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Navigate this workHamlet
Act 1, scene 3
In Polonius’s chambers, Laertes says good-bye to his sister, Ophelia, and tells her not to trust Hamlet’s promises of love. Polonius joins them, sends Laertes off, then echoes Laertes’s warnings to Ophelia, finally ordering her not to see Hamlet again.Enter Laertes and Ophelia, his sister.
0472 My necessaries are embarked. Farewell.
0473 And, sister, as the winds give benefit
0474 And convey ⟨is⟩ assistant, do not sleep,
0475 But let me hear from you.
OPHELIA 0476 5 Do you doubt that?
0477 For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favor,
0478 Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood,
0479 A violet in the youth of primy nature,
0480 Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
0481 10 The perfume and suppliance of a minute,
0482 No more.
OPHELIA 0483 No more but so?
LAERTES 0484 Think it no more.
p. 410485 For nature, crescent, does not grow alone
0486 15 In thews and ⟨bulk,⟩ but, as this temple waxes,
0487 The inward service of the mind and soul
0488 Grows wide withal. Perhaps he loves you now,
0489 And now no soil nor cautel doth besmirch
0490 The virtue of his will; but you must fear,
0491 20 His greatness weighed, his will is not his own,
0492 ⟨For he himself is subject to his birth.⟩
0493 He may not, as unvalued persons do,
0494 Carve for himself, for on his choice depends
0495 The safety and ⌜the⌝ health of this whole state.
0496 25 And therefore must his choice be circumscribed
0497 Unto the voice and yielding of that body
0498 Whereof he is the head. Then, if he says he loves
0500 It fits your wisdom so far to believe it
0501 30 As he in his particular act and place
0502 May give his saying deed, which is no further
0503 Than the main voice of Denmark goes withal.
0504 Then weigh what loss your honor may sustain
0505 If with too credent ear you list his songs
0506 35 Or lose your heart or your chaste treasure open
0507 To his unmastered importunity.
0508 Fear it, Ophelia; fear it, my dear sister,
0509 And keep you in the rear of your affection,
0510 Out of the shot and danger of desire.
0511 40 The chariest maid is prodigal enough
0512 If she unmask her beauty to the moon.
0513 Virtue itself ’scapes not calumnious strokes.
0514 The canker galls the infants of the spring
0515 Too oft before their buttons be disclosed,
0516 45 And, in the morn and liquid dew of youth,
0517 Contagious blastments are most imminent.
0518 Be wary, then; best safety lies in fear.
0519 Youth to itself rebels, though none else near.
0520 I shall the effect of this good lesson keep
p. 430521 50 As watchman to my heart. But, good my brother,
0522 Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
0523 Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
0524 Whiles, ⟨like⟩ a puffed and reckless libertine,
0525 Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads
0526 55 And recks not his own rede.
LAERTES 0527 O, fear me not.
0528 I stay too long. But here my father comes.
0529 A double blessing is a double grace.
0530 Occasion smiles upon a second leave.
0531 60 Yet here, Laertes? Aboard, aboard, for shame!
0532 The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
0533 And you are stayed for. There, my blessing with
0535 And these few precepts in thy memory
0536 65 Look thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
0537 Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
0538 Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
0539 Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
0540 Grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel,
0541 70 But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
0542 Of each new-hatched, unfledged courage. Beware
0543 Of entrance to a quarrel, but, being in,
0544 Bear ’t that th’ opposèd may beware of thee.
0545 Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.
0546 75 Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.
0547 Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
0548 But not expressed in fancy (rich, not gaudy),
0549 For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
0550 And they in France of the best rank and station
0551 80 ⟨Are⟩ of a most select and generous chief in that.
0552 Neither a borrower nor a lender ⟨be,⟩
0553 For ⟨loan⟩ oft loses both itself and friend,
p. 450554 And borrowing ⟨dulls the⟩ edge of husbandry.
0555 This above all: to thine own self be true,
0556 85 And it must follow, as the night the day,
0557 Thou canst not then be false to any man.
0558 Farewell. My blessing season this in thee.
0559 Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.
0560 The time invests you. Go, your servants tend.
0561 90 Farewell, Ophelia, and remember well
0562 What I have said to you.
OPHELIA 0563 ’Tis in my memory locked,
0564 And you yourself shall keep the key of it.
LAERTES 0565 Farewell.Laertes exits.
0566 95 What is ’t, Ophelia, he hath said to you?
0567 So please you, something touching the Lord
POLONIUS 0569 Marry, well bethought.
0570 ’Tis told me he hath very oft of late
0571 100 Given private time to you, and you yourself
0572 Have of your audience been most free and
0574 If it be so (as so ’tis put on me,
0575 And that in way of caution), I must tell you
0576 105 You do not understand yourself so clearly
0577 As it behooves my daughter and your honor.
0578 What is between you? Give me up the truth.
0579 He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders
0580 Of his affection to me.
0581 110 Affection, puh! You speak like a green girl
0582 Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.
0583 Do you believe his “tenders,” as you call them?
0584 I do not know, my lord, what I should think.
0585 Marry, I will teach you. Think yourself a baby
0586 115 That you have ta’en these tenders for true pay,
0587 Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more dearly,
0588 Or (not to crack the wind of the poor phrase,
0589 ⌜Running⌝ it thus) you’ll tender me a fool.
0590 My lord, he hath importuned me with love
0591 120 In honorable fashion—
0592 Ay, “fashion” you may call it. Go to, go to!
0593 And hath given countenance to his speech, my lord,
0594 With almost all the holy vows of heaven.
0595 Ay, ⟨springes⟩ to catch woodcocks. I do know,
0596 125 When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul
0597 Lends the tongue vows. These blazes, daughter,
0598 Giving more light than heat, extinct in both
0599 Even in their promise as it is a-making,
0600 You must not take for fire. From this time
0601 130 Be something scanter of your maiden presence.
0602 Set your entreatments at a higher rate
0603 Than a command to parle. For Lord Hamlet,
0604 Believe so much in him that he is young,
0605 And with a larger ⟨tether⟩ may he walk
0606 135 Than may be given you. In few, Ophelia,
0607 Do not believe his vows, for they are brokers,
0608 Not of that dye which their investments show,
0609 But mere ⟨implorators⟩ of unholy suits,
0610 Breathing like sanctified and pious ⌜bawds⌝
0611 140 The better to ⟨beguile.⟩ This is for all:
0612 I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth
0613 Have you so slander any moment leisure
p. 490614 As to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet.
0615 Look to ’t, I charge you. Come your ways.
OPHELIA 0616 145I shall obey, my lord.