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Drinking From a Poisoned Chalice

The term “poisoned chalice” is applied to a thing or situation which appears to be good when it is received or experienced by someone, but then becomes or is found to be bad.

neurodope-chalice

The idea was referred to by Benedict of Nursia in one of his exorcisms, found on the Saint Benedict Medal:

Vade retro Satana! Nunquam suade mihi vana!

Sunt mala quae libas. Ipse venena bibas!

Which translates to: “Begone Satan! Never tempt me with your vanities! What you offer me is evil. Drink the poison yourself!”

neurodope-shakespeare

Bill thinking to himself “Man I shouldn’t have done that.”

William Shakespeare uses the expression in Act I Scene VII of Macbeth. It occurs in the opening soliloquy of the scene when Macbeth is considering the ramifications of the murder he is plotting:

“But in these cases
We still have judgment here; that we but teach
Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
To plague the inventor: this even-handed justice
Commends the ingredients of our poison’d chalice
To our own lips.”

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