Tag: Ralph Keyes

All the “Quotes” Winston Churchill Never Said (1)

All the “Quotes” Winston Churchill Never Said (1)

Fake Quotes: A-E

In 1686 the Oxford Eng­lish Dic­tio­nary described “red her­ring,” a metaphor to draw pur­suers off a track, as “the trail­ing or drag­ging of a dead Cat or Fox (and in case of neces­si­ty a Red-Her­ring) three or four miles…and then lay­ing the Dogs on the scent…to attempt to divert atten­tion from the real ques­tion.” I apply the term to quotes, alleged­ly by Churchill, which he nev­er said—or if he did, was quot­ing some­body else.

Hence my Red Her­rings Appen­dix, updat­ed here­with, for the new, expand­ed edi­tion of my quotes book Churchill by Him­self. “You could fill a book with what Win­ston Churchill didn’t say,” remarked his some­time col­league, Rab But­ler.…

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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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