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Home > Hamlet > ACT I - SCENE III. A room in Polonius' house.

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ACT I - SCENE III. A room in Polonius' house.
Enter LAERTES and OPHELIA

LAERTES
1    My necessaries are embark'd: farewell:
2    And, sister, as the winds give benefit
3    And convoy is assistant, do not sleep,
4    But let me hear from you.
OPHELIA
5    Do you doubt that?
LAERTES
6    For Hamlet and the trifling of his favour,
7    Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood,
8    A violet in the youth of primy nature,
9    Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
10   The perfume and suppliance of a minute; No more.
OPHELIA
11   No more but so?
LAERTES
12   Think it no more;
13   For nature, crescent, does not grow alone
14   In thews and bulk, but, as this temple waxes,
15   The inward service of the mind and soul
16   Grows wide withal. Perhaps he loves you now,
17   And now no soil nor cautel doth besmirch
18   The virtue of his will: but you must fear,
19   His greatness weigh'd, his will is not his own;
20   For he himself is subject to his birth:
21   He may not, as unvalued persons do,
22   Carve for himself; for on his choice depends
23   The safety and health of this whole state;
24   And therefore must his choice be circumscribed
25   Unto the voice and yielding of that body
26   Whereof he is the head. Then if he says he loves you,
27   It fits your wisdom so far to believe it
28   As he in his particular act and place
29   May give his saying deed; which is no further
30   Than the main voice of Denmark goes withal.
31   Then weigh what loss your honour may sustain,
32   If with too credent ear you list his songs,
33   Or lose your heart, or your chaste treasure open
34   To his unmaster'd importunity.
35   Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear sister,
36   And keep you in the rear of your affection,
37   Out of the shot and danger of desire.
38   The chariest maid is prodigal enough,
39   If she unmask her beauty to the moon:
40   Virtue itself 'scapes not calumnious strokes:
41   The canker galls the infants of the spring,
42   Too oft before their buttons be disclosed,
43   And in the morn and liquid dew of youth
44   Contagious blastments are most imminent.
45   Be wary then; best safety lies in fear:
46   Youth to itself rebels, though none else near.
OPHELIA
47   I shall the effect of this good lesson keep,
48   As watchman to my heart. But, good my brother,
49   Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
50   Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven;
51   Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine,
52   Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
53   And recks not his own rede.
LAERTES
54   O, fear me not.
55   I stay too long: but here my father comes.
Enter POLONIUS
56   A double blessing is a double grace,
57   Occasion smiles upon a second leave.
LORD POLONIUS
58   Yet here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for shame!
59   The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
60   And you are stay'd for. There; my blessing with thee!
61   And these few precepts in thy memory
62   See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
63   Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
64   Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
65   Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
66   Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
67   But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
68   Of each new-hatch'd, unfledged comrade. Beware
69   Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
70   Bear't that the opposed may beware of thee.
71   Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
72   Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
73   Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
74   But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
75   For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
76   And they in France of the best rank and station
77   Are of a most select and generous chief in that.
78   Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
79   For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
80   And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
81   This above all: to thine ownself be true,
82   And it must follow, as the night the day,
83   Thou canst not then be false to any man.
84   Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!
LAERTES
85   Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.
LORD POLONIUS
86   The time invites you; go; your servants tend.
LAERTES
87   Farewell, Ophelia; and remember well
88   What I have said to you.
OPHELIA
89   'Tis in my memory lock'd,
90   And you yourself shall keep the key of it.
LAERTES
91   Farewell.
Exit

LORD POLONIUS
92   What is't, Ophelia, be hath said to you?
OPHELIA
93   So please you, something touching the Lord Hamlet.
LORD POLONIUS
94   Marry, well bethought:
95   'Tis told me, he hath very oft of late
96   Given private time to you; and you yourself
97   Have of your audience been most free and bounteous:
98   If it be so, as so 'tis put on me,
99   And that in way of caution, I must tell you,
100  You do not understand yourself so clearly
101  As it behoves my daughter and your honour.
102  What is between you? give me up the truth.
OPHELIA
103  He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders
104  Of his affection to me.
LORD POLONIUS
105  Affection! pooh! you speak like a green girl,
106  Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.
107  Do you believe his tenders, as you call them?
OPHELIA
108  I do not know, my lord, what I should think.
LORD POLONIUS
109  Marry, I'll teach you: think yourself a baby;
110  That you have ta'en these tenders for true pay,
111  Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more dearly;
112  Or--not to crack the wind of the poor phrase,
113  Running it thus--you'll tender me a fool.
OPHELIA
114  My lord, he hath importuned me with love
115  In honourable fashion.
LORD POLONIUS
116  Ay, fashion you may call it; go to, go to.
OPHELIA
117  And hath given countenance to his speech, my lord,
118  With almost all the holy vows of heaven.
LORD POLONIUS
119  Ay, springes to catch woodcocks. I do know,
120  When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul
121  Lends the tongue vows: these blazes, daughter,
122  Giving more light than heat, extinct in both,
123  Even in their promise, as it is a-making,
124  You must not take for fire. From this time
125  Be somewhat scanter of your maiden presence;
126  Set your entreatments at a higher rate
127  Than a command to parley. For Lord Hamlet,
128  Believe so much in him, that he is young
129  And with a larger tether may he walk
130  Than may be given you: in few, Ophelia,
131  Do not believe his vows; for they are brokers,
132  Not of that dye which their investments show,
133  But mere implorators of unholy suits,
134  Breathing like sanctified and pious bawds,
135  The better to beguile. This is for all:
136  I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth,
137  Have you so slander any moment leisure,
138  As to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet.
139  Look to't, I charge you: come your ways.
OPHELIA
140  I shall obey, my lord.
Exeunt

< (Previous) ACT I, SCENE IIACT I, SCENE IV (Next) >
Scene Index
ACT I
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V


  • ACT II
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II


  • ACT III
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV


  • ACT IV
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V
  • SCENE VI
  • SCENE VII


  • ACT V
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II

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