Philip Weller caricature
Philip and Weller hugging

Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.

Hamlet: Act 1, Scene 3

           Enter LAERTES and OPHELIA,
           his sister.  

1. My necessaries are embark'd: i.e., my luggage is on board the ship. 2-4. as the winds give benefit ... you: i.e., whenever the winds are blowing in the right direction and there is a means to send a message, don't sleep, but write to me.
  1   My necessaries are embark'd: farewell:
  2   And, sister, as the winds give benefit
  3   And convoy is assistant, do not sleep,
  4   But let me hear from you.

  4                                           Do you doubt that?

  5   For Hamlet and the trifling of his favor,
6. a fashion: a matter of fashion. ...more   toy in blood: idle impulse. 7. primy: springlike.
  6   Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood,
  7   A violet in the youth of primy nature,
8. Forward: early-growing.
  8   Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
9. suppliance of a minute: something to fill up an empty minute of time.
  9   The perfume and suppliance of a minute—
 10   No more.

 10                     No more but so?

 10                                            Think it no more;
11. crescent: increasing, developing.
12. thews: muscles and sinews. this temple: i.e.,the body. 13-14. The inward service of the mind and soul / Grows wide withal: the inward capabilities of the mind and spirit grow wider in step with ...more 15. soil: stain.  cautel: deceit.  besmirch: blemish.
 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: i.e., considering that he is heir to the throne.
 17   His greatness weigh'd, his will is not his own;
 18   For he himself is subject to his birth:
19. unvalued: of low rank.
 19   He may not, as unvalued persons do,
20. Carve for himself: indulge his own desires.
 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. voice: approval. yielding: assent. that body: i.e. the state of Denmark. 24. Whereof he is the head: King Claudius is currently the head of state, but Laertes is assuming that Hamlet will come to the throne. 26-27. As he   . . .  deed: i.e., as he may put what he says into effect. ...more 28. main voice: general opinion.  goes withal: accords with.
 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. credent: credulous.  list: listen to.
 30   If with too credent ear you list his songs,
31. your chaste treasure: your virginity
 31   Or lose your heart, or your chaste treasure open
32. unmaster'd importunity: impulsive, passionate pleading.
 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. shot: range, cannon shot.
 35   Out of the shot and danger of desire.
36. chariest maid: most carefully modest virgin.
 36   The chariest maid is prodigal enough,
 37   If she unmask her beauty to the moon:
38. scapes not calumnious strokes: does not escape the injury of maliciously false statements. 39-40. The canker  . . . disclosed: the canker worm ruins the first flowers of spring too often before their buds are opened. 41. liquid dew: i.e., time when the dew is still fresh. 42. Contagious blastments: withering blights.
 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 ... near: i.e., youth will naturally betray itself, even when no one else is nearby.
 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. ungracious: lacking God's true grace.
 47   Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
 48   Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
49. puff'd: bloated.
 49   Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine,
 50   Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
51. recks not his own rede: heeds not his own rule.
 51   And recks not his own rede.

51. fear me not: don't worry about me.
 51                                             O, fear me not.
 52   I stay too long: but here my father comes.

           Enter POLONIUS.

53. double blessing: Polonius has already given his blessing to Laertes' departure; this will be the second time. 54. Occasion smiles upon a second leave: i.e., this occasion graciously bestows the opportunity for a second leave-taking.
 53   A double blessing is a double grace,
 54   Occasion smiles upon a second leave.

