Tag: Ralph Keyes

Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat: Origins of a Famous Phrase

Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat: Origins of a Famous Phrase

Though he gave per­ma­nent life to blood, toil, tears and sweat, Churchill’s best-remem­bered words did not orig­i­nate with him. Sim­i­lar expres­sions date very far back. (Excerpt­ed from my essay for the Hills­dale Col­lege Churchill Project. To read the full arti­cle, click here.)

Quo­ta­tions schol­ar Ralph Keyes writes:

Cicero and Livy wrote of  “sweat and blood.” A 1611 John Donne poem includ­ed the lines “That ‘tis in vaine to dew, or mol­li­fie / It with thy Tear­es, or Sweat, or Bloud.” More than two cen­turies lat­er, Byron wrote, “Year after year they vot­ed cent per cent / Blood, sweat, and tear-wrung millions—why?—for rent!” In his 1888 play Smith, Scot­tish poet-play­wright John David­son wrote of “Blood – sweats and tears, and hag­gard, home­less lives.” By 1939, a Lady Tegart report­ed in a mag­a­zine arti­cle that Jew­ish com­mu­nal colonies in Pales­tine were “built on a foun­da­tion of blood, sweat, and tears”….Since this phrase was obvi­ous­ly famil­iar when Churchill gave his mem­o­rable speech the fol­low­ing year, even though he rearranged the words and added “toil” for good mea­sure, our ears and our mem­o­ry quick­ly returned them to the more famil­iar form.…

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Churchill on Horses

Churchill on Horses

“We need a horse­man for our next pres­i­dent,” writes Gary Hodg­son in the Fort Mor­gan Times, who then goes on to quote “the famous rein­ing cham­pi­on, team rop­er and all around cowboy…Sir Win­ston Churchill,” who alleged­ly said: “There is some­thing about the out­side of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”

Unless Mr. Hodg­son has found a new attri­bu­tion, that charmer is not Churchill’s. It’s list­ed in the “Red Her­rings” appen­dix in Churchill by Him­self, page 575, with this note:

​​Repeat­ed­ly attrib­uted to every­one from Woodrow Wilson’s physi­cian to Ronald Rea­gan. “Cler­gy­man Hen­ry Ward Beech­er (1813–87) is one per­son to whom the thought was attrib­uted in his time.…

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Definition of “Fanatic”

Definition of “Fanatic”

 

Can you ver­i­fy whether or not Churchill said: “A fanat­ic is some­one who won’t change his mind and won’t change the sub­ject”?  —T.M., Ontario, Cana­da

 

Sor­ry, it’s not Churchill. From Churchill by Him­self, the “Red Her­rings” appen­dix (unat­trib­uted quotes), page 574: “Often attrib­uted to Churchill or Pres­i­dent Tru­man. Ralph Keyes, edi­tor, The Quote Ver­i­fi­er, writes: ‘It’s a quo­ta­tion I see often, but with­out a source. I doubt that it’s Tru­man, or, if he ever said it, that the quo­ta­tion orig­i­nat­ed with him.'”

 …

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