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Chapter & Verse

Correspondence on not-so-famous lost words

July-August 2007

Steve Plank hopes to learn who said (as he puts it), “We should each conduct our lives in such a way that if everyone were to do the same, the world would be a better place.”

Tilden Euster requests a definitive source for the following remark (which he has seen attributed to Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.): “The man who does not know his options doesn’t have any.”

Martin Levine seeks guidance: “James Thurber, in his delightful ‘Wild Bird Hickok and His Friends,’ writes of French dime novels set in le Far-Ouest: ‘I hope that I shall recall them, for anodyne, when with eyes too dim to read, I pluck finally at the counterpane.’ What’s he echoing?”

“Where turtles moan their loves” (January-February 2002). Karen Myers and Nikos Pappas identified this fragment of a poem from Isaac Watts’s collection Horae Lyricae (1706). The first verse runs: “Come, lead me to some lofty shade/ Where turtles moan their loves;/Tall shadows were for lovers made;/And grief becomes the groves.” The text, set to music and titled “Solitude,” appears in a shaped-note tunebook, The Virginia Sacred Musical Repository (1818), by James M. Boyd, which Myers and Pappas are republishing (www.perkunaspress.com).

“error for chance” (March-April). Fred Shapiro, editor of the Yale Book of Quotations (see “Harvard in Epigram,” January-February, page 84) reports that the YBQ database includes “Regulation [rather than “planning”] is the substitution of error for chance,” attributed to Fred J. Emery, former director of the Federal Register, in Paul Dickson’s The Official Explanations (1980).



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