Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Hamlet (Folio 1, 1623)
  • Editor: David Bevington
  • Textual editor: Eric Rasmussen
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-434-9

    Copyright David Bevington. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: David Bevington
    Peer Reviewed

    Hamlet (Folio 1, 1623)

    The Tragedie of Hamlet.
    480His greatne s s e weigh'd, his will is not his owne;
    For hee himselfe is subiect to his Birth:
    Hee may not, as vnuallued persons doe,
    Carue for himselfe; for, on his choyce depends
    The sanctity and health of the weole State.
    485And therefore mu st his choyce be circumscrib'd
    Vnto the voyce and yeelding of that Body,
    Whereof he is the Head. Then if he sayes he loues you,
    It fits your wisedome so farre to beleeue it;
    As he in his peculiar Sect and force
    490May giue his saying deed: which is no further,
    Then the maine voyce of Denmarke goes withall.
    Then weigh what lo s s e your Honour may su staine,
    If with too credent eare you li st his Songs;
    Or lose your Heart; or your cha st Treasure open
    495To his vnma stred importunity.
    Feare it Ophelia, feare it my deare Si ster,
    And keepe within the reare of your Affection;
    Out of the shot and danger of De sire.
    The charie st Maid is Prodigall enough,
    500If she vnmaske her beauty to the Moone:
    Vertue it selfe scapes not calumnious stroakes,
    The Canker Galls, the Infants of the Spring
    Too oft before the buttons be disclos'd,
    And in the Morne and liquid dew of Youth,
    505Contagious bla stments are mo st imminent.
    Be wary then, be st safety lies in feare;
    Youth to it selfe rebels, though none else neere.
    Ophe. I shall th'effect of this good Le s s on keepe,
    As watchmen to my heart: but good my Brother
    510Doe not as some vngracious Pa stors doe,
    Shew me the steepe and thorny way to Heauen;
    Whil st like a puft and reckle s s e Libertine
    Himselfe, the Primrose path of dalliance treads,
    And reaks not his owne reade.
    515 Laer. Oh, feare me not.
    Enter Polonius.
    I stay too long; but here my Father comes:
    A double ble s sing is a double grace;
    Occa sion smiles vpon a second leaue.
    520 Polon. Yet heere Laertes? Aboord, aboord for shame,
    The winde sits in the shoulder of your saile,
    And you are staid for there: my ble s sing with you;
    And these few Precepts in thy memory,
    See thou Character. Giue thy thoughts no tongue,
    525Nor any vnproportion'd thought his Act:
    Be thou familiar; but by no meanes vulgar:
    The friends thou ha st, and their adoption tride,
    Grapple them to thy Soule, with hoopes of Steele:
    But doe not dull thy palme, with entertainment
    530Of each vnhatch't, vnfledg'd Comrade. Beware
    Of entrance to a quarrell: but being in
    Bear't that th'opposed may beware of thee.
    Giue euery man thine eare; but few thy voyce:
    Take each mans censure; but reserue thy iudgement:
    535Co stly thy habit as thy purse can buy;
    But not expre st in fancie; rich, not gawdie:
    For the Apparell oft proclaimes the man.
    And they in France of the be st ranck and station,
    Are of a mo st select and generous cheff in that.
    540Neither a borrower, nor a lender be;
    For lone oft loses both it selfe and friend:
    And borrowing duls the edge of Husbandry.
    This aboue all; to thine owne selfe be true:
    And it mu st follow, as the Night the Day,
    545Thou can st not then be false to any man.
    Farewell: my Ble s sing season this in thee.
    Laer. Mo st humbly doe I take my leaue, my Lord.
    Polon. The time inuites you, goe, your seruants tend.
    Laer. Farewell Ophelia, and remember well
    550What I haue said to you.
    Ophe. Tis in my memory lockt,
    And you your selfe shall keepe the key of it.
    Laer. Farewell. Exit Laer.
    Polon. What i st Ophelia he hath said to you?
    555 Ophe. So please you, somthing touching the L. Hamlet.
    Polon. Marry, well bethought:
    Tis told me he hath very oft of late
    Giuen priuate time to you; and you your selfe
    Haue of your audience beene mo st free and bounteous.
    560If it be so, as so tis put on me;
    And that in way of caution: I mu st tell you,
    You doe not vnder stand your selfe so cleerely,
    As it behoues my Daughter, and your Honour.
    What is betweene you, giue me vp the truth?
    565 Ophe. He hath my Lord of late, made many tenders
    Of his affection to me.
    Polon. Affection, puh. You speake like a greene Girle,
    Vn sifted in such perillous Circum stance.
    Doe you beleeue his tenders, as you call them?
    570 Ophe. I do not know, my Lord, what I should thinke.
    Polon. Marry Ile teach you; thinke your selfe a Baby,
    That you haue tane his tenders for true pay,
    Which are not starling. Tender your selfe more dearly;
    Or not to crack the winde of the poore Phrase,
    575Roaming it thus, you'l tender me a foole.
    Ophe. My Lord, he hath importun'd me with loue,
    In honourable fa shion.
    Polon. I, fa shion you may call it, go too, go too.
    Ophe. And hath giuen countenance to his speech,
    580My Lord, with all the vowes of Heauen.
    Polon. I, Springes to catch Woodcocks. I doe know
    When the Bloud burnes, how Prodigall the Soule
    Giues the tongue vowes: these blazes, Daughter,
    Giuing more light then heate; extinct in both,
    585Euen in their promise, as it is a making;
    You mu st not take for fire. For this time Daughter,
    Be somewhat scanter of your Maiden presence;
    Set your entreatments at a higher rate,
    Then a command to parley. For Lord Hamlet,
    590Beleeue so much in him, that he is young,
    And with a larger tether may he walke,
    Then may be giuen you. In few, Ophelia,
    Doe not beleeue his vowes; for they are Broakers,
    Not of the eye, which their Inue stments show:
    595But meere implorators of vnholy Sutes,
    Breathing like sanctified and pious bonds,
    The better to beguile. This is for all:
    I would not, in plaine tearmes, from this time forth,
    Haue you so slander any moment leisure,
    600As to giue words or talke with the Lord Hamlet:
    Looke too't, I charge you; come your wayes.
    Ophe. I shall obey my Lord. Exeunt.

    Enter Hamlet, Horatio, Marcellus.
    Ham. The Ayre bites shrewdly: is it very cold?
    605 Hor. It is a nipping and an eager ayre.
    Ham. What hower now?
    Hor. I thinke it lacks of twelue.
    Mar. No, it is strooke.
    Hor. Indeed I heard it not: then it drawes neere the (season,
    610Wherein the Spirit held his wont to walke.