Take the 2-minute tour ×
Skeptics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for scientific skepticism. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Is the attribution of this quote to William Shakespeare correct?

I always feel happy. You know why? Because I don’t expect anything from anyone. Expectations always hurt… Life is short… So love your life… Be happy… And keep smiling… Just live for yourself and…
Before you speak? Listen..
Before you write? Think..
Before you spend? Earn..

This quote is widely used as a status line in social networks.
Examples: top quotes collection, tumblr, blog entry.
I failed to find the source of this quote in the works of Shakespeare. Can someone prove or disprove this attribution?

share|improve this question
7  
Doesn't sound like The Bard. But who knows, it could be a reworded sonnet. –  jwenting Feb 8 '12 at 11:52
3  
my brain is playing tricks to me, for a moment I read william shatner instead of william shakespeare –  santiagozky Feb 8 '12 at 17:40
7  
This sounds like one of those chain emails. You know the ones made of a mishmash of unattributed cut and pasted quotes written in a really big pink and red fonts with a couple of silly pictures of dogs. –  Kevin Laity Feb 8 '12 at 18:17
1  
@jwenting, agree. It really doesn't sound like Shakespeare. –  default locale Feb 9 '12 at 5:45
1  
Perhaps this comes from someone making more of what Shakespeare did say and then people attributing it directly to Shakespeare over time. Here is what Shakespeare did say about expectations: “Expectation is the root of all heartache.” –  Kevin FitzMaurice Feb 24 at 5:04

1 Answer 1

up vote 24 down vote accepted

I can see that part of the text in the post is taken from another set of quotes by William Arthur Ward

Before You By William Arthur Ward

Before you speak, listen.

Before you write, think.

Before you spend, earn.

Before you invest, investigate.

Before you criticize, wait.

Before you pray, forgive.

Before you quit, try.

Before you retire, save.

Before you die, give.

I've also run keyword searches on two Shakespeare search engines http://sydney.edu.au/engineering/it/~matty/Shakespeare/nsearch.cgi and http://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/search/search-advanced.php and cannot find phrases such as "Expectations always hurt" and "Keep smiling" at all.

So I'm going to say the passage you've posted is NOT by Shakespeare - at least, not all of it.

On a sidenote - one phrase which did exist is "Life is short"

Henry IV, Part I [V, 2]

I cannot read them now. O gentlemen, the time of life is short!

Shakespeare, however, did say something similar to "Expectations always hurt" in All's Well That Ends Well.

Oft expectation fails and most oft there

share|improve this answer
    
Nice answer. Thanks. –  default locale Feb 9 '12 at 6:33
1  
brilliant work deciphering its authenticity and origin :) –  user17033 Jan 8 '14 at 12:52

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.