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Neither a borrower, nor a lender be:
Laer. Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.
Laer. Farewel, Ophelia; and remember well
"Tis in my memory lock’d, And you yourself shall keep the key of it.*
to our author: chiefly generous. Yet it must be owned that the punctuation recommended is very stiff and harsh. I would, however, more willingly read:
And they in France, of the best rank and station,
Select and generous, are most choice in that. Let the reader, who can discover the slightest approach towards sense, harmony, or metre, in the original line,
Are of a most select and generous chief, in that, adhere to the old copies. Steevens.
The genuine meaning of the passage requires us to point the line thus :
Are most select and generous, chief in that. i.e. the nobility of France are select and generous above all other nations, and chiefly in the point of apparel; the richness and ele. gance of their dress. Ritson.
of husbandry,] i. e. of thrift; æconomical prudence. See Vol. VII, p. 78, n. 9. Malone.
0 And it must follow, as the night the day,] So, in the 145th Sonnet of Shakspeare:
“ That follow'd it as gentle day
who in want a hollow friend doth try, “ Directly seasons him his eneny.” Steevens. » The time invites you ;] So, in Macbeth:
“ I go, and it is done, the bell invites me.” Steevens.
your servants tend.] i. e. your servants are waiting for you. Fohnson.
- yourself shall keep the key of it,] The meaning is, that
[Erit LAER Pol. What is 't, Ophelia, he hath said to you? Oph. So please you, something touching the lord Ham
let. Pol. 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 behoves my daughter, and your honour: What is between you ? give me up the truth.
Oph. He hath, my lord, of late, made many tenders Of his affection to me.
Pol. Affection ? puh! you speak like a green girl,
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 these tenders for true pay, Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more dearly; Or (not to crack the wind of the poor phrase, Wronging it thus, you 'll tender me a fool.
your counsels are as sure of remaining locked up in my memory, as if yourself carried the key of it. So, in Northward Hoe, by Decker and Webster, 1607 : “ You shall close it up like a trea. sure of your own, and yourself shall keep the key of it." Steevens.
5 Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.] Unsifted for untried. Untried signifies either not tempted, or not refined ; unsifted signifies the latter only, though the sense requires the former.
Warburton. It means, I believe, one who has not sufficiently considered, or thoroughly sifted such matters. M. Mason.
I do not think that the sense requires us to understand untempted. “ Unsifted in,” &c. means, I think, one who has not nicely canvassed and examined the peril of her situation. Malone.
That sifted means tempted, may be seen in the 31st verse of the 22d chapter of St. Luke's gospel. Harris.
Tender yourself more dearly;
Wronging it thus,) you 'l tender me a fool.] The parenthesis is closed at the wrong place; and we must have likewise a slight correction in the last verse. [Wringing it, &c.] Polonius is racking
Oph. My lord, he hath impórtun'd me with love,
Pol. Ay, fashion you may call it;' go to, go to.
Pol. Ay, springes to catch woodcocks.8 I do know,
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 twisting it and contorting it, as I have done. Warburton.
I believe the word wronging has reference, not to the phrase, but to Ophelia; if you go on wronging it thus, that is, if you continue to go on thus wrong. This is a mode of speaking perhaps not very grammatical, but very common; nor have the best writers refused it.
“ To sinner it, or saint it," is in Pope. And Rowe,
Thus to coy it, « With one who knows you too." The folio has it-Roaming it thus. That is, letting yourself loose to such improper liberty. But wronging seems to be more proper.
Fohnson. I have followed the punctuation of the first quarto, 1604, where the parenthesis is extended to the word thus, to which word the context in my apprehension clearly shows it should be carried. “ Or (not to crack the wind of the
poor phrase, playing upon it, and abusing it thus,”) &c. So, in The Rape of Lucrece:
“ To wrong the wronger, till he render right.” The quarto, by the mistake of the compositor, reads-Wrong it thus. The correction was made by Mr. Pope.
