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Re: OT: Dutch/Junk/Dim S(ui)m

From:John Cowan <cowan@...>
Date:Tuesday, September 16, 2003, 11:55
Roger Mills scripsit:

> Hmm, close. Knew I could count on you! I suppose the version I heard was > somebody's adaptation-- it was _all_ about the Dutch, didn't mention the > French.
On further investigation the second couplet seems to have been Lord Canning's addition to a traditional saying of the English, sometimes with "business" instead of "commerce". I have not been able to find any quatrain of which it forms the *second* couplet, however; is it possible that you heard only the couplet and misremembered it as being a quatrain? The couplet was quoted seriously on the floor of the House of Lords by Lord Simon of Highbury (shame be upon him) as recently as 1998. Almost as bad, he changed "commerce" to "competition" and ruined the meter. Here lies the Christian, judge, and poet Peter, Who broke the laws of God and man and meter. -- It was dreary and wearisome. Cold clammy winter still held way in this forsaken country. The only green was the scum of livid weed on the dark greasy surfaces of the sullen waters. Dead grasses and rotting reeds loomed up in the mists like ragged shadows of long-forgotten summers. --"The Passage of the Marshes"