Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Wednesday with Words (Hamlet)

We are in the midst of reading Hamlet for our Shakespeare studies. I always hear the  quote, "To thine own self be true" and yet I found it more powerful in the context Polonius' farewell speech to his son. Though Polonius gives this excellent advice it is revealed a few scenes later that it is advice he doesn't even follow himself. Not the kind of parent I want to be!

 From Act 1, Scene 3. Polonius is speaking to Laertes:

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' opposed may beware of thee. 
Give every man thy ear but few thy voice. 
Take each man's censure but reserve thy judgement. 
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 is must follow, as the night the day, 
Thou canst not then be false to any man 
Farewell, My blessing season this in thee.


  1. I am speaking here as Hamlet.. JK, I got Hamet in that quiz going around on Which Shakespearean Character are You? I was really hoping for Ophelia and was too ashamed to admit I got Hamlet.

    But this is a great passage to memorize.

  2. I love, love, love this passage! My favorite line is "Give every man thy ear but few thy voice" because it reminds me of the chapter in the book of James where he talks about the tongue being so small and yet able to do so much harm.

  3. I remember reading this advice with my oldest son and discussing how wise so much of it was. I'm looking forward to reading Hamlet again with my youngest in a couple of years.



Related Posts with Thumbnails