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Quatrain 3 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Lines 9-10

Past cure I am, now reason is past care,
And frantic mad with evermore unrest,

  • Just when we thought things couldn't get any worse for this poor guy, they do. Not only is he going "mad," he says he's past the point of hoping for a cure. 
  • What the heck does that mean? The line is a shout-out to a famous proverb—"past cure, past care" (source). Basically, the proverb means that it's pointless to worry about a patient or try to treat him when he's so sick that there's no hope of a cure.
  • But here, Shakespeare gives the proverb a little twist. The sick patient (our speaker) says he's past cure because his doctor ("reason") doesn't care about him anymore.
  • In other words, he's saying that his inability to reason or think straight is making it impossible for him to get better.
  • Plus, he can't sleep and feels totally restless, which is driving him even more nuts (frantically "mad").

Lines 11-12

My thoughts and my discourse as madmen's are,
At random from the truth vainly expressed;

  • Dang. Our speaker sounds a lot like a feverish patient who has become delirious, don't you think?
  • He says his thoughts and his speech ("discourse") are like that of a crazy person—he's been running around saying a bunch of stuff that isn't true.
  • Hmm. That's interesting. 
  • What's he been lying about lately? Has he been lying to himself or to other people? Has he been lying to us?
  • Has he been babbling random nonsense throughout the entire sonnet? Can we trust anything he's said up to this point? Can we believe anything he says after this?
  • Stay tuned.

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