by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

110My lord, he hath importuned me with love
In honorable fashion.
Father, he’s always talked about love in an honorable fashion—
Ay, “fashion” you may call it. Go to, go to.
Yes, “fashion” is just the word—a passing whim. Go on.
And hath given countenance to his speech, my lord,
With almost all the holy vows of heaven.
And he’s made the holiest vows to me, to back up what he says.
115Ay, springes to catch woodcocks. I do know,
When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul
Lends the tongue vows. These blazes, daughter,
Giving more light than heat, extinct in both
Even in their promise as it is a-making,
120You must not take for fire. From this time
Be somewhat scanter of your maiden presence.
Set your entreatments at a higher rate
Than a command to parley. For Lord Hamlet,
Believe so much in him that he is young,
125And with a larger tether may he walk
Than may be given you. In few, Ophelia,
Do not believe his vows, for they are brokers
Not of that dye which their investments show,
But mere implorators of unholy suits,
130Breathing like sanctified and pious bawds,
The better to beguile. This is for all:
I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth,
Have you so slander any moment leisure,
As to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet.
135Look to ’t, I charge you. Come your ways.
These vows are just traps for stupid birds. I know when a man is on fire, he’ll swear anything. But when a heart’s on fire, it gives out more light than heat, and the fire will be out even before he’s done making his promises. Don’t mistake that for true love. From now on, spend a little less time with him and talk to him less. Make yourself a precious commodity. Remember that Hamlet is young and has a lot more freedom to fool around than you do. In short, Ophelia, don’t believe his love vows, since they’re like flashy pimps who wear nice clothes to lead a woman into filthy acts. To put it plainly, don’t waste your time with Hamlet. Do as I say.
Now come along.
I shall obey, my lord.
I’ll do as you say, father.
They exit.