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The Senators of Athens greet thee, Timon.

First Senator
The Senators of Athens greet thee, Timon.
I thank them and would send them back the plague,
Could I but 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.

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.

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 it own fall, restraining aid to Timon,
And send forth us to make their sorrowed render,
Together with a recompense more fruitful
Than their offense 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.
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.
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;
Allowed with absolute power, and thy good name
Live with authority. So soon we shall drive back
Of Alcibiades th’ approaches wild,
Who like a boar too savage doth root up
His country’s peace.
Second Senator
And shakes his threat’ning sword
Against the walls of Athens.
First Senator
Therefore, 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 he sack fair Athens
And take our goodly agèd men by th’ beards,
Giving our holy virgins to the stain
Of contumelious, beastly, mad-brained war,
Then let him know, and tell him Timon speaks it
In pity of our agèd 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 th’ 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.
Flavius, to Senators
Stay not. All’s in vain.
Why, I was writing of my epitaph.
It will be seen tomorrow. 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!
First Senator
We speak in vain.
But yet I love my country and am not
One that rejoices in the common wrack,
As common bruit doth put it.
First Senator
That’s well spoke.
Commend me to my loving countrymen.
First Senator
These words become your lips as they pass through them.
Second Senator
And enter in our ears like great triumphers
In their applauding gates.
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.
First Senator, to Second Senator
I like this well. He will return again.
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 ax,
And hang himself. I pray you, do my greeting.
Flavius, to Senators
Trouble him no further. Thus you still shall find him.
Come not to me again, but say to Athens,
Timon hath made his everlasting mansion
Upon the beachèd verge of the salt flood,
Who once a day with his embossèd froth
The turbulent surge shall cover. Thither come
And let my gravestone be your oracle.
Lips, let four 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 exits.
First Senator
His discontents are unremovably
Coupled to nature.
Second Senator
Our hope in him is dead. Let us return
And strain what other means is left unto us
In our dear peril.
First Senator
It requires swift foot.
 They exit.

Act 5
Scene 1
Line 157

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