But screw your courage to the sticking-place
What's the meaning of the phrase 'But screw your courage to the sticking-place'?
Be steadfast and of good courage.
What's the origin of the phrase 'But screw your courage to the sticking-place'?
From Shakespeare's Macbeth, 1605:
But screw your courage to the sticking-place,
And we'll not fail.
It is thought that Shakespeare was making the allusion to the screwing-up of the peg of a musical instrument until it becomes tightly fixed. If that is so then the phrase's meaning is 'keep screwing up your courage until it reaches the sticking place' not, as is usually thought 'affix your courage to the sticking place'.