIRST.

SCENE I.

Athens.

A Hall in Timon's House.

Enter Poet, Painter, Jeweller, Merchant, and others,

at several Doors.

;

Poet. Good day, sir.
Pain.

I am glad you are well.
Poet. I have not seen you long; How goes the

world?
Pain. It wears sir, as it grows.
Poet.

Ay, that's well known :
But what particular rarity? what strange,
Which manifold record not matches? See,
Magick of bounty ! all these spirits thy power
Hath conjur'd to attend. I know the merchant.

Pain. I know them both; t'other's a jeweller.
Mer. O, 'tis a worthy lord !
Jew.

Nay, that's most fix'd.
Mer. A most incomparable man ; breath'd', as

it

were,
To an untirable and continuate a goodness :
He passes. 3

Jew. I have a jewel here.

1 Inured by constant practice. 9 Continual. 3 i. e. Exceeds, goes beyond common bounds.

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 recompense have prais'd the

vile,
It stains the glory in that happy verse
Which aptly sings the good.
Mer.

'Tis a good form.

[Looking at the jewel. Jew. And rich : here is a water, look you. Pain. You are rapt, sir, in some work, some de

dication To the great lord. Poet.

A thing slipp'd idly from me, Our poesy is as a gum, which oozes From whence 'tis nourished : The fire i’ the flint Shows not, till it be struck; our gentle fame Provokes itself, and, like the current, flies Each bound it chafes. What have you

there? Pain. A picture, sir. — And 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 : this comes off well and excellent. Pain. 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 the dumbness of the gesture
One might interpret.

Pain. It is a pretty mocking of the life.
Here is a touch ; Is't good ?
Poet.

I'll say of it,
It tutors nature: artificial strife5
Lives in these touches, livelier than life.

* As soon as my book has been presented to Tinion.

5 i.e. The contest of art with nature.

a sir? atd the

jewel

.

ne de

me,

Hint

? your

Enter certain Senators, and pass over.
Pain. How this lord's follow'd !
Poet. 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 6, but moves. itself
In a wide sea of wax : no leveli'd malice
Infects one comma in the course I hold;
But flies an eagle flight, bold, and forth on,
Leaving no track behind.

Pain. How shall I understand you ?
Poet.

I'll 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 flat-

terer 7
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.
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 o’the

[blocks in formation]

mount
Is rank'd with all deserts, all kind of natures,
That labour on the bosom of this sphere
To propagate their states 8 : amongst them all,

6 My design does not stop at any particular character.
7 One who shows by reflection the looks of his patron.
$ To advance their conditions of life.

on.

Whose eyes are on this sovereign lady fix’d,
One do I personate of lord Timon's frame,
Whom fortune with her ivory hands wafts to her;
Whose present grace to present slaves and servants
Translates his rivals.
Pain.

'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.
Poet.

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 stirrop, and through him
Drink the free air.
Pain.

Ay, marry, what of these?
Poet. When fortune, in her shrift 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.

2

Trumpets sound. Enter Timon, attended; the

Servant of Ventidius talking with him. 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 to him,
Periods his comfort.
Tim.

Noble Ventidius ! Well;
I am not of that feather, to shake off
My friend when he must need 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. Tim. Commend me to him: I will send his ran

some; 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! [Exit.

Enter an old Athenian.
Old. Ath. Lord Timon, hear me speak.
Tim.

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 be-

fore 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 further ? Old. Ath. One only daughter have I, no kin else, On whom I may confer what I have got:

« ElőzőTovább »