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Timon of Athens

Timon of Athens Translation Act 5, Scene 1

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Enter POET and PAINTER; TIMON watching them from his cave

PAINTER

As I took note of the place, it cannot be far wherehe abides.

PAINTER

As I recall, he can't be far from here.

POET

What's to be thought of him? does the rumour holdfor true, that he's so full of gold?

POET

What do you think? Do you think it's true that he's got a hidden stash of gold?

PAINTER

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.

PAINTER

Definitely. Alcibiades says so, and Phrynia and Timandra got gold from him. He also gave the poor soldiers a ton. I also heard he gave his assistant a lot too.

POET

Then this breaking of his has been but a try for his friends.

POET

So his bankruptcy has just been a test for his friends.

PAINTER

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 travail for, if it be a just true report that goes of his having.

PAINTER

It can't be anything else. You'll see him high and mighty in Athens again, to be sure. For that reason it's not crazy to appeal to him in his supposed distress. It'll look good for us, and it is likely to end in us receiving what the others got, if it is in fact true that he has money.

POET

What have you now to present unto him?

POET

What do you have to give to him?

PAINTER

Nothing at this time but my visitation: only I willpromise him an excellent piece.

PAINTER

Nothing but my presence for now. I will promise him an excellent work of art.

POET

I must serve him so too, tell him of an intentthat's coming toward him.

POET

Me too, and to promise him something in the future.

PAINTER

Good as the best. Promising is the very air o' the time: it opens the eyes of expectation: performance is ever the duller for his act; and, but in the plainer and simpler kind of people, the deed of saying is quite out of use. To promise is most courtly and fashionable: performance is a kind of will or testament which argues a great sickness in his judgment that makes it.

PAINTER

Good idea. Promises are all the rage right now. They open the door for expectation, whereas actions themselves are merely done once they happen. With the exception of the plainer and simpler sort, the fulfillment of promises has gone out of fashion. But still promising itself is current and stylish. The actual doing of the thing is a kind of statement that shows a lack of judgment in the person who made the promise in the first place.

TIMON comes from his cave, behind

TIMON

[Aside] Excellent workman! thou canst not paint aman so bad as is thyself.

TIMON

[To himself] What an artist! You couldn't paint a man worse than yourself.

POET

I am thinking what I shall say I have provided for him: it must be a personating of himself; a satire against the softness of prosperity, with a discovery of the infinite flatteries that follow youth and opulency.

POET

I am thinking about what I will say I have brought him. It must be some kind of portrait of himself, maybe a satire about the flightiness of wealth, with an exposition about the many flatteries that youth and opulence brings with it.

TIMON

[Aside] Must thou needs stand for a villain inthine own work? wilt thou whip thine own faults inother men? Do so, I have gold for thee.

TIMON

[To himself] Do you really need to model a villain in your work? Would you chastise your own vices in other men? Do it, and I've got gold for you.

POET

Nay, let's seek him:Then do we sin against our own estate,When we may profit meet, and come too late.

POET

Let's go look for him. We would do wrong to our own prosperity if we were to arrive to late to such an opportunity.

PAINTER

True;When the day serves, before black-corner'd night,Find what thou want'st by free and offer'd light. Come.

PAINTER

For sure. Before night falls, we ought to find what is offered freely in the light of day. Follow me.

TIMON

[Aside] I'll meet you at the turn. What a god's gold, That he is worshipp'd in a baser temple Than where swine feed! 'Tis thou that rigg'st the bark and plough'st the foam, Settlest admired reverence in a slave: To thee be worship! and thy saints for aye Be crown'd with plagues that thee alone obey! Fit I meet them.

TIMON

[To himself] I'll play your own little game. What a magnificent god is gold, that it is worshipped in a place grosser than a pigpen. It is the thing that rigs the ship and sets it on its journey, the thing that makes a slave honor his master. May people continue to worship it! May its disciples forever be chased with its own unique plagues. It's about time to talk to them.

Coming forward

POET

Hail, worthy Timon!

POET

Hey, Timon!

PAINTER

Our late noble master!

PAINTER

Our great master!

TIMON

Have I once lived to see two honest men?

TIMON

Have I ever seen two such honest men?

POET

Sir, Having often of your open bounty tasted, Hearing you were retired, your friends fall'n off, Whose thankless natures—O abhorred spirits!— Not all the whips of heaven are large enough: What! to you, Whose star-like nobleness gave life and influence To their whole being! I am rapt and cannot cover The monstrous bulk of this ingratitude With any size of words.

POET

Sir, after having received so many of your gifts, and then hearing you were retired, abandoned by friends so ungrateful that all the whips of heaven are not large enough to punish them. Incredible! To you, whose stellar generosity gave life to them! It drives me mad, and I cannot conceive of any way to describe this level of ingratitude.

