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Much Ado About Nothing

William Shakespeare
No Fear Act 5 Scene 1
No Fear Act 5 Scene 1 Page 1

Original Text

Modern Text



If you go on thus, you will kill yourself,
And ’tis not wisdom thus to second grief
Against yourself.


If you keep on the way you’ve been going, you’ll kill yourself. There’s no point in adding to your grief.


  I pray thee, cease thy counsel,
Which falls into mine ears as profitless
5As water in a sieve. Give not me counsel,
Nor let no comforter delight mine ear
But such a one whose wrongs do suit with mine.
Bring me a father that so loved his child,
Whose joy of her is overwhelmed like mine,
10And bid him speak of patience.
Measure his woe the length and breadth of mine,
And let it answer every strain for strain,
As thus for thus and such a grief for such,
In every lineament, branch, shape, and form.
15If such a one will smile and stroke his beard,
Bid sorrow wag, cry “hem” when he should groan,
Patch grief with proverbs, make misfortune drunk
With candle-wasters, bring him yet to me
And I of him will gather patience.
20But there is no such man. For, brother, men
Can counsel and speak comfort to that grief
Which they themselves not feel, but, tasting it,
Their counsel turns to passion which before
Would give preceptial med'cine to rage,
25Fetter strong madness in a silken thread,
Charm ache with air, and agony with words.


Stop advising me; your words pass through my ears like water through a sieve. Don’t counsel me. Only someone who’s been wronged as I have can comfort me. Find a father who loved his child as overwhelmingly as I loved Hero and askhim to be patient. Compare the length and width of that man’s sadness against my own; match up all the complaints and strong emotions that run through our bodies. If a man who has suffered as I have gave me advice the way you do—smiling and stroking his beard, telling me to toss away my sorrow, giving speeches when he should be wailing with me, trying to heal my grief with little proverbs, spinning my head around with philosophy—then I would take his advice and be patient. But that man doesn’t exist. You can try to comfort a man who feels a pain that you have never felt, but once you feel it too, your sober advice will also turn into passion. You can’t treat madness with rules or bind up insanity with little silken threads or cure heartache with hot air or lighten agony with pat phrases.