William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Act II
Enter Polonius and Reynaldo
You shall do marvellous wisely, good Reynaldo, Before you visit him, to make inquire Of his behavior.
Marry, well said; very well said. Look you, sir, Inquire me first what Danskers are in Paris; And how, and who, what means, and where they keep, What company, at what expense; and finding By this encompassment and drift of question That they do know my son, come you more nearer Than your particular demands will touch it: Take you, as 'twere, some distant knowledge of him; As thus, 'I know his father and his friends, And in part him: ' do you mark this, Reynaldo?
'And in part him; but' you may say 'not well: But, if't be he I mean, he's very wild; Addicted so and so:' and there put on him What forgeries you please; marry, none so rank As may dishonour him; take heed of that; But, sir, such wanton, wild and usual slips As are companions noted and most known To youth and liberty.
'Faith, no; as you may season it in the charge You must not put another scandal on him, That he is open to incontinency; That's not my meaning: but breathe his faults so quaintly That they may seem the taints of liberty, The flash and outbreak of a fiery mind, A savageness in unreclaimed blood, Of general assault.
Marry, sir, here's my drift; And I believe, it is a fetch of wit: You laying these slight sullies on my son, As 'twere a thing a little soil'd i' the working, Mark you, Your party in converse, him you would sound, Having ever seen in the prenominate crimes The youth you breathe of guilty, be assured He closes with you in this consequence; 'Good sir,' or so, or 'friend,' or 'gentleman,' According to the phrase or the addition Of man and country.
And then, sir, does he this—he does—what was I about to say? By the mass, I was about to say something: where did I leave?
At 'closes in the consequence,' ay, marry; He closes thus: 'I know the gentleman; I saw him yesterday, or t' other day, Or then, or then; with such, or such; and, as you say, There was a' gaming; there o'ertook in's rouse; There falling out at tennis:' or perchance, 'I saw him enter such a house of sale,' Videlicet, a brothel, or so forth. See you now; Your bait of falsehood takes this carp of truth: And thus do we of wisdom and of reach, With windlasses and with assays of bias, By indirections find directions out: So by my former lecture and advice, Shall you my son. You have me, have you not?
My lord, as I was sewing in my closet, Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced; No hat upon his head; his stockings foul'd, Ungarter'd, and down-gyved to his ancle; Pale as his shirt; his knees knocking each other; And with a look so piteous in purport As if he had been loosed out of hell To speak of horrors,—he comes before me.
He took me by the wrist and held me hard; Then goes he to the length of all his arm; And, with his other hand thus o'er his brow, He falls to such perusal of my face As he would draw it. Long stay'd he so; At last, a little shaking of mine arm And thrice his head thus waving up and down, He raised a sigh so piteous and profound As it did seem to shatter all his bulk And end his being: that done, he lets me go: And, with his head over his shoulder turn'd, He seem'd to find his way without his eyes; For out o' doors he went without their helps, And, to the last, bended their light on me.
Come, go with me: I will go seek the king. This is the very ecstasy of love, Whose violent property fordoes itself And leads the will to desperate undertakings As oft as any passion under heaven That does afflict our natures. I am sorry. What, have you given him any hard words of late?
No, my good lord, but, as you did command, I did repel his fetters and denied His access to me.
That hath made him mad. I am sorry that with better heed and judgment I had not quoted him: I fear'd he did but trifle, And meant to wreck thee; but, beshrew my jealousy! By heaven, it is as proper to our age To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions As it is common for the younger sort To lack discretion. Come, go we to the king: This must be known; which, being kept close, might move More grief to hide than hate to utter love.