TIMON

Let it go naked, men may see't the better:You that are honest, by being what you are,Make them best seen and known.

TIMON

Let it go. Some men might be more optimistic. Your truthfulness, your being what you proclaim to be, make ungrateful men more noticeable.

PAINTER

He and myselfHave travail'd in the great shower of your gifts,And sweetly felt it.

PAINTER

He and I have triumphed in the great shower of your gifts and enjoyed it so much!

TIMON

Ay, you are honest men.

TIMON

Yes, you are honest men.

PAINTER

We are hither come to offer you our service.

PAINTER

We have come to offer you our service.

TIMON

Most honest men! Why, how shall I requite you?Can you eat roots, and drink cold water? no.

TIMON

Such honest men! How could I ever repay you? Can you eat roots or drink cold water? No.

BOTH

What we can do, we'll do, to do you service.

BOTH

We'll do what we can for you.

TIMON

Ye're honest men: ye've heard that I have gold;I am sure you have: speak truth; ye're honest men.

TIMON

You are both honest men and have heard that I have gold. I am sure that you have. Tell me the truth, honest men.

PAINTER

So it is said, my noble lord; but thereforeCame not my friend nor I.

PAINTER

We have heard that. But that is not why we've come.

TIMON

Good honest men! Thou draw'st a counterfeitBest in all Athens: thou'rt, indeed, the best;Thou counterfeit'st most lively.

TIMON

Good honest men! You draw the best portrait in all of Athens. Yes, you are the best, your counterfeits are the most lifelike.

PAINTER

So, so, my lord.

PAINTER

So it is, my lord.

TIMON

E'en so, sir, as I say. And, for thy fiction, Why, thy verse swells with stuff so fine and smooth That thou art even natural in thine art. But, for all this, my honest-natured friends, I must needs say you have a little fault: Marry, 'tis not monstrous in you, neither wish I You take much pains to mend.

TIMON

Yes, it is as I said.

[To the POET] And as for your fiction, the lines swell with material so fine and smooth that your art comes to equal nature. But in spite of all this, my truthful friends, I must say that you do have one vice. It's not such a bad thing, and you shouldn't try too hard to fix it.

BOTH

Beseech your honourTo make it known to us.

BOTH

Please, Timon, tell us what it is.

TIMON

You'll take it ill.

TIMON

You won't like it.

BOTH

Most thankfully, my lord.

BOTH

We'll appreciate it, my lord.

TIMON

Will you, indeed?

TIMON

Will you really?

BOTH

Doubt it not, worthy lord.

BOTH

Definitely.

TIMON

There's never a one of you but trusts a knave,That mightily deceives you.

TIMON

Both of you are too trustful of scoundrels who wish to deceive you.

BOTH

Do we, my lord?

BOTH

Are we really?

TIMON

Ay, and you hear him cog, see him dissemble, Know his gross patchery, love him, feed him, Keep in your bosom: yet remain assured That he's a made-up villain.

TIMON

Definitely. You hear him cheat, see him pretend, and watch him commit crimes, and all the while you love him, feed him, and keep him close, knowing full well that he's a total villain.

PAINTER

I know none such, my lord.

PAINTER

I know no one like this.

POET

Nor I.

POET

Me neither.

TIMON

Look you, I love you well; I'll give you gold, Rid me these villains from your companies: Hang them or stab them, drown them in a draught, Confound them by some course, and come to me, I'll give you gold enough.

TIMON

Hey, guys, I like you a lot. I'll give you some gold, and in return you may rid the world of some evil men. Hang them, stab them, drown them in a toilet, I don't care. Get rid of them some way, and then come to me and I'll give you even more gold.

BOTH

Name them, my lord, let's know them.

BOTH

Name your enemies, Timon, we'd like to know.

TIMON

You that way and you this, but two in company; Each man apart, all single and alone, Yet an arch-villain keeps him company. If where thou art two villains shall not be, Come not near him. If thou wouldst not reside But where one villain is, then him abandon. Hence, pack! there's gold; you came for gold, ye slaves:

TIMON

You, that man, and you the other, each of you still in the company of the other. Each of you is single and alone when apart from the other, but now an enemy keeps you company.

[To one of the men] If you promise to rid the world of villains, do not go near the other guy.

[To the other] If you swear you will not stand where one villain is, abandon him.

[To both] So go away! Here's the gold you came for, you slaves.

To Painter

TIMON

You have work'd for me; there's payment for you: hence!

TIMON

Here's payment for the work you owe me. Now go!

To Poet

TIMON

You are an alchemist; make gold of that.Out, rascal dogs!

TIMON

You make gold from metal. Here, make gold from this! Get out of here you dogs!

Beats them out, and then retires to his cave

Enter FLAVIUS and two Senators

FLAVIUS

It is in vain that you would speak with Timon; For he is set so only to himself That nothing but himself which looks like man Is friendly with him.

