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There's the rub

Posted by Smokey Stover on January 02, 2004

In Reply to: There's the rub posted by ESC on January 01, 2004

: : I can't seem to find the origin of the phrase, "Therein lies the rub" Can anyone please help me on this one? THANK YOU! :-)

: Shakespeare.

: AUTHOR: William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
: QUOTATION: To be, or not to be: that is the question:
: Whether 't is nobler in the mind to suffer
: The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
: Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
: And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep:
: No more; and by a sleep to say we end
: The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
: That flesh is heir to,-'t is a consummation
: Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
: To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there 's the rub:
: For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
: When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
: Must give us pause: there 's the respect
: That makes calamity of so long life;
: For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
: The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
: The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
: The insolence of office and the spurns
: That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
: When he himself might his quietus make
: With a bare bodkin? who would fardels 1 bear,
: To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
: But that the dread of something after death,
: The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
: No traveller returns, puzzles the will
: And makes us rather bear those ills we have
: Than fly to others that we know not of?
: Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
: And thus the native hue of resolution
: Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
: And enterprises of great pith and moment
: With this regard their currents turn awry,
: And lose the name of action.
: ATTRIBUTION: Hamlet. Act iii. Sc. 1. [text]
: BIOGRAPHY: Columbia Encyclopedia.
: WORKS: William Shakespeare Collection.

SS: It's interesting how often this one soliloquy comes up on the Phrase Finder. Well, why not? The use of "rub" in this and similar passages refers to a friction or impediment to smooth going, as you might guess. The OED has dozens of relevant examples, which it does not explain very well. It quotes the Hamlet speech, of course, but with a curious misspelling: "I, there's the rub."