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ACT I Scene III. 


Elsinore. A room in the house of Polonius.

Enter Laertes and Ophelia.

 LAERTES.

My necessaries are embark'd. Farewell.
And, sister, as the winds give benefit
And convoy is assistant, do not sleep,
But let me hear from you.

 OPHELIA.

Do you doubt that?

 LAERTES.

For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favour,
Hold it a fashion, and a toy in blood;
A violet in the youth of primy nature,
Forward, not permanent- sweet, not lasting;
The perfume and suppliance of a minute;
No more.

 OPHELIA.

No more but so?

 LAERTES.

Think it no more.
For nature crescent does not grow alone
In thews and bulk; but as this temple waxes,
The inward service of the mind and soul
Grows wide withal. Perhaps he loves you now,
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 safety and health of this whole state,Ôin 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 scopes not calumnious strokes.
The canker galls the infants of the spring
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.

 OPHELIA.

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,
Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads
And recks not his own rede.

 LAERTES.

O, fear me not!

Enter Polonius.

 

I stay too long. But here my father comes.
A double blessing is a double grace;
Occasion smiles upon a second leave.

 POLONIUS.

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 thee!
And these few precepts in thy memory
Look thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportion'd thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar:
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch'd, unfledg'd comrade. Beware
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, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy;Ôr nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all- to thine own self 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!

 LAERTES.

Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.

 POLONIUS.

The time invites you. Go, your servants tend.

 LAERTES.

Farewell, Ophelia, and remember well
What I have said to you.

 OPHELIA.

'Tis in my memory lock'd,
And you yourself shall keep the key of it.

 LAERTES.

Farewell

Exit.

 POLONIUS.

What is't, Ophelia, he hath said to you?

 OPHELIA.

So please you, something touching the Lord Hamlet.

 POLONIUS.

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 behooves my daughter and your honour.
What is between you? Give me up the truth.

 OPHELIA.

He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders
Of his affection to me.

 POLONIUS.

Affection? Pooh! You speak like a green girl,
Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.
Do you believe his tenders, as you call them?

 OPHELIA.

I do not know, my lord, what I should think,

 POLONIUS.

Marry, I will teach you! Think yourself a baby
That you have ta'en these 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.

 OPHELIA.

My lord, he hath importun'd me with love
In honourable fashion.

 POLONIUS.

Ay, fashion you may call it. Go to, go to!

 OPHELIA.

And hath given countenance to his speech, my lord,
With almost all the holy vows of heaven.

 POLONIUS.

Ay, springes to catch woodcocks! I do 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
Be something 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,Ôdeed it takes
From our achievements, though perform'd at height,
The pith and marrow of our attribute.
So oft it chances in particular men
That, for some vicious mole of nature in them,
As in their birth,- wherein they are not guilty,
Since nature cannot choose his origin,-
By the o'ergrowth of some complexion,
Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason,
Or by some habit that too much o'erleavensÔ It waves you to a more removed ground.
But do not go with it!

 HORATIO.

No, by no means!

 HAMLET.

It will not speak. Then will I follow it.

 HORATIO.

Do not, my lord!

 HAMLET.

Why, what should be the fear?
I do not set my life at a pin's fee;
And for my soul, what can it do to that,
Being a thing immortal as itself?
It waves me forth again. I'll follow it.

 HORATIO.

What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord,
Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff
That beetles o'er his base into the sea,
And there assume some other, horrible form
Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason
And draw you into madness? Think of it.
The very place puts toys of desperation,
Without more motive, into every brainÔ Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
To what I shall unfold.

 HAMLET.

Speak. I am bound to hear.

 GHOST.

So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear.

 HAMLET.

What?

 GHOST.

I am thy father's spirit,
Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night,
And for the day confin'd to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purg'd away. But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison house,
I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
Thy knotted and combined locks to part,Ô
That it went hand in hand even with the vow
I made to her in marriage, and to decline
Upon a wretch whose natural gifts were poor
To those of mine!
But virtue, as it never will be mov'd,
Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven,
So lust, though to a radiant angel link'd,
Will sate itself in a celestial bed
And prey on garbage.
But soft! methinks I scent the morning air.
Brief let me be. Sleeping within my orchard,
My custom always of the afternoon,
Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole,
With juice of cursed hebona in a vial,
And in the porches of my ears did pour
The leperous distilment; whose effect
Holds such an enmity with blood of man
That swift as quicksilverr it courses through
The natural gates and alleys of the body,
And with a sudden vigour it doth posset
And curd, like eager droppings into milk,
The thin and wholesome blood. So did it mine;ÔHold, hold, my heart!
And you, my sinews, grow not instant old,
But bear me stiffly up. Remember thee?
Ay, thou poor ghost, while memory holds a seat
In this distracted globe. Remember thee?
Yea, from the table of my memory
I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past
That youth and observation copied there,
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain,
Unmix'd with baser matter. Yes, by heaven!
O most pernicious woman!
O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!
My tables! Meet it is I set it down
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain;
At least I am sure it may be so in Denmark
[Writes.]
So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word:
It is 'Adieu, adieu! Remember me.'
I have sworn't.

 HORATIO.

(within) My lord, my lord!

Enter Horatio and Marcellus.

 MARCELLUS.

Lord Hamlet!

 HORATIO.

Heaven secure him!

 HAMLET.

So be it!

 MARCELLUS.

Illo, ho, ho, my lord!

 HAMLET.

Hillo, ho, ho, boy! Come, bird, come.

 MARCELLUS.

How is't, my noble lord?

 HORATIO.

What news, my lord?Ôere's no offence, my lord.

 HAMLET.

Yes, by Saint Patrick, but there is, Horatio,
And much offence too. Touching this vision here,
It is an honest ghost, that let me tell you.
For your desire to know what is between us,
O'ermaster't as you may. And now, good friends,
As you are friends, scholars, and soldiers,
Give me one poor request.

 HORATIO.

What is't, my lord? We will.

 HAMLET.

Never make known what you have seen to-night.

 BOTH.

My lord, we will not.

 HAMLET.

Nay, but swear't.

 HORATIO.

In faith,
My lord, not I.

 MARCELLUS.

Nor I, my lord- in faith.

 HAMLET.

Upon my sword.

 MARCELLUS.

We have sworn, my lord, already.

 HAMLET.

Indeed, upon my sword, indeed.

Ghost cries under the stage.

 GHOST.

Swear.

 HAMLET.

Aha boy, say'st thou so? Art thou there, truepenny?
Come on! You hear this fellow in the cellarage.
Consent to swear.

 HORATIO.

Propose the oath, my lord.

 HAMLET.

Never to speak of this that you have seen.
Swear by my sword.

 GHOST.

[beneath] Swear.

 HAMLET.

Hic et ubique? Then we'll shift our ground.
Come hither, gentlemen,
And lay your hands again upon my sword.Ôif they might,'
Or such ambiguous giving out, to note
That you know aught of me- this is not to do,
So grace and mercy at your most need help you,
Swear.

 GHOST.

[beneath] Swear.

[They swear.]

 HAMLET.

Rest, rest, perturbed spirit! So, gentlemen,
With all my love I do commend me to you;
And what so poor a man as Hamlet is
May do t' express his love and friending to you,
God willing, shall not lack. Let us go in together;
And still your fingers on your lips, I pray.
The time is out of joint. O cursed spite
That ever I was born to set it right!
Nay, come, let's go together.

Exeunt.

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