Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: David Bevington
Peer Reviewed

Hamlet (Folio 1, 1623)

156 The Tragedie of Hamlet.
480His greatnesse 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 must 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 losse your Honour may sustaine,
If with too credent eare you list his Songs;
Or lose your Heart; or your chast Treasure open
495To his vnmastred importunity.
Feare it Ophelia, feare it my deare Sister,
And keepe within the reare of your Affection;
Out of the shot and danger of Desire.
The chariest 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 blastments are most imminent.
Be wary then, best safety lies in feare;
Youth to it selfe rebels, though none else neere.
Ophe. I shall th'effect of this good Lesson keepe,
As watchmen to my heart: but good my Brother
510Doe not as some vngracious Pastors doe,
Shew me the steepe and thorny way to Heauen;
Whilst like a puft and recklesse Libertine
Himselfe, the Primrose path of dalliance treads,
And reaks not his owne reade.
515Laer. Oh, feare me not.
Enter Polonius.
I stay too long; but here my Father comes:
A double blessing is a double grace;
Occasion smiles vpon a second leaue.
520Polon. Yet heere Laertes? Aboord, aboord for shame,
The winde sits in the shoulder of your saile,
And you are staid for there: my blessing 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 hast, 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:
535Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy;
But not exprest in fancie; rich, not gawdie:
For the Apparell oft proclaimes the man.
And they in France of the best ranck and station,
Are of a most 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 must follow, as the Night the Day,
545Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell: my Blessing season this in thee.
Laer. Most 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 ist Ophelia he hath said to you?
555Ophe. 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 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 doe not vnderstand your selfe so cleerely,
As it behoues my Daughter, and your Honour.
What is betweene you, giue me vp the truth?
565Ophe. He hath my Lord of late, made many tenders
Of his affection to me.
Polon. Affection, puh. You speake like a greene Girle,
Vnsifted in such perillous Circumstance.
Doe you beleeue his tenders, as you call them?
570Ophe. 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 fashion.
Polon. I, fashion 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 must 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 Inuestments 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?
605Hor. 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.