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He may not, as unvalued persons do,
Carve for himself; for on his choice depends
The safety and health of the whole state; 5
And therefore must his choice be circumscrib'd
Unto the voice and yielding of that body,
Whereof he is the head. Then, if he says he loves



It fits your wisdom so far to believe it,
As he in his particular act and place
May give his saying deed; which is no further
Than the main voice of Denmark goes withal.
Then, weigh what loss your honour may sustain,
If with too credent ear you list his songs,"

Or lose your heart, or your chaste treasure open
To his unmaster'd importunity.

Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear sister; .
And keep you in the rear of your affection,
Out of the shot and danger of desire.
The chariest maid is prodigal enough,
If she unmask her beauty to the moon.
Virtue itself 'scapes not calumnious strokes :
The canker galls the infants of the spring,

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,
Though Thetis self should swear her safety."

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;
And in the morn and liquid dew of youth
Contagious blastments are most imminent.
Be wary, then; best safety lies in fear:
Youth to itself rebels, though none else near.

Oph. I shall th' effect of this good lesson keep,
As watchman to my heart. But, good my brother,
Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
Whilst, like a puff'd and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
And recks not his own read.8


O! 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.

Pol. Yet here, Laertes? aboard, aboard, for shame!

The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
And you are stay'd for.


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.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar :


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,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm 11 with entertainment
Of each new-hatch'd, unfledg'd comrade.
Of entrance to a quarrel; but, being in,
Bear 't, that th' opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice:
Take each man's censure, 12 but reserve thy judg-



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;
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all,—to thine ownself be true;
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell my blessing season this in thee!14

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.)
Laer. Farewell.

[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
Given private time to you; and you yourself

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,
You do not understand yourself so clearly,
As it behoves my daughter, and your honour.
What is between you? give me up the truth.

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.
Do you believe his tenders, as you call them?

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,
Wronging it thus) you'll tender me a fool.15

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
Lends the tongue vows: these blazes, daughter,
Giving more light than heat, - extinct in both,
Even in their promise, as it is a-making,-
You must not take for fire. From this time, daugh-





Be somewhat scanter of your maiden presence;
Set your entreatments at a higher rate,
Than a command to parley.1 For lord Hamlet,
Believe 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,

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.

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