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He may not, as unvalued persons do,
It fits your wisdom so far to believe it,
Or lose your heart, or your chaste treasure open
Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear sister; .
movements in the play, and the skill with which it is interwoven with the dramatic parts is peculiarly an excellence with our Poet. You experience the sensation of a pause, without the sense of a stop. You will observe, in Ophelia's short and general answer to the long speech of Laertes, the natural carelessness of innocence, which cannot think such a code of cautions and prudences necessary to its own preservation."
5 Thus the quartos; the folio has sanctity instead of safety, supposing the metre defective. But safety is used as a trisyllable by Spenser and others. Thus Hall in his first Satire :
"Nor fish can dive so deep in yielding sea,
6 The folio has "peculiar sect and force" instead of "particular act and place."
7 If with too credulous ear you listen to his songs.
Too oft before their buttons be disclos'd;
Oph. I shall th' effect of this good lesson keep,
O! fear me not.
I stay too long;—but here my father comes.
A double blessing is a double grace;
Pol. Yet here, Laertes? aboard, aboard, for shame!
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
There; my blessing with
[Laying his Hand on LAERTES' Head. And these few precepts in thy memory
Look thou character.9 Give thy thoughts no
Nor any unproportion'd thought his act.
8 That is, regards not his own lesson. Read was often thus used as a substantive, for the thing read.
9 That is, mark, imprint, strongly infix.
10 Vulgar is here used in its old sense of common. In the second line below, divers modern editions have hooks instead of hoops, the reading of all the old copies. It is not easy to see what is gained by the unauthorized change.
The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy:
For the apparel oft proclaims the man ;
And they in France, of the best rank and station, Are most select and generous, chief in that.13 Neither a borrower nor a lender be:
For loan oft loses both itself and friend;
Laer. Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord. Pol. The time invites you: go; your servants tend.
Laer. Farewell, Ophelia; and remember well What I have said to you.
11 "Do not blunt thy feeling by taking every new acquaintance by the hand, or by admitting him to the intimacy of a friend."
12 Censure was continually used for opinion.
13 The old copies read, "Are of a most select," &c., to the destruction of both measure and sense.
14To season, for to infuse," says Warburton.
"It is more
than to infuse, it is to infix in such a manner that it may never wear out," says Johnson. But hear one of the Poet's contemporaries: "To season, to temper wisely, to make more pleasant and acceptable." BARET. This is the sense required, and is a better commentary than the conjectures of the learned critics.
"Tis in my memory lock'd,
And you yourself shall keep the key of it.)
[Exit LAERTES. Pol. What is't, Ophelia, he hath said to you? Oph. So please you, something touching the lord Hamlet.
Pol. Marry, well bethought:
'Tis told me, he hath very oft of late
Have of your audience been most free and boun
If it be so, (as so 'tis put on me,
And that in way of caution,) I must tell you,
Oph. He hath, my lord, of late, made many tenders Of his affection to me.
Pol. Affection? pooh! you speak like a green girl,
Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.
Oph. I do not know, my lord, what I should think. Pol. Marry, I'll teach you: think yourself a baby; That you have ta'en these tenders for true pay, Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more
Or (not to crack the wind of the poor phrase,
15 Instead of Wronging, the folio has Roaming; an evident roaming from sense. Mr. Collier some years ago conjectured running to be the right word, and has since found running in his second folio; a coincidence that may be read running. The quartos have Wrong, which has been changed rightly, we doubt not, to Wronging. It should be noted that thus refers to what goes before, not what follows; as if he had said, " and so wrong it," or, "thereby
Oph. My lord, he hath importun'd me with love, In honourable fashion.
Pol. Ay, fashion you may call it go to, go to. Oph. And hath given countenance to his speech, my lord,
With almost all the holy vows of heaven.16 Pol. Ay, springes to catch woodcocks.17 know,
When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul
Be somewhat scanter of your maiden presence;
doing it wrong." Of course he is comparing the phrase to a poor nag, which, if put to too hard a strain, will be wind-broken.
16 The folio gives this line thus: "With all the vows of heav
17 This was a proverbial phrase. There is a collection of epigrams under that title: the woodcock being accounted a witless bird, from a vulgar notion that it had no brains. Springes to catch woodcocks" means "afts to entrap simplicity."
18 Daughter is found only in the folio, which misprints for instead of from. Daughter helps both the measure and the sense; and as fire was then going out of use as a dissyllable, we have no doubt the Poet supplied the word.
19 Be more difficult of access, and let the suits to you for that purpose be of higher respect, than a command to parley."
20 That is, with a longer line; a horse, fastened by a string to a stake, is tethered.