Shakespeare. A Good Reply when You Don’t Know What to Say

winding the watch of wit“Look, he’s winding up the watch of his wit; By and by it will strike.” (Tempest act 2, sc.1)

Tips for Use.  How often we know what to answer to an ironic remark or a joke and yet the answer lays hidden in the mind preventing immediate delivery.  Or who has not been in a situation when he is prompted by the exhortation, “Say something”.  This is the time to reply, ‘I am winding up the watch of my wit, by and by it will strike’. Or a comment when you see someone else doing the same, “He is winding up…strike”.  Equally applicable during a presentation when you do not have an immediate answer to a question from the audience. Even during a job interview. If the interviewer (it happens) takes on a jovial tone and makes a funny remark calling for a comeback.
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In the play. Sebastian, brother of the King of Naples likes to pull Gonzalo’s leg and see his reaction. Gonzalo deos not have an immediate answer and Sebastian comments accordingly. Gonzalo is an old counselor to the King of Naples.


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