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Unto the voice and yielding of that body,

Whereof he is the head. Then if he says he loves you, It fits your wisdom so far to believe it,

As he in his particular act and place

May give his saying deed; which is no further,
Than the main voice of Denmark goes withal.
Then weigh what loss your honor may sustain,
If with too credent ear you list' his songs;
Or lose your heart; or your chaste treasure open
To his unmastered 2 importunity.

Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear sister;
And keep you in the rear of your affection,
Out of the shot and danger of desire.
The chariest maid is prodigal enough,
If she unmask her beauty to the moon.
Virtue itself scapes not calumnious strokes ;
The canker galls the infants of the spring,
Too oft before their buttons be disclosed
And in the morn and liquid dew of youth
Contagious blastments are most imminent.
Be wary, then; best safety lies in fear;
Youth to itself rebels, though none else near.
Oph. I shall the effect of this good lesson keep,
As watchman to my heart; but, good my brother,
Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,

Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
Whilst, like a puffed and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
And recks not his own read.1


O, fear me not. I stay too long;-but here my father comes.


A double blessing is a double grace;
Occasion smiles upon a second leave.

1 "If with too credulous ear you listen to his songs."

2 Licentious.

3 i. e. the most cautious, the most discreet.

4 i. e. regards not his own lesson. In The Two Angry Women of Abingdon, 1599, we have :-"Take heed, is a good reed."

Pol. Yet here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for shame; The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,

And you are staid for. There, my blessing with you; [Laying his hand on LAERTES' head. And these few precepts in thy memory


Look thou character. "Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hooks of steel;
But do not dull thy palm3 with entertainment
Of each new-hatched, unfledged comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel; but, being in,
Bear it that the opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,


But not expressed in fancy; rich, not gaudy;

For the apparel oft proclaims the man;

And they in France, of the best rank and station,

Are most select and generous, chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;

For loan oft loses both itself and friend;
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all,-to thine own self be true;
And it must follow, as the night the day,

1 i. e. mark, imprint, strongly infix.

2 The old copies read, "with hoops of steel."

3 This figurative expression means, " do not blunt thy feeling by taking every new acquaintance by the hand."

4 i. e. judgment, opinion.

5 The quarto of 1603 reads :

The folio:

"Are of a most select and generall chief in this."

"Are of a most select and generous cheff, in that." The other quartos give the line:

"As of a most select and generous, cheefe in that."
"Or of a most select and generous, cheefe in that."

The simple emendation by omitting of a, and the proper punctuation of the line, make all clear. "The nobility of France are most select and high-minded (generous) chiefly in that;" chief being an adjective, used adverbially.

6 i. e. thrift, economical prudence.

Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell; my blessing season' this in thee!

Laer. Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord. Pol. The time invites you; go, your servants tend.2 Laer. Farewell, Ophelia; and remember well What I have said to you.

And you yourself shall keep the key of it.

'Tis in my memory locked,

Laer. Farewell.


Pol. What is't, Ophelia, he hath said to you?

Oph. So please you, something touching the lord Hamlet.

Pol. Marry, well bethought.

'Tis told me, he hath very oft of late
Given private time to you; and you yourself

Have of your audience been most free and bounteous.

If it be so, (as so 'tis put on me,

And that in way of caution,) I must tell you,
You do not understand yourself so clearly,
As it behoves my daughter, and your honor.
What is between you? Give me up the truth.

Oph. He hath, my lord, of late, made many tenders Of his affection to me.

Pol. Affection? puh! you speak like a green girl, Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.


you believe his tenders, as you call them?

Oph. I do not know, my lord, what I should think. Pol. Marry, I'll teach you. Think yourself a baby; That you have ta'en these tenders for true pay, Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more dearly; Or (not to crack the wind of the poor phrase, Wronging it thus) you'll tender me a fool.1

Oph. My lord, he hath impórtuned me with love, In honorable fashion.

Pol. Ay, fashion you may call it; go to, go to.

1 "To season, to temper wisely, to make more pleasant and acceptable."-Baret.

2 Wait.

3 i. e. untried, unexperienced.

4 Shakspeare makes Polonius play on the equivocal use of the word tender, which was anciently used in the sense of regard or respect, as well as in that of offer. The folio reads, "roaming it thus;" and the quarto, "wrong it thus."

Oph. And hath given countenance to his speech, my lord,

With almost all the holy vows of heaven.

Pol. Ay, springes to catch woodcocks. I do know,

When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul
Lends the tongue vows. These blazes, daughter,
Giving more light than heat,—extinct in both,
Even in their promise, as it is a making,—
You must not take for fire. From this time,
Be somewhat scanter of your maiden presence;
Set your entreatments 3 at a higher rate,
Than a command to parley. For lord Hamlet,
Believe so much in him, that he is young;
And with a larger tether may he walk,
Than may be given you. In few, Ophelia,
Do not believe his vows; for they are brokers,1
Not of that die which their investments show,
But mere implorators of unholy suits,
Breathing like sanctified and pious bonds,
The better to beguile. This is for all;-
I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth,
Have you so slander any moment's leisure,
As to give words or talk with the lord Hamlet.
Look to't, I charge you; come your ways.
Oph. I shall obey, my lord.

SCENE IV. The Platform.


Enter HAMLET, HORATIO, and MARCELLUS. Ham. The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.

1 This was a proverbial phrase. There is a collection of epigrams under that title; the woodcock being accounted a witless bird, from a vulgar notion that it had no brains. "Springes to catch woodcocks,"

means "arts to intrap simplicity."

2 "How prodigal the tongue lends the heart vows," 4to. 1603.

3 i. e. " be more difficult of access; and let the suits to you, for that purpose, be of higher respect than a command to parley."

4 i. e. panders. Brokage, and to broke, was anciently to deal in business of an amatory nature by procurement.

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Hor. It is a nipping and an eager1 air.
Ham. What hour now?


Mar. No, it is struck.

I think it lacks of twelve.

Hor. Indeed? I heard it not; it then draws near

the season,

Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.

[A flourish of trumpets, and ordnance shot off, within.

What does this mean, my lord?

Ham. The king doth wake to-night, and takes his



Keeps wassail, and the swaggering upspring reels;
And, as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down,
The kettle-drum and trumpet thus bray out
The triumph of his pledge.


Ham. Ay, marry, is't.

Is it a custom ?

But to my mind,-though I am native here,
And to the manner born,-it is a custom

More honored in the breach, than the observance.

This heavy-headed revel, east and west,1

Makes us traduced, and taxed of other nations.
They clepe us drunkards, and with swinish phrase
Soil our addition; and indeed it takes

From our achievements, though performed at height,
The pith and marrow of our attribute.

So, oft it chances in particular men,

That, for some vicious mole of nature in them,
As, in their birth, (wherein they are not guilty,

1 Eager was used in the sense of the French aigre, sharp.

2 To keep wassail was to devote the time to festivity.

3 Upspring here appears to mean nothing more than upstart. Steevens, from a passage in Chapman's Alphonsus, thought that it might mean a dance.

4 This and the following twenty-one lines are omitted in the folio. They had probably been omitted in representation, lest they should give offence to Anne of Denmark.

5 Clepe, call, clypian (Sax.). The Danes were, indeed, proverbial as drunkards; and well they might be, according to the accounts of the time. i. e. characterize us by a swinish epithet.

7 i. e. spot, blemish.

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