Speeches (Lines) for Poet
in "Timon of Athens"

Total: 30

# Act, Scene, Line
(Click to see in context)
Speech text



(stage directions). [Enter Poet, Painter, Jeweller, Merchant, and]
others, at several doors]

Poet. Good day, sir.



Painter. I am glad you're well.

Poet. I have not seen you long: how goes the world?



Painter. It wears, sir, as it grows.

Poet. Ay, that's well known:
But what particular rarity? what strange,
Which manifold record not matches? See,
Magic of bounty! all these spirits thy power
Hath conjured to attend. I know the merchant.



Merchant. O, pray, let's see't: for the Lord Timon, sir?

Poet. [Reciting to himself] 'When we for recompense have
praised the vile,
It stains the glory in that happy verse
Which aptly sings the good.'



Painter. You are rapt, sir, in some work, some dedication
To the great lord.

Poet. A thing slipp'd idly from me.
Our poesy is as a gum, which oozes
From whence 'tis nourish'd: the fire i' the flint
Shows not till it be struck; our gentle flame
Provokes itself and like the current flies
Each bound it chafes. What have you there?



Painter. A picture, sir. When comes your book forth?

Poet. Upon the heels of my presentment, sir.
Let's see your piece.



Painter. 'Tis a good piece.

Poet. So 'tis: this comes off well and excellent.



Painter. Indifferent.

Poet. Admirable: how this grace
Speaks his own standing! what a mental power
This eye shoots forth! how big imagination
Moves in this lip! to the dumbness of the gesture
One might interpret.



Painter. It is a pretty mocking of the life.
Here is a touch; is't good?

Poet. I will say of it,
It tutors nature: artificial strife
Lives in these touches, livelier than life.



Painter. How this lord is follow'd!

Poet. The senators of Athens: happy man!



Painter. Look, more!

Poet. You see this confluence, this great flood
of visitors.
I have, in this rough work, shaped out a man,
Whom this beneath world doth embrace and hug
With amplest entertainment: my free drift
Halts not particularly, but moves itself
In a wide sea of wax: no levell'd malice
Infects one comma in the course I hold;
But flies an eagle flight, bold and forth on,
Leaving no tract behind.



Painter. How shall I understand you?

Poet. I will unbolt to you.
You see how all conditions, how all minds,
As well of glib and slippery creatures as
Of grave and austere quality, tender down
Their services to Lord Timon: his large fortune
Upon his good and gracious nature hanging
Subdues and properties to his love and tendance
All sorts of hearts; yea, from the glass-faced flatterer
To Apemantus, that few things loves better
Than to abhor himself: even he drops down
The knee before him, and returns in peace
Most rich in Timon's nod.



Painter. I saw them speak together.

Poet. Sir, I have upon a high and pleasant hill
Feign'd Fortune to be throned: the base o' the mount
Is rank'd with all deserts, all kind of natures,
That labour on the bosom of this sphere
To propagate their states: amongst them all,
Whose eyes are on this sovereign lady fix'd,
One do I personate of Lord Timon's frame,
Whom Fortune with her ivory hand wafts to her;
Whose present grace to present slaves and servants
Translates his rivals.



Painter. 'Tis conceived to scope.
This throne, this Fortune, and this hill, methinks,
With one man beckon'd from the rest below,
Bowing his head against the sleepy mount
To climb his happiness, would be well express'd
In our condition.

Poet. Nay, sir, but hear me on.
All those which were his fellows but of late,
Some better than his value, on the moment
Follow his strides, his lobbies fill with tendance,
Rain sacrificial whisperings in his ear,
Make sacred even his stirrup, and through him
Drink the free air.



Painter. Ay, marry, what of these?

Poet. When Fortune in her shift and change of mood
Spurns down her late beloved, all his dependants
Which labour'd after him to the mountain's top
Even on their knees and hands, let him slip down,
Not one accompanying his declining foot.



(stage directions). [Exeunt LUCILIUS and Old Athenian]

Poet. Vouchsafe my labour, and long live your lordship!



Apemantus. Not worth my thinking. How now, poet!

Poet. How now, philosopher!



Apemantus. Thou liest.

Poet. Art not one?



Apemantus. Yes.

Poet. Then I lie not.



Apemantus. Art not a poet?

Poet. Yes.



Apemantus. Then thou liest: look in thy last work, where thou
hast feigned him a worthy fellow.

Poet. That's not feigned; he is so.



Painter. As I took note of the place, it cannot be far where
he abides.

Poet. What's to be thought of him? does the rumour hold
for true, that he's so full of gold?



Painter. Certain: Alcibiades reports it; Phrynia and
Timandra had gold of him: he likewise enriched poor
straggling soldiers with great quantity: 'tis said
he gave unto his steward a mighty sum.

Poet. Then this breaking of his has been but a try for his friends.



Painter. Nothing else: you shall see him a palm in Athens
again, and flourish with the highest. Therefore
'tis not amiss we tender our loves to him, in this
supposed distress of his: it will show honestly in
us; and is very likely to load our purposes with
what they travail for, if it be a just true report
that goes of his having.

Poet. What have you now to present unto him?



Painter. Nothing at this time but my visitation: only I will
promise him an excellent piece.

Poet. I must serve him so too, tell him of an intent
that's coming toward him.



Timon. [Aside] Excellent workman! thou canst not paint a
man so bad as is thyself.

Poet. I am thinking what I shall say I have provided for
him: it must be a personating of himself; a satire
against the softness of prosperity, with a discovery
of the infinite flatteries that follow youth and opulency.



Timon. [Aside] Must thou needs stand for a villain in
thine own work? wilt thou whip thine own faults in
other men? Do so, I have gold for thee.

Poet. Nay, let's seek him:
Then do we sin against our own estate,
When we may profit meet, and come too late.



(stage directions). [Coming forward]

Poet. Hail, worthy Timon!



Timon. Have I once lived to see two honest men?

Poet. Sir,
Having often of your open bounty tasted,
Hearing you were retired, your friends fall'n off,
Whose thankless natures—O abhorred spirits!—
Not all the whips of heaven are large enough:
What! to you,
Whose star-like nobleness gave life and influence
To their whole being! I am rapt and cannot cover
The monstrous bulk of this ingratitude
With any size of words.



Painter. I know none such, my lord.

Poet. Nor I.

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