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  • Title: Hamlet (Modern, Editor's Version)
  • Editor: David Bevington
  • 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
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Hamlet (Modern, Editor's Version)

    Enter Laertes, and Ophelia his sister.
    My necessaries are embarked. Farewell.
    And sister, as the winds give benefit
    And convoy is assistant, do not sleep
    465But let me hear from you.
    Do you doubt that?
    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.
    No more but so?
    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 the 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 within 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.
    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
    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.
    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
    See 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 comrade. Beware
    Of entrance to a quarrel, but, being in,
    Bear't that th'opposèd may beware of thee.
    Give every man thine 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 all 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!
    Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.
    The time invites you. Go. Your servants tend.
    Farewell, Ophelia, and remember well
    550What I have said to you.
    'Tis in my memory locked,
    And you yourself shall keep the key of it.
    Exit Laertes.
    What is't, Ophelia, he hath said to you?
    So please you, something touching the Lord Hamlet.
    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.
    He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders
    Of his affection to me.
    Affection? Pooh, you speak like a green girl,
    Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.
    Do you believe his "tenders," as you call them?
    I do not know, my lord, what I should think.
    Marry, I'll teach you. Think yourself a baby
    That you have ta'en his 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.
    My lord, he hath importuned me with love
    In honorable fashion.
    Ay, fashion you may call it. Go to, go to.
    And hath given countenance to his speech, my lord,
    580With almost all the holy vows of heaven.
    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, daughter,
    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.
    I shall obey, my lord.