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Origin of phrase

Posted by Masakim on September 02, 2001

In Reply to: Origin of phrase posted by Sharon Wochos on August 28, 2001

: I have a physician who wants to know to whom he can attribute the phrase" desperate times call for desperate measures". He was sure it was from Shakespeare but I have looked through quotes from his plays and cannot find this. Anyone know?

Shakespeare wrote:

Diseases desperate grown,
By desperate alliances are relieved,
Or not at all.
(Hamlet, IIII.ii.)

I do spy a kind of hope,
Which craves as desperate an execution
As that which we would prevent
(Romeo and Juliet, IV.i.)

Guy Fawkes is alleged to have said to King James I on 6 November 1605: "Desperate diseases require desperate measures."

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