Enter old Polonius with his man Reynaldo.
Give him this money and these notes, Reynaldo.
I will, my lord.
You shall do marvelous wisely, good Reynaldo,
Before you visit him, to make inquire
Of his behavior.
My lord, I did intend it.
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
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?
Ay, very well, my lord.
“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 dishonor him, take heed of that,
But, sir, such wanton, wild, and usual slips
As are companions noted and most known
To youth and liberty.
As gaming, my lord.
Ay, or drinking, fencing, swearing,
Quarreling, drabbing—you may go so far.
My lord, that would dishonor him.
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
That they may seem the taints of liberty,
The flash and outbreak of a fiery mind,
A savageness in unreclaimèd blood,
Of general assault.
But, my good lord—
Wherefore should you do this?
Ay, my lord, I would know that.
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 soiled i’ th’ working,
Mark you, your party in converse, him you would
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—
Very good, my lord.
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,” at “friend,
or so,” and “gentleman.”
At “closes in the consequence”—ay, marry—
He closes thus: “I know the gentleman.
I saw him yesterday,” or “th’ other day”
(Or then, or then, with such or such), “and as you
There was he 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 take 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, I have.
God be wi’ you. Fare you well.
Good my lord.
Observe his inclination in yourself.
I shall, my lord.
And let him ply his music.
Well, my lord.