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For he himself is subject to his birth;
withal. Then weigh what loss your honour may sustain, If with too credent ear you list his songs; Or lose your heart, or your chatte treasure open To his unmastered inportunity. Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear fister; 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 fcar ; Youth to itself rebels, though none else near.
Oph. I shall th' effects of this good leflon 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, Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads, And recks not his own reed,
Luer. Oh, fear me not,
Pol. Yet here, Laertes ! aboard, aboard for shame;
[Laying his hand on Laertes' head. 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 opposed may beware of thee. Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice. Take each man's censure; but reserve thyjudgment. (11) The wind sits in the shoulder of your snil,
And you are staid for there. My biesling, &c.] There where? io the shoulder of his fail? For to that must this local adverb relate, as 'tis Gtuated. Besides, it is a dragging idle expletive, and seems of no use but to support the meafare 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 unnecessary, nor improper, in its place. In the speech immediately preceding this, Laertes taxes himself for itaying too long; but seeing his father approach, he is willing to stay for a second blesling, and kneels down for that end; Polonius accordingly lays his hand on his head, and gives him the second blelling.' 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 confirmation that thus the Poet intended it, and thus the stage expressed it.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
Laer. Molt humbly do I take my leave, my Lord.
Oph. 'Tis in my memory lock’d,
[Hamlet. 'Tis told me, he liath very ost of late Given private time to you; and you yourself Have of your audience been most free and boun-If it be so, (as fo 'tis put on me,
[teous. And that in way of caution,) I must rell you, You do not understand yourself so clearly,
(12.) The time invites 902?;--] This reading is as old as the firit Folin; however I suspect it to have been substitued by the players, who did not understand the term which poso feffes the elder Quartos ;
The time invests you, i. e. besieges; prelles upon you on every lide. 'To invel a town is a military phrase, from which our Author borrowed his metaphor.
As it behoves my daughter, and your honour.
Oph. He hath, my Lord, of late, made many ten-
you believe his tenders, as you call them?
. Marry, I'll teach you; think yourself a baby,
have ta’en his tenders for true pay,
dearly ; (13)
Oph. My Lord, he hath importuned me with
Polo Ay, springes to catch woodcocks. I do kpow,
(13) Tender yourself more dearly;
Or.(not to crack the wind of the poor phrase)
Wronging it thus, you'll render 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 twifting and contorting it, as I have done, &c.
Set your intreatments at a higher rate,
(14) Do not believe his vows, for they are brokers";
Breathing like fan&tified and pious bonds;
The better to beguilé.] To the same purpose our Author, speaking of vows, expresses himself in his poem called the Lover's Complaint :
Saw how deceits were gilded in his failing;
Kuew vows were ever brokers to desiling. 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“ ourselves of a breathing bond, or of its being lantiified and pious? The only tolerable way of reconcilingit to a meaning without: a change, is to suppose that the Poet intends by the word bonds, verbal obligations, protestations : and then, indeed, there bonits may, in some sense, be said to have breath. But this is to make him guilty of over-straining the word and allution, and it will hardly Bear that interpretation, at least not without much obscurity: As he just before is calling amorous vows brokers, and implorers of unholy fuits, 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 sanctified and pious bawds,
The better to beguile. Brsker, 'tis to be observed, our Author perpetually uses as the more modest synonymous term for bawd. Besides, what strengthens my correction, and makes this emendation the more necessary and probable, is the words with which the Puet winds up his thought," the better to beguile.” It is the fly artifice and custom of bawds to put on an air and form of fanctity, 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 likewite properly brukers; and the inplorers and