Hamlet: Act 1, Scene 3
Enter LAERTES and OPHELIA,
his sister. Full Summary
4 Do you doubt that?
5 For Hamlet and the trifling of his favor,
6 Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood,
7 A violet in the youth of primy nature,
8 Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
9 The perfume and suppliance of a minute
10 No more.
10 No more but so?
10 Think it no more;
11 For nature, crescent, does not grow alone
12 In thews and bulk, but, as this temple waxes,
13 The inward service of the mind and soul
14 Grows wide withal. Perhaps he loves you now,
15 And now no soil nor cautel doth besmirch
16 The virtue of his will; but you must fear,
17 His greatness weigh'd, his will is not his own;
18 For he himself is subject to his birth:
19 He may not, as unvalued persons do,
20 Carve for himself; for on his choice depends
21 The safety and health of this whole state;
22 And therefore must his choice be circumscribed
23 Unto the voice and yielding of that body
24 Whereof he is the head. Then if he says he loves you,
25 It fits your wisdom so far to believe it
26 As he in his particular act and place
27 May give his saying deed; which is no further
28 Than the main voice of Denmark goes withal.
29 Then weigh what loss your honor may sustain,
30 If with too credent ear you list his songs,
31 Or lose your heart, or your chaste treasure open
32 To his unmaster'd importunity.
33 Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear sister,
34 And keep you in the rear of your affection,
35 Out of the shot and danger of desire.
36 The chariest maid is prodigal enough,
37 If she unmask her beauty to the moon:
38 Virtue itself scapes not calumnious strokes:
39 The canker galls the infants of the spring,
40 Too oft before their buttons be disclosed,
41 And in the morn and liquid dew of youth
42 Contagious blastments are most imminent.
43 Be wary then; best safety lies in fear.
44 Youth to itself rebels, though none else near.
45 I shall the effect of this good lesson keep,
46 As watchman to my heart. But, good my brother,
47 Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
48 Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
49 Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine,
50 Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
51 And recks not his own rede.
55 Yet here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for shame!
56 The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
57 And you are stay'd for. There, my blessing with thee!
58 And these few precepts in thy memory
59 See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
60 Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
61 Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
62 Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
63 Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
64 But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
65 Of each new-hatch'd, unfledged courage. Beware
66 Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
67 Bear't that the opposed may beware of thee.
68 Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
69 Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
70 Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
71 But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy,
72 For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
73 And they in France of the best rank and station
74 Or of a most select and generous chief in that.
75 Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
76 For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
77 And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
78 This above all: to thine ownself be true,
79 And it must follow, as the night the day,
80 Thou canst not then be false to any man.
81 Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!
82 Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.
83 The time invests you. Go, your servants tend.
88 What is't, Ophelia, he hath said to you?
89 So please you, something touching the Lord Hamlet.
90 Marry, well bethought:
91 'Tis told me, he hath very oft of late
92 Given private time to you; and you yourself
93 Have of your audience been most free and bounteous:
94 If it be soas so 'tis put on me,
95 And that in way of cautionI must tell you,
96 You do not understand yourself so clearly
97 As it behooves my daughter and your honor.
98 What is between you? give me up the truth.
104 I do not know, my lord, what I should think.
105 Marry, I'll teach you: think yourself a baby
106 That you have ta'en these tenders for true pay,
107 Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more dearly;
108 Ornot to crack the wind of the poor phrase,
109 Running it thusyou'll tender me a fool.
112 Ay, fashion you may call it; go to, go to.
115 Ay, springes to catch woodcocks. I do know,
116 When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul
117 Lends the tongue vows. These blazes, daughter,
118 Giving more light than heat, extinct in both,
119 Even in their promise, as it is a-making,
120 You must not take for fire. From this time
121 Be somewhat scanter of your maiden presence;
122 Set your entreatments at a higher rate
123 Than a command to parle. For Lord Hamlet,
124 Believe so much in him, that he is young
125 And with a larger tether may he walk
126 Than may be given you. In few, Ophelia,
127 Do not believe his vows, for they are brokers,
128 Not of that dye which their investments show,
129 But mere implorators of unholy suits,
130 Breathing like sanctified and pious bonds,
131 The better to beguile. This is for all:
132 I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth,
133 Have you so slander any moment leisure,
134 As to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet.
135 Look to't, I charge you: come your ways.
136 I shall obey, my lord.