Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: David Bevington
Not Peer Reviewed

Hamlet (Modern, Editor's Version)


[1.3]
Enter Laertes, and Ophelia his sister.
Laertes My necessaries are embarked. Farewell.
And sister, as the winds give benefit
And convey is assistant, do not sleep
465But let me hear from you.
Ophelia
Do you doubt that?
Laertes For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favor,
Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood,
A violet in the youth of primy nature,
470Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
The perfume and suppliance of a minute,
No more.
Ophelia
No more but so?
Laertes
Think it no more.
For nature crescent does not grow alone
475In thews and bulk, but as this temple waxes
The inward service of the mind and soul
Grows wide withal. Perhaps he loves you now,
And now no soil nor cautel doth besmirch
The virtue of his will; but you must fear,
480His greatness weighed, his will is not his own,
"/>For he himself is subject to his birth.
He may not, as unvalued persons do,
Carve for himself, for on his choice depends
The safety and health of this whole state,
485And therefore must his choice be circumscribed
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
490May 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
495To his unmastered 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
500If 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
505Contagious blastments are most imminent.
Be wary, then; best safety lies in fear.
Youth to itself rebels, though none else near.
Ophelia I shall the effect of this good lesson keep
As watchman to my heart. But, good my brother,
510Do 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 rede.
Enter Polonius.
515Laertes
Oh, 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.
520Polonius Yet here, Laertes? Aboard, aboard, for shame!
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
And you are stayed for. There, my blessing with thee,
And these few precepts in thy memory
Look thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
525Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel,
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
530Of each new-hatched, unfledged courage. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but, being in,
Bear't that th'opposèd may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
535Costly 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 of a most select and generous, chief in that.
540Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulleth edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow as the night the day
545Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell. My blessing season this in thee!
Laertes Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.
Polonius The time invites you. Go. Your servants tend.
Laertes Farewell, Ophelia, and remember well
550What I have said to you.
Ophelia 'Tis in my memory locked,
And you yourself shall keep the key of it.
Laertes Farewell.
Exit Laertes.
Polonius What is't, Ophelia, he hath said to you?
555Ophelia So please you, something touching the Lord Hamlet.
Polonius 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.
560If 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 behooves my daughter and your honor.
What is between you? Give me up the truth.
565Ophelia He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders
Of his affection to me.
Polonius Affection? Pooh, you speak like a green girl,
Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.
Do you believe his "tenders," as you call them?
570Ophelia I do not know, my lord, what I should think.
Polonius Marry, I will 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
575Running it thus--you'll tender me a fool.
Ophelia My lord, he hath importuned me with love
In honorable fashion.
Polonius Ay, fashion you may call it. Go to, go to.
Ophelia And hath given countenance to his speech, my lord,
580With almost all the holy vows of heaven.
Polonius 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
585Even in their promise as it is a-making,
You must not take for fire. From this time
Be something scanter of your maiden presence.
Set your entreatments at a higher rate
Than a command to parley. For Lord Hamlet,
590Believe 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
Not of that dye which their investments show,
595But mere implorators of unholy suits,
Breathing like sanctified and pious bawds
The better to beguile. This is for all:
I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth
Have you so slander any moment leisure
600As to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet.
Look to't, I charge you. Come your ways.
Ophelia I shall obey, my lord.
Exeunt.