Trumpets sound. Enter Alcibiades with his powers
Sound to this coward and lascivious town Our terrible approach. [A parley sounded]
Enter Senators on the walls
Till now you have gone on and fill'd the time With all licentious measure, making your wills The scope of justice; till now myself and such As slept within the shadow of your power Have wander'd with our traversed arms and breathed Our sufferance vainly: now the time is flush, When crouching marrow in the bearer strong Cries of itself 'No more:' now breathless wrong Shall sit and pant in your great chairs of ease, And pursy insolence shall break his wind With fear and horrid flight.
Noble and young, When thy first griefs were but a mere conceit, Ere thou hadst power or we had cause of fear, We sent to thee, to give thy rages balm, To wipe out our ingratitude with loves Above their quantity.
So did we woo Transformed Timon to our city's love By humble message and by promised means: We were not all unkind, nor all deserve The common stroke of war.
These walls of ours Were not erected by their hands from whom You have received your griefs; nor are they such That these great towers, trophies and schools should fall For private faults in them.
Nor are they living Who were the motives that you first went out; Shame that they wanted cunning, in excess Hath broke their hearts. March, noble lord, Into our city with thy banners spread: By decimation, and a tithed death— If thy revenges hunger for that food Which nature loathes—take thou the destined tenth, And by the hazard of the spotted die Let die the spotted.
All have not offended; For those that were, it is not square to take On those that are, revenges: crimes, like lands, Are not inherited. Then, dear countryman, Bring in thy ranks, but leave without thy rage: Spare thy Athenian cradle and those kin Which in the bluster of thy wrath must fall With those that have offended: like a shepherd, Approach the fold and cull the infected forth, But kill not all together.
What thou wilt, Thou rather shalt enforce it with thy smile Than hew to't with thy sword.
Set but thy foot Against our rampired gates, and they shall ope; So thou wilt send thy gentle heart before, To say thou'lt enter friendly.
Throw thy glove, Or any token of thine honour else, That thou wilt use the wars as thy redress And not as our confusion, all thy powers Shall make their harbour in our town, till we Have seal'd thy full desire.
Then there's my glove; Descend, and open your uncharged ports: Those enemies of Timon's and mine own Whom you yourselves shall set out for reproof Fall and no more: and, to atone your fears With my more noble meaning, not a man Shall pass his quarter, or offend the stream Of regular justice in your city's bounds, But shall be render'd to your public laws At heaviest answer.
My noble general, Timon is dead; Entomb'd upon the very hem o' the sea; And on his grave-stone this insculpture, which With wax I brought away, whose soft impression Interprets for my poor ignorance.
Reads the epitaph
Here lies a wretched corpse, of wretched soul bereft: Seek not my name: a plague consume you wicked caitiffs left! Here lie I, Timon; who, alive, all living men did hate: Pass by and curse thy fill, but pass and stay not here thy gait.
These well express in thee thy latter spirits: Though thou abhorr'dst in us our human griefs, Scorn'dst our brain's flow and those our droplets, which From niggard nature fall, yet rich conceit Taught thee to make vast Neptune weep for aye On thy low grave, on faults forgiven. Dead Is noble Timon: of whose memory Hereafter more. Bring me into your city, And I will use the olive with my sword, Make war breed peace, make peace stint war, make each Prescribe to other as each other's leech. Let our drums strike.