William Shakespeare: Timon of Athens, Act IV, Scene II

Scene II

Athens. A room in Timon's house

Enter Flavius, with two or three Servants

First Servant

Hear you, master steward, where's our master? Are we undone? cast off? nothing remaining?

Flavius

Alack, my fellows, what should I say to you? Let me be recorded by the righteous gods, I am as poor as you.

First Servant

Such a house broke! So noble a master fall'n! All gone! and not One friend to take his fortune by the arm, And go along with him!

Second Servant

As we do turn our backs From our companion thrown into his grave, So his familiars to his buried fortunes Slink all away, leave their false vows with him, Like empty purses pick'd; and his poor self, A dedicated beggar to the air, With his disease of all-shunn'd poverty, Walks, like contempt, alone. More of our fellows.

Enter other Servants

Flavius

All broken implements of a ruin'd house.

Third Servant

Yet do our hearts wear Timon's livery; That see I by our faces; we are fellows still, Serving alike in sorrow: leak'd is our bark, And we, poor mates, stand on the dying deck, Hearing the surges threat: we must all part Into this sea of air.

Flavius

Good fellows all, The latest of my wealth I'll share amongst you. Wherever we shall meet, for Timon's sake, Let's yet be fellows; let's shake our heads, and say, As 'twere a knell unto our master's fortunes, 'We have seen better days.' Let each take some; Nay, put out all your hands. Not one word more: Thus part we rich in sorrow, parting poor.

Servants embrace, and part several ways

O, the fierce wretchedness that glory brings us! Who would not wish to be from wealth exempt, Since riches point to misery and contempt? Who would be so mock'd with glory? or to live But in a dream of friendship? To have his pomp and all what state compounds But only painted, like his varnish'd friends? Poor honest lord, brought low by his own heart, Undone by goodness! Strange, unusual blood, When man's worst sin is, he does too much good! Who, then, dares to be half so kind again? For bounty, that makes gods, does still mar men. My dearest lord, bless'd, to be most accursed, Rich, only to be wretched, thy great fortunes Are made thy chief afflictions. Alas, kind lord! He's flung in rage from this ingrateful seat Of monstrous friends, nor has he with him to Supply his life, or that which can command it. I'll follow and inquire him out: I'll ever serve his mind with my best will; Whilst I have gold, I'll be his steward still.

Exit