A line-by-line translation

Timon of Athens

Timon of Athens Translation Act 3, Scene 2

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Enter LUCILIUS, with three Strangers

LUCILIUS

Who, the Lord Timon? he is my very good friend, andan honourable gentleman.

LUCILIUS

You're talking about Timon? He is my friend and a good guy.

FIRST STRANGER

We know him for no less, though we are but strangers to him. But I can tell you one thing, my lord, and which I hear from common rumours: now Lord Timon's happy hours are done and past, and his estate shrinks from him.

FIRST STRANGER

We've heard as much, even though we've never met the man. Still, I can tell you something else which I've heard as a rumor: Timon's best days are behind him, and his estate is shrinking beyond his control.

LUCILIUS

Fie, no, do not believe it; he cannot want for money.

LUCILIUS

Psh, no, don't believe the rumors. He has plenty of money.

SECOND STRANGER

But believe you this, my lord, that, not long ago, one of his men was with the Lord Lucullus to borrow so many talents, nay, urged extremely for't and showed what necessity belonged to't, and yet was denied.

SECOND STRANGER

But, my lord, believe this: one of his men went to the Lord Lucullus to ask for that much. Really, he begged desperately for it, showing just how much he really needed it, and still he was rejected.

LUCILIUS

How!

LUCILIUS

No way!

SECOND STRANGER

I tell you, denied, my lord.

SECOND STRANGER

Yes, totally rejected.

LUCILIUS

What a strange case was that! now, before the gods, I am ashamed on't. Denied that honourable man! there was very little honour showed in't. For my own part, I must needs confess, I have received some small kindnesses from him, as money, plate, jewels and such-like trifles, nothing comparing to his; yet, had he mistook him and sent to me, I should ne'er have denied his occasion so many talents.

LUCILIUS

That is so weird! God as my witness, I am ashamed to hear that such an honorable man was denied a loan. There is no honor at all in that, and when I think of myself, I must say I have received many gifts from him: money, silver, jewels, and other things—though nothing compared to what he gave Lucullus. If Timon had foregone Lucullus and asked me for a loan, I never would have denied him so much.

Enter SERVILIUS

SERVILIUS

See, by good hap, yonder's my lord;I have sweat to see his honour. My honoured lord,—

SERVILIUS

There you are, my lord, I've been look all over for you. My lord—

To LUCIUS

LUCILIUS

Servilius! you are kindly met, sir. Fare thee well:commend me to thy honourable virtuous lord, my veryexquisite friend.

LUCILIUS

Servilius! It's good to see you. Please, bring me to Timon, my good friend.

SERVILIUS

May it please your honour, my lord hath sent—

SERVILIUS

If you are willing, Timon sent—

LUCILIUS

Ha! what has he sent? I am so much endeared tothat lord; he's ever sending: how shall I thankhim, thinkest thou? And what has he sent now?

LUCILIUS

Ha! What gift has he sent me? I owe that man so much, since he's always giving me gifts. How do you think I should thank him? What has he sent me?

SERVILIUS

Has only sent his present occasion now, my lord;requesting your lordship to supply his instant usewith so many talents.

SERVILIUS

Only me to state his current state of affairs, and to ask you to lend him some money.

LUCILIUS

I know his lordship is but merry with me;He cannot want fifty five hundred talents.

LUCILIUS

Timon must be joking. There's no way he needs fifty five hundred talents.

SERVILIUS

But in the mean time he wants less, my lord.If his occasion were not virtuous,I should not urge it half so faithfully.

SERVILIUS

For now he wants less. I wouldn't speak with such urgency about this if it were a joke.

LUCILIUS

Dost thou speak seriously, Servilius?

LUCILIUS

You're serious?

SERVILIUS

Upon my soul,'tis true, sir.

SERVILIUS

Yes, I swear.

LUCILIUS

What a wicked beast was I to disfurnish myself against such a good time, when I might ha' shown myself honourable! how unluckily it happened, that I should purchase the day before for a little part, and undo a great deal of honoured! Servilius, now, before the gods, I am not able to do,—the more beast, I say:—I was sending to use Lord Timon myself, these gentlemen can witness! but I would not, for the wealth of Athens, I had done't now. Commend me bountifully to his good lordship; and I hope his honour will conceive the fairest of me, because I have no power to be kind: and tell him this from me, I count it one of my greatest afflictions, say, that I cannot pleasure such an honourable gentleman. Good Servilius, will you befriend me so far, as to use mine own words to him?

LUCILIUS

I'm a horrible man for accepting all those gifts from Timon, when I could have been better! I gave up the opportunity to be a good man for something that brings me no honor! Servilius, I swear to god that I cannot help. I was actually going to send someone to borrow from Timon, and these men here will back me up. I swear on all the wealth of Athens! Tell Timon what I've said. I hope he will think of me well, even if I cannot help him. Tell him that it pains me more than anything else that I cannot aid such a good man. Servilius, would you be a good friend to me and tell him this?

SERVILIUS

Yes, sir, I shall.

SERVILIUS

Yes, I will.

LUCILIUS

I'll look you out a good turn, Servilius.

LUCILIUS

I wish you the best, Servilius!

Exit SERVILIUS

LUCILIUS

True as you said, Timon is shrunk indeed;And he that's once denied will hardly speed.

LUCILIUS

It's as you said, Timon is poor. And someone who is denied once does not have much hope of prospering.

Exit

FIRST STRANGER

Do you observe this, Hostilius?

FIRST STRANGER

Did you see that, Hostilius?

SECOND STRANGER

Ay, too well.

SECOND STRANGER

Yes.

FIRST STRANGER

Why, this is the world's soul; and just of the same piece Is every flatterer's spirit. Who can call him His friend that dips in the same dish? for, in My knowing, Timon has been this lord's father, And kept his credit with his purse, Supported his estate; nay, Timon's money Has paid his men their wages: he ne'er drinks, But Timon's silver treads upon his lip; And yet—O, see the monstrousness of man When he looks out in an ungrateful shape!— He does deny him, in respect of his, What charitable men afford to beggars.

FIRST STRANGER

That's what the world is like, and every flatterer is the same. What is a friend who takes so much? Timon was so good to Lucilius, and kept him afloat with his own money. It's Timon who paid for his servants, and he never enjoys anything that does not owe itself to him. But how monstrous he looks for being so ungrateful! He denies him what rich men would give to beggars.

THIRD STRANGER

Religion groans at it.

THIRD STRANGER

It's unholy.

FIRST STRANGER

For mine own part, I never tasted Timon in my life, Nor came any of his bounties over me, To mark me for his friend; yet, I protest, For his right noble mind, illustrious virtue And honourable carriage, Had his necessity made use of me, I would have put my wealth into donation, And the best half should have return'd to him, So much I love his heart: but, I perceive, Men must learn now with pity to dispense; For policy sits above conscience.

FIRST STRANGER

I myself have never received anything from Timon, and am not his friend. But I swear on all of his good qualities that if he approached me for money, I would have given him something. I like him that much. Men don't know how to give and value shrewd money-making over their conscience.

Exeunt

Timon of athens
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