O you gods! Is yond despised and ruinous man my lord?
O you gods!
Is yond despised and ruinous man my lord?
Full of decay and flailing? O, monument
And wonder of good deeds evilly bestowed!
What an alteration of honor has desp’rate want made!
What viler thing upon the Earth than friends,
Who can bring noblest minds to basest ends!
How rarely does it meet with this time’s guise,
When man was wished to love his enemies!
Grant I may ever love, and rather woo
Those that would mischief me than those that do!
Has caught me in his eye. I will present
My honest grief unto him and as my lord
Still serve him with my life.—My dearest master.
Methinks thou art more honest now than wise
Away! What art thou?
Have you forgot me, sir?
Why dost ask that? I have forgot all men.
Then, if thou grant’st thou ’rt a man, I have forgot thee.
An honest poor servant of yours.
Then I know thee not.
I never had honest man about me, I. All
I kept were knaves to serve in meat to villains.
The gods are witness,
Ne’er did poor steward wear a truer grief
For his undone lord than mine eyes for you.
What, dost thou weep? Come nearer, then. I love thee
Because thou art a woman and disclaim’st
Flinty mankind, whose eyes do never give
But thorough lust and laughter. Pity’s sleeping.
Strange times that weep with laughing, not with weeping!
I beg of you to know me, good my lord,
T’ accept my grief, and, whilst this poor wealth lasts,
To entertain me as your steward still.
He offers money.
Had I a steward
So true, so just, and now so comfortable?
It almost turns my dangerous nature mild.
Let me behold thy face. Surely this man
Was born of woman.
Forgive my general and exceptless rashness,
You perpetual-sober gods. I do proclaim
One honest man—mistake me not, but one;
No more, I pray!—and he’s a steward.
How fain would I have hated all mankind,
And thou redeem’st thyself. But all, save thee,
I fell with curses.
Methinks thou art more honest now than wise,
For by oppressing and betraying me
Thou mightst have sooner got another service;
For many so arrive at second masters
Upon their first lord’s neck. But tell me true—
For I must ever doubt, though ne’er so sure—
Is not thy kindness subtle, covetous,
A usuring kindness, and as rich men deal gifts,
Expecting in return twenty for one?
No, my most worthy master, in whose breast
Doubt and suspect, alas, are placed too late.
You should have feared false times when you did feast.
Suspect still comes where an estate is least.
That which I show, heaven knows, is merely love,
Duty, and zeal to your unmatchèd mind,
Care of your food and living. And believe it,
My most honored lord,
For any benefit that points to me,
Either in hope or present, I’d exchange
For this one wish, that you had power and wealth
To requite me by making rich yourself.
Look thee, ’tis so. Thou singly honest man,
Here, take. (Timon offers gold.) The gods out of my misery
Has sent thee treasure. Go, live rich and happy,
But thus conditioned: thou shalt build from men;
Hate all, curse all, show charity to none,
But let the famished flesh slide from the bone
Ere thou relieve the beggar; give to dogs
What thou deniest to men; let prisons swallow ’em,
Debts wither ’em to nothing; be men like blasted woods,
And may diseases lick up their false bloods!
And so farewell and thrive.
O, let me stay
And comfort you, my master.
If thou hat’st curses,
Stay not. Fly whilst thou art blest and free.
Ne’er see thou man, and let me ne’er see thee.