Memorable Excerpt from Shakespeare’s Tragedy, Hamlet, The Prince of Denmark

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Here is the origin of the saying: Neither a lender nor a borrower


Neither a lender nor a borrower be is part of the fatherly advice given by Polonius, arguably the most colourful and interesting character in the tragedy, Hamlet, to the prince, Hamlet.

I present to you much of what Polonius said to Hamlet who is about to travel abroad, moments before he (Polonius) is accidentally killed. Trust me, there’s so much wisdom in there to take and apply to your own life.

And these few precepts in thy memory keep;

See thou character. Give thy thought no tongue,

Nor any unproportioned thought his act.

Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.

The friends thou hast and their adoption tried

Grapple them to 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 it that the opposed may beware of thee.

Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice.

Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.

Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,

But not expressed in fancy – rich, not gaudy;

For the apparel oft proclaims the man …

Neither a lender nor a borrower be

For loan oft loses itself and friend

And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.

This above all, to thine own self be true;

Thou canst not then be false to any man;

Farewell. My blessing season this in thee!

So, which is your favourite line among these lines? Let me know in a comment below.

Photo by JJ Jordan on Unsplash

Ralph spends his day working as an online entrepreneur and e-learning strategist. As a digital publishing trainer/consultant, he has developed exceptional skills in SEO-content writing. He writes extensively on lifelong learning and personal development issues. Ralph is the CEO of RN Digital Media Ent - a digital publishing & content marketing services platform he founded in 2017.

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