FLAVIUS

It's useless to speak with Timon. He only trusts himself, and nobody that looks anything like a man appears friendly to him.

FIRST SENATOR

Bring us to his cave:It is our part and promise to the AtheniansTo speak with Timon.

FIRST SENATOR

Bring us to the cave. We promised the Athenians we would speak to Timon.

SECOND SENATOR

At all times alike Men are not still the same: 'twas time and griefs That framed him thus: time, with his fairer hand, Offering the fortunes of his former days, The former man may make him. Bring us to him, And chance it as it may.

SECOND SENATOR

Men are not the same all the time. It was time and sadness that made him this way. Time presents to him the riches of his former days, the opportunity to become the man he was. Bring us to to him and we'll take our chances.

FLAVIUS

Here is his cave. Peace and content be here! Lord Timon! Timon! Look out, and speak to friends: the Athenians, By two of their most reverend senate, greet thee: Speak to them, noble Timon.

FLAVIUS

Here is his cave. We come in peace and friendship! Timon! Timon! Come out and speak to two friends. The Athenians send their best to you in two honored senators. Speak to them, Timon.

TIMON comes from his cave

TIMON

Thou sun, that comfort'st, burn! Speak, and be hang'd: For each true word, a blister! and each false Be as cauterizing to the root o' the tongue, Consuming it with speaking!

TIMON

You, sun which comforts the world, burn them! Speak to me and then be hanged! Because each true word must to you be like a blister, and each lie burn you to the root of your tongue, eating it away with your own talk!

FIRST SENATOR

Worthy Timon,—

FIRST SENATOR

Great Timon—

TIMON

Of none but such as you, and you of Timon.

TIMON

Great to no one but those like yourself, and you but to Timon.

FIRST SENATOR

The senators of Athens greet thee, Timon.

FIRST SENATOR

The Senators of Athens send their regards.

TIMON

I thank them; and would send them back the plague,Could I but catch it for them.

TIMON

I thank them, and would send them a disease if only I could catch it for them.

FIRST SENATOR

O, forget What we are sorry for ourselves in thee. The senators with one consent of love Entreat thee back to Athens; who have thought On special dignities, which vacant lie For thy best use and wearing.

FIRST SENATOR

Forget the things that have happened to you, which we are very sorry for. The senators unanimously agreed to ask you to come back to Athens. There are many honors there, totally ready for you to take up.

SECOND SENATOR

They confess Toward thee forgetfulness too general, gross: Which now the public body, which doth seldom Play the recanter, feeling in itself A lack of Timon's aid, hath sense withal Of its own fail, restraining aid to Timon; And send forth us, to make their sorrow'd render, Together with a recompense more fruitful Than their offence can weigh down by the dram; Ay, even such heaps and sums of love and wealth As shall to thee blot out what wrongs were theirs And write in thee the figures of their love, Ever to read them thine.

SECOND SENATOR

They admit they had were too quick to forget your good deeds, which they take back now that you have stopped aiding them, knowing full well that it is their fault for not extending their hands to you in your time of need. They sent us to tell you about our sadness, along with a repayment greater than their crime could possibly weigh on you. Indeed they promise such heaps of wealth and friendship that it should make you entirely forget how they wronged you, feeling within yourself instead such sentiments of love that you will always consider them your friends.

TIMON

You witch me in it; Surprise me to the very brink of tears: Lend me a fool's heart and a woman's eyes, And I'll beweep these comforts, worthy senators.

TIMON

You cast a spell on me. You've beaten me to the brink of tears, giving me a fool's heart and a woman's eyes, crying before these comforting words.

FIRST SENATOR

Therefore, so please thee to return with us And of our Athens, thine and ours, to take The captainship, thou shalt be met with thanks, Allow'd with absolute power and thy good name Live with authority: so soon we shall drive back Of Alcibiades the approaches wild, Who, like a boar too savage, doth root up His country's peace.

FIRST SENATOR

So come back with us to Athens, a city yours as well as ours, to become a captain. You will be met with thanks and allowed absolute power and authority to your name. Soon enough we will drive back Alcibiades and his wild attacks. He is like a savage boar, rooting up the peace in his own country.

SECOND SENATOR

And shakes his threatening swordAgainst the walls of Athens.

SECOND SENATOR

He threatens the walls of Athens with his own sword.

FIRST SENATOR

Therefore, Timon,—

FIRST SENATOR

So Timon—

TIMON

Well, sir, I will; therefore, I will, sir; thus: If Alcibiades kill my countrymen, Let Alcibiades know this of Timon, That Timon cares not. But if be sack fair Athens, And take our goodly aged men by the beards, Giving our holy virgins to the stain Of contumelious, beastly, mad-brain'd war, Then let him know, and tell him Timon speaks it, In pity of our aged and our youth, I cannot choose but tell him, that I care not, And let him take't at worst; for their knives care not, While you have throats to answer: for myself, There's not a whittle in the unruly camp But I do prize it at my love before The reverend'st throat in Athens. So I leave you To the protection of the prosperous gods, As thieves to keepers.

