Philip Weller caricature
Philip and Weller hugging

Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.

Hamlet: Act 2, Scene 1

           Enter old POLONIUS with his
           man [REYNALDO].

  1   Give him this money and these notes, Reynaldo.

  2   I will, my lord.

3. marvel's: marvellously.
  3   You shall do marvel's wisely, good Reynaldo,
4-5. make inquire / Of his behavior: make inquiries about his behavior.
  4   Before you visit him, to make inquire
  5   Of his behavior.

  5                             My lord, I did intend it.

  6   Marry, well said; very well said. Look you, sir,
7. Inquire me first: first of all, for me, inquire.  Danskers: Danes.  8-9. And  . . .  expense: i.e., and everything about them. ...more  9-12. and finding  . . .  touch it: i.e., and by finding—by this roundabout method and drift of conversation—that they do know my son, you will come much closer [to the truth about him] than your direct questions would bring out.  13. Take you, as 'twere, some distant knowledge of him: i.e., pretend that you know him only in a distant way.
  7   Inquire me first what Danskers are in Paris;
  8   And how, and who, what means, and where they keep,
  9   What company, at what expense; and finding
 10   By this encompassment and drift of question
 11   That they do know my son, come you more nearer
 12   Than your particular demands will touch it:
 13   Take you, as 'twere, some distant knowledge of him;
 14   As thus, "I know his father and his friends,
15. Do you mark this, Reynaldo?: do you understand what I have just said, Reynaldo?
 15   And in part him." Do you mark this, Reynaldo?

 16   Ay, very well, my lord.

 17   "And in part him—but," you may say "not well.
 18   But, if't be he I mean, he's very wild;
19. put on him: impute to him.
 19   Addicted so and so," and there put on him
20. forgeries: invented charges.
 20   What forgeries you please; marry, none so rank
 21   As may dishonor him; take heed of that;
22. wanton: sportive, careless.
 22   But, sir, such wanton, wild and usual slips
 23   As are companions noted and most known
 24   To youth and liberty.

24. gaming: gambling.
 24                                      As gaming, my lord.

 25   Ay, or drinking, fencing, swearing, quarrelling,
26. Drabbing: Whoring.
 26   Drabbing: you may go so far.

 27   My lord, that would dishonor him.

28. 'Faith: in faith; truly.  season: temper, soften.
 28   'Faith, no; as you may season it in the charge.
 29   You must not put another scandal on him,
30. is open to incontinency: welcomes and habitually practices loose behavior. 31. quaintly: delicately, artfully.
 30   That he is open to incontinency;
 31   That's not my meaning: but breathe his faults so quaintly
32. taints of liberty: minor faults resulting from freedom.
 32   That they may seem the taints of liberty,
 33   The flash and outbreak of a fiery mind,
34. unreclaimed: untamed.
 34   A savageness in unreclaimed blood,
35. Of general assault: i.e., to which young men are generally subject.
 35   Of general assault.

 35                                  But, my good lord—

 36   Wherefore should you do this?

 36                                           Ay, my lord,
 37   I would know that.

 37                                   Marry, sir, here's my drift;
38. fetch of wit: ingenious trick.
 38   And I believe, it is a fetch of wit:
39. sullies: blemishes.
 39   You laying these slight sullies on my son,
40. a thing a little soil'd i' the working: i.e., something that got a smudge or two as it was being made.
 40   As 'twere a thing a little soil'd i' the working,
 41   Mark you,
 42   Your party in converse, him you would sound,
43-44. Having  . . .  guilty: if he has ever seen the youth you mention [Laertes] to be guilty of the aforementioned faults. 45. closes with you in this consequence: falls in with you as follows.
 43   Having ever seen in the prenominate crimes
 44   The youth you breathe of guilty, be assured
 45   He closes with you in this consequence;
 46   "Good sir," or so, or "friend," or "gentleman,"
47-48. According to the phrase or the addition / Of man and country: according to the usual form of address and title appropriate to the man and the country he comes from.
 47   According to the phrase or the addition
 48   Of man and country.

 48                                   Very good, my lord.

 49   And then, sir, does he this—he does—what was I about to say?
 50   By the mass, I was about to say something.

Oliver Ford Davies as Polonius
 51   Where did I leave?