Tender yourself more dearly;] To tender is to regard with affection. So, in King Richard II:
And so betide me, “ As well I tender you and all of yours.” Again, in The Maydes Metamorphosis, by Lyly, 1601 :
if you account us for the same " That tender thee, and love Apollo's name." Malone.
fashion you may call it;] She uses fashion for manner, and he for a transient practice. Fohnson.
-springes to catch woodcocks,] A proverbial saying, Every woman has a springe to catch a woodcock.” Steevens.
these blazes, daughter,] Some epithet to blazes was probably omitted, by the carelessness of the transcriber or composi
Giving more light than heat-extinct in both,
tor, in the first quarto, in consequence of which the metre is defective. Malone.
1 Set your entreatments --) Entreatments here mean company, conversation, from the French entrétien. Fohnson.
Entreatments, I rather think, means the objects of entreaty; the favours for which lovers sue. In the next scene we have a word of a similar formation:
“ As if it some impartment did desire," &c. Malone.
- larger tether-) A string to tie horses. Pope. Tether is that string by which an animal, set to graze in grounds uninclosed, is confined within the proper limits. Johnson.
So, in Greene's Card of Fancy, 1601:-“ To tie the ape and the bear in one tedder.” Tether is a string by which any animal is fastened, whether for the sake of feeding or the air. Steevens.
3 Do not believe his vows, for they are brokers —] A broker in old English meant a bawd or pimp. See the Glossary to Gawin Douglas's translation of Virgil. So, in King John:
“ This bawd, this broker,” &c. See also, Vol. XII, p. 196, n. 1. In our author's Lover's Complaint we again meet with the same expression, applied in the
Know, vows are ever brokers to defiling.” Malone. • Breathing like sanctified and pious bonds,] On which the edi. tor, Mr. Theobald, remarks, Though all the editors have swallowed this reading implicitly, it is certainly corrupt; and I have been surprized how men of genius and learning could let it pass without some suspicion. What idea can we frame to ourselves of a breathing bond, or of its being sanctified and pious, &c. But he was too hasty in framing ideas before he understood those already framed by the poet, and expressed in very plain words. Do not believe (says Polonius to his daughter) Hamlet's amorous vows made to you ; which pretend religion in them, (the better to beguile) like those
The better to beguile. This is for all,
sanctified and pious vows (or bonds] made to heaven. And why should not this pass without suspicion? Warburton.
Theobald for bonds substitutes bawds. Fohnson.
Notwithstanding Warburton's elaborate explanation of this passage, I have not the least doubt but Theobald is right, and that we ought to read bawds instead of bonds. Indeed the present reading is little better than nonsense.
Polonius had called Hamlet's vows, brokers, but two lines before, a synonymous word to bawds, and the very title that' Shakspeare gives to Pandarus, in his. Troilus and Cressida. The words implorators of unholy suits, are an exact description of a bawd; and all such of them as are crafty in their trade, put on the appearance of sanctity, and are "not of that die which their investments show.” M. Mason.
The old reading is undoubtedly the true one. Do not, says Polonius, believe his vows, for they are merely uttered for the pur. pose of persuading you to yield to a criminal passion, though they appear only the genuine effusions of a pure and lawful affection, and assume the semblance of those sacred engagements entered into at the altar of wedlock. The bonds here in our poet's thoughts were bonds of love. So, in his 142d Sonnet:
those lips of thine,
“ And seald false bonds of love, as oft as mine." Again, in The Merchant of Venice :
“ O, ten times faster Venus' pigeons fly,
“ To keep obliged faith unforfeited.” “ Sanctified and pious bonds,” are the true bonds of love, or, as our poet has elsewhere expressed it:
“ A contract and eternal bond of love." Dr. Warburton certainly misunderstood this passage; and when he triumphantly asks “ may not this pass without suspicion ?” if he means his own comment, the answer is, because it is not perfectly accurate. Malone.
5 I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth,
Have you so slander any moment's leisure,] Polonius says, in plain terms, that is, not in language less elevated or embellished than before, but in terms that cannot be misunderstood: I would not have you so disgrace your most idle moments, as not to find better employment for them than lord Hamlet's conversation. Fohnson,