Monday, January 30, 2012

WHO SAID THAT?

In many instances, William Shakespeare!  



We all know famous lines from Shakespeare's works, the following are just a few:


TO BE OR NOT TO BE
FRIENDS, ROMANS, COUNTRYMEN, LEND ME YOUR EARS
A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME WOULD SMELL AS SWEET
DOUBLE DOUBLE TOIL AND TROUBLE, FIRE BURN, AND CAULDRON BUBBLE
O ROMEO, ROMEO, WHEREFORE ART THOU, ROMEO.

But what you may not know is many of the aphorisms used today were also started by Shakespeare. It is well-known he didn't coin all the sayings, but he was the first to write many of them down. Other writers before him used some of the expressions in their works.


COME WHAT COME MAY was first used in 1375 in John Barbour's, The Bruce. Shakespeare used the term in MacBeth.
MACBETH: Come what come may, 
Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.


EATEN OUT OF HOUSE AND HOME is noted in Henry IV.
MISTRESS QUICKLY: It is more than for some, my lord; it is for all, all I have.
 He hath eaten me out of house and home; he hath put all my substance into that fat belly of his...

WHERE MY HEART UPON MY SLEEVE may derive from the middle ages jousting matches were knights are said to have worn colors of the lady they were supporting, in a cloth or ribbon tied on their arms, but the term was first recorded in Shakespeare's Othello.
IAGO: ...But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws to peck at: I am not what I am.

SEND HIM PACKING can be found in Shakespeare's Henry IV.
FALSTAFF: Faith, and I'll send him packing.

NIGHT OWL first became a reference to people in the sixteenth century. Shakespeare used it in Richard II:
"For nightowles shreeke, where mounting larkes should sing."

and in Twelfth Night:
"Shall wee rowze the night-Owle in a Catch?"

LOVE IS BLIND was a favorite line of Shakespeare's. It appears in several of his plays. The following is from The Merchant Of Venice.
JESSICA:...But love is blind and lovers cannot see
The pretty follies that themselves commit;
For if they could, Cupid himself would blush
To see me thus transformed to a boy.

IN STITCHES was first used by Shakespeare in Twelfth Night. Despite Shakespeare using the phrase, it didn't become popular until the twentieth century.
MARIA: If you desire the spleen, and will laugh yourself into stitches, follow me.


GIVE THE DEVIL HIS DUE is from Shakespeare's Henry IV.
CONSTABLE; I will cap that proverb with 'There is flattery in friendship.'
ORLEANS: And I will take up that with 'Give the devil his due.'

GREEN-EYED MONSTER is a phrase used in Othello.
IAGO: O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock...

Here are more aphorisms, some I can believe were used by Shakespeare, others just astound me that we're using them still today.

A FOOL'S PARADISE
A FOREGONE CONCLUSION
ALL CORNERS OF THE WORLD
ALL THAT GLITTERS IS NOT GOLD
ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE, AND ALL THE MEN AND WOMEN MERELY PLAYERS
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL
AS DEAD AS A DOORNAIL
AS PURE AS THE DRIVEN SNOW
AT ONE FELL SWOOP
BEWARED THE IDES OF MARCH
EXCEEDINGLY WELL READ
FAIR PLAY
FANCY FREE
FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE
FOREVER AND A DAY
FOUL PLAY
GOOD RIDDANCE
HEART'S CONTENT
HIGH TIME
HIS BEARD WAS AS WHITE AS SNOW (Isn't this Santa Claus?)
I HAVE NOT SLEPT ONE WINK
IF MUSIC BE THE FOOD OF LOVE, PLAY ON
IN A PICKLE (seriously??? Shakespeare?)
IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE
LIKE THE DICKENS (And this is no reference to Charles Dickens!)
SCREW YOUR COURAGE TO THE STICKING POST (I've never heard of this one, but I love it.)
SET YOUR TEETH ON EDGE
SOMETHING IS ROTTEN IN THE STATE OF DENMARK
STAR CROSSED LOVERS
SUCH STUFF AS DREAMS ARE MADE OF
THE DEVIL INCARNATE
THE GAME IS UP
THE QUEEN'S ENGLISH
THERE'S METHOD IN MY MADNESS (Oh, we writers know this one.)
THIS IS THE SHORT AND LONG OF IT
TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING
UP IN ARMS
VANISH INTO THIN AIR (Wow, really?)
WE HAVE SEEN BETTER DAYS
WILD GOOSE CHASE

by Tess St. John

As a writer, I think it would be the ultimate compliment for people to be using phrases and words I wrote five hundred years from now!


I hope some of you learned something new. Please check out these websites for information (I got my information for this blog at these sites) on Shakespeare and his writing, plus more sayings still used today--and their meanings.

For more about Tess St. John and her books, please visit her website at  http://tessstjohn.com .

28 comments:

  1. As always, Tess, you manage to be both entertaining and educational in one fell swoop.

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  2. Wow! This was so cool, Tess! "THERE'S METHOD IN MY MADNESS " I probably say this one a hundred times a day! LOL

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  4. Missy, I think you and I have said that saying together in a chant a time or two...pansters that we are!!! Thanks for stopping by!

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    1. Interesting post. Love it!
      I learned a few new phrases from the bard.
      Well done.

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  5. I love words and am always interested in knowing where they come from. These expressions are SO old. And we're still using them?
    Patti

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  6. One of my favorite movies is Shakespeare In Love. It riffs on how Bill came up with some of his phrases. (Yes, I know it's not historically accurate, but it's funny as hell.)

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  7. Great list, Tess. And some items are quite surprising. It is amazing how many of these phrases are still in use today.

    Thanks for sharing! I learned something new today. :-)

    Jenn!

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  8. Patricia, I agree...I was researching proverbs when I ran across this and thought this just as fascinating!

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  9. Suzan...it's one of my all time favs too! I think my favorite part is when he's in the street and hears the minister, then uses..."A plague on both your houses!"

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  10. So glad you learned something new, Jenn! I try!

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  11. Very cool list! I definitely learned something new today. Thanks for doing the research.

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  12. That's why I'm here, Stacey...LOL... thanks for stopping by!

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  13. Tess: what a wonderful blog. Handsome reads a lot of and about Shakespeare and he said Shakespeare created a lot of words.

    Fancy free... Cute!

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    1. Yes...I just can't believe the meanings are still the same today! He was definitely a man for all ages!

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  14. Totally enjoyed Shakespeare's sayings. The dude was cool, yesterday, today and tomorrow.

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  15. The phrase is "All that glisters is not gold..." and it is from The Merchant of Venice. It's one of the poems in the caskets which Portia's suitors have to choose from.

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    1. Thanks, M.M. I should have posted both ways of saying that...glisters/glitters. In my haste, I used glitters, since that's mostly used today. Thanks for stopping by.

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  16. Tess,

    Great post.

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  17. Very interesting post, Tess. Thanks for sharing this.

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  18. I am always interested in the etymology of words and phrases.

    Thanks for the share!

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  19. This is so cool! Thank you, Tess, for sharing :-)

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  20. Ally, Sophia, and Bethany...you are so welcome and thanks so much for stopping by!

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  21. Nice blog. As a lover of words you might be interested in the word play involved in cryptic crosswords. I am doing a series of posts on solving cryptic clues. This was the first one I did. http://caroleschatter.blogspot.co.nz/2012/01/cryptic-crosswords-solving-hints-1.html Hope you enjoy.

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