Paragraph on Neither a Borrower Nor a Lender Be

Outline:

  • Does the expression suggests that this is poetry? Yes.
  • Is it actually wrong to lend to a friend in need?
  • Why should not one borrow, if sincerely meaning to repay?
  • While there seems no reason against yet in practice it is very often abused.

There is a rhythm about the words, and the manner in which the verb “be” is placed at the end suggests that this is a line of verse, This is true, and this well-known proverb is spoken by an old man called Polonius, in Shakespeare’s play, Hanlet, when his son is going away to a foregin country. It expresses wisdom which has long been proved in the history of mankind, for without being able to say that it is a wong act, one is rather ashamed to borrow and one does not like, as a rule, to be asked for a loan of money.

Why should this be? If one is in temporary difficulty, surely a friend will be only too glad to give some help by a temeporary loan, which will be returned, and which will cost him nothing. On the other hand, if a friend is in trouble, will we not all be glad to lend him a few Augupees? Surely the proverb shows the sharp wisdom of the moneymaking man! In theory, this is true; but in practice it works out otherwise. It is seldom a true friend in temporary difficulty who wants to borrow, but a slight acquaintance who is improvident and wasteful. The borrower is too often one who makes a constant practice of borrowing money from everybody who can be induced to lend, and who, as rule, does not return it.

It happens sometimes that a friend does borrow from us. It is the first time that he has done so, and he means to return the loan. But the time comes when it becomes due, and he is not able to repay the money. Without meaning it, he gradually in course of time, is actually ashamed to meet him. Thus, as Shakespeare goes on to say, the lender loses not only his money but also his friend. There are indeed instances where one friend obliges another with a loan, but; there are far more in which the borrower is a person with no great sense of responsibity or of honesty, who makes no effort to repay, but indeed tries to borrow more. Thus, except in most exceptional circumstances, it is better to keep to the rule stated by the insect of the poem. The Ant and the Cricket,” We ants never borrow, we ants never lend.”

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