Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: David Bevington
Not Peer Reviewed

Hamlet (Modern, Editor's Version)


[2.1]
Enter old Polonius, with his man [Reynaldo] or two.
890Polonius Give him this money, and these notes, Reynaldo.
[He gives money and papers.]
Reynaldo I will, my lord.
Polonius You shall do marv'lous wisely, good Reynaldo,
Before you visit him, to make inquire
Of his behavior.
895Reynaldo
My lord, I did intend it.
Polonius Marry, well said, very well said. Look you, sir,
Inquire me first what Danskers are in Paris,
And how, and who, what means, and where they keep,
900What company, at what expense; and finding
By this encompassment and drift of question
That they do know my son, come you more nearer
Than your particular demands will touch it;
Take you, as 'twere, some distant knowledge of him,
905As thus: "I know his father, and his friends,
And in part him." Do you mark this, Reynaldo?
Reynaldo Ay, very well, my lord.
Polonius "And in part him. But," you may say, "not well,
But if't be he I mean, he's very wild,
910Addicted so and so," and there put on him
What forgeries you please--marry, none so rank
As may dishonor him, take heed of that,
But, sir, such wanton, wild, and usual slips
As are companions noted and most known
915To youth and liberty.
Reynaldo As gaming, my lord?
Polonius Ay, or drinking, fencing, swearing,
Quarreling, drabbing--you may go so far.
Reynaldo My lord, that would dishonor him.
920Polonius Faith, no, as you may season it in the charge.
You must not put another scandal on him
That he is open to incontinency;
That's not my meaning. But breathe his faults so quaintly
That they may seem the taints of liberty,
925The flash and outbreak of a fiery mind,
A savageness in unreclaimèd blood,
Of general assault.
Reynaldo But, my good lord--
Polonius Wherefore should you do this?
Reynaldo Ay, my lord, I would know that.
930Polonius Marry sir, here's my drift,
And I believe it is a fetch of warrant.
You laying these slight sullies on my son
As 'twere a thing a little soiled i'th' working,
Mark you, your party in converse, him you would sound,
935Having ever seen in the prenominate crimes
The youth you breathe of guilty, be assured
He closes with you in this consequence:
"Good sir" (or so), or "friend," or "gentleman,"
According to the phrase or the addition
940Of man and country.
Reynaldo
Very good, my lord.
Polonius And then, sir, does 'a this, 'a does--what was I about to say?
By the mass, I was about to say something.
Where did I leave?
945Reynaldo At "closes in the consequence."
At "friend," or so, and "gentleman."
Polonius At "closes in the consequence." Ay, marry,
He closes thus: "I know the gentleman,
I saw him yesterday"--or th'other day,
950Or then, or then--"with such or such, and as you say,
There was 'a gaming, there o'ertook in's rouse,
There falling out at tennis," or perchance
"I saw him enter such a house of sale,"
Videlicet, a brothel, or so forth. See you now,
955Your bait of falsehood takes this carp of truth,
And thus do we of wisdom and of reach,
With windlasses and with assays of bias,
By indirections find directions out;
So by my former lecture and advice
960Shall you my son. You have me, have you not?
Reynaldo
My lord, I have.
Polonius
God b'wi' ye, fare ye well.
Reynaldo Good my lord.
Polonius Observe his inclination in yourself.
965Reynaldo I shall, my lord.
Polonius And let him ply his music.
Reynaldo Well, my lord.
Polonius Farewell.
Exit Reynaldo.
Enter Ophelia.
How now, Ophelia, what's the matter?
Ophelia Oh, my lord, my lord, I have been so affrighted!
Polonius With what, i'th'name of God?
Ophelia My lord, as I was sewing in my chamber,
Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced,
975No hat upon his head, his stockings fouled,
Ungartered, and down-gyvèd to his ankle,
Pale as his shirt, his knees knocking each other,
And with a look so piteous in purport
As if he had been loosèd out of hell
980To speak of horrors, he comes before me.
Polonius
Mad for thy love?
Ophelia
My lord, I do not know,
But truly I do fear it.
Polonius
What said he?
Ophelia He took me by the wrist, and held me hard.
985Then goes he to the length of all his arm,
And with his other hand thus o'er his brow
He falls to such perusal of my face
As 'a would draw it. Long stayed he so.
At last, a little shaking of mine arm,
990And thrice his head thus waving up and down,
He raised a sigh so piteous and profound
As it did seem to shatter all his bulk
And end his being. That done, he lets me go,
And with his head over his shoulder turned
995He seemed to find his way without his eyes,
For out o'doors he went without their helps,
And to the last bended their light on me.
Polonius Come, go with me. I will go seek the King.
This is the very ecstasy of love,
1000Whose violent property fordoes itself
And leads the will to desperate undertakings
As oft as any passion under heaven
That does afflict our natures. I am sorry.
What, have you given him any hard words of late?
1005Ophelia No, my good lord, but as you did command
I did repel his letters, and denied
His access to me.
Polonius
That hath made him mad.
I am sorry that with better heed and judgment
1010I had not quoted him. I feared he did but trifle
And meant to wrack thee; but beshrew my jealousy!
By heaven, it is as proper to our age
To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions
As it is common for the younger sort
1015To lack discretion. Come, go we to the King.
This must be known, which, being kept close, might move
More grief to hide than hate to utter love.
Come.
Exeunt.