The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
Shakespeare | Hamlet | Act 1, Scene 3
Yet here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for shame!
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
And you are stay’d for. There; my blessing with thee!
And these few precepts in thy memory
See 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 to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch’d, unfledged comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
Bear’t that the opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express’d 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 ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!
It was Shakespeare’s birthday a couple of days ago, so it seemed appropriate to offer up his opinion on this issue, or at least his opinion per Polonius in “Hamlet.”
First, a clarification. There is a difference, a distinction as it were, between “borrow,” “take,” and “steal.” Although the line is sometimes fine, it is there. Let’s see if I can illuminate the differences.
To borrow something implies you intend to return said item, or, in the case of money, to return an equivalent amount of money preferably during the lifetime of both you and the lender. If you are asking for money or something else — but you do not intend to return the item or money to the “lender”? That isn’t borrowing.
If the lender actually believes you will return it, and you know you won’t, you’re a thief. If the lender is Mom or Dad and you never, ever return anything and they knows this, then it’s merely a little family dance you perform to save the feelings of both parties to preserve the borrower’s pride. Not theft … but also, not borrowing, either. Because, again, to borrow something implies an intent to return it. Absent that, it’s not borrowed. It’s gifted — or stolen. Take your pick. Usually, anything “lent” to a child or relative is a “grant-in-aid.” I know I will never see it again. As sure as the earth is round and the sun shall rise, whatever has been “lent” is gone for good.
Perhaps we need a new words for borrowers who aren’t really borrowers but who just want something from you. Who figure you can afford to give it to them because whatever you’ve got, they should have.
In this world, many people lack boundaries. They are sure whatever you have, should be theirs. It isn’t the result of genuine need or dire poverty. It’s more a sense of entitlement, that they deserve “the good stuff” and “life (aka God, fates, government, aliens, Those People) have deprived them of their birthright. Never ever does it cross their minds that they may be responsible — in whole or part — for whatever has gone wrong in their lives.
Thus, by this logic, if you have it, you have deprived them of it. You should give it to them. If you try to share with them, they will take it as a sign of weakness. I wouldn’t mind the giving, but I resent the ingratitude. This is a great quote for which I cannot find the source. I’ve heard it as Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, and several other people but cannot confirm where it came from:
“I don’t know why he hates me so much; I never did him a favor.”