Timon of Athens

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APEMANTUS. I scorn thy meat; 't'would choke me, for I should Ne'er flatter thee. O you gods! what a number Of men eats Timon, and he sees 'em not! It grieves me to see so many dip their meat In one man's blood; and all the madness is, He cheers them up too. I wonder men dare trust themselves with men: Methinks they should invite them without knives; Good for their meat, and safer for their lives. There's much example for 't; the fellow that Sits next him now, parts bread with him, pledges The breath of him in a divided draught, Is the readiest man to kill him: 't has been prov'd. If I were a huge man, I should fear to drink at meals; Lest they should spy my wind-pipe's dangerous notes: Great men should drink with harness on their throats.

TIMON. My lord, in heart; and let the health go round.

SECOND LORD. Let it flow this way, my good lord.

APEMANTUS. Flow this way! A brave fellow! he keeps his tides well. Those healths will make thee and thy state look ill, Timon. Here's that which is too weak to be a sinner, Honest water, which ne'er left man i' the mire: This and my food are equals; there's no odds: Feasts are too proud to give thanks to the gods. Immortal gods, I crave no pelf; I pray for no man but myself. Grant I may never prove so fond To trust man on his oath or bond; Or a harlot for her weeping; Or a dog that seems a-sleeping; Or a keeper with my freedom; Or my friends, if I should need 'em. Amen. So fall to't. Rich men sin, and I eat root.

[Eats and drinks.]

Much good dich thy good heart, Apemantus!

TIMON. Captain Alcibiades, your heart's in the field now.

ALCIBIADES. My heart is ever at your service, my lord.

TIMON. You had rather be at a breakfast of enemies than a dinner of friends.

ALCIBIADES. So they were bleeding--new, my lord, there's no meat like 'em: I could wish my best friend at such a feast.

APEMANTUS. 'Would all those flatterers were thine enemies then, that then thou mightst kill 'em, and bid me to 'em.

FIRST LORD. Might we but have that happiness, my lord, that you would once use our hearts, whereby we might express some part of our zeals, we should think ourselves for ever perfect.

TIMON. O, no doubt, my good friends, but the gods themselves have provided that I shall have much help from you: how had you been my friends else? why have you that charitable title from thousands, did not you chiefly belong to my heart? I have told more of you to myself than you can with modesty speak in your own behalf; and thus far I confirm you. O you gods! think I, what need we have any friends if we should ne'er have need of 'em? they were the most needless creatures living, should we ne'er have use for 'em; and would most resemble sweet instruments hung up in cases, that keep their sounds to themselves. Why, I have often wished myself poorer that I might come nearer to you. We are born to do benefits; and what better or properer can we call our own than the riches of our friends? O! what a precious comfort 'tis to have so many, like brothers, commanding one another's fortunes! O joy! e'en made away ere it can be born. Mine eyes cannot hold out water, methinks: to forget their faults, I drink to you.

APEMANTUS. Thou weepest to make them drink, Timon.

SECOND LORD. Joy had the like conception in our eyes, And, at that instant like a babe, sprung up.

APEMANTUS. Ho, ho! I laugh to think that babe a bastard.

THIRD LORD. I promise you, my lord, you mov'd me much.

APEMANTUS. Much!

[Tucket sounded.]

TIMON. What means that trump?

[Enter a SERVANT.]

How now!

SERVANT. Please you, my lord, there are certain ladies most desirous of admittance.

TIMON. Ladies? What are their wills?

SERVANT. There comes with them a forerunner, my lord, which bears that office, to signify their pleasures.

TIMON. I pray, let them be admitted.

[Enter CUPID.]

CUPID. Hail to thee, worthy Timon; and to all That of his bounties taste! The five best Senses Acknowledge thee their patron; and come freely To gratulate thy plenteous bosom. Th' Ear, Taste, Touch, Smell, pleas'd from thy table rise; They only now come but to feast thine eyes.

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