LAERTES My necessaries are embarked. Farewell. And, sister, as the winds give benefit And convey is assistant, do not sleep, But let me hear from you.
LAERTES My belongings are on the ship. Good-bye. And, dear sister, as long as the winds are blowing and ships are traveling, make sure to send me news.
OPHELIA Do you doubt that?
OPHELIA Do you doubt I will?
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LAERTES For Hamlet and the trifling of his favor, 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.
LAERTES As for Hamlet and the attention he's given you, consider it no more than a passing thing, the product of his hot-blooded youth. Like a violet, it's sweet and beautiful, but won't last more than a single minute.
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 weighed, 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. 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 honor may sustain If with too credent ear you list his songs, Or lose your heart, or your chaste treasure open To his unmastered 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 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.
LAERTES Act as if that was the truth. When a youth becomes a man, it's not just his body that grows in size. So do the responsibilities that weigh on his mind and soul. Perhaps he loves you now, and currently nothing stains the purity of that love, but you must take into account that he cannot make his own decisions. He is bound by the needs of the royal family, and can't just choose whoever he wants, because the choice he makes could affect the safety and security of the entire country. When making his choice he must do what is right for the the country that he leads. So if he says he loves you, it would be smart for you to understand that his words can't mean any more than what the needs of Denmark allow it to mean. Then think about how it would stain your reputation if you believe his words of love, or fall in love, or give up your virginity to him. Be careful, Ophelia. Be careful, my dear sister, and keep your feelings under control and yourself free from the danger of his desire. Avoid exposing your beauty, even to the moon. Your reputation can be ruined if other people even think that yo're doing something you shouldn't. Too often, worms or disease ruin flowers before they blossom, and young flowers are the most vulnerable. Be careful. You will be safest if you maintain a healthy fear. Young people can lose their self-control without any outside help.
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OPHELIA 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, Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven Whiles, like a puffed and reckless libertine, Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads And recks not his own rede.
OPHELIA I'll take your wise words and hold them close to my heart. But, my dear brother, don't be like a bad priest who does not follow his own advice, preaching about the need to follow the strict and righteous path to heaven while, like a reckless pleasure-lover, dances on the primrose path of sin.
LAERTES O, fear me not.
LAERTES Don't worry about me.
I stay too long. But here my father comes. A double blessing is a double grace. Occasion smiles upon a second leave.
I should be on the ship by now. And here comes father. To have him bless my leaving a second time will give my journey double the luck.
POLONIUS Yet here, Laertes? Aboard, aboard, for shame! The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail And you are stayed for. There, my blessing with thee. And these few precepts in thy memory Look thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue, Nor any unproportioned 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-hatched, unfledged comrade. Beware Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in, Bear 't that th' opposèd may beware of thee. Give every man thy ear but few thy voice. Take each man's censure but reserve thy judgment. Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, But not expressed 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 chief in that. 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 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.
POLONIUS Still here, Laertes? Get going, get going—shame on you! The wind gusts in the sails of your ship, and yet it is forced to wait for you. Here, I give you my blessing. And I'll give you a few rules of character to live by. Keep quiet about your own thoughts, and don't act on any idea you haven't fully thought through. Be friendly but not too friendly. For those friends you have and know are trustworthy, hold onto them with all your heart. But don't go shaking hands with every new, unknown person you meet. Try not to get caught up in any fights or arguments, but once you are involved, act to make sure that those you're facing respect you. Listen to everyone, but give advice to few. Hear every man's opinions, but keep your own judgments to yourself. Buy the most expensive clothes you can afford, but buy clothes that are high-end, not gaudy, because clothes make the man. And that is especially true in France. Neither borrow money nor lend it, because lending money to a friend usually results in the loss of the money and the friend, while borrowing makes people reckless with money. Above all: be true to yourself, which carries with it the natural result that you then won't be false to anybody else. Good-bye. May my blessing help you remember my advice.
LAERTES Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.
LAERTES I humbly shall be on my way, father.
POLONIUS The time invites you. Go. Your servants tend.
POLONIUS The time is right. Go. Your servants await you.
LAERTES Farewell, Ophelia, and remember well What I have said to you.
LAERTES Good-bye, Ophelia. Remember what I've told you.
OPHELIA 'Tis in my memory locked, And you yourself shall keep the key of it.
OPHELIA It's locked away in my memory, and you have the key.
POLONIUS What is 't, Ophelia, he hath said to you?
POLONIUS What did he say to you, Ophelia?
OPHELIA So please you, something touching the Lord Hamlet.
OPHELIA Something about the Lord Hamlet.
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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 honor. What is between you? Give me up the truth.
POLONIUS He did? That's good. I've been told that recently Hamlet's spent a lot of his private time with you, and that you've been very open to his visits. If what I've been told is true—and they're only telling me this to warn me—then I must say, you're not acting in a way a daughter of mine should, and you endanger your honor. What's going on between you two? Tell me the truth.
OPHELIA He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders Of his affection to me.
OPHELIA Father, lately he has many times offered his affection for me.
POLONIUS Affection! Pooh, you speak like a green girl, Unsifted in such perilous circumstance. Do you believe his "tenders," as you call them?
POLONIUS "Affection!" Bah! You're talking like some innocent girl unlearned in the perilous ways of love and lust. Do you believe his "offers," as you call them?
OPHELIA I do not know, my lord, what I should think.
OPHELIA I don't know what I should think, father.
POLONIUS 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 dearly, Or—not to crack the wind of the poor phrase, Running it thus—you'll tender me a fool.
POLONIUS Then I'll explain to you. Think of yourself as a foolish child for believing that these "offers" are something real. Give yourself more respect, or—not to beat this phrase to death, continuing on like this—you'll "offer" me the chance to look like a fool.
OPHELIA My lord, he hath importuned me with love In honorable fashion.
OPHELIA Father, he's always talked about his love for me in an honorable fashionway—
POLONIUS Ay, "fashion" you may call it. Go to, go to.
POLONIUS Yes, "fashion," that's the right word for it. Come on now.
OPHELIA And hath given countenance to his speech, my lord, With almost all the holy vows of heaven.
OPHELIA And he's backed up his words of love with nearly every holy vow.
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 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 that dye which their investments show, But mere implorators of unholy suits, Breathing like sanctified and pious bawds, 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.
POLONIUS Oh yeah, vows that are like traps for birds. I know that when a man's blood burns, he'll be quick to swear to anything. You should not mistake such blazes for the true fire of love. They give off more light than heat, and will go out entirely even before he's finished making his promises. From now on, make sure to spend less time with him, and make him do more than just ask to get you to talk with him. Do not forget that Hamlet is young, and that he has much more freedom to experiment and fool around than you do. In short, Ophelia, don't believe his vows, which are little more than pimps dressed up in good clothes and pretending to be pious in an effort to lead you into bad behavior. To summarize: From now on, don't waste even another moment of your time. Do not talk with Hamlet. Do as I say, I order you. Now come with me.