 51                                  At "closes in the consequence."

 52   At "closes in the consequence," ay, marry;
 53   He closes thus: "I know the gentleman;
 54   I saw him yesterday, or t' other day,
 55   Or then, or then; with such, or such; and, as you say,
56. o'ertook in's rouse: overcome by drink.
 56   There was a' gaming; there o'ertook in's rouse;
57. falling out at tennis: quarreling over a game of tennis.
 57   There falling out at tennis:" or perchance,
 58   "I saw him enter such a house of sale,"
59. Videlicet: namely. (Latin.)
 59   Videlicet, a brothel, or so forth. See you now;
60. carp: i.e., fish.
 60   Your bait of falsehood takes this carp of truth:
61. reach: capacity, understanding.
 61   And thus do we of wisdom and of reach,
62. windlasses: i.e., slow, subtle methods. ...more
 62   With windlasses and with assays of bias,
63. directions: the way things are going; i.e., the truth.
 63   By indirections find directions out:
 64   So by my former lecture and advice,
65. have me: understand me.
 65   Shall you my son. You have me, have you not?

 66   My lord, I have.

66. God buy ye: good-bye. "God buy ye" is a contraction of "God be with you."
 66                            God buy you; fare ye well.

 67   Good my lord!

68. in yourself: for yourself. Polonius wants Reynaldo to make his own observations, as well as asking Laertes' acquaintances about him.
 68   Observe his inclination in yourself.

 69   I shall, my lord.

70. let him ply his music: see that he continues to apply himself to his study of music.
 70   And let him ply his music.


70. Well: i.e., all is well; I understand and will follow your instructions.
 70                                         Well, my lord.

 71   Farewell!

           Exit Reynaldo.

           Enter OPHELIA.

 71                         How now, Ophelia! what's the matter?

 72   O, my lord, my lord, I have been so affrighted!

 73   With what, i' the name of God?

74. closet: private room.
 74   My lord, as I was sewing in my closet,
75. doublet: close-fitting jacket—a very common article of clothing.  unbrac'd: unfastened, unlaced. 76. stockings fouled: stockings dirty. 77.  down-gyved: hanging down [like gyves (fetters) on a prisoner's legs].
 75   Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced;
 76   No hat upon his head; his stockings foul'd,
 77   Ungarter'd, and down-gyved to his ankle;
 78   Pale as his shirt; his knees knocking each other;
 79   And with a look so piteous in purport
 80   As if he had been loosed out of hell
 81   To speak of horrors—he comes before me.

 82   Mad for thy love?

 82                                 My lord, I do not know;
 83   But truly, I do fear it.

 83                                       What said he?

 84   He took me by the wrist and held me hard;
 85   Then goes he to the length of all his arm;
 86   And, with his other hand thus o'er his brow,
 87   He falls to such perusal of my face
 88   As he would draw it. Long stay'd he so;
 89   At last, a little shaking of mine arm
 90   And thrice his head thus waving up and down,
 91   He raised a sigh so piteous and profound
92. all his bulk: his whole body.
 92   As it did seem to shatter all his bulk
 93   And end his being: that done, he lets me go:
 94   And, with his head over his shoulder turn'd,
 95   He seem'd to find his way without his eyes;
 96   For out o' doors he went without their helps,
 97   And, to the last, bended their light on me.

 98   Come, go with me: I will go seek the king.
99. ecstasy: madness.
 99   This is the very ecstasy of love,
100. property: nature, quality. fordoes: destroys.
100   Whose violent property fordoes itself
101   And leads the will to desperate undertakings
102   As oft as any passion under heaven
103   That does afflict our natures. I am sorry.
104   What, have you given him any hard words of late?

105   No, my good lord, but, as you did command,
106   I did repel his letters and denied
107   His access to me.

107                                 That hath made him mad.
108   I am sorry that with better heed and judgment
109. quoted: observed.
109   I had not quoted him: I fear'd he did but trifle,
110. beshrew my jealousy: a plague upon my suspicious mind. 111. proper to our age: i.e., characteristic of men of my age. 112. To cast ... discretion: i.e., to over-think things, as it is common for younger people to not think at all.
110   And meant to wreck thee; but, beshrew my jealousy!
111   By heaven, it is as proper to our age
112   To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions
113   As it is common for the younger sort
114   To lack discretion. Come, go we to the king:
115-116. which, being kept close, might move / More grief to hide than hate to utter love: which, being kept secret, might cause more displeasure [in others] because it has been hidden, than hatred because it has been revealed from good motives.  In this passage, the word "love" has the meaning it has in the phrase "love of your country."
115   This must be known; which, being kept close, might move
116   More grief to hide than hate to utter love.
117   Come.