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For he himself is subject to his birth;
your wisdom so far to believe it,
withal. Then weigh what loss your honour may sustain, If with too credent ear you list his fongs; Or lose your heart, or your chaste treasure open To his unmastered importunity. Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear sister; And keep within 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 lyes in fear; Youth to itself rebels, though none else near.
Oph. I shall th' effects of this good lesson keep, As watchman to my heart. But, good my brother, Do not, as fome ungracious pastors do, Shew me the steep and thorny way to heav'n ; Whilst, like a puft and careless libertine, Himielf the primrose path of dalliance treads, And recks not his own reed.
Laer. Oh, fear me not.
Pol. Yet here, Laertes ! aboard, aboard for shame;
[Laying bis hand on Laertes bead. And these few precepts in thy memory See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue, Nor any unproportioned thought his act : Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar; The friends thou hait, and their adoption try'd, Grapple them to thy foul with hooks 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 the oppofed may beware of thee. Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice. Take each man's cenfure; but reserve thy judgment. (11) The wind firs in the shoulder of your fail,
And you are fiaid for there. My blessing, &c.] There----where in the shoulder of his fail! For to that inult this local adverb relate, as 'tis Geuated. Bclides, it is a dragging idle expletive, and seems of no use but to support the measure of the verse. But when we come to point this paisage right, and to the Poet's intention in it, we shall find it neither' opoecefiary, nor improper, in its place. In the specch immediately preceding this, Laertes taxes himself for staying too long; but seeing his father approach, he is willing to stay for a second bleling, and kneels down for that end; Polonius accordingly lays his hand on his head, and gives him the second blefling. The manner in which a comic actor behaved upon this occasion, was sure to raise a laugh of pleasure in the audience; and the oldest Quartos, in the pointing, are a confirination that thus the Poet intended it, and thus the stage expressed it.
Laer. Moit humbly do I take my leave, my Lord.
Opb. 'Tis in my memory lock'd,
[Exit Laer. Pol. What is’t, Ophelia, he hath said to you? Oph. So pleafe you, something touching the Lord Pol. Marry, well bethought!
Hamlet. 'Tis told me, he hath very oft of late Given private time to you; and you yourself Have of your audience been moit free and boun. If it be so, (as so 'tis put on me,
[teous. And that in way of caution,) I must tell you, You do not understand yourself so clearly,
(12) The time invites yox;-] This reading is as old as the first folio; however I sufpect it to have been substitued by the players, who did not understand the term which posfeffe's the elder Quartos;
The time invests you, i. e. besieges, presies upon you on every side. To invesi a town is a military phrafe, from which our Author borrowed bis metaphor.
As it behoves my daughter, and your honour.
Oph. He hath, my Lord, of late, made many tenOf his affection to me.
(ders Pol. Affection! puh! you speak like a green giil, Unfifted in such perilous circumstance. Do you believe his tenders, as you call them?
Oph. I do not know, my Lord, what I should think.
Pol. Marry, I'll teach you; think yourself a baby, That you
have ta'en his tenders for true pay, Which are not Sterling. Tender youríelf more
dearly ; (13) Or (not to crack the wind of the poor phrase, Wringing it thus) you'll tender me a fool.
Oph. My Lord, he hath importuned me with In honourable fashion.
[love, Pol. Ay, fathion you may call't: go to go to. Oph. And hath given countenance to his speech,
my Lord, With almost all the holy vows of Heaven.
Pol. Ay, springes to catch woodcocks. I do know, When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul Lends the tongue vows.
Thele blazes, oh my daughter, Giving more light than heat, extinct in both, Ev'n in their promise as it is a-making, You must not take for fire. From this time, Be somewhat scanter of your maiden presence,
(13) Tender your self more dearly;
Or (not to crack the wind of the poor phrase)
Wronging it thus, you'll iender me a fool.] The parenthesis is closed at the wrong place, and we must make likewise a Night correction in the last verse. Polonius is racking and playing on the word tender, till he thinks proper to correct himself for the licence; and then he would say-not farther to crack the wind of the phrase by twiting and contorting it, as I have done, &c.
Set your intreatments at a higher rate,
young; And with a larger tether may he walk, han may be given you.
In few, Ophelia, Do not believe his vows; for they are brokers, (141
(14) Do not believe his vows, for they are brokers;
Breathing like fan&tified and pious bonds,
The better to beguile.] To the fame purpose our Author, speaking of rows, ex presses liimself in his poem called the Lover's Complaint :
Saw how deceits were gilded in his smiling;
Knew vows were ever brokers to defiling. But to the passage in question; though all the editors have fwallowed it implicitly, it is certainly corrupt; and I have been surprised how men of genius and learning could let it pass without some fufpicion. What idea can we form to onrfelres of a breathing bond, or of its being Janiiified and pious ? The only tolerable way of reconciling it to a meaning without a change, is to suppose that the Poet intends by the word bonds, verbal obligations, protestations : and then, indeed, these bonds may, in some fense, be said to have breath. But this is to make him guilty of over-straining the word and allufion; and it will hardly bear that interpretation, at least not without much obscurity. As he just before is calling amo.
rous vows biokers, and implorers of unholy suits, I think a 'continuation of the plain and natural sense directs to an easy emendation, which makes the whole thought of a piece, and gives it a turn not unworthy of our Poet.
Breathing, like fanctificd and pious bawds,
The better to beguile. Broker, 'tis to be observed, our Author perpetually uses as the more modeft fynonymous term for bawd. Besides, what strengthens my correction, and makes this emendation the more necessary and probable, is the words with which the Poet winds up his thought,“ the better to beguile.” It is the sly attifice and custom of bawds to put on an air and form of sanctity, to betray the virtue of young ladies, by drawing them first into a kind opinion of them, from their exteriour and dissembled goodness. And bawds in their office of treachery are likewise properly brokers; and the implorers and