Can someone tell me what this speech means in modern-day english??

Question: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.

Shakespeare. Hamlet. A very well-known piece of that play.

I could "translate" every phrase for you but I think you'd be better off doing it yourself. I know you would be.

I'll do one - "Beware Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in, Bear't that the opposed may beware of thee." - means - "Try to avoid arguments, but if you can't, make sure that you have a reputation as a good debater so that few people will draw you into an argument against them."

Shakespeare said it soooooo much better!
Check out No Fear Shakespeare on for help understanding his work. Here is the direct link to this passage in Hamlet: It gives the original text of the play on one side, and a rewritten version of the text in our more common place English on the other. I hope it helps.

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