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And now no soil, nor cautel, doth besmirch
The virtue of his will : but, you must fear,
His greatness weigh’d, his will is not his own;
For he himself is subject to his birth :
He may not, as unvalued persons do,
Carve for himself; for on his choice depends
The sanctity and health of the whole state;
And therefore must his choice be circumscribed
Unto the voice and yielding of that body,
Whereof he is the head. Then if he says, he

loves you,
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 within 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,
Too oft before their buttons be disclosed;
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 the effect of this good lesson

keep, As watchman to my heart. But, good my

brother, Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,

Laer.

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 rede.

O fear me not. I stay too long ;—but here my father comes.

Enter POLONIUS. 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

you! (Laying his hand on LAERTES' head. And these few precepts in thy memory See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue, Nor any unproportion'd thought his act. Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar. The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel ; But do not dull thy palm with entertainment Of each new-hatch'd, unfledged comrade. Be.

ware Of entrance to a quarrel : but, being in, Bear't that the opposed may beware of thee. Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice : Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judg.

ment. 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 of a most select and generous sheaf in that. Neither a borrower nor a lender be : For loan oft loses both itself and friend,

memor

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 !
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.

Oph.
And you yourself shall keep the key of it.
Laer. Farewell.

[Exit. 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

bounteous : 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 ? puh! you speak like a green

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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 his tenders for true pay, Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more

dearly; Or, (not to crack the wind of the poor phrase, Running it thus,) you'll tender me a fool. Oph. My lord, he hath importuned 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 all the vows of heaven.

Pol. Ay, springes to catch woodcocks. I do

know,

When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul
Gives 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,

daughter,
Be somewhat scanter of your maiden presence ;
Set your entreatments at a higher rate,
Than a command to parley. 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 the eye which their investments show,
But mere implorators of unholy suits,
Breathing like sanctified and pious bonds,
The better to beguile. This is for all,
I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth,
Have you so slander any moment leisure,

As to give words or talk with the lord Hamlet. Look to't, I charge you ; come your ways.

Oph. I shall obey, my lord. (Exeunt.

SCENE IV.- The Platform.

Enter Hamlet, HORATIO, and MARCELLUS. Ham. The air bites shrewdly. It is very cold. Hor. It is a nipping and an eager air.. Ham. What hour now? Hor.

I think, it lacks of twelve. Mar, No, it is struck. Hor. Indeed ? I heard it not; then it draws

near the season, Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.

[A flourish of trumpets, and ordnance shot off,

within." What does this mean, my lord ? Ham. The king doth wake to-night, and

takes his rouse, Keeps wassail, and the swaggering up-spring

reels; And, as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down, The kettle-drum and trumpet thus bray out The triumph of his pledge. Hor.

Is it a custom ? Ham. Ay, marry, is't : And to my mind, though I am native here, And to the manner born, it is a custom More honour'd in the breach than the observance. This heavy-headed revel, east and west Makes us traduced and tax'd of other nations : They clepe us drunkards, and with swinish

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