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Hamlet

by William Shakespeare

Act 1, Scene 3 Easiest-to-Read Edition

 

 

 

Hamlet Act 1, Scene 3



A Room in Polonius' House

Enter LAERTES and OPHELIA, his sister

Enter LAERTES and OPHELIA, his sister

LAERTES

My necessaries are embarked. Farewell.

necessaries are embarked=trunks are aboard ship

And, sister, as the winds give benefit

as the winds give benefit=when the winds benefit sailing

And convey is assistant, do not sleep,

convey is assistant=conveyance (of mail) is available

But let me hear from you.

 

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.

 

OPHELIA

    Do you doubt that?

 

OPHELIA

    Do you doubt that?

 

LAERTES

For Hamlet and the trifling of his favor,

favor=attention to you

Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood,

blood=passion

A violet in the youth of primy nature,

primy=immature

Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,

forward=premature

The perfume and suppliance of a minute.

suppliance=pastime

No more.

 

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.

 

OPHELIA

  No more but so?

no more but so=no more than a minute

 

OPHELIA

  No more but so?

 

LAERTES

    Think it no more.

For nature, crescent, does not grow alone

nature, crescent=the growing body

In thews and bulk, but, as this temple waxes,

thews and bulk=muscles and size

temple waxes=body grows

The inward service of the mind and soul

Grows wide withal. Perhaps he loves you now,

withal=with it

And now no soil nor cautel doth besmirch

cautel=deceit

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,

unvalued=common

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

body=body politic

Whereof he is the head. Then if he says he loves you,

 

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

so far=only so far

As he in his particular act and place

particular act and place=princely position and rank

May give his saying deed, which is no further

Than the main voice of Denmark goes withal.

main voice of Denmark=Danish government and people

Then weigh what loss your honor may sustain

If with too credent ear you list his songs,

credent ear you list=credulous ear you listen to

Or lose your heart, or your chaste treasure open

To his unmastered importunity.

unmastered=uncontrolled

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

chariest maid is prodigal=shyest maiden is reckless

If she unmask her beauty to the moon.

 

Virtue itself ’scapes not calumnious strokes.

caluminious strokes=malicious gossip

The canker galls the infants of the spring

canker galls the infants=worm kills the shoots

Too oft before their buttons be disclosed.

buttons=buds

And in the morn and liquid dew of youth,

Contagious blastments are most imminent.

blastments are most imminent=injuries are most close at hand

Be wary, then. Best safety lies in fear.

Youth to itself rebels, though none else near.

(youth gets in trouble all by itself)

 

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.

 

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,

puffed=proud

Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads

primrose=flowery

And recks not his own rede.

recks=observes

rede=advice

 

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.

 

LAERTES

    O, fear me not.

fear me not=fear not for me

 

LAERTES

    O, fear me not.

 

Enter POLONIUS

Enter POLONIUS

I stay too long. But here my father comes.

A double blessing is a double grace.

(Laertes has already been blessed before)

Occasion smiles upon a second leave.

 

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 stayed for. There, my blessing with thee.

stayed for=waited for

And these few precepts in thy memory

Look thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,

character=engrave

(character - emphasis on the second syllable)

Nor any unproportioned thought his act.

unproportioned thought his act=inappropriate thought its action

Be thou familiar but by no means vulgar.

Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,

adoption tried=acceptance tested

Grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel,

But do not dull thy palm with entertainment

palm=honor, esteem (as in palm leaf awarded a victor)

Of each new-hatched, unfledged comrade. Beware

Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,

Bear ’t that th' opposèd may beware of thee.

bear ‘t that=don’t weaken so that

Give every man thy ear but few thy voice.

Take each man’s censure but reserve thy judgment.

censure=criticism of you

judgment=judgment of others

Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,

(spend as much on clothing as you can afford)

But not expressed in fancy—rich, not gaudy,

expressed in fancy=flashy

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.

husbandry=saving

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.

season this=ripen your character

 

 

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.

 

LAERTES

Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.

 

LAERTES

Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.

 

POLONIUS

The time invites you. Go. Your servants tend.

 

POLONIUS

The time invites you. Go. Your servants tend.

 

LAERTES

Farewell, Ophelia, and remember well

What I have said to you.

 

LAERTES

Farewell, Ophelia, and remember well

What I have said to you.

 

OPHELIA

    'Tis in my memory locked,

And you yourself shall keep the key of it.

 

OPHELIA

    'Tis in my memory locked,

And you yourself shall keep the key of it.

 

LAERTES

Farewell.

 

LAERTES

Farewell.

 

Exit LAERTES

Exit LAERTES

POLONIUS

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

 

POLONIUS

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

 

OPHELIA

So please you, something touching the Lord Hamlet.

 

OPHELIA

So please you, something touching the Lord Hamlet.

 

POLONIUS

Marry, well bethought.

Marry=by the Virgin Mary

bethought=considered

'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

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.

 

OPHELIA

He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders

tenders=offers

Of his affection to me.

 

POLONIUS

Affection! Pooh, you speak like a green girl,

Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.

unsifted=untried

Do you believe his “tenders,” as you call them?

 

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.

 

OPHELIA

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

 

POLONIUS

Marry, I’ll teach you. Think yourself a baby

marry=by the Virgin Mary

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

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.

 

OPHELIA

My lord, he hath importuned me with love

In honorable fashion.

 

OPHELIA

My lord, he hath importuned me with love

In honorable fashion.

 

POLONIUS

Ay, “fashion” you may call it. Go to, go to.

go to=get out

 

POLONIUS

Ay, “fashion” you may call it. Go to, go to.

 

OPHELIA

And hath given countenance to his speech, my lord,

countenance=confirmation

With almost all the holy vows of heaven.

 

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,

springes to catch woodcocks=traps to catch silly birds

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

entreatments=Hamlet’s appeals

Than a command to parley. For Lord Hamlet,

parley=converse

Believe so much in him that he is young,

And with a larger tether may he walk

larger tether - Hamlet walks with a longer tether

Than may be given you. In few, Ophelia,

in few=in a few words

Do not believe his vows, for they are brokers

Not of that dye which their investments show,

But mere implorators of unholy suits,

implorators=pleaders

Breathing like sanctified and pious bawds,

bawds=procuresses (pimps)

The better to beguile. This is for all:

this is for all=in sum

I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth,

Have you so slander any moment leisure,

slander any moment leisure=misuse any moment’s leisure

As to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet.

Look to ’t, I charge you. Come your ways.

come your ways=come away

 

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.

 

OPHELIA

I shall obey, my lord.

 

OPHELIA

I shall obey, my lord.

 

Exeunt

Exeunt

 

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