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  • Title: Hamlet (Quarto 2, 1604)
  • Textual editor: Eric Rasmussen
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-434-9

    Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Hamlet (Quarto 2, 1604)

    His greatnes wayd, his will is not his owne,
    He may not as vnualewed persons doe,
    Carue for himselfe, for on his choise depends
    The safty and health of this whole state,
    485And therefore must his choise be circumscribd
    Vnto the voyce and yeelding of that body
    Whereof he is the head, then if he saies he loues you,
    It fits your wisdome so farre to belieue it
    As he in his particuler act and place
    490May giue his saying deede, which is no further
    Then the maine voyce of Denmarke goes withall.
    Then way what losse your honor may sustaine
    If with too credent eare you list his songs
    Or loose your hart, or your chast treasure open
    495To his vnmastred importunity.
    Feare it Ophelia, feare it my deare sister,
    And keepe you in the reare of your affection
    Out of the shot and danger of desire,
    "The chariest maide is prodigall inough
    500If she vnmaske her butie to the Moone
    "Vertue it selfe scapes not calumnious strokes
    "The canker gaules the infants of the spring
    Too oft before their buttons be disclos'd,
    And in the morne and liquid dewe of youth
    505Contagious blastments are most iminent,
    Be wary then, best safety lies in feare,
    Youth to it selfe rebels, though non els neare.
    Ophe. I shall the effect of this good lesson keepe
    As watchman to my hart, but good my brother
    510Doe not as some vngracious pastors doe,
    Showe me the stepe and thorny way to heauen
    Whiles a puft, and reckles libertine
    Himselfe the primrose path of dalience treads.
    And reakes not his owne reed. Enter Polonius.
    515Laer. O feare me not,
    I stay too long, but heere my father comes
    A double blessing, is a double grace,
    Occasion smiles vpon a second leaue.
    520Pol. Yet heere Laertes? a bord, a bord for shame,