Timon of Athens In Plain and Simple English (Digital Download)
Unearthing a Hidden Gem

Venture into one of Shakespeare's least explored but nonetheless remarkable creations. 'Timon of Athens' is not just another play; it's an enigmatic masterpiece - a treasure waiting to be discovered. Its depth and complexity might make it seem inaccessible, but that's where its beauty lies.

Dive into the story of Timon, a generous man who shares his riches with fair-weather friends. But when fortune turns its back on him, so do they. In his descent into destitution and disdain for humanity, Timon's journey is one of opulence to outcast, from the city's glamour to the rawness of nature.

For those who've been daunted by Shakespeare's intricate language, your solution is here. BookCaps presents a contemporary rendition of this age-old tale, making its profound themes and emotional depth accessible to everyone.

Enjoy the richness of Shakespeare's original prose alongside a modern translation, allowing you to experience the tale in its fullness and complexity while ensuring clarity and comprehension.






Do you need to understand Shakespeare and want something more interactive? Try our free app, SwipeSpeare!


SCENE I. Athens. A hall in Timon's house. Enter Poet, Painter, Jeweller, Merchant, and others, at several doors


Good day, sir.

Good day, sir.


I am glad you're well.

I’m glad you’re well.


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

I haven’t seen you for a long time: how’s life?


It wears, sir, as it grows.

It wears out sir, as it goes on.


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.

Yes, that’s well known:

But what particular unusual things are going on?

What unique things, never recorded before?

Look, generosity is as powerful as any magician!

Your power has brought all these people here.  I know that merchant.


I know them both; th' other's a jeweller.

I know both of them, the other’s a jeweller.


O, 'tis a worthy lord.

Oh, that’s a good lord.


Nay, that's most fix'd.

That’s for sure.


A most incomparable man, breathed, as it were,

To an untirable and continuate goodness:

He passes.

An incomparable man, trained, as it were,

To have an unflagging and habitual goodness;

He beats everyone.



I have a jewel here--

I have a jewel here-


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

Oh, please let me see it.  Is this for Lord Timon, sir?


 If he will touch the estimate: but, for that--

If he’ll pay the price I want: but, as to that-


[Reciting to himself] 'When we for recompense have

praised the vile,

It stains the glory in that happy verse

Which aptly sings the good.'

‘When we praise the vile in return for payment,

it cheapens the value of the fine verse

which rightly praises the good.’


'Tis a good form.

It’s nicely cut.

Looking at the jewel


And rich: here is a water, look ye.

And rich: it’s got a great shine to it, you can see.


You are rapt, sir, in some work, some dedication

To the great lord.

You are involved, sir, in some work, something

In praise of the great lord.


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?

Something that just slipped out.

Poetry is like gum, which oozes

Out from its mother plant: the fire held

Within flint doesn’t show until it’s struck;

Our inspiration doesn’t need any stimulus;

It starts itself and spreads everywhere like

A tide.  What have you there?


A picture, sir. When comes your book forth?

A picture, sir.  When’s your book out?


Upon the heels of my presentment, sir.

Let's see your piece.

As soon as I give it to my lord, sir.

Let’s see your piece.


'Tis a good piece.

It’s a good piece.


So 'tis: this comes off well and excellent.

Yes it is: this is very well executed.



Not bad.


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.

It’s wonderful:  how well you’ve captured

His position!  How well you can see his thoughts

In his eyes!  How well his imagination can be seen

In his lips!  One could almost interpret what

His gestures mean.


It is a pretty mocking of the life.

Here is a touch; is't good?

It’s a nice copy of life.

Here’s the question; is it good?


I will say of it,

It tutors nature: artificial strife

Lives in these touches, livelier than life.

I would say

It teaches nature: artificial action

Comes alive in the brushstrokes, it’s more lively than life itself.

Enter certain Senators, and pass over


How this lord is follow'd!

How many followers this lord has!


The senators of Athens: happy men!

The senators of Athens: lucky men!


Look, more!

Look, more!


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.

You see this merging of these great floods

of visitors.

I have, in this rough work, described a man,

Whom this mortal world embraces and hugs

With the warmest welcome: my free ideas

Don’t stop for particulars, but flow across

My wax tablet: there’s not a

Jot of malice in anything I write;

It flies like an eagle, boldly going forward,

Leaving no trace behind.


How shall I understand you?

What do you mean?


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.

I’ll explain.

You see how all classes, all minds,

Shallow and dubious characters as well

As those of serious and fine quality, offer

Their services to Lord Timon:  his great wealth

Combined with his good and kind nature

Draws the love and attendance of all sorts

Of people to him; from the vain flatterer

To Apemantus, who has no love for mankind,

Not even himself-even he kneels before him,

And goes home happy to have been acknowledged by Timon.
Translation missing: en.general.search.loading