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…
“It is difficult to remove a bad General at the height of a campaign: it is atrocious to remove a good General.” —Churchill
What can we learn by comparing President Obama’s dismissal of General McChrystal to Churchill’s dismissals of Generals Wavell and Auchinleck, two distinguished commanders in World War II? I hope it will not be another reminder of how standards of conduct have deteriorated.