TIMON

I will say this. If Alcibiades wants to kill my fellow citizens, let Alcibiades know that Timon does not care. But if he wants to pillage Athens, grabbing old men by the beards and sacrificing holy virgins to the horrors of war, then let him know that even as I pity the old and the young, I cannot help but say still that I do not care if he does his worst. Their blades do not care that your throats suffer the consequences of their actions. And as for me, I put the smallest switchblade in their rebel barracks before the most honored throat in all of Athens. I leave you to the protection of the gods, the way I might leave thieves to their jailers.

FLAVIUS

Stay not, all's in vain.

FLAVIUS

Let's go. It's hopeless.

TIMON

Why, I was writing of my epitaph; it will be seen to-morrow: my long sickness Of health and living now begins to mend, And nothing brings me all things. Go, live still; Be Alcibiades your plague, you his, And last so long enough!

TIMON

I was writing the epitaph for my tombstone, which will be seen tomorrow. My blight of health and and living well is now being cured, and death will bring everything with it. Go and keep living. Let Alcibiades be your blight, and you his. Live that way as long as you can!

FIRST SENATOR

We speak in vain.

FIRST SENATOR

It's useless.

TIMON

But yet I love my country, and am notOne that rejoices in the common wreck,As common bruit doth put it.

TIMON

I do love my country, and contrary to what rumors may say, am not glad to see total destruction.

FIRST SENATOR

That's well spoke.

FIRST SENATOR

Well said.

TIMON

Commend me to my loving countrymen,—

TIMON

Give my best to my fellow Athenians—

FIRST SENATOR

These words become your lips as they passthorough them.

FIRST SENATOR

These words do the person who speaks them justice.

SECOND SENATOR

And enter in our ears like great triumphersIn their applauding gates.

SECOND SENATOR

And enter our ears like trumpeters celebrating at the gates.

TIMON

Commend me to them, And tell them that, to ease them of their griefs, Their fears of hostile strokes, their aches, losses, Their pangs of love, with other incident throes That nature's fragile vessel doth sustain In life's uncertain voyage, I will some kindness do them: I'll teach them to prevent wild Alcibiades' wrath.

TIMON

Give them my best, and tell them that, to ease their sadness, their fear of war, their pains, their losses, their pangs of love, and all the other difficulties common to life, I send some kindness their way. I'll teach them how to defend themselves against the wild Alcibiades's wrath.

FIRST SENATOR

I like this well; he will return again.

FIRST SENATOR

This sounds good. He will return soon enough.

TIMON

I have a tree, which grows here in my close, That mine own use invites me to cut down, And shortly must I fell it: tell my friends, Tell Athens, in the sequence of degree From high to low throughout, that whoso please To stop affliction, let him take his haste, Come hither, ere my tree hath felt the axe, And hang himself. I pray you, do my greeting.

TIMON

I have a tree that grows around here that I need to cut down, and I need to do that soon. Tell my friends in Athens of all stations that whoever wants to stop these pains should hurry here before my my axe touches the tree, so that they might hang themselves. Please, send those regards.

FLAVIUS

Trouble him no further; thus you still shall find him.

FLAVIUS

Stop bothering him. You will find him this way again.

TIMON

Come not to me again: but say to Athens, Timon hath made his everlasting mansion Upon the beached verge of the salt flood; Who once a day with his embossed froth The turbulent surge shall cover: thither come, And let my grave-stone be your oracle. Lips, let sour words go by and language end: What is amiss plague and infection mend! Graves only be men's works and death their gain! Sun, hide thy beams! Timon hath done his reign.

TIMON

Don't come back, and instead tell all of Athens that Timon has built his house on the shore, and everyday will cover himself with the surging foam of the sea. Tell them to come here and let my grave-stone be their guide. Oh lips, let these harsh words fall from you and be your last, let everything wrong with the world be healed by ravaging diseases! Graves are just another of men's works, and death another of their benefits! Go away, sun! Timon has finished his time on earth.

Retires to his cave

FIRST SENATOR

His discontents are unremoveablyCoupled to nature.

FIRST SENATOR

His sadness is now a part of himself.

SECOND SENATOR

Our hope in him is dead: let us return,And strain what other means is left unto usIn our dear peril.

SECOND SENATOR

He's hopeless. Let's go back and try whatever else we can do to save ourselves.

FIRST SENATOR

It requires swift foot.

FIRST SENATOR

We need to hurry.

Exeunt

Timon of athens
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