 55   Yet here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for shame!
 56   The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
57. you are stay'd for: i.e., the ship is waiting for you.  There, my blessing with thee!:
 57   And you are stay'd for. There, my blessing with thee!
 58   And these few precepts in thy memory
59. character: inscribe.
 59   See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
60. unproportion'd: extreme, unfitting.  his act: its action. 61. familiar: affable, sociable. vulgar: common. ...more 62. their adoption tried: i.e., their loyalty to you thoroughly tested. 63. Grapple them: hold them tight.
 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. dull thy palm: i.e., make your handshake (and your friendship) cheap. ...more 65. unfledged: i.e., immature. ...more   courage: spirited fellow; young blood.
 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: i.e., conduct yourself in such a way that. 68. voice: assent, approval.
 67   Bear't that the opposed may beware of thee.
 68   Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
69. Take: listen to. censure: opinion.
 69   Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
 70   Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
71. express'd in fancy: i.e., don't spend your money on flashy outfits.
 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: The line is probably a misprint. ...more
 74   Or of a most select and generous chief in that.
 75   Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
76. loan oft loses both itself and friend: i.e., if you lend money to a friend, and that friend can't (or won't) pay the money back, you'll probably never see the money or the friend again. 77. husbandry: thrift.
 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. my blessing season this in thee: i.e., let my blessing make you remember and make good use of my advice. The relevant meanings of "season" are the same as now (C.E. 2015). ...more
 81   Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!

 82   Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.

83. invests you: besieges you, hurries you on.  tend: wait.
 83   The time invests you. Go, your servants tend.

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

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

 87   Farewell.

           Exit Laertes.

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

 89   So please you, something touching the Lord Hamlet.

90. Marry: indeed.
 90   Marry, well bethought:
 91   'Tis told me, he hath very oft of late
 92   Given private time to you; and you yourself
93. your audience: i.e., your willingness to listen.
94-95. 'tis put on me, / And that in way of caution: it has been [and continues to be] forcibly told to me, in order to caution me [against the relationship between Ophelia and Hamlet].
 93   Have of your audience been most free and bounteous:
 94   If it be so—as so 'tis put on me,
 95   And that in way of caution—I 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.

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

101. green: immature, na´ve.
101   Affection! pooh! you speak like a green girl,
102. Unsifted: untested.  in such perilous circumstance: in such a dangerous situation.
102   Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.
103   Do you believe his tenders, as you call them?

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

105   Marry, I'll teach you: think yourself a baby
106-107. That you  . . .  sterling: i.e., because you have been fooled with false coin. ...more 107. Tender yourself more dearly: (1) hold yourself at a higher price. ...more 108-109. not to crack the wind of the poor phrase: i.e., not to overuse the phrase. ...more 109. you'll tender me a fool: (1) make me look like a fool; (2) present me with a bastard grandchild. ("Fool" was a term of endearment for an infant.)
106   That you have ta'en these tenders for true pay,
107   Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more dearly;
108   Or—not to crack the wind of the poor phrase,
109   Running it thus—you'll tender me a fool.

110   My lord, he hath importuned me with love
111   In honourable fashion.

112. fashion: Polonius deliberately takes "fashion" to mean pretense, mere form.  go to, go to: "Go to" was a common phrase of contempt.
112   Ay, fashion you may call it; go to, go to.

113. countenance: credit, assurance of genuineness.

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

115. springes: snares.  woodcocks: Proverbially gullible birds. 116. prodigal: freely and carelessly.
117-120. These blazes  . . .  fire: i.e., Hamlet's passionate declarations of love are not to be trusted. ...more
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  . . .  presence: i.e., withhold a little of your innocent and vulnerable company. ...more 122-123. Set  . . .  parle: i.e., don't give in to Hamlet simply because he wants to talk to you. ...more 124-126. Believe  . . .  given you: i.e., only believe that he is young and has much more freedom than you do. ...more 126. In few: in short.
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  . . .  show: not of the color which their garments show; i.e., not what they seem. 129. mere implorators: out and out solicitors; i.e., pimps. 130. Breathing  . . .  bonds: sounding like sanctified and pious vows. 131. This is for all: i.e., in view of everything I have just explained, this is what I have concluded. 133. slander any moment leisure: bring disgrace upon any moment of empty time. ...more 134. As to give: by giving. 135. come your ways: come on!
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.